« Does Medical Care Cost Too Much in the United States? Posner | Main | The Senate Bill on Immigration Reform-Becker »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Terry Bennett

My positions are already of record, so I will try not to belabor.

It is Sovereignty 101 for a government to exercise dominion over its land by deciding who can be on it and who cannot, and regardless of any practicality on the ground, I reject the status quo wherein someone other than the government makes that decision. Eleven million? One is too many, because it means my government has abdicated.

The idea of selling the right to be here with the bare minimum of vetting is problematic because many immigrants don't have a clue what life is like here. Several years back the INS caught a few hundred Chinese coming into Manhattan in the cargo hold of a freighter. These people had scraped together as much as $30,000 each for that trip, funded in most cases by their whole family's wealth, and while they were in truth destined to work in slave conditions in Chinese restaurants with negligible reward for decades, post-capture interviews revealed that they were expecting to become so extraordinarily rich that streets in China would be named after them upon their return.

An educated applicant is far more likely to have a more realistic grasp of his true prospects here, saving us the expense of the experiment.

Maybe we should also require each entrant to post sufficient escrow for a ticket home, an option to be exercised at our discretion upon those who misbehave or cease to be self-supporting. If a stranger knocks on my door and asks to enter my home, I first of all feel absolutely zero obligation to agree to this request. If I decide to let him in, I (1) reserve the right to order him to leave, and (2) do not create any obligation to feed him, beyond perhaps immediate sustenance if he is literally starving or dehydrated.

Tradition is just another way of saying we're too lazy and/or too stupid and/or too scared to do our own thinking in the present, and so we shirk our responsibility for ourselves and rely on what somebody else decided to do in the past under a set of conditions that may or may not be sufficiently similar to ours to produce a similar outcome. Ideas aside, this country's blind loyalty to tradition, accurate or not, will hold sway. We'll get what we deserve for that cowardice.

Eric Rasmusen

We cannot conclude that it is difficult to prevent illegal immigration, because it hasn't been tried. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have simply decided to laxly enforce the law, and to take drastic actions to prevent state governments from enforcing it. Budgeting more money will not, of course, help with that problem. Enforcement plus penalties, e.g. 2 years forced labor for any illegal immigrant caught, could easily do so. Or, very cheaply, we could apply Becker (1968) and impose a term of life in prison on any illegal aliens caught, while spending less than we do now on enforcement.


Less optimistic on Mexico -- tremendous natural resources, bad internal governance and worse still constitutional system.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Become a Fan

May 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31