Saturday, December 28, 2002

Andy writes that conservatives should be pro-immigration.

With no immigration controls at all, we might have 50M immigrants a year for several years. No one wants that. Nearly everyone (except perhaps a few fringe libertarians) thinks that there should be limits on immigration. The only debate is over what those limits are.

Currently, USA policy results in about 1M legal immigrants a year, and about 1M illegals. (John, are these numbers about right?) These numbers are about like tax revenues that can be adjusted upwards or downwards by trivial changes in gubmnt policy. Our elected officials decide how much tax revenues and immigrants we want, and that is what we get.

Someone who is anti-immigration is someone who thinks that those limits are too high right now. Andy, if you are pro-immigration, what does that mean? That you want the limits raised? Or that the gubmnt has already found the optimal level for immigration?

I say that the current level are much higher than most people want. They are kept high by 2 causes: (1) special interests who want high immigration, such as businesses who want cheap labor, and (2) inaction by politicians sensitive to being called racist.

The pro-immigration folks are unable or unwilling to justify the current immigration levels. Where are the benefits to offset the drawbacks documented in Malkin's book?

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