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Immigration Imbroglio
Posted by: Dale Franks on Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The pending immigration bill is causing all sorts of uproar. And not only on the right, wher eht usual suspects are lining up against it, but on the left, where groups like MALDEF and immigrant groups oppose it. For instance, see here, here, here, and here. I guess there's something in the bill for everyone to hate.

That includes me.

First, I have to agree with Billy Beck that it looks as if this bill is another step towards some sort of National ID system, where all of us, like good citizens, will be required to carry identification at all times if we expect to work. As Billy puts it:
If the "employment verification" element of this thing takes effect, then "national ID" will have been just as effectively established at the very heart of the American ideal: the individual impetus and political leave to produce.

What we're talking about, ladies and gentlemen, is the nationalization of work, itself.

This is to be accomplished by annexing employers (think about that: all employers, generally) as police agents, presumably under threat of criminal or dire civil attack, to do the dirty-work of passing everyone's permission papers — clearing as privilege what dare not be called a "right" anymore: the freedom to produce.
Beyond that, the idea that some sort of "comprehensive" immigration solution is needed is wrong. What is needed—all that is needed—is to secure the borders, then enforce the current immigration laws.

Not that I expect that happen. After all, Republicans tend to listen to their business contributors who explain to tem how much cheap labor is needed. And Democrats are not unaware that most immigrants come from countries with a far more socialist-influenced political environment, which will make them, in the fullness of time, naturalized citizens who will tend to vote for the Democratic party.

I guess I have some philosophical problems with the open borders idea as the world is currently constituted. The traditional formulation is that we should have the free movement of capital and people across borders, which are, after all, nothing more than lines on a map.

Well, I'm all for the free movement of capital. But people? Not so much.

As we've repeated many times here, Milton Friedman's formulation was essentially correct. You may have unrestricted immigration, or you can have a welfare state. You cannot have both. At least, not without eventual national banruptcy.

In a world without government—the anarcho-capitalist paradise, as it were—immigration wouldn't be a big deal. People could go pretty much anywhere they wished, because they wouldn't be able to exercise any significant political power, no matter where they went.

This was the case with 19th and early 20th century immigration. The federal government was not, at that time, engaged in either the exercise of significant domestic powers, nor a font of benefits. Immigrants were forced to assimilate in order to survive.

But that isn't the world we live in, any more. Since that is so, I would argue that, until we can reduce the footprint of government to a more benign size, and limit the scope of its powers, we have the absolute right to approve or disapprove of foreigners who wish to come here, and who will in a few short years, begin exercising political power—including the power to extract benefits from the rest of us.

Already, here in California, where about 40% of illegal immigrants end up, emergency rooms have had to shut down, schools have become overcrowded, and about 10% of the state's budget goes to provide a variety of services to illegal immigrants, including medical treatment, and public education.

I think this point is especially important in the current political climate, where there are increasing calls for allowing non-citizen immigrants to vote. Or where there is an open reconquista movement to return the Southwestern states to the political governance of Mexico.

Moreover, we do, as a country, have the right to scrutinize those who would come here for suitability in other ways. We don't, I think, have to allow con men, thieves, murderers, or terrorist to hop on over here willy-nilly do we? If so, then isn't a commitment to open borders little more than a national suicide pact? Don't we have a right to ensure that those we admit aren't in some way criminally malignant?

This is simply a case where we cannot have a libertarian immigration policy and a statist political polity. Trying to do so merely perpetuates the negative features of each.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Technically we already have a national ID card...

It’s called a social security number. Run those, make some calls, check a few facts, and yer done.

Add to that the numbers on VISAs, and we should be right where the "check" needs to be...
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Oh, and John Stewart’s show tonight pretty much up till the first comercial break) is freaking priceless. Even as a guy that basicly likes Bush (oh shush), his mocking of Bush’s statements on the Whitehouse lawn was side-splitting...
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
Scott, the problem with the current SSN is that it isn’t tied to any sort of physical description of who it was issued to. It’s impossible to tell that the SSN being presented by 25 year old Juan Illegal was actually issued to 45 year old Jane Citizen (or 35 year old Juan Naturalized Citizen, veteran, for that matter.) Tying that SSN to the one and only one citizen it was issued to is necessary... and can only be done by moving to the exact system Mr. Beck is afraid of, even to enforce existing employer sanctions! I’m still in favor of that enforcement, but I’m aware of the downside.

Oh, and one more thing: the 19th and early 20th centuries had a completely different economic picture. The economy was far more labor intensive, and we had a nice open frontier to populate. Not so today, and anyone on the open borders side who won’t admit that is a d*mned liar on his face.
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
"National ID"

Hmmm. I have a problem with that title, given what we know of the bill....if we assume a "Nation" is
"a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own"
, then the first problem is the lack of a nation, with this bill. It’s already been killed; because we are no longer one group of people... rather, we are a number of groups being forced together by means of government.

This seems to me a rather important distinction.

Written By: Bithead
will be required to carry identification at all times if we expect to work.
It’s already required that I be identified per government regulation by filling out form I-9 and providing 2 forms of identification (SS Card and state drivers license.)

And employers can already verify names and SS numbers here.

That most employers don’t do this, is part of the problem.

It’s a conundrum. How do you prevent illegal aliens from working without some sort of system to verify whether any applicant is legal to work or not??
Written By: Keith_Indy
I’ve been working with databases for nearly 20 years. I can tell you right now that a National ID would be a disaster. Just on the technical aspects alone... forget about politics.

First, it doesn’t matter how diligent people are in setting it up, there are always corrupted records, mistakes, etc. Immediately you have approximately 15-20% of the database with a problem. It’s just a fact of database life. How many people are in the US... yeah, 15-20% is a HUGE number.

Then there is the security issue. Considering the government’s utter failure to secure any of its computers, what makes anyone think that this database would be properly secured? And if it’s not, that means it’s susceptible to being tampered with, either to create false records or to link bad records to good people among many other things.

Has anyone ever heard of someone trying to change their SSN because of identity theft... yeah, it’s incredibly difficult to do. A problem with your National ID would be no easier to fix.

That’s just a start. There is so much more that could be said, but even these few things should have people questioning what is really being proposed with such an ID scheme. Scary is how I see it.

Written By: Teresa
Or where there is an open reconquista movement to return the Southwestern states to the political governance of Mexico.

(shakes head sadly)
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I’m really impressed!
Written By: Carmen

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