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Thomas Rekdal

If we are going sell membership in the social contract, I prefer a much higher price--something closer to $500,000 than $50,000. This would at least guarantee a certain dedication to property rights, a vast improvement from my point of view. It would probably also mean a greater infusion of Asian immigrants, a cultural improvement I would also welcome. As for the rest, let the Darwinian struggle continue: If we can't find you and throw you out, you get to stay. This probably is not what John Locke had in mind, but it is the best I can come up with.

Terry Bennett

"It is desirable that they be allowed to become citizens..." I disagree completely with this conclusory statement. It may be desirable that they become legal residents, but there is absolutely zero benefit to me from giving them the right to vote. Why do we need to give them citizenship? Are we afraid that without it, they won't stay? Don't be silly.

In the last election, the Hispanic vote was sine qua non. That battle has already been lost to the horde. It will henceforth be obligatory for every plausible candidate to court the Hispanic vote - by promising to increase the number of Hispanics who can vote.

U.S. Citizenship is an extremely valuable asset, and we just stamp a paper and hand it out without any regard for it. I would like to see a Constitutional amendment to redefine a citizen as someone (a) born of a citizen, or (b) born of parents who are both legally here and intend to stay. There should be no such thing as naturalization. If you weren't born here, you don't "get" it, and your vote dilutes the collective intelligence of those who were born here and do get it and have a birthright in this land. Are the huddled masses in some banana republic really dreaming of the day when they can vote for the leaders of the U.S.? Hardly. They're dreaming of one day coming here and getting some of my wealth, so they won't have to wonder whence their next meal is coming. They don't care about the vote, and even if they did want it, they have no right to it and we should not give it to them - for the same reason we don't give guns to monkeys.

Thomas Rekdal


The dominant consideration in immigration "reform" is which party will benefit the most. So I doubt that your proposal has any serious chance of success. Alas, neither does mine.

But it is clear that if the conservative interests in this country cannot find any proposals that will appeal to the immigrant groups already here, the future is not exactly bright.

I am open to suggestions, but I don't think the Becker-Posner blog is likely to be the most fruitful source.


Posner, you write:

"...the idea that they are moochers, who have crossed the border to take advantage of our social welfare policies, seems wrong because they have far fewer entitlements to social welfare than lawful residents of the United States have."

A better point of comparison would be: are the welfare entitlements they receive in the U.S. better than the welfare entitlements they would otherwise receive in Mexico? That would be a more reasonable motivating factor. Whether or not they receive the same entitlements as lawful citizens is likely irrelevant.


"Of course “selling” U.S. citizenship, like selling kidneys and other organs, is just the kind of sensible economic proposal that shocks people who lack an understanding of economics—and that’s almost everybody."

I don't think many would disagree with your economic point, but isn't there something morally objectionable about selling United States citizenship? It would turn the land of opportunity into the land of the haves and want to haves (no have nots allowed).

Gordon Longhouse

"It’s difficult to understand why illegal immigration from Mexico is considered by so many Americans a very serious problem. The idea that illegal Mexican immigrants take jobs away from Americans appears to be largely false, as it seems that most of the jobs they get in the United States, notably in agriculture, are not attractive to Americans."
All of this is true but beside the point. Here is Australia we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a pointless exercise of trying to deter boat arrivals by putting them in concentration camps while their papers are processed. This is the political cost that must be paid for an otherwise sensible immigration policy.
A head tax of $50,000 or whatever per migrant would only make sense if you could be sure that you would get the immigrants you need by auctioning off places in this manner or you were really hard up for money. Otherwise the merit based system would serve your purposes much better.

Shumaila Satti

he Points Based Scheme (PBS) is the brain child of the previous Government winning many supporters even amongst the Labour's staunchest critics. The PBS has been very effective in weeding out migrants on lower income, particularly those lacking the English language skills and the required funds to find employment in the UK. In particular, the flexibility inherent in the points scoring criteria has succeeded in attracting and selecting exactly the type of applicants able to contribute and invest in the UK economy. The previous government also introduced the Sponsor Licence System whereby UK companies are now asked to take an active role in helping the UK Border Agency against the employment of migrants who do not have the right to work or stay legally in the UK. Since November 2008, employers are directly responsible to carry out checks on their employees under the Tier 2 Scheme in order to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Failure to comply with this legislation carries hefty fines and the inability to sponsor foreign workers.


We discuss the Immigration issue endlessly and nothing seems to be solved except muddying the waters further. If anything, it simply sheds light on the problems of Democracy and the establishment of coherent, viable Policy by Public debate.

As for myself, I'm not entirely convinced we have an Immigration Law problem. But I am convinced that we have viable and effective Enforcement problem. Perhaps, before we attempt to rewrite the Law, we should effectively enforce that Law by providing the necessary funding and directives so that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement group can effectively do its mandated job of enforcing Immigration and Customs Law as it stands. Once that has been done, and if we still are having problems with it, then we can sit down and revise and rewrite the Law as necessary to fulfill Policy needs and requirements.

Christopher Graves

In reply to Judge Posner's comments about native Americans' concern about large numbers of Latinos flooding into the United States, people the world over and throughout history have demonstrated a consistent revealed preference for forming social unions with those of their own ethnicity, language group, and religion. When people are allowed to freely associate, most segregate along these lines. Appealing to economic analysis here is disingenuous since neo-classical economic analysis takes people's tastes and preferences as given.

And there is good reason that people hold these preferences for ethnic, linguistic, and religious homogeneity within a political entity. Humans are innately social beings. We form groups to function within. We are not isolated individuals. It is hardly irrational to seek to maintain the demographic composition of a community, a state, a region, and a nation that fosters spontaneous social cooperation.

People naturally are drawn to those who look and act like themselves. Most people viscerally recoil at the sight of those who look different. If anyone doubts this human tendency, I would suggest taking an Implicit Test on racial preferences.


People quite obviously also prefer those who speak the same language with the same dialect. It is much easier to communicate. Religion and its accompanying political, social, legal, and economic assumptions also fosters common ground for coordinating decisions with others as well as shaping foundational institutions in a society.

If we see ourselves in another, then we are more likely to empathize and sacrifice as well as form lasting bonds with others. Multi-culturalism and diversity are poison to any society.

Terry Bennett

I agree with Christopher. My first Political Science professor, 40 years ago, said, "We are not a melting pot - we are a tossed salad." Look at the Chinatown, Brown Town, Latin Quarter, Little Italy, etc., of every major city.

The simple fact is that if people don't see eye to eye, they shouldn't live together - it will just cause endless head butting. The Israelis and Palestinians, for all their hatred, at least understand each other, far better than any American or European busybody who thinks we can talk their differences to death. In my other posts I haven't advocated killing any Muslims; I have advocated not giving them the requisite access to kill me. Let them administer their lands and their societies as they see fit, and we will do the same. Anyone who wants legal residence here should start by confessing the obvious fact that they want to be here because we behave better than the people in their homeland behave - and by pledging that as new residents, they will give up their inferior ways and behave as we do, in order to preserve and strengthen what we have. Multiculturalism constitutes an arithmetic dilution of the superior culture that has attracted these people in the first place. Once our land is pulled down to the level of their land, they'll be able to stay home - the whole world will stink.

Aye Run

Dear Judge Posner,

Thank you for your dissent in Senne (DPPA case involving "disclosure" of PII on a traffic ticket).

I work in this area of law, and the case caught my attention, more so when I saw from which court it originated. Being a student of your writings, I am familiar with some of your thoughts on privacy. But I would have been surprised and concerned had you sided with the majority.

On a related note, state courts are increasingly removing personal information from their criminal records, records that are historically deemed public and essential to a free and open society.

I suspect the removal of this information will soon be challenged in courts across the US.


Scott Slick

Christopher Graves

While I oppose open immigration and too much diversity within national borders, I do not oppose diversity over the planet. I love the racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural niches that the various peoples of the earth have coalesced into. But for these valuable differences to be maintained, then we cannot have open immigration for masses of immigrants to dissolve the bonds of native peoples and their distinctive ways of life. True diversity recognizes that people live within the cultural bounds of their native lands as we work to preserve them for everyone.

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