Objectivist Roundup

This week's Objectivist Roundup is over at Uncommon Sense.  Go check it out!

Mickey Kaus: Let's Magically Raise Wages

From Santiago J. Valenzuela

Mickey Kaus proves that nativism (and really bad economics) is not the sole realm of the right:

The solution is tight labor markets. Get employers bidding for scarce workers and you'll see incomes rise across the board without the need for government aid programs or tax redistribution. A major enemy of tight labor markets at the bottom is also fairly clear: unchecked immigration by undocumented low-skilled workers. It's hard for a day laborer to command $18 an hour in the market if there are illegals hanging out on the corner willing to work for $7. Even experts who claim illegal immigration is good for Americans overall admit that it's not good for Americans at the bottom. In other words, it's not good for income equality.

The idea that government can artificially tighten labor markets and cause a rise in wages, is one that is easily disproved in any Econ 101 course. Businesses do not have an unlimited supply of money in some vault just waiting for a benevolent government worker to tap into for redistribution to the poor, exploited workers. A business has a limited amount of income which is invested in its employees and its growth.

The cost of minimum wage laws is twofold.  First, it slows down economic growth by increasing the cost of doing business, substantially. This is bad for everyone, but even the poor are hurt by such laws, despite the fact that they are enacted for their supposed benefit.

For example, you and your friend are looking for a job. An employer can hire both of you for $10 per hour each, but because the government raises the minimum wage to $20 per hour, he can only afford to hire one of you (and you get to do the work of two men!) While the person who gets the job might appreciate the extra salary, the man who doesn't could care less if someone else gets a higher wage at the expense of him being unemployed. Worse yet, the business may just move its operations overseas where labor is more affordable, and that means neither you nor your friend has a job!

The government, attempting to play master planner with the economy, hurts us all whether we're rich, poor or middle class. Only free markets (or capitalism), can accurately determine supply and demand and set wages and costs.  Business costs are not pulled out of a hat. They reflect economic reality in a competitive marketplace, and raising them will cause economic pain to everyone.

As to those "experts" who claim that immigration hurts America's poor, they should turn in their "expert" credentials and leave the debate to people who can understand basic economics.

The Cost of "Strict Enforcement" Part II

By Santiago & Kelly Valenzuela

The government is hiring more federal employees:

The federal government has hired two additional judges and is preparing to appoint two more to Georgia’s immigration courts, hoping to shrink a massive and costly backlog of deportation cases here.

But some court observers doubt whether this will have much effect amid a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration that is filling court dockets.

The article goes on to state that there are over a quarter of a million immigration cases pending nationwide.

So for the duration of their stay in jail, we must pay for the immigrant's food and shelter (which costs $60.50 per day per inmate according to the article), pay for the salary, benefits and retirement packages of the extra judges and other court employees, the ICE employees that will ship them back to their home country - and then pay for the trip as well. Multiply this by 10 to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country and you have a number that easily reaches into the tens of trillions of dollars - greater than the GDP of the United States.

Granted, a certain percentage of those incarcerated are genuine criminals (those who have violated the rights of others), but many are being categorized as criminals just for coming to this country to seek a better life. They want to be here legally, they want to work, they want their children to be educated, but it's impossible for them to do so.  In desperation, they come here illegally and make the best of the awful situation governments have put them in.  Why not bring them out of the shadows and let them live their lives as they see fit?  Let the prisons and the courts keep the real criminals, but let those trying to better their lives go free!

Or, perhaps we should "get tough on employers"? Perhaps we should drive the farms that feed us out of business?  Perhaps our yards would be more beautiful without landscapers?  Perhaps our hotels and homes would be more clean without maids? Perhaps our highways would be better built without highway workers?  Perhaps our homes would be better built without a roofer?  Or maybe we should just pay 3-4 times more than what we already pay for those goods and services?  I don't know about you, but I certainly cannot afford that!

Politicians on all sides of the aisle complain regularly about jobs being shipped overseas. The killing of the cheap labor market via strict crackdowns on illegal immigrants or their employers is guaranteed to kill more jobs, cost more money and cause more jobs to be shipped overseas than they would like you to know. The next time someone complains about the cost of illegal immigration (or even legal immigration as FAIR, the Center for Immigration Studies, NumbersUSA and other racist organizations do), remember the money and jobs that will actually be lost if immigration is reduced!

Tea Party Influence

Thinkprogress, a left wing website, notes that the tea party is not all free markets and individual rights:
The Deseret News also notes that, as recently as this past summer, Hatch was singing a much different tune. On July 7, the senator expressed his support of the DREAM Act at a town hall meeting, saying, "A lot of these kids are brought in as infants. They don’t even know that they’re not citizens until they graduate from high school. … If they’ve lived good lives and they’ve done good things, why would we penalize them and not let them at least go to school?"
Hatch now claims his remarks were taken out of context.
Hatch’s flip-flop may have something to do with the fact that he’s up for reelection in 2012 and has already been identified as the tea party’s next target.
You can bet that the Tea Party's opposition to open immigration is the result of deceptive "facts" from racist organizations like NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies and FAIR. Be sure to let your local Tea Party activists know the origins of the "facts" they are pushing, particularly if they have bought into FAIR, Center for Immigration Studies and NumbersUSA propaganda!

The Cost of "Strict Enforcement" Part I

From Kelly M. Valenzuela and co-blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

There is a literal cost to strictly enforcing US immigration policy, such as paying soldiers and border patrol to police the borders and funding all of the government agencies involved, but there is a also a cost to the US economy.

First, conservative Republicans claim that illegal immigrants are a drain on public services and a burden on tax payers, but most immigrants are not receiving welfare and do indeed pay some, if not all, taxes. By paying for housing, be it rent or a mortgage, immigrants are paying property taxes. When buying goods and services, immigrants pay sales taxes, and more often than not, when they receive a pay check, mandatory federal taxes are withheld.  When they buy gasoline, they pay gas taxes, and so on.

If immigrants are not required to or are not making certain tax payments, then exclude them from certain public services. In fact, let the immigrants be the first step in weaning Americans off the welfare state, then begin getting rid of those services for all Americans, and lower our taxes accordingly.

The drain on public services and the burden to taxpayers is not the fault of the immigrant.  It's the fault of the over-bloated US government and the welfare state it's created.  If big government and the welfare state are a problem, get rid of them, not the immigrants!

Second, immigrants actually participate in and add to the US economy, not take away from it:

Nevertheless, West marshals an impressive array of now-familiar facts. Immigrants raised U.S. gross domestic product by $37 billion in 2007, and were twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a new business between 1996 and 2008, employing 450,000 workers in 2005. Nearly one-fourth of patents filed from the United States in 2006 were based on work of U.S. immigrants, and 53 percent of patent-holders got their top degree from a U.S. university.

'People believe a lot of things about immigration that simply aren’t true, and those beliefs make it difficult for politicians to actually make change,' West said. 'I think if people understood those facts, they would be more reasonable in working toward a response to the problem.'

These producers and business owners create wealth on a scale that is difficult to calculate, and they do pay taxes. Businesses grow and they create jobs which employ more and more people. To believe the myth that immigrants are "a drain on society" and that we must keep them out of the country, is to refuse to let some of the best and brightest into the US, which will hurt the economy significantly.

In addition to starting or owning businesses, immigrants are often willing to work for much less compensation that most native-born Americans.  When business owners are able to hired less-skilled laborers for lower prices, that frees up other capital which can then be reinvested back into the business.  When businesses grow, they must hire additional workers, some of which will be higher-skilled to not only manage the less-skilled laborers, but to improve the business' products and services.

When employers are kept from hiring an affordable staff, they must close their doors, reduce the number of staff they're able to hire or move those jobs out of the country.  Needless to say, all three options hurt the US economy.

Many Americans are crying out for their state and local governments to do what the Federal government is unable or unwilling to do; enforce immigration laws. We think Americans need to be very careful in calling for even more government intrusion into the lives of men.  As history has shown, no good ever comes of it and the cost to Americans will be great indeed.

Happy Holidays from MoE!

Posting may be light over the next week or so due to the holidays.  We hope that you all (regardless of where you live or want to live) have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!  :-)

Communities Fighting Back Part I

Cambridge is a city that is taking a stand against current immigration policy:

In 1985, the Cambridge City Council passed an order declaring Cambridge a “Sanctuary City.”  The order required that — when legally possible — city employees not assist in the investigations of the citizenship status of any Cambridge residents. It also barred city employees from will disseminating information regarding the citizenship of residents.

Essentially, Cambridge recognizes the harmful economic effects, along with the intrusion into the lives of its citizens, federal immigration policies cause. They are to be applauded.

The Racist Roots of Anti-Immigration Activism Part III: Lies, Damn Lies and NumbersUSA

From co-blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

An old saying goes that "there are lies, damn lies and statistics" which means that data given to an audience out of context can be easily twisted to give the wrong impression. NumbersUSA specializes in just that sort of distortion.

The essential theme in all Numbers USA propaganda is simply - too many. There are too many immigrants who will trash the environment, clog the roads and make us all poorer. Without significant cut backs on immigration, the United States will collapse from bearing the burden of too many people. The answer, says NumbersUSA, is to stop illegal immigration entirely and cut legal immigration from an estimated 1 million people per year to a more "reasonable" 250,000 per year.

This almost makes sense if, like communists, you view the economy as a pie which we all must share. Each new person then, means a smaller slice of the pie for the rest of us, but we know from economists and from practical experience that this is not so.  Capitalist economies expand to meet the needs of those participating in it. 

Look at a small business. If it's run by just one person, he must do everything from run the cash register to design advertisements, ordering inventory and handling shipping/receiving. He keeps all the profits, but because the amount of work he can do is low, those profits aren't all that big. He is limited by his need to do everything.

But suppose he starts hiring people? First he hires a helper, leaving him free to spend time searching for better deals on his wares, then better advertising, better inventory systems and new products. Before he knows it, this extra helper is paying for himself and then some. New jobs come along and profits increase dramatically. This is the reason the CEO of IBM can take home millions and millions of dollars despite the fact that his business employs many thousands of people. There wasn't a "pie," but together everyone in the organization produces more than they could have otherwise.

On a larger scale, economists note that things work much the same way:

The US economy is dynamic, shedding and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. Businesses are in a continuous state of flux. The most accurate way to gauge the net impact of immigration on such an economy is to analyze the effects dynamically over time. Data show that, on net, immigrants expand the US. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity. Consistent with previous research, there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.

Or, as pointed out in this article:

'The US has benefited greatly over the years from the ’brain gain’ of immigration,' said author Darrell M. West, vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution. 'To stay competitive, we must make way for the next Sergey Brin, Andrew Grove, and Albert Einstein,' West argues, citing the co-founder of Google, chief of computer chip-maker Intel Corp. and history’s most famous physicist.

As noted, it is economic freedom that provides the environment that allows people to produce. People who produce are not a "drain" on some theoretical pie that we all must eat from - they add value to our economy, from the lowest day laborer to the most ambitious entrepreneur. More people means more specialization and more specialization means more wealth. This is all fairly simple economics.

However, NumbersUSA is not interested in simple economics. They are more interested in duping the public into being scared of immigrants and to support the policy goals of racists who wish to keep America white. NumbersUSA was founded by Roy Beck, under the auspices of US Inc., founded and run by infamous racist John Tanton. Beck was also employed by John Tanton as an editor for his magazine, The Social Contract, which published such gems of articles under his editorship as this one:

[M]any white Americans feel considerable unease at the prospect of becoming a minority in a country that traditionally has been European in character and culture. Is it possible for them to argue against this outcome - now looming about five decades away, given current policies of immigration - without being made to feel that they are the sort of bad people that immigration promoters claim they are?

The article goes on to claim that:

In a climate of Euro-phobia, we have every legitimate reason to fear and resist a substantial racial/ethnic shift. Assimilating non-European immigrants into America's traditional Euro-culture is difficult. Europhobia makes it nearly impossible. As many of the newcomers absorb this hostility, European-Americans will face increasing tension, discrimination, and perhaps physical danger. We are under no moral obligation to accept these risks either for ourselves or our children.

Beck has never denounced or dissociated himself from US Inc., John Tanton and The Social Contract, but Roy Beck isn't a racist. He said so.

NumbersUSA is doing its best to dupe the American public with distorted statistics meant to give the false impression that immigrants are "drains on society." They lie to us and claim that a growing population means growing poverty.  This despite what the history of the United States and any other country who has begun to liberalize indicates, such as India or China, both of whom have grown by leaps and bounds in both population size and wealth. The reason for the lies is very simple; they know that their real position is that America must remain "Euro-American" (i.e. white) for us to remain prosperous.  They are fully aware that idea would fail miserably in the realm of public ideas.

If you are a conservative who has been duped by NumbersUSA's slick lies, I urge you to reconsider your position. Look at the economic facts as they are, not as gum balls in jars. And look at the motivation of the people who are lying to you.

Objectivist Roundup

Welcome to the December 23, 2010, edition of the Objectivist Roundup!  Mother of Exiles is a fairly new blog and we're happy to be hosting our first Roundup.  Thanks for stopping by!

In the spirit of Christmas, here's a quote about the holiday from Ayn Rand in 1976 accompanied by a lovely photo of the Denver City & County Building:

The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying . . . stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decorations put up by department stores and Denver City Lightsother institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only “commercial greed” could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

 Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!   

C.W. presents China and the World Economy posted at Krazy Economy saying, "While the focus on China has been on its balance of trade and growth rate, few have paid attention to its problems. This article pulls together information from several sources, including Yaron Brook, to conclude that China is going to blow. It won't be pretty. We won't enjoy it."

Peter Cresswell presents The greatest story (hardly) ever told [updated] posted at Not PC saying, "The greatest story ever told is the one on which civilisation rests. It covers more than 2000 years and crosses three continents, but most people have hardly ever heard it told."

Kelly Elmore presents My Reading Journal and Why I Keep It and A List of What I've Been Reading posted at Reepicheep's Coracle saying, "What kind of weirdo writes down every book she ever reads? That would be me. Why do I do this? What have I read lately? What am I reading now? What should you read next? It's all in here."

Paul Hsieh presents PJM OpEd: "Beware Counterfeit 'Responsibility'" posted at Noodlefood saying, "My latest OpEd at PajamasMedia was on the Obama administrations attempt to corrupt the concept of "responsibility".

Kelly Elmore presents Homeschooling with the Gilmore Girls posted at Reepicheep's Coracle saying, "How every moment parent and child spend together with a spirit of openness and a willingness to answer questions is homeschooling."

Paul Hsieh presents Flirting With Unintended Consequences in Massachusetts posted at FIRM saying, "Short skirts, rising health costs, and unintended consequences of Massachusetts' "universal health care" plan."

Zip presents Christmas posted at Uncommon Sense saying, "...it is just another day, and the only "spirit" the day can have is a direct reflection of the spirit we give it."

Diana Hsieh presents Nutritional Relativism Versus Facts posted at Noodlefood saying, "To oppose "extremism" in diets implies an implicit standard of cultural relativism."

Andy Clarkson presents Abolish The FCC...And Abolish Censorship posted at The Charlotte Capitalist saying, "Abolish the FCC...and abolish censorship. If you will be in the DC area, please join us on December 29, 2010. More details at the link."

Gene Palmisano presents Tipi Wind Christmas posted at The Metaphysical Lunch saying, "Seasons greetings from the Tipi Wind Ranch."

Rational Jenn presents 2010 Achievements posted at Rational Jenn saying, "Inspired by the latest OList Happy Hour, I wrote up a list of my achievements in 2010."

Stella Zawistowski presents Aaaaand it's price control time! posted at ReasonPharm saying, "ReasonPharm returns after a two-month hiatus. Here's a quickie about those pesky chickens coming home to roost for the insurance industry."

Jeff Montgomery presents Bad News For The Internet posted at Fun With Gravity saying, "This is my commentary on the recent FCC net neutrality ruling."

Jeff Montgomery presents Vail Powder Day/Run posted at Fun With Gravity saying, "A post on a recent ski outing."

David Lewis presents How Much Money Do You Need For Retirement, Exactly? posted at A Revolution In Financial Planning saying, "How do you save money for your future when you don't know what long-term investment returns or the rate of inflation will be?"

Miranda Barzey presents Visit to the Titian Exhibit at the High Museum posted at Building Atlantis saying, "My thoughts and reactions to various exhibits I saw at the High Museum this weekend."

That concludes this week's Roundup. If you'd like to submit your blog article for the next edition, please use our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Obama Vows Another Go at Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Just what "comprehensive immigration reform" means is anyone's guess, but Obama pledges to have another go at it:

After a 45-minute Oval Office meeting, Gonzalez and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said the president suggested he would address the issue in his State of the Union speech, which aims to set the agenda for the next year.

Given that Obama has proven that he isn't interested in any principled stand for immigration (or anything else, for that matter), I am not expecting much more than vague, flourishing rhetoric and few results, if any.

Immigration, Poverty and People with Gumballs for Brains

Right Side News posts more nonsense from NumbersUSA:

In a five minute astoundingly simple yet brilliant video, 'Immigration, Poverty, and Gum Balls,' Roy Beck, director of www.numbersusa.ORG, graphically illustrates the impact of overpopulation.  Take five minutes to see for yourself:

NumbersUSA was founded by racist environmentalist John Tanton. While it presents itself as presenting "just the facts," as you know, presenting the facts in a slanted way or out of context gives the illusion of objectivity while really advancing a lie.

As I have written before, the line that NumbersUSA and its sister organizations (FAIR and the Center for Immigration Studies) take is that the United States is dangerously close to being "overpopulated" and so we must "sustain" our current population level. The numbers they present ignore the massive upside to immigration and the massive downside to shackling businessmen even more than they already are. (Not to mention the fact that this country has plenty of wide open spaces and untapped resources, so we're far from being overpopulated.) 

The lack of any talk about the upside of immigration and treating the economy as if it were one small pie out of which immigrants take pieces is terrible and irresponsible. It makes perfect sense for NumbersUSA however, which was founded by John Tanton for the express purpose of deceiving the public into believing that "dirty" races do not belong in America.

Once you learn about the racist, ulterior motives of NumbersUSA, CIS and FAIR, it's easy to see why they use these videos to persuade otherwise reasonable people to fear immigrants.

DREAM Act Defeated

From co-blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela.

In a disappointing turn of events, the DREAM Act failed to pass.

While unfortunate, we will continue to write on immigration issues as they relate to individual rights.  We need to arm Americans with good ideas and alternative solutions.  We need to turn them away from both "tough on illegals" conservatives and bleeding heart liberals and turn them on to individual rights and the proper role of government, which is to protect those rights.

Fear-Mongering Never Trumps Facts

From co-blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

A steady dose of how much immigrants are "costing society" is fed to us non stop via the internet and the evening news, under the assumption that immigrants (being poor and paying few taxes) are a burden that society graciously lifts up through welfare.

That assumption is false in two ways.  First, here is an economist's take on the issue:

The U.S. economy is dynamic, shedding and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs every month. Businesses are in a continuous state of flux. The most accurate way to gauge the net impact of immigration on such an economy is to analyze the effects dynamically over time. Data show that, on net, immigrants expand the U.S. economy’s productive capacity, stimulate investment, and promote specialization that in the long run boosts productivity. Consistent with previous research, there is no evidence that these effects take place at the expense of jobs for workers born in the United States.

Second, anyone taking advantage of America’s welfare system (whether citizen or not), is a burden on taxpayers and “costing society.”  This is not a problem with immigration, but a problem with the welfare state. 

Opening up immigration (and getting rid of America’s welfare state) is not only the right thing to do morally, it’s the right thing to do economically.

A Micro-Level Look

From co-blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

This blog is mostly focused on the bigger picture so to speak, but it is also important to look at individual stories about immigration.  After all, the smallest minority in the world is the individual, and the protection of individual rights is what we are fighting for. 

When conservatives say "12 million illegals out" they are talking about individual people who are attempting to make a living as productive members of society.  This article elaborates:

The record deportation figures touted by ICE are more than just numbers—they are hundreds and thousands of families. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, at least 6.6 million American families were of mixed status as of 2005. Over the past ten years, the government has deported the lawful permanent resident parents of about 103,000 children. Of those, 88,000 are US citizens...

...Other stories have been surfacing in recent months. People are getting picked up for deportation out of the blue, like Maria Bolanos, who was picked up through S-Comm after calling the police for help during a fight with her partner that had turned violent.

Even people with authorization to be in the US are getting scooped up:

According to the University of Syracuse’s Transitional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), immigration courts have been backed up with a record number of cases, with average wait times of 459 days this past year. Thirty-one percent of cases that come before these courts are thrown out, often because they’ve been brought against people who are actually legally entitled to be in this country. In cities with large immigrant populations like New York, Los Angeles and Miami, more than half of cases have been thrown out in the past year.

Immigration enforcement has monetary costs and that should not be ignored since taxpayers are burdened with that bill, but it also has costs in terms of harming real individuals, who are trying to live their lives peacefully while being productive members of society.

Conservative Hypocrisy

From co-blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

Conservatives cheer on as the mandate for individuals to purchase healthcare was ruled unconstitutional, and rightfully so.  That was a victory for freedom.

Yet they pass a law mandating that businesses must participate in an onerous, error-laden federal program to "protect" American jobs (by killing as many of them as possible.)

A landmark case has led to an unusual alliance between businesses, chambers of commerce, civil rights groups and labor, who are all fighting the state of Arizona on a 2007 law that penalizes businesses for hiring undocumented immigrants.

When a law is so obviously bad and a violation of rights that the usually squabbling groups of businesses, chambers of commerce, civil rights and labor all scramble to get it declared unconstitutional, you know you have stumbled onto a real winner.

More "Population Bomb" Nonsense

Here’s another wonderful post from my husband, Santiago J. Valenzuela.  I’m formally changing his title from guest blogger to co-blogger, and I really appreciate all of the wonderful work he’s been doing for MoE lately! 

One of the more interesting confluences in the immigration debate is the synergy of racism with environmentalism.

"Frosty" Wooldridge describes himself as "speaker, author, environmentalist, patriot." He has, in past articles smeared all Mexicans as wishing merely to invade and take over parts of the US.  He states:

Mexicans can’t run their own country with any degree of success, so, they overrun our country with their desperately poor, diseased and dispossessed. From historical perspective, you can expect that the new Aztlan will be much like the quagmire of Mexico City - transplanting itself into our country.

(But he isn't racist. Trust him.)

More recently, he has published an article warning of the dangers of population growth through immigration:

What I seek to convey to the American public stems from my bicycle travels on six continents and through the most densely populated countries of the world. I’ve seen the misery, suffering, debasement of human living conditions and I’ve witnessed that once human numbers exceed carrying capacity, all life suffers. Examine China, India, Africa and Bangladesh for starters. They grow worse by the day. They can’t solve their problems once manifested.

Environmentalism and racism go together quite well but fall short when you try to combine them with facts rather than fleeting impressions from the seat of a bicycle. Lets look at India, for example.

India used to be a socialist state, mired in poverty. In 1980, it had 687 million people living within its borders. They were kept destitute by the evil policies of the government. In 1991, economic liberalization began. Today, India has 1.15 billion living within its borders - almost double the population density! Yet by every measure one wishes to go by (standard of living, per capita GDP, people below the poverty line), India has had a meteoric rise since liberalization started. Indians today are wealthier, healthier and live longer than their parents did. Yet India's population density, by the standards of "zero growth" population advocates, is out of control and just under a whopping 350 people per square mile!

Compare to Nigeria, a country that has a population density of 23 people per square mile, yet requires routine aid from international organizations to stave off imminent starvation. Nigeria's economy is tightly controlled, taxes are high and as a result, nothing gets done.

As Ayn Rand wrote in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal:

Another current catch-phrase is the complaint that the nations of the world are divided into 'haves' and the 'have-nots.'  Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not.

It is the measure of its freedom, not "population density," that determines the standard of living in a nation. The nativists, in their efforts to keep the "dirty" races out of America, wish to gloss over this fact. They fantasize that without these people, America can be kept more racially and ecologically pure while still being economically prosperous.

However, facts are not pliable to fantasies. If America continues to restrict the freedom of individuals, whether in the name of nativism or environmentalism, then keeping immigrants out will not save us. And if we recognize the rights of individuals to work where they can and hire whom they wish, immigration will only improve the opportunities available for individuals living here.

Georgia Joins Chorus of States Vowing to Crack Down on the Economic Recovery

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

At a time when budgets are strained, revenues are down and the economy is struggling to recover from government meddling in the economy, Georgia politicians have decided that killing jobs and costing the state more money is a great idea:

'Georgia is aggressive,' said Bryan Griffith, spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, which favors tough measures to expel and repel illegal immigrants. 'There are tools, and Georgia is using them.'

Georgia is among about 10 states seriously studying the law adopted in Arizona, the most aggressive in the country. It directs local police to enforce federal immigration laws and imposes severe penalties on businesses that hire illegal workers.

As we have gone over before, immigrants create higher-paying jobs for more skilled workers and keep businesses in America competitive in the global marketplace. Cracking down on illegal immigrants will start to suck these jobs away from the US and ship them overseas, a fact that Georgia Republicans do not seem to care about.

This Week’s Objectivist Roundup

This week’s Objectivist Roundup is over at Erosophia.  Check it out!

Kentucky Republicans Pushing Arizona-like Immigration Law

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Once again Republicans are proving that the economy is not their top priority:

Williams, R-Burkesville, announced the Senate majority's legislative agenda Friday after the 23 members of the Republican caucus met for two days in Frankfort. The legislative session begins in January...

...Williams, who plans to run for the Republican nomination for governor in the spring, declined to talk about specifics of the Senate's planned proposal regarding immigration enforcement, saying only that it would be similar to legislation that passed in Arizona.

The fact that such measures cost real money (paid for by taxpayers) and kill jobs rather than protect them eludes Williams.

It is very disappointing that more states are not crafting meaningful legislation like Utah. Hopefully, Utah’s bill will pass and prove what we here at MoE already know; immigration helps the economy!

Jeb Bush Says Arizona Immigration Law Wrong

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Proving that good sense is not impossible to conservatives, Jeb Bush has come out against the Arizona immigration law:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has expressed opposition to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, saying his children might look suspicious to police, according to news reports...

While he is sympathetic to the plight of Arizona officials forced to deal with all the problems linked to a porous frontier, he believes there are solutions other than a law criminalizing illegals, The Post reported.

“It’s the wrong approach,” Bush was quoted as saying, and he is correct.

Court Potentially Split Over Arizona Immigration Law

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

In an unexpected move, Justice Elena Kagan announced (once again) that she wouldn't vote up or down on Arizona's immigration law:

But those challenging the law were at a disadvantage Wednesday because new Justice Elena Kagan, who came from the Obama administration, announced she would not participate in the decision. That set the stage for a possible 4-4 split, which would uphold Arizona's law but set no legal precedent.

While a 4-4 split beats losing, it would be much better to overturn the law, which adds onerous new regulations requiring law enforcement to check immigration papers, a law that is either completely unenforceable or requiring blatant racism in its enforcement.

We will see how this turns out.

Immigration Debate Creates More Strange Bedfellows

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

The Obama administration and the Chamber of Commerce are two organizations you'd hardly expect to be in agreement with each other, but when it comes to immigration, they couldn't agree more:

The [Chamber of Commerce] has teamed up against the Legal Arizona Workers Act with allies including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Service Employees International Union and a Latino group that Justice Sonia Sotomayor once helped lead. The Obama administration is sending the government's top litigator to assist the chamber's lawyer.

This is a rare time when so-called compassionate immigration policy lines up with great economic sense.

Strange Bedfellows

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

It is strange when Conservatives quote such illustrious names as Paul Ehrlich's “The Population Bomb” or the Sierra Club's old statements on immigration. Despite the fact that The Population Bomb has been proving itself wrong for 40 years, it is used as a great resource by the Conservative "non-partisan" Center for Immigration Studies.

Those interested in learning just how silly the predictions of a "population bomb" ruining this country (or the world) and causing mass starvation and lack of natural resources need merely take a good, basic course on economics. For those interested in the specifics of overpopulation and why it is simply not a problem, pick up The Ultimate Resource 2 by Julian Lincoln Simon.

Anchor Baby Political Cartoon

The first cartoon is about anchor babies, but if you scroll through, there are some other gems.  Hat tip to my aunt Linda for the link! 

Janet Napolitano, No Friend of Immigrants (or Business)

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

While the Supreme Court considers the Arizona Immigration law, Janet Napolitano is in the curious position of being part of an administration that is arguing against the very law she signed when governor of Arizona:

The administration found itself in an awkward spot in part because the Legal Arizona Workers Act was signed into law in 2007 by then- Gov. Janet Napolitano. She said it would impose the "business death penalty" on employers caught a second time hiring illegal workers, and blamed "the flow of illegal immigration into our state … [on] the constant demand of some employers for cheap, undocumented labor.

Emphasis Mine

Besides marking Napolitano unqualified to hold public office (since she obviously does not understand individual rights or know that the government’s proper function is to protect them), her quote highlights that the interests of business and immigrants do indeed coincide with one another. Employers want the best and least expensive labor they can find, and immigrants (illegal or otherwise) are often very willing to work for lower wages.

That leaves two kinds of people who are against open immigration laws: those who are unfriendly toward businesses and those who are unfriendly toward immigrants. Janet Napolitano - with her joyful talk about the "business death penalty" - is a great illustration of the first kind of person, but it’s worth noting that without American businesses, there would be no chance for immigrants coming in to this country.

Don't be fooled by people who talk about punishing, taxing and controlling American businesses, are no friend of the immigrant community.

Cruz & Bardem to Have “Anchor” Baby in US

The fact that Fox News finds this news is really pitiful.

To the disappointment of many Spaniards, journalist Cristina Tárrega recently said on the Spanish TV show, “El programa de Ana Rosa,” that Cruz and husband, “Biutiful” star Javier Bardem, will be enjoying a warm holiday season in Los Angeles where their bundle of joy will be born.

Tárrega explained that the actors’ wish is for their son to have dual citizenship, and since the two own an estate in Hollywood -- and Spain grants citizenship to foreign born if a parent is born in Spain -- it is quite a convenient situation.

Equally pitiful, is that some tribalistic Spaniards are upset about it. 

The Racist Roots of Anti-Immigration Activists Part II: UnFAIR

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

(For part I of this series, click here.)

The Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a major player in the immigration reform and anti-immigration activist community. For over 20 years it has agitated against immigration levels (even legal levels) as being far too high, and predicted all sorts of dire consequences for not reducing immigration to "sustainable" levels. In recent years, their work has paid off. FAIR, along with Russell Pearce, has had a huge hand in setting the current tone for immigration laws with the 2007 Arizona act prescribing the "business death penalty" for businesses that "knowingly" hire illegal immigrants more than once and the more recent SB 1070, both authored with the help of FAIR.

In their own words:

FAIR spokespersons are interviewed regularly on MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, in the New York Times, USA Today, hundreds of radio stations, and in hundreds of other newspapers, magazines and websites annually.

In addition, FAIR officials have been brought before Congress to testify on immigration issues over 30 times. More recently, FAIR presented its case to Colorado Republicans at an immigration summit. It is not unreasonable to say that FAIR has a major hand in the current immigration debate.

I wonder, do the people who support and parrot FAIR's ideas about immigration understand who they’re dealing with? The following quotes were found by the Southern Poverty Law Center:

American secessions have rarely been viewed with alarm [but] in the 1990s ... we are more inclined to consider them a serious threat to national unity, especially since that unity is being stretched to the breaking point by ethnic revanchiste movements fueled by Third World immigration. ... In any major city, the peace is disturbed by Latino, black, and Asian nationalist gangs, which in some cases are only the shock troops of ethnic movements seeking the racial dismemberment of the United States. In refusing to control immigration, the Federal Government is writing a script for ethnic civil war. Why?

- FAIR website, 2002, quoting Conservative author Thomas Fleming, a member of the neo-Confederate hate group, League of the South

I am sick and tired of multiculturalism, meaning, let's celebrate every culture as long as it isn't a European/white culture...[J]ust because one believes in white separatism that does not make them a racist.

-Joe Turner, 2005, former FAIR Western Region Representative, founder of "Save Our State"

I can make the argument that someone who proclaims to be a white nationalist isn't necessarily a white supremacist. I don't think that standing up for your 'kind' or 'your race' makes you a bad person,

- Joe Turner

Far from being the agenda of a kooky fringe element, the idea of reconquest of the American Southwest and the creation of an Aztlan nation, was prominently displayed by millions of illegal aliens all across the United States as they marched earlier this year to demand amnesty.

- FAIR's website, 2006

How many computer whiz kids cancel out one Sirhan Sirhan, a Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman or a Charles Ponzi?

-John Tanton, 1997, criticizing visas for immigrants with high-tech skills

Last week, President Bush met with Mexican President Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Harper to hone their plan for a North American Union that would merge the US with Canada and Mexico. FAIR has been exposing the short-sighted Bush plan to eventually erase the border between the US and Mexico and American sovereignty since 2000.

- FAIR email to supporters, 2007

This is merely a sampling of the paranoid, racist ramblings made by FAIR leadership and members, and contained in official FAIR communiqués. FAIR has had ties to racist organizations and people from its very founding.

John Tanton is listed as the founder of FAIR and still serves on its board of directors:

Dr. Tanton is the original founder of FAIR. He became interested in immigration to the United States through his long-standing concerns about the effects of unplanned and uncontrolled population growth and resource depletion. He was the national President of Zero Population Growth from 1975 to 1977 and was Chairman of its Immigration Study Committee from 1973 to 1975. He was organizer and President of the Northern Michigan Planned Parenthood chapter. From 1971 to 1975, Dr. Tanton served as Chairman of the Sierra Club National Population Committee. He is currently editor and publisher of The Social Contract, a quarterly public policy journal. He was a 1990 recipient of the Chevron Conservation Award. Dr. Tanton is a graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Michigan Medical School.

John Tanton combines racist ideology with an environmentalist outlook of zero population growth. He introduced and was integral in getting a $1 million grant from the racist Pioneer Fund, which encourages research into genetic explanations for racial differences (such as IQ.) In their own words:

The fact that the origins of the Pioneer Fund lie in the Darwinian-Galtonian evolutionary tradition, and the eugenics movement has guaranteed us our share of controversy. Further, we have supported behavioral genetic studies which have shown that the genetic component in human behavior is about 50% and, even more controversial, that it is more likely than not that there is a genetic component to between-group (sex, socioeconomic, and racial) IQ differences.

And from their main page:

Through our grants program, The Pioneer Fund has changed the face of the social and behavioral sciences by restoring the Darwinian-Galtonian perspective to the mainstream in traditional fields such as anthropology, psychology, and sociology, as well as fostering the newer disciplines of behavioral genetics, neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, and sociobiology. The Pioneer Fund’s biosocial approach recognizes no fixed boundaries between disciplines, only different questions to be asked and answered.

These quotes from their website, I hope, speak quite loudly for themselves what kind of politics are behind the Pioneer Fund. If there is any doubt, however, it should be noted that one of the organizations the Pioneer Fund routinely donates to is American Renaissance. In their own words:

Race is an important aspect of individual and group identity. Of all the fault lines that divide society - language, religion, class, ideology - it is the most prominent and divisive. Race and racial conflict are at the heart of the most serious challenges the Western World faces in the 21st century.

The problems of race cannot be solved without adequate understanding. Attempts to gloss over the significance of race or even to deny its reality only make problems worse. Progress requires the study of all aspects of race, whether historical, cultural, or biological. This approach is known as race realism.

A quick glance of their websites will remove all doubt (if there is any remaining) that these groups are not just part of a kooky, scientific fringe.  They are white supremacist groups.

Lest the Pioneer Fund grant be thought of as merely a mistake, Dan Stein, President of FAIR, was quoted on the subject:

I think [Pioneer Fund officials] support our work because the[ir] trustees agree with what we're doing. But we pitched the funding proposal to them. They give us money because we asked for it.

Given these connections, financial and ideological, to white supremacist, racial separatist groups and population-control environmentalism, some of FAIR's positions take on a clearer meaning:

The last time immigration got this high,the social and economic problems it caused led to a change in the immigration laws, resulting in lower levels of annual immigration.

- FAIR's Immigration 101 Primer, referring to the Asian Exclusion Act, an (obviously) racist law whose explicit aim was to keep the racial mixture in the United States stable.

At that time, the United States was a much emptier country, more capable of handling an expanding population. Now that we have a greater population density, our society is more crowded and our ecology less able to sustain more people.

- FAIR's Immigration 101 Primer, setting the stage for their population-control advocacy

FAIR also charges that immigrants will disproportionately commit crimes and are responsible for increasing poverty, and that to allow more immigration into the United States is to "import poverty." They also claim that current immigrants will fail to assimilate unlike other waves of immigration. Given who supports FAIR (with FAIR’s happy consent), it is very likely that the reason they push the statistical misanalysis and horror-stories of how violent immigrants are (predominantly Latino), is because they believe that that Latinos as a race are violent, poor and stupid.

FAIR, while presenting itself as a sober, rational advocate of what it calls “true comprehensive immigration reform,” is merely a front organization. While they try to hide their racist ideology, their founder is a bigot, many important officers within the organization have publically expressed racist views and it has accepted funds from a clearly racist organization. Given all these very close connections to explicitly racist people and organizations, I think it’s fair to say that FAIR is merely a front group for racists trying to get the ideas they advocate accepted by mainstream of society.  So far, they are succeeding beyond what I thought could be possible in modern-day America.

Please stay tuned for Part III of this series where I will profile John Tanton, founder of FAIR and a white supremacist, and show that he is the puppet master behind almost every major anti-immigration group active in the United States today.

Obama is no Friend to Immigrants

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

In an effort to look tough, the Obama administration is deporting ever-more immigrants.

For much of this year, the Obama administration touted its tougher-than-ever approach to immigration enforcement, culminating in a record number of deportations [almost 390,000]...

...ICE's goal for 2011 is to remove 404,000 immigrants.

If you thought that Democrats, in general, or Obama, in particular, were friends of a more rational approach to immigration policies, you were wrong. You do not see protests arising from the Democrat caucuses and this was specifically done with the approval of Obama's team. People fighting for immigration rights should remember not to get attached to either party, when members of both have shown themselves very willing to support xenophobic policies.

Follow Up to Dream Act Post

The DREAM act has passed in the House:

"A controversial bill that would provide a path to citizenship for young illegal immigrants cleared the House on Wednesday, but now faces a daunting test in the Senate."

Hopefully the Senate will do the same in this lame-duck session.

This Week’s Objectivist Roundup

It’s over at The Playful Spirit.  Go check it out!

The Racist Roots of Anti-Immigration Activists Part I

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

A lot of talk is flying around assuring everyone that no racist motivations are behind the supporters of strict immigration law. While many supporters of strict immigration law are no doubt merely mistaken in their beliefs, there is a significant core of people who are at least questionable and in other instances blatantly racist in their ideology. The most worrisome part is that these are not the "lunatic fringe" of the anti-immigration movement, but rather it’s leaders, the intellectuals and some of the most influential activist organizations in the movement.

Take Russell Pearce, a hero of the conservative movement that played a large role in pushing through the current crop of immigration legislation passed. He runs the standard line that immigrants "steal" "American jobs" (as if the jobs belong to all of us collectively, and employers have no right to hire whom they please) and supports such evil measures as repealing the 14th Amendment in order to prevent so-called "anchor babies" from gaining US Citizenship. What qualifications he would give to gaining US Citizenship, he has not said. Above and beyond those disgusting viewpoints, however, Pearce has some highly suspicious associates and activities.

In 2006, he "accidentally" sent an article from The National Alliance, a white supremacist website, to a few dozen supporters in his district. Allegedly, Pearce only read the first few paragraphs of the article entitled "Who Rules America? The Alien Grip on Our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken." We are to believe that Pearce somehow was forwarded this article yet did not investigate the organization's website, nor even read more than 12 sentences into the article before copying the whole thing - never catching a glimpse of such phrases as:

"For example, a racially mixed couple will be respected, liked, and socially sought after by other characters, as will a "take charge" Black scholar or businessman, or a sensitive and talented homosexual, or a poor but honest and hardworking illegal alien from Mexico. On the other hand, a White racist—that is, any racially conscious White person who looks askance at miscegenation or at the rapidly darkening racial situation in America—is portrayed, at best, as a despicable bigot who is reviled by the other characters, or, at worst, as a dangerous psychopath who is fascinated by firearms and is a menace to all law-abiding citizens."

Which is all of 13 sentences into the article. Or:

"The National Alliance, parent organization of National Vanguard Books, is a membership organization of activists working for White interests and helping to build and fund our new media. For further information on Alliance membership, write to PO Box 90, Hillsboro WV 24946 USA."

Which is the second-to-last paragraph of the article, which Pearce might have glimpsed even if he had just highlighted the whole article.

The title of the piece itself, along with the vague organization writing it, might have raised a little suspicion. What is absolutely unbelievable though, is Pearce's claim that he read only some of those first 12 sentences, then copied the article (all 10 pages of it, when printed out in 10 point courier font) to a few dozen supporters in his district. Lets not even get into his defense that a "friend" had forwarded the article to him, since it leads to uncomfortable questions like why Pearce would be such close friends with a white supremacist. Either he is the least intelligent man serving in politics, he is racist or both.

It does not stop there, though, as Pearce somehow managed to “accidentally” endorse a neo-Nazi for Mesa City Council. Pearce claims that he didn't know anything about Ready’s racist views, but Ready does not seem shy about broadcasting them openly. Somehow, Pearce got to know Ready well enough to endorse him, but did not bother to look into Ready’s beliefs or associations (or perhaps listen to the man himself) enough to realize that the man was a neo-Nazi? The question has been raised: was Ready the friend who forwarded Pearce the racist email, or does Pearce have other racist friends?

The fact that Pearce is a hero of the conservative movement is a shame. Rather than praise his activism, they should be busy condemning his abject, obvious and very poorly hidden racism. The fact that this man was the driving force behind much of the model immigration laws being pushed throughout the country should give its supporters pause.

In the Part II of this post, I will examine the misnamed Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), their extreme racist roots and their continuing support from the white supremacist community, a fact that does not exclude them from a very prominent role in immigration policy activism.

The “Dangerous” People Picked up for Immigration Violations

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Here is an article describing two of the types of people who will soon be deported:

Sgt. Mike Sorensen says the northbound car carrying them was traveling from New York City to an unknown location in Vermont when it was stopped Thursday on Interstate 91 in Brattleboro.

Police determined that the two — identified as 36-year-old Javier Cruz-Quispe and 34-year-old Darwin Quispe-Cruz — were illegal immigrants from Peru who were living in Queens NY, and had failed to appear for deportation hearings.

Their terrible crime? Speeding, an act which I think very few adult US citizens avoid doing at least once a day.

Now, because of this country’s immigration laws, you and I will be forced to pay thousands of dollars for their stay in jail, another hearing, and tickets back to their home country of Peru. As a take away, whatever productive endeavors they were obviously involved in (they had some sort of living arrangements in New York and a vehicle after all), have now stopped. Aren't we all so benefited by this incredible waste of time, money and effort by law enforcement and government?  I know I’ll sleep better tonight knowing these two dangerous individuals are off the streets. 

DREAM Act: A Tiny Step in the Right Direction

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

The DREAM act is coming up in the news again and may be passed through the lame duck congress before the Republican majority takes over the house (which will likely kill any prospect of positive immigration reform.)  While DREAM Act has majors flaws that I will go over, I think it at least gets the ball rolling in the right direction and will present an opportunity to shift the debate from xenophobic rhetoric back to the realities of the situation.

Lets review what the DREAM Act would actually do:

  1. It would allow children who were brought into the US illegally a chance to change their status to legal residents.
  2. It has some onerous requirements to be fulfilled for doing so (go to college to obtain a bachelor's degree or join the military.)

This has some far-reaching implications. These children would eventually have a "path to citizenship." While the bill focuses on these children, the real effects (starting some years down the road), would be to open a path to legal residency and citizenship to the immediate families of these children, also likely in the country illegally.

DREAM Act is not perfect though.  The educational and military requirements and relatively long time period (it will be 6 years before the first DREAM Act students and veterans can get legal residency as opposed to temporary residency, and then some years after that until some of those can then apply for and gain US citizenship) it will take to "normalize" these students are major drawbacks, but in this current immigration situation, I believe it is imperative to get as many illegals normalized as possible.

While the Republicans will scream that the sky will fall if these people are allowed to stay in the country, the passage of this act will give an opportunity to show that the latest wave of immigration is much like previous ones in US history - confronted by prejudice, but determined to overcome it and take advantage of the great freedom and prosperity that America promises.

Of course, on its own the DREAM Act is woefully inadequate. It fails to address our broken, immoral and unsustainable quota system. It fails to recognize the rights of businessmen to hire whom they please. It only puts a tiny dent into the real problem, but a dent is far better than nothing and a defeat of this bill will be hailed by the xenophobic Right as a defeat for any attempt at rational immigration reform.

Therefore, reluctantly and with no small amount of reservations, I endorse the DREAM Act.

The De-facto Right Approach to Immigrant Deportation

By Santiago J. Valenzuela and Kelly M. Valenzuela

In another story about the DREAM Act, Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security, mentions a tactic ICE is using which we applaud and wish would be applied more consistently.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano lobbied for the DREAM Act Thursday saying immigration enforcement will be improved if Congress approves the bill that would legalize hundreds of thousands of undocumented students brought here illegally by their parents when they were children.

In remarks to reporters from around the country during a conference call from Washington, Napolitano said passage of the DREAM Act would enable DHS to focus more aggressively on deporting foreign criminal convicts.

“It's important to point out that the DREAM Act fits into a larger strategy of immigration enforcement, and would actually complement the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to prioritize our enforcement resources on removing dangerous criminal aliens from the country,” Napolitano said.

If law enforcement were to focus only on "dangerous" immigrants (those violating other people’s individual rights), it would be a crucial component to true immigration reform. When law enforcement harasses nonviolent, productive immigrants and the businesses who wish to employ them, it is both evil and counterproductive.  It’s evil because it violates individual rights by barring a non-violent man from becoming a de facto resident and working here, and counterproductive because to deport these people hurts the economy by driving up labor prices at a time when the economy needs more, not less, access to the best labor at the best price.

And when it comes to homeland security, we certainly want the government to protect us, as it rightfully should, from foreign invaders that wish to seek us harm.  The vast majority of immigrants to the US do not all into that category and by allowing them to go about their lives, we make it easier for the real criminals to be caught before they do the rest of us any harm.

Update on the Republicans in Colorado

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

Republicans in Colorado, in howling defiance of the laws of economics, common sense and good politics, are beginning to rumble about the need for an Arizona-like immigration law, just as predicted.

Illegal immigrants cost Colorado taxpayers as much as $1.5 billion a year, put downward pressure on wages and hurt employers that comply with the law.

That, at least, was the view presented today by advocates for stronger immigration laws at a summit held by the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, a group representing the most conservative GOP lawmakers.

The summit came as Sen.-elect Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, has said he will sponsor a tough new immigration law.

"It'll be, let's say, very similar to the Arizona (Senate Bill) 1070 law," Lambert said.

In an astounding display of political theater, the "Summit on Immigration" declined to host anyone who would bring up anything good about immigration. It featured such stars as the Center for Immigration Studies, who specializes in ignorant fear-mongering about how "overcrowded" the US is and how the only way to save us from living in a gigantic dumpster is to keep those dirty foreigners out. No group which had anything positive to say about the effects of open immigration was invited to speak, lending the proceedings an air of farce, rather than of sober, responsible people attempting to discover the truth through the investigation of all the facts.

The Drying of the American Southwest or the Art of Scare-Mongering

From guest blogger Santiago J. Valenzuela

A study by the Center for Immigration Studies, a "non-partisan" political group that advocates the lowering of the amount of immigrants allowed in the country legally, brings more fear-mongering into the playground of immigration:

The looming water crisis in the American Southwest – and the role of immigration-driven population growth – is the topic of a paper published this month by the Center for Immigration Studies and authored by New Mexico journalist Kathleene Parker.

The paper, "Population, Immigration, and the Drying of the American Southwest," online at http://cis.org/southwest-water-population-growth, explores the link between the possibility of the potentially catastrophic economic and environmental water crisis and the fact that the Southwest is the fastest-growing region of the world's fourth-fastest-growing nation – a growth rate earlier cautioned against by various presidential commissions. It also looks at how that growth rate is driven by historically unprecedented immigration – legal and illegal – into the United States, the world's third-most-populous nation after China and India. Immigration is responsible for more than half of the population growth in the Southwest this past decade, and nearly all of the growth in the largest southwest state, California.

Such high immigration has happened absent discussion or acknowledgement of its impacts on population or limited resources, such as water. Parker presents evidence that indicates there is insufficient water for the region's current population, much less the larger future populations that will result if immigration continues at its present high rate.

While it deserves a longer treatment for all the fallacies, omissions and downright falsehoods pushed onto the reader as fact, my focus here is that it’s an evil fallacy to claim that without immigration controls, a given piece of land will somehow "overpopulate" and the strained resources of mother earth will simply give out.

Free markets are famous for being far more efficient than a government bureaucrat at determining scarcity.  Free markets do something else even better though.  Rather than government forbidding the consumption of dwindling resources, free markets simply makes the resource more expensive. This brings in the great engine of capitalism, profit.

As prices rise, more people will seek to find and sell other sources of water for these areas. If the population continues to grow, the cost of what water is available will rise, increasing the cost of living. Thus, it will leave men free to decide whether they wish to move to the Southwest and pay a sizable water bill. Quickly, these two pressures would cause whatever population the arid environment can hold at any given level of technology to equal or be close to the population living there.

Unlike a government edict, free markets allow people to make choices about what is most valuable to them. Instead, the Center for Immigration Studies recommends choice should be limited by government edict, a favorite tactic of statists.

Also, we see a repeat of the old fallacy that the United States is "overcrowded" at 83 people per square mile. Never mind that Singapore (with a small, efficient government and a prosperous, vibrant economy) is supporting over 18,000 people per square mile without much difficulty, and many more still wanting to move there!

Why "Illegal Immigrant"?

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Some people concerned with the issue of illegal immigration may ask why I use the term "illegal immigrant" as opposed to "undocumented immigrant."  Well, the reason is pretty simple: they are here in violation of the law. That makes them illegal under our current system and we should not avoid that fact.

Americans have a long, proud history of ignoring immoral, unworkable and counterproductive laws. Historically, many if not most Americans have had little respect for "the rule of law." In fact, we would never have become a country had the people here respected "the rule of law.” This fact seems to escape many pundits who demand "respect for the rule of law", independent of whether those laws are proper or not.

Going back as far as Colonial times, you see Americans happily flouting onerous British taxes quite regularly, and going so far as to separate from their mother country when those laws became downright intolerable. Even after the  Revolution, avoiding onerous taxes and regulations was a celebrated pastime in America. Avoiding liquor taxes, in fact, caused another rebellion, known in history as the Whiskey Rebellion.

We Want Beer In more recent times, many Americans participated in or cheered on those who bootlegged liquor during Prohibition.  Many more Americans simply purchased the booze and drank it illegally, which was a clear violation of the 18th Amendment. Despite all the rhetoric against it, most Americans knew it was a silly, counterproductive law and violated it by drinking illegal alcohol until the law was finally repealed.

History is replete with Americans not "respecting the rule of law” when the rule of law improperly limits their individual rights. This includes those many millions of Americans who work with, hire and live among illegal immigrants today. It is that understanding - yes, it is illegal and it is wrong that it is illegal - that should prompt the government to repeal or replace bad legislation.

The fact that completely nonviolent, productive people who want only to work for a better life are made into outlaws in this country is what "illegal immigrant" highlights for me. I hope it does the same for you as well.

This Week’s Objectivist Roundup

It’s over at Reepicheep’s Coracle.  Go check it out!

Proposed Utah Legislation Example of Good State Conduct

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Proposed legislation in Utah, while not perfect, is an example of the type of action a state could take to mitigate the problems that arise from Federal misconduct on the immigration.

Sen. Luz Robles and the conservative think tank, The Sutherland Institute, are working together drafting a new immigration bill that may offer an option for Utah's undocumented immigrants who want to work in the state legally.

Robles claims there are currently 110,000 undocumented immigrants in Utah whose majority numbers want to work and be productive members of society.

Robles introduced Tuesday a 21-page piece of legislation still in the drafting stages called the Utah Pilot Accountability Permit Program. The program would provide undocumented immigrants with permit cards allowing them to work legally given that they be subject to a criminal background check and that they both pay taxes and enroll in English and civics classes.

Among other things, we would like to see the cumbersome and arbitrary requirements for civics and ESL classes dropped.  Many illegal immigrants work long hours and sometimes every day of the week, so finding time for the classes would be difficult at best.  Furthermore, continuing education is a choice that must be made by an individual.  It’s a violation of their individual rights to force them into classes, much less classes they may not even need.

The most attractive part of the bill is that it will now be legal for a business owner to hire people with such permits, rather than having to follow onerous "Americans first" rules.  Essentially, it restores individual rights to the business owner to run their business how they see fit and hire whomever they please.

While still in the drafting stages, this bill has huge potential to show just what a state government can do to legalize the work status of many undocumented workers in their borders. If passed, it would hopefully put pressure on other states and the federal government to take positive action. 

We will be keeping an eye on this promising legislation and update our readers on its progress through the Utah legislature.  If you live in Utah, please call, write or email The Sutherland Institute and your legislator’s office and express your support of their work!

Virginia Lawmakers to Consider Immigration Laws

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

The other day, we posted about Colorado Republicans’ efforts to get tough on immigration, now it appears that Virginia Republicans are doing the same.  No sooner have the Republicans come into office with promises to concentrate on the economy than they are doing their best to harm it.

Several different proposals are being suggested for state lawmakers to consider in January, including one very similar to Arizona's controversial new law.  That law is being challenged in federal court.

Resentment against illegal immigrants largely stems from the fallacy that they somehow "take our jobs" or drive labor prices down.  In reality, immigrants create jobs and price controls designed to keep wages higher than they would be in a free market, such as the minimum wage, are complete failures.

Trying to keep labor prices high by restricting immigration will only result in these jobs being lost or moved overseas.

Immigration Restrictions For Educated, Efficient Workers

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

If you thought that it was difficult for only unskilled labor to enter the United States legally, you were wrong.  Silicon Valley entrepreneurs want to bring in more foreign labor.
Marshman: Let's talk about immigration. Silicon Valley companies have been trying for years to get Congress to make it easier to bring in educated engineers and scientists to work here. Secretary Locke, what are the prospects for immigration reform in the next Congress, especially for the educated people the valley needs?
Locke: The various political forces on Capitol Hill, in the Congress, have tied this issue of skilled labor to comprehensive immigration reform, which makes it even more difficult. But clearly, there is a need. We've got to enable those skilled workers to come to the United States. We need to ensure that those who are being trained here and who get advanced degrees are able to stay. It's like we're almost evicting them out of the United States, even though we know that so many of the jobs created here in Silicon Valley and around the country have come from the incredible talent from the best and the brightest around the world. We need to capitalize on their strengths and their ability to help our country innovate and ultimately create more jobs. Now there are a lot of folks on Capitol Hill in the Congress and throughout America that say, "Well, jeez, you're just bringing people in and taking away jobs from our young people." But the reality is that we're not graduating enough students from our colleges and universities skilled in math and engineering, computer sciences, and the whole host of critical-thinking skills that our companies need right now. And it makes no sense for us to deprive our companies of the talent and the workers we need to be prosperous, to innovate, and to improve our quality of life -- not just in America, but around the world. Let's just hope that after the elections, people of both parties will come together and say, "We've got to solve this once and for all."
When business owners are not allowed to bring in the best and brightest from around the world, they will simply move their operations as necessary. Strict immigration laws don't just drive low-skilled jobs out of the country, but also high-tech, high-skilled jobs from which we all benefit.
True comprehensive immigration reform would recognize the right of all businesses to hire the best workers they can find, from meat-packers to computer programmers.

Are Republicans Really Focused on the Economy?

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Republicans swept into power promising to undo the economic damage done by the anti-business, growing-government policies of the Democrats.  The Republicans did not sweep Colorado, perhaps because the Colorado voters were not fooled!

Colorado Republicans are clearly showing that improving the economy of their state is not their overriding goal.  They are convening a summit that will likely result in the recommendation of a bill to enforce strict immigration laws, such as the one passed in Arizona earlier this year.  Thankfully, it has little chance of passing, but the Republicans in Colorado (and elsewhere) are in favor of enacting such laws, which are immoral and violate individual rights. 

These laws make American businesses less competitive by violating an employer’s rights to hire who they please. These laws also place additional burden on our law enforcement and court systems which are charged with the task of processing and housing nonviolent, illegal immigrants.  Those immigrants could be contributing to economic growth rather than contributing to the growth of government.

If the Republicans truly wanted to jumpstart the economy, they might start by removing counterproductive efforts to control labor such as immigration quotas, the minimum wage and laws giving special favors to unions, rather than cater to a xenophobic obsession with deporting as many illegal immigrants as possible.


From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

It appears Congress will try to pass DREAM Act before the year is over.  The DREAM Act, while far from perfect, is a small step in the right direction towards legalizing countless immigrants whose only goal is to live and work peacefully in this country.  

Please contact your congressman and give a quick show of support for the bill.  You may contact your Representative here and your Senator here.  

We will review DREAM Act in a future post and explain how it is a step in the right direction, but far from a complete solution to the country’s immigration problem.

This Week’s Objectivist Roundup

It’s over at The Playful Spirit.  Go check it out!

The Visa God

Okay, so this article about the “visa god” seems hilarious at first…

Balaji is one of the most worshipped local incarnations of the Hindu god, Vishnu. His adherents flock to his many temples to pray for things such as happiness, prosperity and fertility.

Lately, the deity has grown particularly popular at the once quiet Chilkur Balaji temple here, where he goes by a new nickname: the “visa god”. The temple draws 100,000 visitors a week, many of whom come to pray to Balaji for visas to travel or move to the US and other Western countries.

Mohanty Dolagobinda is one of the visa god’s believers. Three years ago, a US consulting company applied for a visa on his behalf. It was rejected. When the company tried again the following year, Dolagobinda’s friends told him to visit the Chilkur Balaji temple ahead of his interview at the US consulate. Weeks later, he sailed through the interview. “I’ve never heard of anyone who’s gone to the temple whose visa got rejected,” says Dolagobinda.

..but I find it really sad.  First, I find it sad that people are so superstitious and out of touch with reality, but second, it’s sad that people have to resort to wishful thinking instead of action to better their lives.  If you’re not violating other people’s rights, why should you be restricted from moving elsewhere to accept work?  Does a person not have a right to their own life and happiness?  Does an employer not have the right to hire whomever they please to work in their business? 

The only feasible answer to the first question is the god-awful welfare state.  It’s not fair to taxpayers for someone to move into their country and go on the government dole, right?  But is that an immigration problem or a welfare state problem?

I think it’s a welfare state problem.  Frankly, I don’t care whether someone is an immigrant, was just born here today or has lived here all their life, it’s a blatant violation of my individual rights to forcibly redistribute my income to anyone else.

Perhaps the first step in doing away with the welfare state could be to disallow immigrants access to those services and eliminate the proportionate taxes they pay for them.  Then wean the rest of the population off as well!