My tunnel through the Great Firewall has been on the fritz, so I was able to read ZenPundit yesterday but unable to comment. Now I’m not able to load Mark’s top blog at all, so I will put my thoughts (as I can assemble them) here. Apology to Mark and the other bloggers who I will be referencing but not crediting. Thus, three false claims and my counter-arguments:
“We cannot have large-scale immigration, because it hurts the poor”
This position says that because the poor tend to be unskilled, and immigrants tend to be unskilled, increasing immigration hurts the poor by increasing their competition. This is certainly true. However, immigration also helps the poor by reducing the prices they pay for labor-intensive goods. As these goods (food, etc) take up a larger share of income from the poor than from the rich, the poor reap a disproportionate share of the gain from large-scale immigration. Regardless, attempting to use the immigration system as a social justice mechanism is strange. If you really want to help the poor who are hurt by immigration, just give them a monthly check to make up for their ‘loss’. Many “conservatives,” who rail against immigration in the name of the poor, would never do this. Thus they are unmasked: they care not for the poor, but for their own agenda.
“We cannot have large-scale immigration, because we should help other countries keep their own citizens”
This claim is even stranger. Some argue that we should not accept immigrants because the “root cause” is economic hardship in the countries they leave. This is know-nothing conservatism in disguise. We do not, at heart, embrace immigration to help other countries or to solve problems around the world: we embrace immigration because it helps our economy. Saying “we need to help Mexico keep Mexican citizens in Mexico” is like saying “we need to help Mexico keep Mexican oil in Mexico.” Why choke off a source of our greatness — labor — like this? If you really want to help emigrant countries, end farm and textile protection.
“We cannot have large-scale immigration, because we need a fence first”
Unlike the first two claims, this one doesn’t pretend to compassion or even cause-and-effect. It’s a demand that before we can substantially reduce the underground economy in the United States, we must first further isolate those people, ourselves, and other countries. It reminds me of the immediate, post-9/11 reaction of the Left: “We need higher taxes!” Why? Well… it’s fair.