What’s Wrong with Immigration Restrictions? The Same Thing That’s Wrong with Gun Control

My latest post at Learn Liberty explores the close parallels between certain arguments for immigration restrictions and gun restrictions: A common argument for restricting immigration to the United States and other developed countries — maybe even the most plausible one — runs like this. Opening the borders will bring in people who will consume more … Continue reading What’s Wrong with Immigration Restrictions? The Same Thing That’s Wrong with Gun Control

Talking with High School Students About Open Borders

New at e3ne.org, I discuss my conversations with high school students about the moral legitimacy of border restrictions: We started our discussion with a little bit of improv theatre. I played a foreigner trying to get into the United States without documentation. Students volunteered to play a border guard trying to keep me out. Between … Continue reading Talking with High School Students About Open Borders

Trade or Migrate?

Factor price equalization due to trade and investment flows across economies would substantially reduce economic reasons for immigration to rich countries. (Trade and investment flows will not eliminate economic reasons for migration because if polities differ in total factor productivity due to political institutions, there can still be an advantage to migrating to a more … Continue reading Trade or Migrate?

Would President Paul Ever Stand Up to His Party?

Following the defeat of his amendment that would give Congress the right to vote to verify border security as a condition of permitting the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants to go forward, Senator Rand Paul has decided to oppose the immigration reform bill. While the immigration bill has many flaws, it is certainly a … Continue reading Would President Paul Ever Stand Up to His Party?

Occupational Licensing as an Implicit Barrier to High Skill Migration

That's the subtitle of a new working paper from Peterson, Pandya, and Leblang. Here's the abstract: Skills are often occupation-specific, a fact missing from existing research on the political economy of immigration. Although analyses of survey data suggest broad support for skilled migration occupational licensing regulations persist as formidable barriers to skilled migrants’ labor market … Continue reading Occupational Licensing as an Implicit Barrier to High Skill Migration

President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Decision: Good Policy but Illegal?

Several commentators have weighed in on President Obama's decision to stop deporting certain immigrants under 30 who were brought illegally to the country when they were under 16. This morning, Andrew Napolitano and Ilya Somin have come down firmly on opposite sides of this issue. Napolitano: Along comes the president, and he has decided that … Continue reading President Obama’s Immigration Enforcement Decision: Good Policy but Illegal?

ACLU’s Civil Liberties Candidate Report Card

The ACLU has just released a candidate report card on certain civil liberties issues. It includes all Republican candidates, Barack Obama, and Gary Johnson. It doesn't provide an aggregate score, but it scores all candidates on the issue areas of "humane immigration policy," "closing Guantanamo Bay and indefinite detention," "gays and lesbians serving openly in … Continue reading ACLU’s Civil Liberties Candidate Report Card

Today in Neat-o Research

Jordan Rappaport, "Moving to Nice Weather," Regional Science and Urban Economics. U.S. residents have been moving en masse to places with nice weather. Well known is the migration towards places with warm winters, which is often attributed to the introduction of air conditioning. But people have also been moving to places with cooler, less-humid summers, … Continue reading Today in Neat-o Research

The Economy and Migration

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that the total stock of illegal immigrants in the United States has fallen slightly, from 12.1 to 11.9 million, between July 2008 and July 2009, due to the poor economy. (Inflows of legal migrants continue.) What's interesting is that those numbers haven't fallen more. The Economist argues that even in … Continue reading The Economy and Migration

Does the Federal Government Have Grounds to Sue Arizona?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in Ecuador last week that the Obama Administration plans to commence legal proceedings against the State of Arizona to invalidate its recently enacted SB 1070. The new law directs state and local law enforcement officers and agencies to enforce federal immigration law by detaining or reporting persons giving rise … Continue reading Does the Federal Government Have Grounds to Sue Arizona?

The Not-So-Beautiful Underside of the Beautiful Game

As the world focuses on its most watched sporting event, many Americans (including an occasional Pileus political scientist or two) remain oblivious to every aspect of the game, missing many of the nuances that reveal volumes about national character, culture and politics. These Americans are missing something important. To the true football fan, the World … Continue reading The Not-So-Beautiful Underside of the Beautiful Game

The New Third Rail

In a feat of logical gymnastics so convoluted it is surprising it passed editorial review even on on opinion page, Frank Rich made the following argument in the New York Times not long ago: The crowd that wants Latinos to show their papers if there's a ''reasonable suspicion'' of illegality is often the same crowd … Continue reading The New Third Rail

Is Federal Immigration Law Constitutional?

Both sides of the current immigration debate assume that regulating immigration is the right and duty of the federal government. For conservatives, the federal government has failed in its job of enforcement, which makes it sadly necessary for states to step in. Thus we have this typical defense of the Arizona law: The same idea … Continue reading Is Federal Immigration Law Constitutional?

Arizona and the Genetic Fallacy

The new Arizona immigration law is provoking charges of the genetic fallacy on both sides. The genetic fallacy is criticizing an argument or proposition not on its merits but on the basis of its origin or genesis---where it originally came from, what sort of motivations the people who propose it have, and so on. It … Continue reading Arizona and the Genetic Fallacy

Welcome to America

My New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez is angry that "legal citizens and permanent residents of the U.S." will be detained and asked for their "papers" in Arizona. In a CNN interview yesterday, the Senator says that "Arizona has become a 'show me your papers' state," and he declares that, if asked, "the only papers [he] … Continue reading Welcome to America

The Arizona Conundrum

I’m interested in people’s opinions on the new Arizona anti-immigration law.  I have a hard time coming to a consensus in my own mind about the immigration issue and laws like the one Arizona passed. My civil libertarian mind hates the police state and harassment of anyone—citizen or otherwise. My rule-of-law mind hates that we … Continue reading The Arizona Conundrum