From the New York Times:
“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans,” said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper. “We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”
Alan Greenspan floated the same idea last summer. Congress, however, seems to have other ideas:
the U.S. Senate unfortunately voted on Feb. 6 to restrict banks and other financial institutions that receive taxpayer bailout money from hiring high-skilled immigrants on temporary work permits known as H-1B visas.
Some 1.3 million illegal immigrants have left the United States since Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the summer of 2007. If the trend continues, according to a new study, the nation’s illegal population will drop by half in the next five years.
Moreover, reports the Center for Immigration Studies, young Hispanic immigrants began heading south before the nation’s economy did – a clue that what’s driving the new outmigration is a stepped-up border and workplace enforcement, not a souring US job market.
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Eugene Volokh wonders what would happen if the U.S. adopted an “open borders” policy. The consensus view seems to be “way too many” though exact figures tend to vary greatly, as one would imagine. I don’t necessarily disagree with that assessment, but I do wonder whether people may be overestimating the number of people who would actually come to the U.S. and/or overestimate the negative impact that such unlimited immigration would have.
The first thing a lot of people seem to fail to factor in is that just because the U.S. has decided to fling open its borders doesn’t mean that other countries are going to follow suit. Getting into the U.S. is one thing, getting out of your home country can be quite another. For the most part, the sort of countries one would most want to get away from are precisely the ones that limit your ability to leave, and I suspect that such limits would only grow more strict if the government knew it could lose the bulk of its population to the U.S. in short order. Continue reading
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post had a column by Robert Samuelson in which he speculated on what a politician might say on the stump if subjected to truth serum. There was a lot of good stuff in the column, but I found the following bit a bit curious:
Finally, let’s discuss poverty. Everyone’s against it, but hardly anyone admits that most of the increase in the past 15 years reflects immigration — new immigrants or children of recent immigrants. Unless we stop poor people from coming across our Southern border, legally and illegally, we won’t reduce poverty. Period.
As Samuelson elaborates in a previous column:
From 1990 to 2006, the number of poor Hispanics increased 3.2 million, from 6 million to 9.2 million. Meanwhile, the number of non-Hispanic whites in poverty fell from 16.6 million (poverty rate: 8.8 percent) in 1990 to 16 million (8.2 percent) in 2006. Among blacks, there was a decline from 9.8 million in 1990 (poverty rate: 31.9 percent) to 9 million (24.3 percent) in 2006.
There have been a lot of calls recently for a fence along the Mexican border to discourage illegal immigration. But at least one Arizona community wants to go further:
Faced with high-levels of crime and illegal immigration, authorities in Yuma are reaching back to a technique as old as a medieval castle to dig out a “security channel” on a crime-ridden stretch of the border and fill it with water.”The moats that I’ve seen circled the castle and allowed you to protect yourself, and that’s kind of what we’re looking at here,” said Yuma County Sheriff Ralph Ogden, who is backing the project.”It’s innovative thinking. It doesn’t take much brainpower to build a 12-foot high fence around something, but this is unique.”
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