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OpenMarket: Immigration

  • Anti-Immigration Group FAIR: Market Is Like “A Mob Without Reason, Irrational and Immoral”

    December 7, 2012
    Last week, Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) denounced CEI’s position on immigration. Mehlman argued new foreign workers would degrade wages and make America poorer. I responded by noting opposition on such grounds is not anti-immigrant, but fundamentally anti-people. “If fewer workers means more prosperity, then wouldn’t no workers be the ultimate prosperity?” I asked. “When have we limited the workforce enough?” Mehlman has now responded twice without answering this question. Instead, he expanded to a general attack on the market. He said Americans shouldn’t want their...
  • Anti-Immigration Group Repudiates Free Market Principles

    December 5, 2012
    My last blog post pointed out the anti-immigrant charge that “massive infusions of cheap foreign labor” impoverishes the country is fundamentally anti-people. After all, I noted, “If fewer workers means more prosperity, then wouldn’t no workers be the ultimate prosperity? When have we limited the workforce enough?” Anti-immigrant advocates have no reply for this. They simply do not understand human beings are producers of wealth for others, that they expand the economic pie, not just consume it. Rather than respond to this point, Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) just further attacks the free market. He writes:
    I must point out the...
  • Anti-Immigrant? Or Just Anti-People?

    December 3, 2012
    What economists call “labor,” most of us just call “people.” Without people, there is no economy -- no producers, no consumers, no supply, and no demand. This fact is so fundamental most economic textbooks simply skip right past it. Even second-graders know none can produce less than one, one less than two, and two less than three. But for the anti-immigrant advocates in D.C., each new person makes us poorer. It is a philosophy so anti-human, so counter-common sense that bureaucrats are the only people who seriously have considered it and not rejected it. It is the anti-life premise of population control policy the world over: from China’s one-child policy to eugenics. Rather than seeing progress in the eyes of each new person, they see only death and destruction. These protectionist, anti-immigrant, population controllers see more “labor” -- that is, more human beings -- as a starting...
  • Immigration Reform Is Not A Zero Sum Game

    November 29, 2012
    Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on Republicans’ first post-election attempt at pro-immigration reform. But their bill, the STEM Jobs Act (H.R. 6429), sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, eliminates as many visas as it creates. Worse, it uses the illusion of immigration reform to actually decrease immigration. If the GOP wants to rehabilitate its immigration image, it should not begin by creating winners and losers -- and this bill creates many more losers than winners. The bill grants 55,000 green cards to college graduates of U.S. universities with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics -- the STEM fields. But it simultaneously eliminates the same number of green cards under the Diversity Visa Program, which awards visas mainly to low-skilled...
  • Guest Workers Can Help End Illegal Immigration

    November 27, 2012
    The debate over immigration reform has focused on its long-term effects on America’s culture as well as its economy. But that obscures the fact that for many foreigners seeking to come to the United States, their goal is not to become Americans, but to alleviate economic problems in their home country. These workers have little interest in assimilating or voting. They simply want to work for a while, sometimes for just a few months, and return home. Last August, the Republican Party adopted a plank in its national platform arguing for “a new guest worker program.” Critics have derided this permission to relocate temporarily without a guarantee of citizenship as either mere crumbs for the workers or corporate welfare for their employers. In fact, a workable guest worker program would expand the market’s ability to accommodate the natural flow of labor, which has been distorted by...
  • Immigration Reform Resurrected!

    November 12, 2012
    Nothing makes politicians see the light like losing. Even while immigration restrictionists reassure themselves that the GOP’s immigration message is fine despite losing as much as 80 percent of the Hispanic vote in key states, the party’s leadership has awoken to reality: to save the Grand Old Party, Republicans must embrace immigration reform. Yesterday, influential Senators Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced their intention to introduce a comprehensive reform plan that would both document America’s 12 million unauthorized immigrants and create a legal pathway...
  • Immigration Policy Should Strive For The "City On The Hill," Not The "Deserted Town"

    October 25, 2012
    Opponents of human movement, also known as “immigration,” argue that if the U.S. government stops forcibly preventing foreign-born people from relocating to the United States, the wages of American workers will suffer dramatically. By appealing to economic terms -- prices, wages, supply and demand -- this argument maintains the illusion of intellectual credibility that merely shouting “they’re-taking-our-jobs” lacks. The reality is the restrictionist argument -- that more workers will mean lower wages -- never makes it past Econ 101, class 1. This is because the argument ignores the “ceteris paribus” disclaimer, which says if all other things were held constant,...
  • CEI Podcast For October 11, 2012: More Americans

    October 11, 2012
    Policy Analyst David Bier thinks the world could use more Americans. And an easy way make happen is through increasing legal immigration. America's superior economic institutions give immigrants the ability to create more wealth and value than they could in their home countries.
  • TRUST Act Is An Important Stand Against Federal Immigration Policy

    September 28, 2012
    In a CNN column today, Jose Antonio Vargas calls California’s TRUST Act “the most important piece of legislation for immigrant communities this year.” Vargas is an award-winning journalist who revealed his own undocumented status last year. Vargas acknowledges the TRUST Act has supporters on both sides of the political aisle—including CEI. He writes:
    Undocumented people and their allies -- their relatives and friends, their neighbors and co-workers -- have created a new political climate in which the passage of the TRUST Act is not simply the right thing to do, but the politically strategic thing to do, with supporters from across the political spectrum, from Nancy...
  • Farms Need Workers, Not Subsidies

    September 13, 2012
    Reports of record farm profits has CNBC’s Senior Online Editor John Carney calling America’s agricultural labor shortage “phony,” and by implication, just an excuse to import cheaper foreign labor. In a year that also featured America’s worst drought in fifty years, the record profit is puzzling -- at least until you look inside the numbers. The reality is that the labor shortages are not phony -- what are phony are the profits. They are the product of lavish government subsidies for big agro-corporations. Although higher grain prices induced by the short supply has partially compensated for lower production, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) essentially guarantees farm incomes anyway. The USDA is on pace to pump into the industry...

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