Immigration Now, Immigration Tomorrow, Immigration Forever

Who cares what color a taxpayer is so long as their money is green?

Who cares if they take a job so long as they increase the output of the economy and help generate more jobs?

Who cares what their education level is so long as they perform useful work?

Who cares what their religion is so long as they’re peaceful and law-abiding?

I’m tired of people who think our immigration policy should be to burn down the bridge their family crossed just a couple generations ago. They disgrace everything this country is supposed to stand for. I’m tired of the notion that jobs in this country are a zero sum game, that for every immigrant who comes across the border a nice, hardworking, tax-paying, apple-pie-scarfing American will lose their job.

It’s not like this country was allotted 100 million jobs back in 1776 and we have been slowly eating away at that number ever since. Increased population increases the total jobs available.

Think about it. We’re afraid of China, why? Because they have such a massive population it gives them greater potential economic and military power than us. They have more people to work in their factories, more people to pilot their fighter jets, more people to think up new technologies. The only reason the US is ahead at all right now is because its economy and military are more developed. Because, mostly by an accident of history, we got a head start. It’s not the inherent wonder of the Constitution, Jeffersonianism or whatever other religion you subscribe to. Wake the fuck up. There is nothing special, holy, divinely-inspired or secret about the success of America. We have a government and culture that are relatively more supportive of economic progress and innovation than other nations, but we can’t rely on that forever. We can only win the development battle for so long when we have 1/3 the population of our rival.

Oh, but they tookerjobs!!!

Sure, I get your point. In the short term it increases competition. But when Bjorn immigrates here from Iceland and takes a job, he provides more value to the country, our country, than he is paid for. Employers agree to hire employees because they get more value from the employee’s services than they are required to pay the employee. This is the essence, the foundation, of the whole concept of employment. Businesses aren’t charities giving people jobs because it’s a nice thing to do. If employees didn’t create more value than they took, the employer would soon go under. I’m not denying there are jobs where lazy people get away with doing practically nothing, but a good employer will generally route out and fire those people and if it doesn’t eventually the market will put that company out of business (or should without intervention).

There’s really only one legitimate reason to limit immigration: lack of physical space. That is, if the country is so overpopulated that it doesn’t have the geographical area to accommodate more people without substantial difficulty. America is not even remotely close to this. Have you ever gone on a road trip out West? There are places you can drive a hundred miles without seeing so much as a house (or, lesson learned, a gas station). This country could have five times its current population and be fine. Consider this, the population density of Europe is 72.9/km2. China is 145/km2. What, on the other hand, is the US? A measly 34.2/km2. Of the 242 sovereign and dependent territories in the world, it ranks as the 180th most dense.

Closing our borders to new immigrants and hunting the illegal ones within our borders is as unnecessary and wasteful as it is cruel. Besides all the productivity, tax revenue and consumer spending we miss out on, we also waste billions in taxpayer money funding a bloated federal agency to police the border with our browner neighbors (or is it just that the border with Canada is so big we can’t afford quality enforcement?) and to root out illegal immigrants already in this country. And not only that, we lose enormous amounts of productivity putting those current citizens to work as border patrol agents and immigration officials when they could be working on more useful occupations.

Oh! Oh! But those illegals broke the law! Do we really want people willing to break our laws living in our country?!

Sigh. Besides the fact that this argument is a little circular, it’s also horribly myopic. You don’t know what it’s like to be that desperate. I guarantee most self-righteous, anti-immigration Americans would have done the same thing in the “illegal” immigrant’s position. Undocumented immigrants are willing to risk their lives in the incredibly hazardous, life-threatening process of illegal immigration. Most Americans have no concept of what that sort of desperation feels like. And besides, why wouldn’t you want someone that hungry for America in this country? They’ll appreciate it so much more and work so much harder than some lazy, fifth-generation, middle-class brat like me who has angrily complained about such first world problems as having to have a roommate in my college dorm or having to walk the half mile to school because mom wouldn’t buy me a car and I didn’t feel like getting a job.

And in any case, who really cares if they broke that law? It’s just a pretext against amnesty. Unlike people, not all laws are created equal. Illegal immigration is about on par with jaywalking in my book, and at least jaywalking has a rational basis for being illegal.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking now. But what about felons and terrorists who could come over our borders and blow up our buildings and steal our 50” flat-screen, high-def televisions and get our kids addicted to the drugs? The drugs!!!! You want to let them in, too?! Okay, okay, fine. No. They don’t sound too good, and I’d be willing to keep attempting to keep them out. All I’m really saying is there should be a legal avenue for immigration open to anyone and everyone who wants to come here and put themselves to productive, legal labor. Personally, I think our border is too big and porous to ever keep out terrorists and criminals no matter how much money we blow on border patrols and fences and drones and Directors of Homeland Security, but if you want to try I guess I don’t really care. That’s at least rational.

A legal, quota-less avenue to immigration is what I really want and what the USA really needs. The American Dream is not just for Americans. The American Dream is everyone’s dream. I want to be the America we lie to our kids about. It’s supposed to be the city on the hill, the shining beacon of human potential shouting to all the world’s citizens that they deserve better, that if they work hard and play fair they can have a life worthy of their contributions to society. The sooner we realize that the sooner we can stop wasting money on yet another hopeless American war.


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