Conservatives on Facebook are all throwing fits over President Obama’s latest decree regarding the suspension of deportations for young immigrants. From what I’ve gathered the complaints are mostly related to the jobs these “illegals” are taking and the fact they’ve broken the law.
Note: I’ll agree that procedurally it may not have been the preferred way of handling the issue, and agree that it’s simply an effort to get votes. But immigration laws are unjust and should not be followed or enforced, in the same way that drug laws are unjust and should be ignored.
One pundit posted a litany of clauses from the constitution, arguing that each was a defense of current immigration laws, and then went on to bash those advocating a more open policy. This of course reinforces the idea that rather than limiting government and preserving freedom, the constitution actually expands the powers of the state and restricts individual liberty.
Some have suggested that granting these immigrants work permits will give them an unfair advantage against native citizens.
I don’t see how a work permit gives someone with a language and cultural barrier, and little to no skills a leg up on others who are established here, who know the language, and have a skill set. Regardless, in a free society individuals don’t have to get permission from bureaucrats to live, work, or move in and out of one region or another. Only under the rule of a totalitarian regime is everyone required to get permission from the state.
Others complained that immigrants don’t deserve citizenship because they “scarcely know the meaning of the word ‘citizenship,’ and care even less for the concept.”
U.S. citizenship used to mean one at least had some rights, but that’s increasingly not the case; and anyway, in a free society citizenship isn’t really something to be concerned with. But given the present situation, I’d say immigrants are at least as deserving of citizenship as someone who did nothing to earn it except be lucky enough to be born here. Immigrants have to give up everything, uproot themselves, sacrifice time away from families, and risk their lives to improve their lot in life – things natives never have to face.
It seems that conservatives are always bringing up the “laws” but never seem curious as to how or why they were enacted, or what their effect on individual freedom or commerce are.
Their knee-jerk reaction is to defend them simply because they’re on the books, and seem to give no thought beyond that. But it’s important to note that historically, as well as today, immigration laws were a tool in central economic planning and social engineering. They were also attempts to protect labor unions from outside competition and frequently stemmed from bigotry.
One commenter wrote that “technically free trade is the free movement of goods, money, and people. One of the big reasons I oppose free trade [is] Americans do not have that sort of mobility….” At least he was honest.
Lastly, I heard someone call into a radio talk show and denigrate immigrants for sending half their paychecks back to their home country and using the ER, thereby driving up the cost of medical care.
First, Americans still enjoy the productive capacity of the immigrants, which Forbes notes tends to be higher by 10% than native workers. But, were it not so difficult to immigrate here it’s entirely likely that less money would leave the US, since families could move together. Second, it’s government that requires emergency rooms to serve anyone, at no direct cost. Eliminating this requirement and allowing the market to function would relieve this problem.
But third, it’s important to note that immigrants are not the parasites they’re made out to be. They’re often more productive and typically accept lower wages than their native counterparts. This allows firms to increase productivity and offer lower prices, which give rise to increasing standards of living for everyone. At any rate, the welfare state is the real problem, not immigrants.