Sentences to ponder

by on April 1, 2010 at 7:23 am in Current Affairs, Law | Permalink

More than two months after the earthquake that devastated Haiti, at least 30 survivors who were waved onto planes by Marines in the chaotic aftermath are prisoners of the United States immigration system, locked up since their arrival in detention centers in Florida.

The full and outrageous story is here.  Their "crime," by the way, is not having proper visas.  Some were pulled from the rubble of the earthquake and none have criminal histories.

1 Slocum April 1, 2010 at 7:34 am

I would say, “unbelievable” except that when it comes to the INS, this kind of outrage seems like standard operating procedure.

2 Nun April 1, 2010 at 8:27 am

Senegal offered to repatriate Haiti refugees since there is some history there. Funny that they all want to come to the US instead. Funny how they’re not going to France either given their history.

3 Sleazy P Martini April 1, 2010 at 8:50 am

Yeah, we should let EVERYONE into the country, no questions asked. In fact, I think EVERY country should have open borders,
unlimited immigration, etc.

Oh, except Israel, of course.

4 E. Barandiaran April 1, 2010 at 9:28 am

Tyler, I don’t understand why you’re surprised. It seems that you pay too little attention to the ineptness and corruption of your country’s federal and state governments. For example, yesterday your post on regulations and unemployment was nonsense because of the many regulations –both existing and expected regulations– that are conditioning business decisions (for example, who would be stupid enough to make a large investment in San Francisco without the protection of local politicians? or to hire a large number of “wrong” people, that is, the ones that are productive but are not protected by local politicians?). More important, have you been reading about public sector unions and how much they have been milking all cows under government control? And have you been reading about how people are being treated any time they have to visit a government agency? Popular anger against government is not only because of the bailout of big bank CEOs, the higher unemployment, the fear to lose some entitlements and other reasons advanced by intellectuals (in particular economists), it is largely the result of seeing that large organized groups are taking control of government for their own benefit. It may look as quite different from what happened decades ago in Argentina and other countries, and indeed there are important differences, but it’s the same phenomenon: organized groups controlling government. Let me say it again: you now live in a Banana Republic. What is going on with your government is just part of the dynamics of an emerging Banana Republic.

5 mulpkip April 1, 2010 at 11:52 am

Tyler Cowen: The White Economist’s Burden

Tyler, if you start campaigning against the burgeoning welfare state then you might be taken seriously.

6 Bernard Yomtov April 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

It’s really hard for me to grasp why there is so much hostility to these unfortunate Haitians expressed in some of these comments.

7 JonF April 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

is it the phase of the moon maybe? This is right down there in idiotville with the court decision that’s forcing the dead soldier’s father who sued Phelp’s for picketing his son’s funeral to pay Phelp’s legal bills.

8 Cliff April 1, 2010 at 8:03 pm


Huh? How can you disagree with that court decision? The guy files a frivolous lawsuit against the protesters, causing them tens of thousands of dollars in costs and legal expenses to defend against it, and is then outraged when he is assessed the costs. Now he knows how it feels. I can’t think of anything more fair.

9 billswift April 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Democrats claimed that the Bush administration was incompetent and evil.

Republicans claim that the Obama administration is incompetent and evil.

Hasn’t it dawned on you that they are both right?

10 Ricardo April 4, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Incidentally, this has nothing to do with any Presidential administration. USCIS/INS is a very capricious bureaucracy: it’s been that way long before Obama became President and will probably stay that way due to bureaucratic inertia. Immigration inspectors have very wide discretion to deny entry to foreigners with or without any reason.

Since visitors to the U.S. don’t vote and the U.S. is a big enough country that it is not dependent on tourists or business travelers, the situation is unlikely to change soon. But in any case, Presidents or top administration officials do not micromanage the day-to-day decision-making of USCIS. You could blame whoever runs USCIS these days. But then that person could probably turn around and blame Congress for not writing a better law that allows people to enter the U.S. in extreme emergencies without visas or passports.

It’s a rotten system and that system is almost guaranteed to produce rotten outcomes like this.

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