Towards A Good Samaritan World

Friday, December 03, 2004

MaxedOutMama comments on my last post:

As for immigration, in part I think you're right. Certainly the current situation, under which we have large numbers of people without official legal rights, people who are commonly victimized in various ways, is bad. In a way, we are repeating the tragedy of slavery in this country. Once again, we have an ethnic minority working under a different set of rules and conditions than the rest of us.

The last thing we want to do is perpetuate the situation. But the only way to change it is to first enforce strongly the law against hiring illegal immigrants, whether as casual household labor or as farm or factory hands, and second, give those who are here working legal status and a place in society.

All right, I'll be up front about this, at the risk of alienating some people: I am in favor of legal immigration and in favor of illegal immigration. I oppose enforcement of the law against hiring illegal immigrants, not only because it would require a highly intrusive use of government coercion and create a Prohibition-type phenomenon with an increase of organized crime while forcing millions of people out of their jobs into destitution to do who-knows-what, but also because I think that it is morally wrong to molest people who come to the United States peacefully to work and earn a living, harming no one (in the sense of direct or violent harm). MaxedOutMama emphasizes the civil rights of those already here, but to me, that's the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg being the vast ranks of impoverished mankind doomed by place of birth to a life far poorer in opportunity than what the American-born enjoy.

MaxedOutMama adds that:

When you have a large number of immigrants coming in, wages are pushed down.

Yes, wages will fall, at any rate for some categories of workers; and they already have been falling for twenty years. I've thought up a way to fix this... but it's too long for a blog post. I'll write it up sometime and put it on the website.

But I'd like to say that the original civil rights movement also caused, or at any rate was immediately followed by and may have had a causal relationship to, a lot of social problems: rising crime rates, illegitimacy, urban poverty, race riots, the hollowing out of the inner cities, and so on. And yet it was still the right thing to do, because the Jim Crow system was unjust and wrong. With immigration, I think we should do the right thing and take the consequences. And the right thing is to grant the right to migrate.


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