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04/21/2013

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Christopher Graves

Mass immigration undermines the established culture of a region or a country. Conserving the nation's dominant folkways, religion, language, and implicit philosophy should be the preeminent concern of immigration policy.

jmurphy90

Buying legal status for $50,000 is certainly an interesting idea. But it seems like a particularly poor gauge of youth, skill, and ambition, the very traits suggests it screens for.

One issue is that $50,000 represents a wildly different barrier to entry for someone born in, say, Ireland to someone born in Sierra Leone. The main effect of this policy would be to pre-select immigrants from wealthier countries. In wealthy countries, $50k represents a much lower barrier to entry, so any correlation between $50k and skill would probably be reduced.

This brings up a second issue: the very questionable notion that $50k even correlates with skill. Throughout most of the world (including the U.S.), the majority of rich people were born rich. Are rich children more skilled than non-rich children? We can think of many counter examples (Hilton, Kardashian, etc.).

The correlation becomes even more questionable when you factor youth into the mix. A young man or woman who has gained expertise through extensive schooling is more likely to be quite poor, rather than have $50k on hand. The price tag would seemingly select for immigrants who are well into adulthood (or, again, from rich families).

You suggest we impose some sort of scholarship system, which would allow in some of high-quality applicants from poorer countries. If the real goal is high-quality immigrants, why not just implement the scholarship system across the board?

jim kirby

What is all this talk about encouraging young skilled workers to immigrate in preference to old skilled workers? It should be entirely illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, of course.

The reason age discrimination in immigration is favored by Becker and New Zealand, for example, is based on the realization that a nanny state can't bear the costs its own socialist programs like Medicaid and Obamacare have imposed upon the nation.

Terry Bennett

Good points all. I think the most important foundation of immigration policy should be the recognition that this is our land, and we owe it to no one, and we have the right to decide who comes in and who doesn't, and our government owes it to us to assert that sovereignty overwhelmingly, and we should do so based entirely on consideration of the interests of the people rightly here and not in the least the interests of the people begging to enter. We SHOULD discriminate, without apology. The French gave us that statue and somehow people are now hypnotized into thinking it's our job to accommodate anybody who wants to come. It is not.

Consider the Muslim immigrant population. Are not the enormous costs to us of accepting Muslims obvious to all? Economically speaking, we should not accept even one, ever. This is not to say they all hate us - I allow for the possibility that some do not, though I have no facts to prove their existence. However, we do not have the means to determine which among them will radicalize, so we stand in line at airports with our shoes off, we spend huge sums on homeland security efforts, and when that inevitably fails we incur large human and financial costs such as Boston has just suffered. If we add up all the production we have gotten from the entire Muslim immigrant population for the last 200 years, and subtract the cost of 9/11, we are in the hole big time as a net result of our foolish decision to allow these people to set foot on our land. Note, this is not because of their DNA, and it's not because they are all bad. It's because we don't need them, not even one of them, and some indeterminable subset of them are costing us far more money than can possibly be offset by the putative untroubling remainder. I would be making the exact same argument about my Irish cousins if they had been internationalizing their conflict.

I like listening to Fareed Zakharia. Under my plan, he'd have to broadcast from someplace other than the U.S. (which I doubt would bother him, in his post-American century). The U.S. may well be diminished by the loss of his contribution. Does he make up for 9/11? I would gladly trade ours for a country in which Dr. Zakharia is a foreigner and there was no 9/11, which we could have accomplished with intelligent immigration policies, recognizing the embrace of terrorism by some Muslims and deciding that we don't care to be subject to it domestically - a failure that goes back to Truman at minimum, since modern Muslim terrorism dates from Algeria in the early 1950's.

As Jim Kirby mentioned, we do have a spending / aging problem that is destined to get far worse in the near future. We need young suckers to pay into the Ponzi scheme and keep the party going. We can obtain them through immigration, and this will obviate the immediate need to fix the more fundamental problem that very large numbers of Americans consume over their lifetimes more than they produce. If we let young people come in and work and pay taxes, we can continue to live the way we live for another generation, collecting far more in benefits than we pay in, and when it does crash, we'll be long dead and it will crash on the immigrants. Sure, we can do that, but it makes me a little bit embarrassed.

Layne Johnson

Remember the poem engraved into the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty?

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

The American Dream was intended for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Our immigration policy has lost its soul.

jmurphy90

Terry Bennett, I agree that nations have a right and an imperative to regulate the rate of immigration. But your "plan" violates the most basic principles on which the United States was founded. Perhaps rather than focusing on immigration, we should focus on revoking citizenship and deporting people who lack a basic understanding of what the United States stands for. Terry, you would be among the first to go.

Terry Bennett

jmurphy90, would you be so kind as to state these "most basic principles" to which you refer? (And good luck finding someplace willing to take me.)

Layne Johnson, speaking of being hypnotized, it is indeed a lovely poem. From my perspective, however, our policy seems not to have lost its soul but rather its mind.

Terry Bennett

So, I guess this is like trying to have a discussion with Louis Armstrong, who said, "If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know." (Besides which, he's dead.)

First of all, I am an American. This country stands for what I say it stands for, and I say it doesn't stand for the stupidity of blind loyalty to stale thinking. We have a moral obligation to confront our own circumstances in our own time and take responsibility for the results we produce. The Founders were the beginning of American political theory, not the end. They didn't create a religion.

Let's just suppose that the alleged basic principle I am accused of ignoring in the above ad hominem is the proscription against corruption of blood, i.e., pre-judgment against one individual on grounds of the conduct of another individual. I agree, we can't do that to our citizens, but we owe nothing to those who knock at the door. We can defend our interests however we see fit. And we DO.

Twenty-plus years ago when I first got married, to a Philippine citizen, I wanted to take my newly acquired niece to Disney World. I stood in line with her at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, and provided the punk who interviewed her with the most perfectly unimpeachable supporting evidence any officer could possibly hope to receive: the testimony of a U.S. citizen. He called me a liar and denied the visa. The Saudis can waltz in and blow up Manhattan, but we're safe from a little girl who wanted to meet Mickey Mouse.

In subsequent discussions with various officials and my Congressman, it was explained to me that because it has been the observation of the government over time that an unacceptably high percentage of Filipinos who receive tourist visas tend to overstay in the U.S., they have found it prudent to err on the side of caution and deny visas to most applicants. There is already a presumption in the law, in that it is incumbent upon any applicant for a tourist visa to prove to the satisfaction of the U.S. government that he or she does not intend to stay permanently in the U.S.; however, in the case of Filipinos and Nigerians, the embassies actually pay attention to this law and turn away a large majority of applicants on the fear that they will abuse the privilege if it is granted.

Similarly, I assert that an unaceptably high number of Muslim visa applicants (i.e., one or more) abuse their privilege by bombing us, and it would be prudent for the U.S. government to exclude anyone in that demonstrably high-risk class who cannot prove to our satisfaction that he or she will not become a terrorist. This is of course impossible to prove, and my safety is a higher priority than the dreams of a non-citizen to either enjoy New York City or level it as the case may be. Mohammed said, "Make war on non-believers." Some Muslims have absorbed that directive into its context, and some take it as an unlimited commandment - and some change their mind over time. We cannot possibly distinguish among them, and I see absolutely no reason why we have any obligation to be bothered pretending to try.

Neilehat

A 50,000 dollar entry fee eh? Sure why not? It might help to defray the costs of operating the Government since we no longer want to tax ourselves to provide the goods and services as highlighted in the Preamble to the Constitution. I can see it now:

"Emigrate to the United States! Only $50,000 dollars per entrance visa with a short cut to Citizenship! Apply Today! Don't wait a minute more!"

Now why would anyone who could afford such a fee want to emigrate in the first place? They're already the members of the Elite in their Home country? Why Emigrate at all? And our problem with Illegal Immigration will boom and become even greater - creating even more problems for ourselves...

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