Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Jason Kuznicki and Timothy Sandefur (back from vacation) have begun a spontaneous debate about immigration. I have to confess that this is a subject I’ve thought very little about other than having a bias in favor of immigration as a general rule. Neither of them is against immigration, of course, but they are debating how best to handle the situation in light of recent legislative action and the public furor over it. And since both begin from a more or less libertarian perspective, it makes for an interesting exchange. My initial thought is that I’m leaning toward Jason’s position, but as I said, I haven’t given the issue enough thought to feel confident in my position. Here are the links:

Sandefur’s first post.
Kuznicki’s response.
Sandefur’s second post.


  1. #1 Troy Britain
    March 31, 2006

    I have to confess that this is a subject I’ve thought very little about other than having a bias in favor of immigration as a general rule.

    The problem is illegal immigration not simply immigration. I find that it is usually (and I am not including you here Ed) advocates of illegal immigration or open (no) borders who frame the debate as being immigration vs. no immigration when the truth is illegal immigration vs. legal immigration. It’s the old control the language of the debate tactic.

    I have a lot I could say on the subject (being a native Southern Californian), but I don’t have time at the moment. However I will say one thing as it regards one of the most annoying things in the debate.

    Being in favor of controlled boarders and legal immigration does not mean one is a racist!

    I am a native Californian, I love California and a California without Hispanic/Latino people, culture, and influences would not be California. I have Hispanics in my family (from Argentina, by marriage) and consider them family. I have no problem with there being large numbers of Hispanic immigrants coming to this country, as long as they do so legally.

    The dismissal of those who oppose uncontrolled boarders and illegal immigration as mere racists is another debate tactic.

    More later as I find the time.

  2. #2 Soldats
    March 31, 2006

    I read the article and was then perusing the comments while digesting it and came across the point made by a poster on the education of freedom through coersion and could not help but laugh. Then I happened to be browsing through Reason and came across the “We want to be operated like puppets” post which lead me to reconsider the whole issue and made me rather depressed to boot.

  3. #3 KeithB
    March 31, 2006

    Here, here Troy!

    I ditto those comments almost *exactly.* My wife would ditto those and her maiden name was Rodriguez. (Though she is New-Mexican-Taos-Pueblo-Indian-Spanish-Puerto-Rican born in California and does not consider herself “hispanic.”)

  4. #4 Jim Lippard
    March 31, 2006

    Seems to me the war on illegal immigration is as likely to succeed as the war on drugs. In both cases you’re trying to fight voluntary transactions between parties who find them mutually beneficial, and most of the harmful effects are consequences of the transactions being illegal rather than the transactions themselves.

  5. #5 Jim Lippard
    March 31, 2006

    BTW, the issue Sandefur raises about illegal immigrants on welfare doesn’t seem to me to be a serious issue, since studies show that illegal immigrants are net contributors. Part of that, however, may be illegal immigrants having taxes withheld under bogus names/SSNs and not filing returns; if they were legal residents they would have incentive to get some of those withheld dollars back. I’m not sure how that would affect the overall calculations, though I suspect they’d still be net contributors.

  6. #6 Treban
    March 31, 2006

    I read the first two posts listed and have to say in many regards I disagree with both for two reasons. First, I think it is important that we limit the labor pool so the cost of labor goes up. For this to be truly effective we would need a major overhaul of the insane trade policies started by Reagan and continued by every president since. But the basic premise that illegals do work that Americans won’t is just plain wrong. If you pay a reasonable wage, Americans will bloody well do anything. Second, illegal immigrants are a slap in the face of legal immigrants who have to go through years of paperwork, classes and many other challenges. They have to prove repeatedly that they want to be – Americans.

  7. #7 Jim Lippard
    March 31, 2006

    Looks like the same point and comparison I made to the war on drugs has been made at Catallarchy, in more detail.

  8. #8 KathyBritain
    April 1, 2006

    I agree fully with Troy. A melting pot of cultures is a good thing. Except when it becomes so overwhelming that resources can’t keep up or when the illegal immigrants start making demands that your city, state and/or nation change its laws to accommodate them, many choosing not to acclimate themselves to a different way of life. I am not saying the immigrants have to fully immerse themselves into American culture. Following our laws would be a good start.

    For example: Is it fair to require the naturalized Americans and the legal immigrants to have to have a valid driver’s license and insurance but to request that this requirement be waived for the illegal immigrants? Yes, we actually have representatives trying to pass bills to this effect.

    This is where public furor comes in. Legal immigrants who have worked hard and waited years to become legal are seeing new people come in and demanding instant gratification.
    The many illegal immigrants, in recent years, are choosing not to become “Americanized”. They want to bring their whole way of life with them from Mexico. That’s not a bad thing except….

    90% of my coworkers are Mexican (about 15 people). Been in the States 15+ years. Most of them refuse to speak English but can understand it. Last year two of my coworkers took their teenage kids out of high school (10th and 11th grades) and told them to go get jobs. They said that any further education was not necessary. They told me that when they were living in Mexico many people stopped going to school by the 8th grade.

    What will be the long term effect? As a nation our education is already suffering. In Southern California we are seeing culture clashes in the schools. People in California are upset thinking that the illegals are trying to turn California into an extension of Mexico and some of our politicians are trying to help them.

  9. #9 Matthew
    April 1, 2006

    I agree more with Kuznicki here. I don’t like Sandefur’s cultural and philosophy arguments. I think the idea of indoctrination is wrong to begin with, and I think he overstates how much of a shared ideological heritage we actually have. As for cultural reasons, he pointed out lingual differences. But monolingualism is a historical exception; almost all people through all time were multilingual. And our country has no official language like most.

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