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OpenMarket: Immigration

  • National ID, By Itself, Violates Liberty

    February 25, 2013
    As I have pointed out over the past month and The Wall Street Journal’s Danny Yadron noted last week, many members of Congress are looking to impose a mandatory national identification system. Demonstrating that this attempt is gaining momentum, The Washington Post editorialized in favor of a national ID system earlier this month. Its editors wrote:
    Critics on both the civil-liberties left and the libertarian right have long resisted...
  • On Selective Memory And Pretending To Care About Illegal Immigration

    February 14, 2013
    In immigration policy circles, there’s one thing no one wants to repeat: 1986. Anti-immigration groups call the now-infamous Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) “the Reagan amnesty,” but it doesn’t matter what side you’re on, one thing is clear: IRCA failed to stop illegal immigration. Anti-immigration advocates repeat the line -- “Regan’s amnesty failed” (to end illegal immigration) -- so often that you’d think that someone actually disagrees. But no one ever thought that the amnesty would end illegal immigration. They thought that amnesty would eliminate the current black market; border enforcement would stop illegal entries; and sanctions on employers would keep immigrants home. Since this formula failed to stop illegal immigration, anti-immigration groups always compare any bill that comes out against...
  • Immigration Reform’s Economic Benefits

    February 12, 2013
    Comprehensive immigration reform is coming. For those that don’t speak D.C. doublespeak, that means more costly, useless, and privacy-invading border drones, more guards and fences, more employer prosecutions, and national identification for all Americans. On the other hand, it means much more legal immigration and legalization for immigrants already here illegally. Looking at only these last two parts, what will the economic impact be? 1) Fewer deportations mean less wasteful federal spending. College of William and Mary professor of economics Rajeev Goyle estimated in 2005 that if we could find all 11 million deportable immigrants, the cost of...
  • CEI In The Wall Street Journal: E-Verify Is A Threat To Liberty

    February 8, 2013
    CEI founder Fred Smith co-authored an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal today on E-Verify -- the electronic employment verification system that will likely become mandatory as part of any immigration reform. Proponents argue E-Verify is the only way to eliminate illegal immigration, but as the piece points out, “the only proven way to address illegal immigration [is] an efficient and effective legal pathway for immigrants to enter and work in the U.S.” E-Verify not only is unnecessary under a free-market immigration system -- it is harmful. Here are six major problems with mandatory E-Verify.
    1. This is the most extensive regulation possible. E-Verify would place burdensome requirements not just on every American employer, but every...
  • National ID Proponents' Bad Arguments

    February 7, 2013
    America’s new national identification system is coming. President Obama and a bipartisan group of senators want to enact a national identification card that would link to a database containing your name, Social Security number and biometric information such as pictures and fingerprints. The Washington Post editorial board wants one too. Two points are central to their argument: 1) this identification system is a necessary, effective and appropriate way to control illegal immigration, and 2) it will be used strictly for employment purposes. Both claims lack any credibility. Is it necessary? The Post claims...
  • House GOP May Want Legal Pathway For All Immigrants, Not Just Those Here Illegally

    February 6, 2013
    Everyone knows the major obstacle to immigration reform will be legalization for the 11.1 million people in the United States who have overstayed visas or entered the country without federal authorization. Many in Congress adamantly oppose anything that would regularize these peoples’ status and/or recognize their right to live or work in the United States. Their argument is a powerful one: Special exceptions for those who have broken the law undermine respect for the law. Although powerful, this argument is now receiving a reply—perhaps for the first time—from conservatives. “Constituents are saying very loudly you shouldn’t get any special benefits because of your illegal status,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said at a hearing yesterday. But, he said,...
  • The New National Identification System Is Coming

    February 1, 2013
    “Maybe we should just brand all the babies.” With this joke, Ronald Reagan swatted down a national identification card -- or an enhanced Social Security card -- proposed by his attorney general in 1981. For more than three decades since, attempts to implement the proposal have all met with failure, but now national ID is back, and it’s worse than ever. As in 1981, immigration restrictions have provided the justification. In the name of stopping illegal employment, proposals floated by a bipartisan group of senators would create both a physical national ID -- an “enhanced” Social Security card -- and even more menacingly an Internet-based, electronic ID that could be accessed anywhere to confirm identity. After the election, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is leading the Democrats immigration push, told NBC News that one of his top priorities was to “make sure that there is a non-...
  • New Study Links Anti-Immigration Groups To Pro–Population Control Environmentalists

    January 29, 2013
    America's immigration debate is heating up, and conservatives anxious about liberal solutions to the issue are looking for answers of their own. Unfortunately, the major immigration groups that often receive the name “conservative” are anything but. A new study published in Human Life Review reveals these groups all were founded by the same radical environmentalist that advocates ending population growth with immigration restrictions, abortions and sterilizations. The largest and most active anti-immigration groups -- that is, groups that want to restrict the number of legal admissions -- are the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), and NumbersUSA. All these groups were founded by the same man: radical...
  • 6 Ways To Improve The Senate's Immigration Proposal

    January 28, 2013
    “We will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited.” That’s from a statement released today from Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). The senators argue that their proposal will provide the permanent fix America’s immigration system needs, but here’s six ways it could be better.
    1. Keep immigration enforcement a government responsibility. The proposal endorses “stiff fines and criminal penalties” for employers who hire unauthorized workers. These penalties conscript American employers to act as de facto immigration agents....
  • Adam Smith's Recommendation To End Illegal Immigration

    January 24, 2013
    Restrictions on immigration have created a black market in labor and movement. Currently, the U.S. government issues only 10,000 green cards to workers who lack higher education, special skills or family connections. These restrictions have incented (as opposed to “caused”) desperate workers from around the world to circumvent the legal process and enter or reside in the United States illegally. The lesson of this aspect of immigration policy is: Ignore the market at your own peril. Policy makers have little respect for this market. Adam Smith famously called the legislator “the man of system” who “seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon...


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