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OpenMarket: Alex Nowrasteh

  • Immigrants Help the CIA

    May 16, 2008
    This story reveals a startlingly obvious fact: immigrants help American intelligence agencies.
    “The intelligence agencies lack people who can speak the languages that are needed most, like Arabic, Farsi and Pashtu. More importantly, the agencies lack people with the cultural awareness that allows them to grasp the nuances embedded in dialect, body language and even street graffiti.”

    The U.S. government is still dealing with a massive backlog of intercepted terrorist communications (read here, here, and here) and is unable to translate them. Part of that problem is that...
  • They Took Our Jobs!

    May 16, 2008
    This Wall Street Journal article about Ben Bernanke's “Bubble Laboratory” is a fascinating look at economic bubbles and the changing nature of the Federal Reserve Board. But what caught my eye was that the three economists selected by Bernanke to research and advise on this topic are all immigrants.
    Wall Street Journal, Friday, May 16, 2008. A10

    Does anyone think that Americans are made poorer because these immigrants are “took our jobs?”
  • Immigrant Assimilation

    May 16, 2008


    The Manhattan Institute study about immigrant assimilation attempts to measure civic values of immigrants. Participation in the naturalization process and military service are used to gauge this metric. But the study admits that this is problematic:




    “Changes in civic assimilation could, in theory, reflect either changes in immigrant civic attitudes or changes — perhaps even anticipated changes — in policy” (4).



    Many in the anti-immigration crowd complain about a lack of immigrant assimilation. Although immigrant assimilation into American society has never been quicker or more widespread, our terrible immigration laws encourage many to forgo civic assimilation. ...

  • Globalization and Immigration

    May 15, 2008

    Here's a common question I hear when debating immigration and globalization:


    “If the world is becoming so much wealthier due to globalization, then why are so many people from nations with rapid economic growth immigrating to the U.S.? Shouldn't they stay in their native countries if they are truly developing?”


    The answer, I think, is that a rural Chinese peasant with an income of $100 per annum cannot possible afford to move to the United States. But if that peasant's income rises to $5000 per annum due to accelerating economic growth, he can suddenly afford to move to a place where he can increase his income even further.


    How many immigrants do you know from desperately poor places like Sub-Saharan Africa or other places untouched by globalization?...

  • Immigration Is Good for the Economy 2: Inventions

    May 14, 2008

    The falsely praised THE FISCAL COST OF IMMIGRATION by Edwin Rubenstein doesn't even mention “patents” or “entrepreneurship” anywhere in his study. This oversight (I don't want to accuse Edwin Rubenstein of intentionally misleading his readers) casts real doubt on the sincerity of this report.


    Focusing on skilled immigration, Professor Jennifer Hunt in this study states:


    “Twenty-six percent of U.S.-based Nobel Prize recipients from 1990-2000 were immigrants (Peri 2007), as were twenty-five percent of founders of public venture-backed U.S. companies in 1990-2005 (Anderson and Platzer n.d.), compared to a foreign-born population of 12% in 2000” (Hunt, 1...

  • Immigration Is Good for the Economy 1

    May 14, 2008

    These comments made yesterday have prompted me to write a series of blog posts. I only hope that zeezil or other commentators decide to respond to my specific points instead of pasting cookie cutter commentary.


    THE FISCAL COST OF IMMIGRATION by Edwin Rubenstein is a fatally flawed study which uses poor methodology. Rubenstein claims that tax revenue was lower than expected because of immigrant competition driving down wages. That claim assumes two things: 1. Wages have decreased and 2. Immigrants decreased them. Neither of those assertions is true. As Professors Russ Roberts and Don...

  • Immigration Assimilation

    May 13, 2008
    The Manhattan Institute released a fantastic study called Measuring Immigrant Assimilation in the United States. As the title suggests, it sets forth a clear statistical methodology for measuring the economic and civic assimilation of different immigrant groups. One interesting passage is:

    “The slow rates of economic and civic assimilation of Mexicans apart from other immigrants, and may reflect the fact that the large numbers of Mexican immigrants residing in the United States illegally have few opportunities to advance themselves along these dimensions.”



    Could it be that the Federal government's policy toward immigration has the unintended negative consequence of slowing assimilation? If entire groups of people are legally restrained from using...

  • Some Advice For Pro-Immigration Protestors

    May 13, 2008


    Many of the problems affecting America's modern pro-immigration movement were evident during the recent May Day rallies. Unless addressed, they will condemn immigration efforts to failure. Since I sympathize with the activists' overall goals, I would like to offer some advice.


    One, be pro-American. Whatever you do, do not wave Mexican, Guatemalan, or any other flag at your protests. Remember, you want to stay in the United States, not go back to your native countries.


    Two, reject the political Left's multiculturalist propaganda. The United States is a melting pot that has melded a uniquely American culture from myriad national...

  • Ethanol Subsidies Increase Illegal Immigration? Yes

    February 28, 2008
    Public policy is rife with unintended consequences. The newest is that soaring food prices caused by ethanol subsidies in the U.S. are causing food prices to skyrocket in Mexico. While this is old information, what's news is how this is contributing to civil disorder and other acts of violence in Mexico.

    Brigadier General Greg Zanetti believes that ethanol subsidies combined with a slowing American economy and continued drug violence on the border could contribute to a massive flow of refugees, not migrants, across the border. Chalk this up to another unintended consequence of bad public policy. A subsidy which is intended to “get us off of our foreign oil addition” (Their words, not mine) and help our national security could cause a flood of refugees across the American border. Perhaps it's...
  • Christmas Card Arrives 93 Years Late

    December 18, 2007
    We all know the Post Office is a lackadaisical and inefficient behemoth, but I never thought it was this bad!

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