Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Josh Barro: "Democrats Are Lost On Immigration,,,

...And They'd Better Rethink Their Ideas To Beat Trump."

   I think this is a really excellent article. Perhaps the only thing I'd add is: among the moral reasons for immigration are: there ought to be a fair amount of freedom of movement between countries.
   Anyway, some highlights:
   I think the true reason that immigration advocates fail to make strong national-interest arguments for immigration is that the pro-immigration impulse is not really about the nationalinterest.
   Potential immigrants are human beings with moral worth. Especially in the case of refugees, they have been disadvantaged by the place of their birth. The human condition is improved by their admission to the US. This — a global, humanistic concern — is a driving factor behind support for immigration.
   Plus, elites in government, media, and business tend to be in positions where they stand to derive disproportionate benefits from immigration to the US and bear relatively few costs related to it. Thus immigration is a relatively easy area to favor policy altruism.
   Most important, immigration advocates can demonstrate their focus on the national interest by being willing to support enforcement of laws against immigration that is neither legal nor in the national interest — by showing that the willingness to say "yes" to immigration is paired with a willingness to say "no."
   For the last 20 years or more, the federal government has pursued a policy of benign neglect. Trump presents this as a problem of "weak borders," but the main issue is a failure of interior enforcement — particularly a failure to aggressively enforce laws against working in the US without authorization.
   Members of Congress in both parties have bent to the will of employers who do not want to have to prove their employees are authorized to work. President Barack Obama sought to grant millions of work permits to immigrants living in the country illegally through an executive order that was blocked by federal courts.
   Hillary Clinton promised to go further, halting all deportations of immigrants living in the country illegally except for violent criminals and terrorists.
   In recent years, Democrats have come to talk about deportation in the same wrongheaded way Occupy Wall Street activists talked about foreclosure: as a horrible, heartless thing to do, rather than a sometimes regrettably necessary action in nation of laws.
   A lender should not foreclose on every homeowner in default, but you cannot have mortgage lending without the option of foreclosure. Similarly, you do not have an immigration policy if you cannot deport non-citizens for violating immigration law.
   This neglect is a major reason for the failure of comprehensive immigration reform.
Immigration reform is supposed to be a trade: amnesty for unauthorized immigrants and high future levels of legal immigration, in exchange for stringent enforcement of immigration laws in the future.
   But why would anyone believe that Democrats or pre-Trump Republicans would follow through on a promise to enforce immigration law effectively? Even Trump has not (yet) made workplace enforcement a priority.
   Immigration reform is an example of no-choice politics, and Trump's election was part of voters' global revolt against the insistence that they accept policy choices that are foisted upon them through path dependence orchestrated by political elites.
  As I've made clear, I think that the left in the U.S. is on a trajectory toward advocating open borders. "Progressives" tend to object to border barriers (falsely analogizing them to the Berlin Wall), object to deportations, and basically think that anyone concerned about illegal immigration is racist. That means that people are stuck with a choice between Trump's position, which is too extreme, or the Democrats'/liberal's position which is too lax. Given such a choice, and given that the latter has dominated policy for awhile now, good, reasonable people might very well think that Trumpism might be worth a try. It's idiotic for Democrats and liberals to cede the reasonable, moral, prudent, centrist position on this issue. (Or any issue, for that matter...not that it's always a cakewalk to figure out which position that is...) If you're making Trumpism look tempting, you probably need to move back toward the center, I say.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

Democrats get one thing right that Republicans practice worse than unclear thinking: Exporting birth control practices. And any org that even mentions abortion as an option is ruled out. You want to stop immigration? Get other countries to cut their birth rates.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


Also, though not as critical: increase foreign aid to help create safety and economic opportunity in other countries, especially in Mexico and central and south America. Benefits the downtrodden, decreases the size of families, decreases the desperation that drives people to immigrate illegally.

Though I don't think anybody wants to stop immigration...but I guess you mean illegal immigration.

9:42 PM  

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