Rule of law implies a somewhat slack enforcement of immigration restrictions

That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg article, here is one bit:

What is striking about immigration, and immigration policy, is the very simple but oft neglected fact that it concerns human bodies. Any exercise of immigration law thus requires some violence, either explicit or implicit, against those bodies. It will mean the rounding up and forcible restraint of bodies, the widespread use of prisons and other coercive holding chambers, and tearful scenes of airport separation. Those methods will be applied to individuals who do not enjoy the full protections of the U.S. Constitution, who are vulnerable to mistreatment during the process, and who do not always have full fluency in the English language or a full understanding of their legal rights. The resulting problems are especially high costs, not only because of the associated dollars, but also because our precious self-image as a humane country implies keeping such episodes to a minimum. Too many violent stories and images, even when they technically can be justified by laws, damage our conception of our country. Eventually that will shape our future behavior and not for the better.

A somewhat lax enforcement of immigration restrictions is in fact the friend of the future of the rule of law, not the enemy.

Do read the whole thing.


If the authorities didn't neglect enforcement of immigration laws for so long, several generations in fact, turning a blind eye to illegal entry, visa overstays and illegal employment, then we wouldn't have these heartbreaking images of people shocked by the sudden enforcement of the laws. It's as if after the IRS resumes auditing taxpayers after having neglected to enforce collection of taxes for decades. People would become outraged at the prospect of penalties and prison having gotten comfortable and used to non-enforcement of tax evasion.

Immigration is a fake issue. Voters are outraged that the free market took away their jobs so they couldn't pay off their free-market credit & mortgage binge. But they can't blame the free market -- that's their religion. So they need to blame immigrants. Then they elect a show-biz psychopath so the free market will have 7% growth, and he increases the federal debt another $2 trillion which will cut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. The next logical step is for them to elect a porn star to finally explain this in language they can understand.

You started out so logially, then descended into TDS (Trump derangement syndrome) and starting predicting the future. Sad.

"TDS" is just a slight improvement on "nah nah nah, I can't hear you."

Most people give that up at age 6 or 7.

It is also an example of truth decay.

Arnold, who needs the help of Trump Derangement Syndrome to rail, when his clownish nonsense is replenished daily?

That's pretty much it. "TDS" was inoculation against criticism.

I mean sure, people can be "deranged" as when a President blows up the policy his staff put in place 12 hours before. It's just important to spot when the shoe is on which foot.

Oh wow, not content to blow up The Wall negotiations, Trump has also firebombed the Republican's own CHIP position.

Anyone who is still on "Trump accomplishes things," explain to us what is going on?

I mean, Arnold, you did know that 7% was a real thing, right?

It is interesting that if you substitute "home invasion" for "immigration" in the argument it changes nothing.

Exactly, both illegal southern border crossings and violent crime generally have been trending downward. Killings by white supremacists doubled in the last year however.

He didn't even start out logically. It's drivel from start to end. Hostility to illegal immigration pre-dated the Great Recession, the financial system and its support of the housing market in particular is a far cry from the free market given all of the government regulations and (moral hazard) guarantees, one can only hope that entitlements are cut but they never are because old people vote the most, and calling the president a psychopath merely because he offends tender sensibilities is indeed TDS.

Hostility to immigration pre-dated ancient civilization. The Trump story is that jobs were lost to free trade which is the free market, and the voters' story is that jobs were lost to immigrants, which contradicts the free market story that you will be always be able to figure out another way to earn a supportive income. The Republicans are in the process of deregulating the financial system so the losses will be socialized again. You don't need TDS to realize that we elected Joe Pesci's character out of Goodfellas. these guys pass cognitive tests.

You're absolutely right. I should have said that he started a discussion that could be engaged in logically (as you have done). That is, an argument that is falsifiable and can be engaged in in good faith. Then he went on to predicting the future based on his Trump-colored glasses. I had to deal with this for years with my Anti-Obama colleagues, who could see nothing good in anything Obama did, and now have to deal with it from my anti-Trump friends and family.

Pay attention to the facts. Conservative estimates of the addition to the federal debt in ten years is $1.5 trillion. More likely guesses are coming in at around $2.2 trillion. Back during the campaign, Bloomberg reported a meeting between Trump and Ryan wherein Trump agreed that Medicaid and Medicare must be cut. Of course you cannot believe anything Trump says, so, why would Ryan believe this? But another fact is that Trump is attempting to reverse Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, and just recently burbled something about "fixing entitlements". However I agree that you can't predict the future from this, since he doesn't know what he is doing. I wasn't predicting the future.

It's acceptable when a black president does it: Obama increased the national debt by $10 trillion in eight years. Ergo, $2 trillion is a vast improvement, you racist simpleton!

Simply put, they can stay and take poor Americans' jobs because you hate Trump.

Similarly, after years of fake actions, there is fake outrage over President Trump attempting to keep America safe and enforce international, nuclear nonproliferation "agreements." Twenty years ago, North Korea suckered the Clintons into a bad nuclear deal. Late in the second Bush Administration, NK became a nuclear power. Then, for eight years, Obama "kicked the can down the road" while K tested bigger bombs and longer-ranged missiles. Now, it's President Trump's problem.

Obama deficits went DOWN percentage of GDP. CBO now says Trump deficits are going to go UP as percentage of GDP. Deficits add up to the Debt. Obama decreased the deficits from around 10% of GDP down to around 2% of GDP. The debt still went up because of the big recession following the financial crisis. Recessions mean reduced revenue. The debt would have gone up more. But now the debt is going to go up without a recession.

If immigrants take jobs, and you can't figure out something else to do to make a living, then the theory of free market capitalism is false.

Trump is going to stick with the main outlines of U.S. defense and foreign policy like any other President, despite all his promises, tweeting and prancing. That's largely because the establishment Republicans sent the generals and Tillerson into Trump Tower during the transition to get Defense, State, and security out of his hands. He's already settling into keeping agreements and negotiating, after a suitable period of bloviation so his supporters think he's doing something new.

But don't let facts get in your way. Better to accuse people of TDS because you feel guilty voting for the guy.

TDS is just the current partisan attack. Before that we had ODS, BDS, and CDS. CDS is the first real iteration of the symptoms of the partisan stupidity disease.

In big, round numbers, the national debt was approximately $10 trillion when that shiftless POS walked into the WH in 2009. It was rounded about $20 trillion when, thank God, he vacated the premises.

The most recent quarter showed $225 billion deficit despite record-high tax revenues. It's a spending problem, not a tax revenue shortage.

Guilty? What are you smoking? Trump 2020!

How do you know it's not a tax revenue shortage now?

I didn't vote for Trump and have had a visceral hatred for him as a person since the 80s. It doesn't keep me from seeing that some of what he has done as president hasn't been horrible, or recognizing TDS when I see it. You, my friend, have a serious case of TDS. For your own sake, let it go.

And why is your guy Trump overspending even more (it's only been a year) than Obama did? If we're going to run with your childish talk of deficits being the work of one person.

@Arnold: I agree, my not liking Trump and thinking he's terrible to have as president doesn't mean his actual policies have all been terrible, and some have been good. But 'TDS' is no less real than ODS, BDS, and CDS. Each side gets their own version of derangement syndrome over these last 25+ years. Politics used to be a lot less personal, now each side really hates the other side's guy (or gal).

Arnold, one thing I do NOT have is TDS. Saying Trump is a racist, pussy-grabbing, lying loudmouthed braggart who makes fun of handicapped people not TDS. It is experienced reality. Did I mention he has little grasp of policy and alienates our major allies.

One of the biggest problems we had in 2016 was that people started crying "TDS" before the defects of Trump were even fully cataloged.

Way before stuff with porn actresses became boring and accepted as "normal" and "presidential."

"...their free-market credit & mortgage binge. But they can’t blame the free market..."

The presumed alternative is credit not being available to people? Yes, I prefer the free market.

'The presumed alternative is credit not being available to people?'

See below. This web site is always looking out for the people. Well, some of the people some of the time, as it simply is not possible to fool all of the people all of the time.

No the presumed alternative is NOT "credit not being available to people".

No. The immigration debate is fundamentally over identity, not economics. Many financially secure people are outraged over the immigration issue. The identity of their nation and national culture is being deliberately undermined.

Rhetorically, if some is outraged by immigration and they are economically unsuccessful, you can somewhat justifiably sneer at their bad habits that led to their situation. If they are economically successful, you can mock them, with "what do you have to complain about?". Both cases still sidestep the core of the debate about identity.

No. The national identity of the U.S. is we assimilate everybody, we give everybody a chance. If "many financially secure people" don't like that, then they are AGAINST the first principles of the Declaration of Independence and they should join the House Freedom Caucus, a misnomer if ever there was one. The U.S. should certainly have a sensible immigration policy; this is not the real issue. The immigration debate is fueled mostly by economic insecurity coming out of the financial crash (how many times do we hear that immigrants must be taking the jobs, & even financially secure people are worried about taxes) and the threat of jihad.

The national identity of the U.S. is we assimilate everybody, we give everybody a chance

No it's not.

Some people believe USA is just a nation designed to serve the needs of its citizens and not the needs of foreigners and only invite whatever foreigners the citizens as a whole choose to invite.

What should be less contentious, is this identity is what the immigration debate is over.

You can't tell me that the same US that was founded on slavery was founded on the idea of open borders.

"the idea of open borders"

After I write that the U.S. needs a sensible immigration policy, you infer that I am in favor of open borders. No.

What "some people believe" about the USA, sometimes has little to do with the USA. Send them to a civics class. The identity of the USA is that it is a nation of immigrants.

The identity of the USA is that it is a nation of immigrants.

No, it's not. You have no authority to make that claim.

Every group has a membership composed of previous non-members. In that way, sure every nation is nation of immigrants, since all citizens have ancestry leading back to non-citizens.

The majority of U.S. citizens are 1st- to 4th-generation immigrants. What other country is a nation of immigrants by this definition?

I'd imagine Israel, Singapore, and South Africa have higher proportions of recent generation newcomers. Maybe North Africa too?

Does this matter? The main open-ish border argument is that any migration limits and government demographic preferences are immoral. That seems more universal and consistent. I don't see any morality that says nations with large amounts of recent immigrants are morally obligated to take larger inflows of future migrants. That really doesn't have any moral logic to it.

Look at a map of the US. Then look North.

Massimo Heitor in around 300 words you've jumped, from the insupportable assertion that the U.S. has an anti-immigrant cultural identity, to a specious suggestion that there must exist a "moral logic" whereby a country with a lot of immigrants is obligated to take more, or else it should not. I'm not buying that necessity either. Although most people believe in the Golden Rule.

I support immigration restriction, but never "anti-immigrant" sentiment as in hostility to potential immigrants as people. This is analogous to how universities reject many prospective students, but wouldn't consider themselves "anti-student".

Regarding USA past and present cultural identity, I was making the weaker assertion that restricting immigration in the interest of existing US citizens is completely in line with past and recent behavior as well as US founding principles.

Regarding "moral logic", I thought you were making a moral argument for allowing larger volumes of immigration. If you are making a moral argument there should be consistent moral logic to it.

Immigration is definitely a fake issue. The areas with fewest immigrants are the most anti-immigrant. It was the same case with Brexit - the least diverse regions with the fewest foreigners went most heavily pro-Brexit. All this complaining about destruction of the national culture is coming from people who live in 90%+ white towns.

"Immigration is definitely a fake issue. The areas with fewest immigrants are the most anti-immigrant."

This would logically correlate, so it's surprising to call it a "fake issue". One would assume that immigrants would be pro-immigrant. It would also be logical to assume that people who live in and move to areas with immigrants are generally more pro-immigrant. It's also logical that people who economically benefit from immigration would tend to be more supportive than those who don't directly benefit, but are paying taxes.

For you to call it a "fake issue" is purely mood affiliation on your part. You disagree, so you discount the argument of the other side rather than addressing it directly.

"All this complaining about destruction of the national culture is coming from people who live in 90%+ white towns."

This part is almost certainly untrue. There are plenty of lower class blacks that are directly impacted by large amounts of low skilled immigrants. Increasing supply, lowers demand. When you increase the labor pool, you put downward pressure on wages in that labor pool.

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"If the authorities didn’t neglect enforcement of immigration laws for so long..."

The problem is immigration law requires a "living Constitution" to not be unconstitutional. The founding of the United States was based on high immigration as the engine of growth and prosperity.

Congress has no authority to do anything at the borders but collect tariffs.

Citizenship was denied to the majority of the population, women, Jews, often Catholics, children, based on the decisions by States, but there could be no border walls between States.

All of the big problems began when Clinton compromised with the GOP and started building border walls between the US and Mexico. That increased the "illegals" in the US by 8 million between 1998 and 2008.

Before, millions of workers came to the US to work, but not live because they were free to move around the Americas. In New England, lots of Canadians came in seasonally.

The resulting problems are especially high costs, not only because of the associated dollars, but also because our precious self-image as a humane country implies keeping such episodes to a minimum. Too many violent stories and images, even when they technically can be justified by laws, damage our conception of our country.

So America has to give up on actually enforcing the laws as they are writ because the Left will smear the country by insuring endless pictures of police enforcing the law on national and international television news? Well that is just peachy. Of course when people were let into the US on Temporary Protection Visas this was the point. No one expected the law to be enforced. The Democrats knew that any attempt by Republicans to reduce the number of illegal Democrat voters could be spun to look like Selma in 1968.

However a refusal to enforce the law has created this situation. An on-going refusing to enforce the law just makes it worse. More and more illegals will come because they know no one has the guts to enforce the law. America may as well have an open door for anyone who will vote for the Democrats. It is better to accept the short-term pain of actual law enforcement. It may look bad on TV. Frankly I don't care. When it is accepted that the laws will be enforced and illegals removed, illegals will stop coming. Look at what Trump has achieved already.

The alternative is growing contempt for the law in all sections of society - after all, if the law does not apply to them, why should it apply to anyone? - and an endless supply of low-level removals. All looking bad. Indefinitely.

Enforce the law. Who cares if some people get hurt.

Fewer illegal immigrants are now coming, not more. These people aren't voting illegally, but keep saying it.

Jan says they aren't voting illegally (or having any other ill effect of any kind). What more do you want, huh?

There probably are millions on noncitizen voters, but keep saying it:

Even if they aren't voting, they're being counted in the census, which affects the way districts are gerrymandered and how many electoral college votes each state gets (or doesn't get). California could lose at least one ev if their migrants were not counted.

So they are affecting the democratic process.

"growing contempt for the law in all sections of society"

The knuckleheads elected Trump, so this horse has left the barn.

The alternative is growing contempt for the law in all sections of society

It ain't growing, it's already the case. Nobody drives as slow as the speed limit. Dope of various kinds has been endemic for decades. Why should one law be strictly enforced when others are ignored? Drawing an imaginary line across a desert doesn't make a real boundary anyway. ICE and Border Patrol agents, many of them from areas many miles away, are trying to separate families that have lived in border areas since before statehood:

Though one assumes that Sassy is safely back in the barn, after almost carrying a man to victory as U.S. Senator from the state of Alabama.

You really are a one-note-Trumpet, aren’t you? Let go of the hate. It’ll help you see the world clearly again.

"Hate" isn't the word for it. There hasn't been this much gaudy fun since in the days of Mencken's reportage. Look at Trump botching his own policy initiatives time after time. I have been laughing out loud at the TV for two weeks. I feel sorry for the children growing up in the midst of this, though.

There's nothing illegal about voting against the cuckold candidate.

the Left will smear the country by insuring endless pictures of police enforcing the law on national and international television news?

If you can't handle seeing pictures of what the policies you support actually look like, maybe you should reconsider your support for those policies.

"If you can’t handle seeing pictures of what the policies you support actually look like, maybe you should reconsider your support for those policies."

Abortion irony alert

There is no irony whatsoever. I'm willing to look at pictures of aborted fetuses and I'm not trying to stop anyone from displaying them. Nor am I claiming that there's something unfair about doing so.

"If you can’t handle seeing pictures of what the policies you support actually look like, maybe you should reconsider your support for those policies."

+1, this is a valid point. I personally agree with enforcing immigration law. But I'm also willing to admit that if it can't happen in the light of day, that's a pretty large strike against it.

Well, I think it should be obvious that giving people subject to the law proper due process will sometimes mean regulations can't be enforced rigorously. I don't know what is special about immigration in this instance.

People aren't stupid. We see the state is really, really good at making you pay taxes and really, really good at catching cop-killers. Oh, and seizing stuff. So, let's stop with the "poor state - it can't enforce any laws!" sob story.

We also can see other countries, where magically, they CAN enforce immigration laws in a reasonable fashion.

Finally, we have seen political parties confess that they are trying to import a new electorate. This is unconscionable.

I'm for immigration, and I'm trying to explain to pro-immigration people: stop denying these things. Its not helping our cause.

1) Enforce the laws. Legal immigration is not impossible. Please see Canada and Australia. These are not hellholes of whites only without any diversity.

2) Stop the attempts to game electoral demographics and stop the ethnic voting bloc strategy. Its embarrassing.

Seriously, if the IRS announced that they would not catch tax evaders, you know, because it would help economic growth by lowering their taxes, would anyone agree with that strategy? No.

we have seen political parties confess that they are trying to import a new electorate

Citation needed.

There’s no question that immigrants and poor minorities have been a solid D bloc and that Democrats not coincidentally support lots of immigration. (Many liberals downplay this and point out that the Republican Party would adapt to the new demographics and would eventually be competitive again, albeit in name only, but that is really just a triviality of the two-party system).

I actually disagree with most of the predictions for the following reasons:

1) Diversity will wreck the Democratic Party well before it can irreparably wreck the country at large. Their coalition is fragile and ineffectual.

2) Whites vote about 60% Republican and that will rise as things get worse. We’ve already see this long ago in the South which has some of the highest minority populations (30%+ Black in some cases) yet is still solidly Republican.

3) The tide is turning on immigration. Democrats (and Graham/Flake Republicans) are going to lose on this issue. Deportations and future restrictions are going to happen. This will limit and even claw back a lot of the demographic “gains” the libs have been counting on.

I also think the voting angle is a little overplayed on the right. Liberals are aware of it, but it’s secondary. Most of them are true believers who are gripped with a sort of pathological anti-racism and they think it’s morally wrong to restrict immigration. They generally aren’t willing to discuss the issue in terms of costs and benefits or practical considerations.

"I think of the rule of law as meaning, among other things, that all people are equal before the law. So if the law is judging the immigration case of a Mexican or a Costa Rican, the decision should be the same regardless of country of origin, unless some specific provision dictates otherwise, such as the temporary protected status program for refugees from El Salvador. That is not all the rule of law implies, but it is one basic part of the concept."

When has there ever been equality of treatment of people based on nation of origin?

Should we end our visa waiver program that favorably treats visitors from more civilized countries over those from crapholes?

In the spirit of non-discrimination, should we allow any old Yemeni or Afghan easy entry no-questions-asked, like we allow for visitors from Canada or the Norway?

Perhaps we really should reconsider our favorable treatment of visitors from countries we formerly considered civilized, but not because it's discriminatory but rather because it's insufficiently discriminating. Many have been objecting the characterization of Europe's terrorists as "Foreigners" "Immigrants" or "Muslims" preferring to focus on the fact that they are naturalized citizens or recent descendants thereof. Well if these countries formerly considered as civilized feel compelled to discard any and all prudent judgment about whom they welcome as "discriminatory" perhaps the US needs to become more discriminating and reconsider whom it welcomes without more thorough vetting for a full visa. Indeed if being "French" "Belgian" or "British" are no longer meaningful designations that their citizens share common civilized values but rather entail a high likelihood that they harbor unassmilated craphole values and behaviors, then national citizenship is perhaps not a useful criteria for screening any more.

Should we end our visa waiver program that favorably treats visitors from more civilized countries over those from crapholes?

Yes, you should. Visa-less travel is an enormous privilege, and there is no reason to think that every person from a country on that list deserves that privilege, nor that every person from a country on on the list must be treated like a common criminal by your visa officers.

Crapholeness is a temporary condition. Countries on the waiver list would have qualified for that epithet until not too long ago (e.g., South Korea.) But South Korea has long been civilized, longer than your people have. The same consideration applies to most other countries you call "crapholes". Being in a bad condition today doesn't automatically make them uncivilized. And when an external observer observes the trajectory taken by sex and sexual relationships in your society, there's a good case to be made that the West is rapidly getting uncivilized in that respect.

nor that every person from a country on on the list

Typo: "on on" should have been written as "not on".

Modern governments prove that the Devil finds a use for idle hands by frantically passing thousands of pages of laws every time they are in session. Do they mean most of them? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Let me again suggest the Eric Garner rule - if you are not prepared to kill someone enforcing this law, do not pass the damn law. Sure, banning the sale of individual cigarettes sounds a good idea. But are you prepared to kill someone to enforce that law? New York was.

Enforcing the law may be ugly, but that has a positive side too. It means law makers will think carefully before passing any more laws. Well, that probably is naive. Un-enforcement has a negative side - it means law makers signal their virtue by passing laws they do not intend to enforce. Are you prepared to kill someone to enforce a ban on the sale of soda? If not, why pass the law?

I think Western populations are prepared for quite a lot of violence in enforcing immigration laws. Maybe that is just me. But these are laws that we cannot refuse to enforce. Either the West continues to exist within its own secure, recognized borders. Or it goes under.

"Enforcing the law may be ugly, but that has a positive side too. It means law makers will think carefully before passing any more laws. Well, that probably is naive. Un-enforcement has a negative side – it means law makers signal their virtue by passing laws they do not intend to enforce. Are you prepared to kill someone to enforce a ban on the sale of soda? If not, why pass the law?"

Well said.

We shouldn't have laws that we don't think are worth the violence and the cost of enforcement.

If we don't have the stomach to enforce them, then repeal them.

Otherwise we get a perverse selection effect that the civilized and law abiding are discouraged from entry.

We seem to have expressed a preference for the wretched refuse that is willing to break the law over the prosocial and law abiding who are discouraged by the complex bureaucracy and expensive process of filing for a green card through proper channels.

Peculiar incentives indeed.

Worth killing someone being the price of passing a law? What a dumb justification. I don't think governments intend to kill every person who mistakenly forgets to bring a bag to scoop up poop on their dog walk, or who jaywalks through an intersection when there are no cars present, or drives 5 mph over the speed limit.

I think you're naive if you think NY government or even law officers were prepared to kill over the sale of individual cigarettes. In fact, law officers who reviewed the tape are pretty clear he ended up dead because he resisted arrest. It had nothing to do with cigarettes.

"What a dumb justification."

Perhaps you could enlighten us on the method of law enforcement that is not law unenforcement which stops short of killing? The only thing dumb about this is that leftists manage to convince themselves of their own goodness and pacifism while spewing an endless vomit of aesthetic preference and cultural condescension made law, to be enforced by violence and violence alone. Hint, kevin: there is a reason leftist regimes need gulags.

method of law enforcement that is not law unenforcement which stops short of killing: Fines, Jail time, permanent records (ie. reduced employment opportunities), losing out on other benefits too--good luck on getting a drivers license if there's a warrant out for you

Either the West continues to exist within its own secure, recognized borders. Or it goes under.

The West isn't going to cease to exist because Spanish-speaking Catholics moved from Central America to the United States.

Does it exist in Honduras and El Salvador, where Spanish-speaking Catholics are an electoral majority?

Yes. Latin America is part of "The West".

The Church at one point did essentially define “the West.” But it no longer does, in my opinion.

Trump’s nice vs shithole dichotomy (however you might phrase it) is probably a better taxonomy for the modern day, and it’s pretty clear where Latin America falls there.

While all of the Americas were “Westernized” in a sense, there is tremendous difference between how his occurred in North America vs Central and South America. North America was settled by Europeans. They brought their own women, and hence their societies in North America were in substance extensions of England. The indigenous population was thin to begin with, and they were displaced/diluted/absorbed/killed and have left only a modest legacy among modern day North American populations.

The Spanish conquest was entirely different. The conquistadores were overwhemingly male and they mated with the native women. The resultant societies were by no means pure extensions of Spain or Portugal, and their histories have unsurprisingly been marked by violence and dysfunction. The modern populations outside of certain pockets are still of primarily Amerindian blood.

"Any exercise of immigration law thus requires some violence"

The death of Kate Steinle shows that lax enforcement results in some violence too.... but I guess prioritizing the lives of citizens over the rights of illegal alien drug addled felons is just crazy talk.

Lax enforcement in Europe has also resulted in deadly violence against citiznes. So it's a question of which is better
A) non-lethal force against large numbers of illegal aliens or
B) lethal force against a smaller number of citizens.

I guess we know where Tyler stands.

Exactly, it's a sad development. It would be one thing to preach pro-immigrant rhetoric if one were really walking the talk, living first-hand among the poorest immigrants (and not e.g. wealthy techies from India). But to recommend from a gated community / university campus that we shirk the law because it looks mean on TV is selfish and absurd -- again, the author here is spending other people's safety and security, which he has no right to do. Kate Steinle, innocent victims of Somali violence in Minnesota, so many anecdotes that there's a whole agency devoted to giving a voice to those victims - I guess those people's stories and sufferings are irrelevant to the author's calculations of what is fair and just.

'But to recommend from a gated community / university campus'

Prof. Cowen most assuredly does not live in a gated community, and at least a couple of decades ago, was not that far from Fairfax Circle apartments that housed some of those 'poorest immigrants' - who did not seem noticeably worse to live among. Several areas of Fairfax City in the later 80s/early 90s had a noticeable concentration of people from elsewhere. In my personal experience, it was not a problem living among them in the least.

And back in that same period, the part of North Arlington that the GMU Law School was located in also had a number of those 'poorest immigrants' - no idea about how much time Prof. Cowen was spending there after Dean Manne set up shop, but the food available around Clarendon was quite good, especially by the standards Prof. Cowen sets such public stock on.

That was the past, of course, but generally, as was seen in the Swiss vote demanding that EU citizens free movement rights be restricted, those people with the most actual experience living among immigrants are the ones least likely to vote for further restrictions. The classic American example is NYC, the sort of place where a man with an immigrant mother can grow rich, marry two wives who were themselves immigrants, and become president of the United States of America.

And this has to be one of the most hilarious mischaracterizations of a federal agency ever seen in this comment section - 'there’s a whole agency devoted to giving a voice to those victims.' No, there isn't an 'agency' devoted to it all.

ICE has a slightly broader mandate - 'U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) enforces federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration to promote homeland security and public safety. ICE was created in 2003 through a merger of the investigative and interior enforcement elements of the former U.S. Customs Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. ICE now has more than 20,000 employees in more than 400 offices in the United States and 46 foreign countries. The agency has an annual budget of approximately $6 billion, primarily devoted to three operational directorates – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA). A fourth directorate – Management and Administration – supports the three operational branches to advance the ICE mission.'

ICE does have an office which probably proclaims why it exists - 'The Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) was established to fulfill President Trump’s commitment to help people affected by criminal activity perpetrated by criminal aliens.' It is not the reason that ICE exists, though President Trump is clearly entitled to try to reshape government mandates into whatever form he wishes, with appropriate congressional approval.

Cost should be a factor too, not just your A and B. How many millions of lives have been wasted by TSA, not to mention billions of our taxpayer dollars. And perhaps another 20-30 billion now on a wall. That kind of money can increase the well being and life expectancy of our citizens significantly

It's hard to see "the rule of law requires exemptions for photogenically tearful people" as anything more than trolling.

I'd be curious to know what constitutional protections Tyler thinks do not apply to a prospective deportee.

Well, sort of, depending on perspective. For example, those detained by ICE in certain circumstances do not have a right to a criminal trial - 'Individuals found to have entered the U.S. illegally or those who have overstayed their visas may be deported through the expedited removal process.

Expedited removal orders can’t be appealed to a judge, but individuals can claim the orders were improperly issued and ask the government to review and dismiss them.

Currently, expedited removals can only take place if individuals are arrested within 100 miles of U.S. borders and if they’ve been inside the U.S. two weeks or less.' Obviously, the same applies to someone denied entry at an airport - they are either not allowed entry at all, with the airline needing to return them, or they are put into detention until they can be deported.

Nonetheless, it is not possible for an American citizen to be detained in the ways those non-U.S. citizens who are assumed to be violating civil (not criminal) immigration law are.

See the case of Davino Watson. "Davino Watson told the immigration officers that he was a U.S. citizen. He told jail officials that he was a U.S. citizen. He told a judge. He repeated it again and again. There is no right to a court-appointed attorney in immigration court. Watson, who was 23 and didn't have a high school diploma when he entered ICE custody, didn't have a lawyer of his own. So he hand-wrote a letter to immigration officers, attaching his father's naturalization certificate, and kept repeating his status to anyone who would listen. Still, Immigration and Customs Enforcement kept Watson imprisoned as a deportable alien for nearly 3 1/2 years. Then it released Watson, who was from New York, in rural Alabama with no money and no explanation."

Note that this was a naturalized U.S. citizen.

How the hell can the statute of limitations expire while you're still being unlawfully detained?

You really aren't all that familiar with the U.S. in terms of such things, are you?

Try this one - a single person at the ICE counter can ban a non-American from entry to the U.S. for 10 years, simply on their own authority, if they believe the person in front of them intends to violate U.S. immigration laws. (Yes, I have known a Dutch citizen subjected to this 'process.') And absolutely no appeal is possible, as this Clinton era law makes absolutely no provision for it. This includes if the person being banned is married to an American citizen, and the civil servant decides to not allow the spouse into the U.S., but instead bans them from entry for 10 years. (Unfortunately, it has become impossible to find the article with a couple of minutes google searching - my memory is that it involved a former Navy officer married to a Greek woman - and that a congressman attempted to intervene, without much success.)

Enforcement of ALL law is backed by the threat of force by the state. If you break ANY law you will be physically restrained,removed from family and thrown in jail

There is zero difference between immigration law and any law in this regard.

This is the libertarian argument against the size and reach of the state, and the requirement to reduce the number of laws that restrict personal liberty and the fundamental threats of violence behind them

The fundamental most important requirement for a functioning state is that the state has a monopoly on the use of force to enforce laws.

I don't buy this argument at all. Immigration law is not unique in anyway vs any other just or unjust law. It may be another category of unjust law perhaps (maybe), but there are plenty of unjust laws.

Worse, there is lower regulation also backed by force. And even worse there are private rules backed by state force - Remember American Airlines using state police to forecable bashg and remove a paying customer from the airline. That action of violence was not even supported by democratically passed law! Far more unjust use of force than enforcement of any actual law that has been passed by democratically elected parliament!

Noting that immigration law may be unjust - but changing the law is a political decision with a political process that is ultimately accountable to the demos. If enough people agree a law is unjust change will happen. In the meantime, as above,there is zero fundamental difference is the states use of force to enforce immigration law than it is in the states use or threat of physical force to enforce ANY law.

"There is zero difference between immigration law and any law in this regard."

Immigration law is civil, not criminal, so due process protections are fewer and a lot of discretion and power is left in the hands of unelected bureaucrats. Occasionally, this concentration of power in the hands of a federal police force combined with very limited judicial checks and balances affects even American citizens, which you can confirm by googling cases of U.S. citizens held in ICE detention. One of the most egregious of these cases was that of Divino Watson, who was held in ICE detention without access to a court-appointed attorney for over three years.

"Immigration law is civil, not criminal..."

Whhhat? It is not illegal to enter the US without passing through a checkpoint and having your passport inspected? So the next time I come back from overseas I can bypass the immigration checkpoint at the airport and only incur a fine? not detention?

'It is not illegal to enter the US without passing through a checkpoint and having your passport inspected?'

Of course it is illegal. It simply is not a criminal matter, but instead a civil one. One trusts you are aware of the distinction?

Iirc over staying a visa is a civil infraction, but crossing the border without going through a checkpoint is a criminal infraction.

That is quite possible - I have pretty much missed the mixing of anti-terrorist law with border controls. Which remains part of the reason these debates get muddled so quickly - these days, it is so much easier to talk about threats to America's security when someone crosses the border improperly - such as not providing proper biometric ID, giving fingerprints, etc.

Mr. Garcia being deported on MLK Day is quite appropriate. MLK's view of civil disobedience was that you pay due respect to the rule of law by accepting the penalty for violating the law to call attention to what you believe is an unjust law (which will promote changing the law).

Of course if you don't think that the law is particularly unjust, then the problem is that too many people have conflated "humanity" (that peculiar modern virtue) with indulgence. "Our precious self-image as a humane country" is indeed too precious. Being more like Singapore in this regard would be a salutary corrective.

"We had to destroy the [rule of law] in order to save it." Hmmm

'Any exercise of immigration law thus requires some violence, either explicit or implicit, against those bodies'

Yes, having to show an identity document and in many cases a visa before crossing a national border is obviously a violent process, explicit or implicit.

Oddly, the same point about showing an identity document applies to renting a car, clearly making renting a car a violent process, explicit or implicit.

"Oddly, the same point about showing an identity document applies to renting a car, clearly making renting a car a violent process, explicit or implicit."

In the sense that, if refused services, and you refuse to leave, someone will drag you away, then Yes.

Well, I was thinking more in the sense of driving away in the car without showing an identity document. To be allowed to rent a car in the first place, you need to show an identity document. The same essentially applies to everyone getting off of an international flight and being allowed into the U.S.

If the rental company doesn't make you show an identity document, the government will come and drag THEM away.

Or the insurer. The credit card company will likely just refuse to pay.

It's nice how libertarian market-based solutions work out without violence.

this was Merkel's logic a few years back ... she didn't want all the pictures of German officials maintaining her borders she let them all in ... maybe it was all turn out ok ...

'she didn’t want all the pictures of German officials maintaining her borders'

Trust someone from Stasi, and you deserve to be misinformed. Actually, Merkel's logic had several threads, including her expressed belief in the following the tenets of Jesus Christ (hard as that may be to imagine of a pastor's daughter and the head of the Christian Democratic Union).

Another one involved her background as a former East German citizen fully aware of what Stasi was trying to accomplish. Which is explained by another expressed belief, that tearing down walls is the goal of a free society, not building them in the fashion of the Iron Curtain she grew up behind.

But don't worry, this woman had no problem advocating having German police gun down women and children at the German border, though of course it would be regrettable - 'German border police should shoot at refugees entering the country illegally, the head of far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) has said.

Frauke Petry’s remarks have been condemned by politicians and a police union chief, who said firing at refugees would be a suspension of the rule of law.

Officers must "use firearms if necessary" to “prevent illegal border crossings", Ms Petry told the regional newspaper Mannheimer Morgen in an interview.

"Armed force is there as a last resort", said Ms Petry, according to a translation by Reuters.

"No policeman wants to fire on a refugee and I don't want that either."

But "police must stop refugees entering German soil", she said.'

Now that is the sort of woman that Stasi would approve of.

Remember, India recently had an open "shoot-to-kill" policy towards unwanted immigrants approaching from the border with Bangladesh. This wasn't even super aggressive immigrants after several attempts at non-lethal deterrence.

I'm guessing you missed the Stasi reference. The East German government used to shoot both 'illegal immigrants' and emigrants at their border, remember?

The Berlin Wall was more about blocking people in than keeping people out. North Korea shoots people who try to flee. Clearly preventing people from fleeing is completely different from preventing people from entering. Locking people in your basement is different from locking your door so that strangers can't enter.

'The Berlin Wall was more about blocking people in than keeping people out.'

Officially, the Anti-fascist Protection Wall / Antifaschistischer Schutzwall was to protect East Germany from the western hordes threatening the DDR. And if you disagreed, Stasi would be involved in ensuring you did not spread such slanderous anti-state propaganda.

If going after workers is inhumane, there's also the possibility to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers.

Presumably, the employers know English very well and can afford legal representation.

'the possibility to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers'

Well, let us just say that the odds of Prof. Cowen promoting that as a reasonable solution to restricting the demand for cheap labor which is part of the background in which illegal immigration occurs are about the same as him advocating that employees should form a union and use their collective power to bargain for higher wages as a way to reduce the political necessity for minimum wage laws.

Yes, why the bias toward action against the people here illegally and not the businesses employing them? It's the typical republican/conservative business bias showing up again.

The part about human bodies introduces a distinction (I could say: "discrimination") where none should exist.
Any legal or economic reasoning that stops or starts at the boundaries of the human body is tainted. It's just another kind of rationing. One may argue there is a "reasonable" and "justified" amount of land, or money, or machinery a person is entitled to possess, and going beyond that amount needs a "socially acceptable" foundation. In most cases, we'd call them a naive socialist, possibly a Luddite. Why is the body considered different from any other property?
Being physically (bodily) present at a particular location can be a contractual obligation. Think of office hours. Also think of dress codes. Undergoing vaccinations or medical treatment of infectious diseases can be required by a contract, or a local law, or both. Addicts to nicotine may experience bodily discomfort in a non-smoking area. Contractual enlistment in the military can inflict significant body harm. In fact, I can't think of any legal or contractual obligation or requirement that wouldn't involve anyone's body unless its fulfillment is perfectly automated and its results imperceptible (the latter rendering the whole thing unenforcible).
My body is my property; my property is my body; anything less than that is an insult to my inner engineer even more than it is to my inner libertarian.

Absolutely, the use of "bodies" is a distinction without a difference, and it echoes the jargon of a variety of nonsensical post-modern scholarship.

I imagine that if any of the dissenters above were told "Surprise, your parents brought you here as a small child. You have to go."

Every darn one of them would say "That's not fair, I have been working hard, and a good citizen, all my life."

If it was them, and not a differently colored stranger, they would think the quality of their character should matter more.

MLK Day indeed.

Well, after discovering that they were not actually American citizens, one trusts that every single one would self-deport in expedient fashion, assuming that they are honorable people who believe in their stated principles.

Ah, the "if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered" fallacy.

No idea what that is, but imagining yourself in another man's shoes is a good exercise. It helps you think about their predicament and their options.

The thing about childhood arrivals is that their condition is much less binary. They are not citizens yes or no. They are kinda. And we should figure out a policy that is both rational and compassionate for people who are kinda American.

"imagining yourself in another man’s shoes is a good exercise. It helps you think about their predicament and their options."

Sure! But the idea that policy should be shaped only by the people it most powerfully impacts is nuts. "Predicament" is another word for "bias." If Michael Dukakis's wife really was raped and murdered, he probably would have favored the death penalty for her killer. But that did not make him a hypocrite for using reason and evidence, rather than how he would react emotionally to a hypothetical predicament, in determining his policy view, and it was unfair to ask him a hyopcrisy-seeking question for this reason. People with $100k in student loans probably react pretty favorably to forgiving student loans. Hedge fund managers probably react pretty favorably to carried interest tax treatment. Parents of kids with Duchenne muscular dystrophy probably react pretty favorably to Medicaid covering a $500,000-750,000 per year drug.

Maybe the common thread here is that if you have a reasonable and reasonably compassionate policy, it can survive an imagined walk in another man's shoes.

But you know, if you avoid empathy, that might be a warning sign.

'If Michael Dukakis’s wife really was raped and murdered, he probably would have favored the death penalty for her killer.'

How could you possibly know?

And you do know that it is now an accepted part of current Catholic belief that execution is immoral - if a modern pope's sister was raped and murdered, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the pope would favor the death penalty for her killer.

I don't avoid empathy; I actually do pretty well at predicting how people will act, I think. But I absolutely avoid letting it affect my own judgments about what is true.

Clockwork- American Catholics are pretty close to 50/50 on the death penalty even if all you do is ask them what they think:

And the reason that the Catholic church goes around and declares things immoral is precisely because they understand that people will react emotionally to various situations and want to indoctrinate people while they have a clear head so that, in said situations, there is at least some chance they will do what the Catholic church wants. This doesn't always work; I'm pretty comfortable guessing that most American Catholic women who get pregnant through rape choose to get an abortion which, as you know, is also immoral according to current Catholic belief.

celestus, I don't think anyone disagrees on the facts of DACA. There is a US law. Children arriving with their parents were not the instigants in breaking that law. They just stayed on because, their family, and then their friends, and then their schoolmates, and then their workmates, and then perhaps their own families and children were here.

The question now is not one of fact but of policy. What policy is best, for us, for them, for the country?

Tyler argues that some flexibility benefits all. I agree. Not least because, as Borjigid says, we should spend more energy looking for bad guys, than good guys.

And interestingly, you managed to avoid explaining how you knew what Dukakis thinks, and why one cannot safely assume that a modern pope would decide that capital punishment is appropriate is his sister had been raped and murdered.

Sixth-generation anchor babies crying about later arrivals. Maybe they should just head back for Europe.

Of course, the same open border campaign to undermine and subvert border restrictions is active in Europe too. And in Europe, the government says, if you don't like mass migration, you aren't welcome here.

The "rule of law" is a hilarious notion. We are hypocrites who cry for law enforcement when it is advantageous to our cause.

When they installed red light cameras in Knoxville, TN, the computer started churning out tickets. Citizens revolted and now the cameras have either been pulled or are their for monitoring purposes only.

Speeding enforcement.

Regulation. Pollution, financial. Similar to traffic laws, if you do not look you will not find.

Keep the jokes coming.

That is a good example. It might even be consistent with Tyler's essay.

We want rule of law, but not too much. And so a lot of discussion will be about what is too much.

Personally, I stopped being shocked when the Trump administration started deporting US Military veterans, who had served and received honorable discharges, rather than finding them a path to citizenship.

These people will do anything, to brown people.

From the article detailing that: "Court records show that Ocon was indicted on several charges in 2006, including conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting. He pleaded guilty and spent nearly 10 years in federal prison.

In 2016, shortly after serving his prison sentence, Ocon was sent back to Mexico, a country he left when he was 7."

So, maybe a little more complicated than you're letting on.

That being said, there should be an expedited way for Vets to remain, and become citizens.

Do you really think there is just one case, and one vet?

No, as the rest of my comment indicates. This was the first example that came up on google. I'm just saying your blanket statement may need a bit more nuance. I know people who became citizens after being in the service with little troubled. It seemed there was an easier process for them, but I never got any details.

I'm also not concerned that a felon kidnapper isn't afforded the same treatment.

Oh, it's GOOOOOGLE's fault that you picked the first search result and went with that, painting all vets with "several charges in 2006, including conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting"

That makes perfect sense.

"Vista L.A.'s Patricia Lopez traveled to the San Diego-Mexico border to find out why hundreds of U.S. veterans were forced to leave the country they were willing to die for."

But sure, name one criminal to slime hundreds of honorable veterans.

That is just par for the New Right course.

See above, not that I'm expecting you to read my second comment when you seem to be unable to read my first.

Hey if Google said it, it had to be true and you had to paste in that snappy "several charges in 2006, including conspiracy to kidnap and aiding and abetting."

Bret Stephens makes the case for immigrants from a less explicitly libertarian perspective (not that there's anything wrong with the libertarian perspective):

Until his dying day, my dad’s Uncle Bern was a communist sympathizer. I remember him as an affable old man with a gracious wife who made a modest living selling antique lace. He probably wouldn’t have hurt a fly. Yet he found much to admire in the most murderous ideology of the 20th century, responsible for tens of millions of deaths from the killing fields of Cambodia to the gulags of Murmansk.

If you’re Jewish in America, chances are there’s at least one Uncle Bern somewhere in your family tree. As the scholar Ruth Wisse noted last year in Tablet magazine, Jewish intellectual life in the 1930s and 40s was largely defined by one’s stance toward one thing: The Party. Historians reckon that Jews accounted for nearly half the Communist Party’s total membership in those years, while many other Jews were close fellow travelers.

Most of these people, like my great-uncle, were deeply misguided idealists who otherwise led quiet and decent lives. A tiny handful of others — including atomic spies Julius Rosenberg, David Greenglass, Harry Gold and Morton Sobell — betrayed America’s most important military secrets to Stalinist Russia and did incalculable damage to the country and the world.

Here’s a thought experiment: Would the United States have been better off if it had banned Jewish immigration sometime in the late 19th century, so that the immigrant parents of Rosenberg and Sobell had never set foot here?

This is what it often comes down to. Their ancestors were disloyal then, so they must be at least unpatriotic now, lest they "betray" the memory of their ancestors. They are in fear of the answer to the question that yes, objectively, the goyim would have been better off had they not been allowed in. So thus they must welcome everybody, no matter how detrimental to their nations or even to themselves, as with Muslim immigration to France:

"What is striking about immigration, and immigration policy, is the very simple but oft neglected fact that it concerns human bodies. Any exercise of immigration law thus requires some violence, either explicit or implicit, against those bodies. It will mean the rounding up and forcible restraint of bodies, the widespread use of prisons and other coercive holding chambers, and tearful scenes of airport separation."

Tyler's signalling big-time.

This is a transparent attempt to tie non-enforcements with BLM (also full of rhetoric about 'bodies').

The open border people are at present thinking up any kind of stupid rationale they can to see if they can find something that doesn't alienate most people so they can run as hard and fast with it as they can.
Hardly any sane people who look at the issue dispassionately would come done on the open borders side so they're exploring what emotional arguments work and don't work.
I often think open borders as policy was thought up by a bunch of economists on a dare "What's the stupidest policy we could convince people was actually sane and moral?"

I always find it disturbing when live people are referred to as bodies. Paradoxically it dehumanizes.

Totally agree. It's cringeworthy, and suggests he's not in earnest; or that he has an oddly tin ear for all that he reads so much.

Absolutely, it is a repulsive way to describe living people, as the primary usage of the term is in reference to the dead.

This was pretty much the argument for ending federal oversight of the Reconstruction South. The degree of violence required to enforce civil liberties was too much to bear.

Shorter Tyler Cowen: dealing with illegal immigration is a nasty business that doesn't look nice, so let's just not do it.

This must be why economists don't make good politicians.

Utter hand wringing nonsense.

This same argument would apply to enforcement of ALL laws. We don't have "lax" enforcement of DUI laws just so people think nice thoughts about our government.

This sentiment also implies that cops should not shoot violent felons reaching for guns because it might make people upset about police oppression.

The criminal puts his own body into harm's way. Our justice system goes out of it's way to provide due process and protection of constitutional rights to illegal immigrants, to the exclusion of lawful residents and citizens. I've seen it in court dozens of times.

There is nothing inhumane about arresting and deporting an illegal alien. This is all part of the propaganda campaign of trying to get amnesty passed through the use of pathos.

On Monday it was a "poor, hardworking father" who had been living here 30 years being deported on MLKJs birthday, as if that is relevant. What the news covers up is that he had a deportation order ten years ago, and his evasion of justice for the preceding 20 years was enabled by people breaking the law. He could have gone home and applied for legal residence and ultimately citizenship. But instead, he chose to continue breaking the law and relying on non enforcement, evasion and obstruction.

"Those methods will be applied to individuals who do not enjoy the full protections of the U.S. Constitution...."

"Our justice system goes out of it’s way to provide due process and protection of constitutional rights to illegal immigrants, to the exclusion of lawful residents and citizens."

Where in the Constitution is any word other than "person" given rights?

The only right citizens gain is the right to vote and hold office.

You are likely confused by the very confused GOP written 14th Amendment that gave voting rights to women and children as it tried to give voting rights to blacks, Jews, Catholics, etc, that the Southern losers were denying voting rights to by denying them citizenship.

But then to not have the 14th give women the right to vote, the rule of law became rule by a few men who distorted the intent of the Constitution. Ie, unelected judges ruled that contrary to the Constitution, the majority of citizens were denied Constitutional citizenship rights.

Thus you, and Tyler, think citizenship has something to do with Constitutional rights beyond voting and holding office. Find any right other than voting or holding office granted citizens in the Constitution. Find any authority for Congress denying persons a right to live, enter, or leave the United States and territories in the Constitution.

Only a "living Constitution" as advocated by Democrats, liberals, progressives, etc give you any hope of defending your views.

Deportations are essentially flat over the past few years (226,119 in FY 2017, 240,255 in '16, and 235,413 in '15), despite a big shift in emphasis at the beginning of '17.

This suggests to me that the number of deportations is more or less fixed in the short term, probably due to there being a fixed number of ICE agents, immigrations judges, etc.

Moreover, the number of deportation-eligible illegal immigrants is vastly higher (~11 million) than our annual deportation capacity. So the rule of law is going to take a hit any way you look at it, since most illegal immigrants are not going to be deported this year, or next year, or the year after.

Clearly triage is needed. Obama, sensibly in my view, prioritized finding and deporting murderers, rapists, thieves, etc. Further, he judged that it made more sense to give the most sympathetic and potentially productive immigrants (the Dreamers) enough security that they could be productive, rather than spend their time hiding in the shadows and working in the grey market, where they would contribute less to society.

Trump's plan is to throw all that out the window and deport whoever is easiest. Yesterday it was a 39 year old landscaper and father of two. In a few months it will be the Dreamers. I'm hard pressed to see who benefits from getting rid of these people. Even if you're adamant that all illegal immigrants should be deported, these people should be the very last deported, not the first.

*gray not grey.

+1, and both are correct

Deportations from the interior of America are up. "Deportations" of people crossing the border* are down.

*They didn't used to be classified as deportations until the Obama administration.

I found this to be logical and needed. There are effective ways to synthesize the less concrete human toll into material impact. Well done.

Thought provoking but unconvincing because aggressive and public enforcement of laws today may prevent even more aggressive and public enforcement of laws in the future and "unfair" deportations today may discourage future illegal immigration and therefore even more unfair deportations in the future.

So like, ethnically cleansing Serbia of all the Croatians would be good because if there were no Croatians in Serbia there would be less need to cleanse them in the future.

Croatians came there illegally? And I don't see anyone suggesting to kill off the illegal immigrants.

My point is that "lets do some bad shit now, so we'll have to do less of it later" can be applied to a lot of other contexts, especially as it relates to getting rid of populations of people.

Like stop a thief now so he'll commit less crime in the future? Modern medicine is also largely based on this principle.

At the end of the day, if you don't like the law, change it, not just decide you don't want to enforce it.

The premise of the original comment is an admission that these actions are "unfair". That makes it distinct from prosecuting theives or curing diseases.

“Any exercise of immigration law thus requires some violence, either explicit or implicit, against those bodies. ”

The enforcement of all laws requires the threat of violence. Escorting someone out of the country isn’t actual violence. The failure to enforce immigration law has led to more violence because illegal immigrants commit violent crime at a higher rate than citizens. The repeated failure to enforce the law has encouraged more people to break that law, thereby increasing the scale of violence required to eventually restore the law.

Recent study in Arizona:

“Undocumented immigrants are at least 142% more likely to be convicted of a crime than other Arizonans. They also tend to commit more serious crimes and serve 10.5% longer sentences, more likely to be classified as dangerous, and 45% more likely to be gang members than U.S. citizens. Yet, there are several reasons that these numbers are likely to underestimate the share of crime committed by undocumented immigrants.”

My last post on same topic, but absolutely, all law and all governance is based on violence or a set of punishments such as fines that eventually ends with violence. And you can use the word, "draconian", which is a favorite GMU adjective towards violent enforcement, towards every and any law.

Michael Huemer bases his book, "The Problem of Political Authority" on this idea. This is the basis of the anarcho-libertarianism that Bryan Caplan and this GMU economist circle endorses.

There is some worrying stuff there, but .. it is kind of strange.

"Unlawful copying or sale of sounds or images from recording devices"

Oh no, illegal aliens are 903.1% more likely to do that. Seriously?

If your political beliefs lead to corralling human being in prisons, forcibly separating families, and acts of violence against "bodies", then you should reconsider your beliefs, because you have made an error in your moral reasoning. You don't wind up defending concentration camps and mass deportations having started with the correct premises.

The root cause of this is the failure to recognize that all migration exercises the same fundamental liberties that underpin free markets everywhere - the liberty to engage in voluntary employment and trade with any willing person. You start from denying people the right to freely live and work peacably in the US for any willing employer, and you will, invariably, end with violence and abuse against innocent people.


How would you recommend enforcing laws against murder, rape, and armed robbery without corralling human beings into prisons, forcibly separating families, and acts of violence against bodies?

You can make the argument that immigration violations (drug use, prostitution, homosexuality, gambling, etc.) aren't important enough to merit these tools. But I don't think we have any other way of enforcing our laws, ultimately, but to do the corralling human beings into prisons and carrying out acts of violence against human bodies. (Plausibly, we can punish serious crimes by imprisonment, execution, some kind of physical punishment like flogging, or maybe exile, but all those are pretty damned harsh, and they *need* to be.)

I recommend not having laws against things that don't have victims.

It's victimless only because you believe the benefit Americans get from citizenship which is demied to foreigners is illegitimate. We don't. Communists who say "property is theft" use similar logic to say that theft is a victimless crime.

It's victimless because there isn't a legitimate victim.
These people aren't coming here so they can vote in US elections, they are coming here to work for employers, who also happen to be US citizens.

>It’s victimless because there isn’t a legitimate victim.

This is the nub of the problem, Hazel. There ARE large immediate and contingent externalities created by this "victimless" invitation. A genuine libertarian should be appalled at the violation/dilution of indigenous Americans' social and material capital by uncontrolled immigration.

(1) Law and Order. Some immigrants commit crime. This cost falls on other taxpayers.

(2) Fiscal balance, Welfare and public services. Do immigrants and their descendants have a claim on welfare, now, or plausibly, or in the future? If an American on $30k a year is a fiscal drag, why is an immigrant on $30k a year a fiscal positive overall?

(3) Externalities in housing, education etc. Many important markets have big supply side restrictions, which mean the increase in immigrant demand reduces absolute quality and increases costs for native actors. This also includes basic "crowding" of public space.

(4) Suppression of wages. Increase in the labour supply decreases the value native labour. AND The Lump of Labour Fallacy isn't (entirely) a Fallacy. There IS some displacement effect which prices some Americans out of jobs. It is larger than the growth bonus of extra jobs. Even under the best cases it is transfers wealth from poorer to richer Americans and isn't Pareto efficient.

(5) Dilution of market value of citizenship. Residency and Citizenship are goods are Owned by the People in their entirety (i.e. issued only through the government). It can't be created by private contract. No more than you could arbitrarily admit new members to your Tennis club on your own say-so.

(6) Damage to Social Trust and Capital. The evidence screams that multi-ethnic states have lower social trust and accordingly suffer lower growth and more violence.

(7) Ethnic balkanisation and political rent seeking. Perhaps the most insidious threat of all; large immigrant ethnic groups create client voting blocs (for at least 1 party). Such groups consistently agitate to expand the role and power of the state. They increase the rent-seeking in the system, and polarise politics into a battle of identities and imported voters. They are poisonous to a free Republic in the long run.

I wish open-borders advocates would have the decency to at least address reasonably founded concerns, rather than spout bad economic rationales for uncontrolled immigration.

(8) Security. I mention this only as a reductio ad absurdum because there seems to be no end to the absurdity in this debate. What, theoretically, would stop any citizen who wished from "inviting" the People's Liberation Army to visit? Why can't small states be simply extinguished by invited "guests".

A lot of those things you list are simply the vagarities of the market. If I buy corn instead of wheat, I'm not creating an "externality" - I'm not inflicting harm on wheat farmers since they weren't entitled to my business in the first place. Nobody's entitled to be protected from the rise and fall of market prices for labor or housing or anything else. Nor is anyone entitled to keep the ethnic character of their neighborhood from changing.

As far as the rest is concerned, you could try judging immigrants as individuals rather than simply assuming that they are going to vote as an ethnic block or reduce social trust. And maybe there are ways to increase social trust that don't involve shutting out people who are ethnically different.

Only a crazy person would want to live in a libertarian democracy and also favor immigration by millions of people who make democracy less workable and oppose libertarian ideals.

Face it. Open-borders libertarians are loons.

Read B. Traven's Death Ship.


Agreed. But there are some of us libertarians who respect collective property rights and popular sovereignty. We are appalled at the open borders crowd too; their "logic" is embarrassingly sloppy for a discipline which prides itself on getting property rights, well, right.


I'm going to criticise you from a libertarian ethic because I think that's what you relate to. It seems to me in the argument for open borders you clearly violate fellow-citizens collective property rights through imposition of negative externalities and (technically) theft. Which sounds a bit strong, but I also believe you are not doing so maliciously, but are genuinely mistaken, perhaps through a surfeit of empathy.

> "A lot of those things you list are simply the vagarities of the market"

I fear this seems like hand-waving. Of my eight points, it seems to me you only attempt to answer two ; (4) and (7). I will answer those and leave the other 6 points standing as a reproach to silence.

"Nobody’s entitled to be protected from the rise and fall of market prices for labor or housing or anything else".

Actually, agreed.

But citizens ARE entitled decline further immigration which has that as a secondary effect. Libertarians are entirely entitled to protect their market power as long as they don't use force or fraud. You of course, are welcome to argue for immigrants to man your factory and increase your welfare, even at the expense of diluting the market wealth of your fellow citizens as you say. But don't pretend that your fellow citizens don't have _an equivalent right to vote you down and stop you_.

"Nor is anyone entitled to keep the ethnic character of their neighborhood from changing. "

We have disagreed about ethics of restrictive collective covenants before. That's really a function of you being unwilling to accept the ultimate logic of free association and property rights because.....well, reasons, I guess. There are clever ways to argue for and against such things, but you seemed to prefer the "Waycism is bad" approach. Won't bother to argue it further.

>As far as the rest is concerned, you could try judging immigrants as individuals rather than simply assuming that they are going to vote as an ethnic block or reduce social trust. And maybe there are ways to increase social trust that don’t involve shutting out people who are ethnically different.

OK, let's pull the syllogism to bits. I make a factual claim about immigrant behaviour in relation to a negative externality, and you respond with a hortative about my behaviour. So, you don't _actually_ dispute the externality as described exists, right? You acknowledge that you impose an externality? So no you acknowledge that your immigrant-employer is not a "victimless" transaction, in libertarian terms?

So, immigrants DO vote as an ethnic bloc (factual claim). Multi-ethnic societies DO reduce social trust and capital (factual claim). Immigrants DO lead to increased rent-seeking and span of state power (factual claim). Maybe there are ways to mitigate these effects. Maybe. But WE DON'T KNOW THOSE METHODS(factual claim). Do we? So perhaps we should refrain from the policy until such time as we do (and can implement them)?

(For what it is worth, I suggest the reasons for these effects are deeply ingrained in EvoPsych and public choice, which means you won't overcome them any time soon, even with the best intentions.)

Are you disputing that illegal immigrants commit more violent crime than citizens? Because that’s the only way to conclude that illegal immigration doesn’t create victims, or at least more victims than if they didn’t arrive.

Further, over 70% of households headed by migrants from Mexico and Latin America use at least one welfare program.

And, finally, Latino migration is steadily shifting voting demographics to the left and statism.

So, more crime, higher costs to the treasury and increased statism are all a direct result of the relatively open border, and nevertheless you believe this migration doesn’t create victims?

People should be judged as individuals, rather than as members of groups. Some immigrants commit crimes, some don't. Some use welfare, some don't. Aggregate numbers are not justification for denying people the right to move around and have jobs in individual cases.

"Are you disputing that illegal immigrants commit more violent crime than citizens?"

I would dispute that.

"A March 2017 study by the pro-immigration Cato Institute found that “all immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives relative to their shares of the population” and that “even illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.”

@Hazel I get it---you've read Ayn Rand. But can you just think about this for a second? Your neighbors vote. A large majority of non-European immigrants vote for the left. If you bring more immigrants into the country, this becomes exacerbated (see CA, NY, etc.), eventually leading to institutional collapse. If you have institutional collapse and a bunch of low-IQ Third Worlders around you, a Jeffersonian government will not rise from the ashes, but rather a dystopian hellscape.

@MS Why would we bring ONE immigrant into the country who commits a crime? How does this benefit the native population? The number should be 0. We are not the world's battered women's shelter, to paraphrase Ann Coulter.


The Post's comparison of imprisonment data baits-and-switches between "non-citizens" and "immigrants"; though it is notable that the number of non-citizens are a greater share of the imprisoned population than their share of the general population. The BJS self-reporting methodology is also clearly undercounting the non-citizen rate - the State/Federal discrepancy here is staggering. From this I take that non-citizens might indeed be more criminal than natives.

The second comparison by Cato is a lot more persuasive. But the kicker is the demographic breakdown. Headline might be "Hispanic Immigrants: NOT as criminal as US Blacks but pretty sucky otherwise". Or "White and Asian immigrants are great, and Black immigrants from RotW are OK". These are useful and interesting distinctions.

The mature repost might be "OK - but we also suspect (know) that this is a 'first generation advantage'. Subsequent criminal rates converge with that of the domestic population (i.e. they get worse). So given the majority of immigrants are black or Hispanic, then we might well expect that current net immigration makes long term crime worse.


Just noticed Cato baits-and-switches on the demographics. It excludes all the older non-criminal native population to make their rate twice as bad, whilst all young and old illegals are counted as the denominator for that group. Silly me! And I thought they were trying to be fair!

-1 to Cato.

Please seriously, can we cut out the apocalyptic hellscape bullshit? You sound like a climate change activist.
Lots of white Europeans vote for the same policies. Democrats are not overwhelmingly non-white. FDR was a white man. Socialism was invented by white Europeans. Most of Europe (white people) votes for socialist (social democracic) policies. Hispanics are really a side branch of Western culture - they are Catholics, not Muslims or Buddists, and their political institutions derive from the Roman Empire via the feudal states of Europe, just like ours. They aren't any more alien than Poles and Russians. If we can't convince them to support free-market principles then we might as well throw in the towel, because apparently nobody but White Anglo-Saxon Protestants can possibly understand such things and half of those people already vote socialist.

That's not the argument you made above. If you think we should have cops and jails for any crime, if you think we should enforce property rights by force, or if you think we should collect taxes, then your political beliefs lead to coralling human beings into prisons, forcibly separating families, and acts of violence against bodies. That's the only way we know to keep a decent society functioning.

If you want to argue that we shouldn't use those tools for immigration enforcement, that's a reasonable thing to do, but that's not the argument you made.

"If your political beliefs lead to corralling human being in prisons, forcibly separating families, and acts of violence against “bodies”, then you should reconsider your beliefs, because you have made an error in your moral reasoning."

All political beliefs save Somalia tier anarchism require that. Without the threat of punishment of violators, property rights, the foundation of any free market economy, do not exist in practice.

"You start from denying people the right to freely live and work peacably in the US for any willing employer, and you will, invariably, end with violence and abuse against innocent people."

What if they're not peaceable? Do we let them in and only kick them out when when they do something violent? What if they're thieves? And what if they don't believe in stuff like free speech and economic freedom? What if they think that the appropriate response to an insult to Islam is to cut off the head of the insulter?

The bottom line here is that open-borders libertarians are loons.

Obviously, people who commit actual crimes (i.e. crimes that actually have victims), should be treated like criminals. Duh.

"Obviously, people who commit actual crimes (i.e. crimes that actually have victims), should be treated like criminals. Duh."

So IF they're caught we lock them up and pay zillions of dollars for their imprisonment and have their gangs run our prisons? Of course we won't catch all of them.

And if they don't commit crimes but they vote for Shariah law and lots of welfare and various other things you and I don't like?

The bottom line here is still that open-borders libertarians are loons.

I'm not sure they are libertarians. Real libertarians don't destroy the common stock to enrich their private estate and impose large negative externalities on their fellow citizens.

Lots of us citizens vote for things I dont like. That's not a good reason to round them up and put them in deportation camps.

"Lots of us citizens vote for things I dont like. That’s not a good reason to round them up and put them in deportation camps."

We kind of have to put up with fellow citizens, even if some of them make our lives worse.

But we don't have to let foreigners who we think will make our lives worse into the country, and we can kick them out if they're here.

Again, open-borders libertarians are loons.

We kind of have to put up with fellow citizens, even if some of them make our lives worse.

Says who? It's certainly physically possible to round up citizens and put them in camps.
The only thing stopping us are arbitrary legal constraints. But what moral basis for those constraints is there? And why don't those moral constraints apply just as much to migrants from Mexico as to people born here? If you look at the world as just a collection of individuals - why should it matter whether one person was born in Mexico and another was born in Texas? Why NOT let in immigrants who we think are good for the country, and kick out native citizens who aren't?

"We kind of have to put up with fellow citizens, even if some of them make our lives worse."
"Says who?"

It has been customary here and I think in most countries to not deport citizens. Maybe the citizens of a country tend to get along a little better if deporting one's fellow citizens is not on the table.
But if there's a civil war, perhaps because we've foolishly imported so much discord, probably such niceties will be dropped.


> "If you look at the world as just a collection of individuals – why should it matter whether one person was born in Mexico and another was born in Texas? Why NOT let in immigrants who we think are good for the country, and kick out native citizens who aren’t?"

I'm glad you said that; I didn't want to put words into your mouth. It gets right to the heart of your mistake. You don't think your country is OWNED by anybody. You just think it's a patch of space where you happen to live to which you and your countrymen have no special privilege.

The obvious point is that countries belong to the people who _currently_ are citizens of them. "For ourselves and our posterity.." etc. This point is so axiomatic that its amazing it needs spelling out. So no-one is allowed in without the consent of the citizenry through rules established by their duly appointed government. You think that because the country and citizenship is collectively owned by all citizens that it is not owned by anyone at all. You think that citizenship are not property at all, but a global commons and that you have no more right to the dirt outside your door than the average Chinese.

The analogy of citizenship is share ownership of a corporation, or membership of a private members club. A stranger may not join (or even visit) a private club except under rules established by its committee. A libertarian should know this! A libertarian should understand collective property rights! And respect the property rights of their fellow stakeholders and not impose gross negative externalities on them!

A libertarian should understand collective property rights!

That's hysterically funny.

"A libertarian should understand that other people collectively own your property!"

>“A libertarian should understand that other people collectively own your property!”


Do you understand that property can be owned individually, collectively, jointly and severally, etc...?

Do you understand the ownership model of partnerships? Corporations? Associations? Trusts? Do you understand that libertarianism is fine with all of them?

I just ask because these are basic terms in economics, accountancy, law, and political philosophy. And at the moment I'm not sure I'm communicating at the right level for your education. Have you done any graduate work in any of those fields?


Also, I note your silence with regard to my central claim that a country is collectively owned by its citizens, and hence you have to respect the property rights of your fellow citizens/shareholders in that regard.

Judging by your reaction, this is entirely a new idea to you (but really quite old in the field of libertarian philosophy). Perhaps, when you encounter an idea you have never seen before, you should give it some consideration.


If a country is collectively "owned" by all of its citizens, then a foreigner's entry or expulsion must be a collective decision of those citizens, no? Anti-immigrant people seem to contend though that even if a small minority of people dislike immigrants, then immigration ought to be stopped and/or folks ought to be deported.

@ Kris

Late reply.

Yes. You're correct.

Thinking about Tyler's article, one thing that strikes me is that law enforcement often looks (and is) pretty damned harsh. Think about what a foreclosure looks like--you end up having the sheriff's deputies kick someone out of "their" house (arresting them if they refuse to go), and then some guys show up and dump all their stuff on the lawn and change the locks. That's ugly and harsh and nasty, but the alternative is to allow people to stop paying their mortgages and keep squatting in their houses indefinitely. Get rid of that, and you'll see a lot fewer companies willing to write mortgages.

This is true for just about everything. What happens if you refuse to pay your taxes, and keep refusing even as you're threatened, dragged into court, etc.? Eventually, armed men from the government take your stuff and probably take you off to jail and gunpoint. That's damned harsh and nasty and mean and ugly, but it's hard to see how we'd collect taxes if it couldn't be done.

I don't really see how immigration is more this way than other law enforcement. It is indeed awful that families get broken up by some guy getting deported, but families also get broken up by some guy getting hauled off to prison for that decade-old robbery conviction. I don't think we become any better-informed about whether we should enforce laws against robbery by being horrified at the sight of some guy who's been a good father and husband and member of the community getting hauled away from his crying wife and kids on that outstanding robbery warrant. Where possible, we should try to make law enforcement less brutal and nasty, but we should also accept that sometimes, it's going to be brutal and nasty.

So it's a good reason not to have victimless crimes, so you don't have to do such things to people who have not harmed anyone. Illegal immigrants have not done anything other than engage in voluntary exchange with a willing employer.

I posted separately, but you are right.

All rule of law and government is based on violence or a chain of increasing punishments such as fines and warnings that is ultimately backed by a violent punishment.

The Anarcho-libertarian movement is based on this idea. Read Michael Huemer.

And sure, immigration laws aren't different from any other laws in this sense.

I do wish the moderators would engage in something other than gamesmanship.

I do like how you refer to Tyler and Alex as the moderators, as though the comments were the main attraction of this site.

Any exercise of immigration law thus requires some violence, either explicit or implicit, against those bodies.

Any exercise of absolutely every law of any kind requires some violence. This is the basis on anarcho-libertarianism.

Michael Huemer starts his book, "The Problem with Political Authority", with this. And, of course, this is true, all law and all government is predicated on violence. Or some chain of increasing punishments that eventually must end in violence. I'm still not convinced on the rest of the anarchy ideology.

Jorge Garcia is is way better off that the poor guy who spent his life savings to get to the USA but was turned back at the border.

Don't remember hearing any caterwauling about the plight of the Cubans who were marooned in Central America when Obama slammed the door shut for them. Of course that would have had nothing to do with Cubans propensity to vote Republican. As with the federal intelligence apparatus, Democrats have thoroughly politicized immigration by targeting Republican congressional districts for the resettlement of reliably-Democrat voting refugee populations and denying eligibilty under the Diversity Visa Program to countries whose citizens might be more likely to vote Republican. No worries though, Democrats never need worry about another Republican being elected President. Hurrican Maria saw to that. The 300,000 plus Puerto Ricans who have moved to Florida will preclude the Republicans from ever again carrying that state. Once Trump and Pence are impeached in 2019, Nancy Pelosi will be President and the US will have one party governance until the end of time. Of course,I may be wrong, but Alex's veiled threat to Republican voters in the next post about the beauties of genocide appears to be the Democrat's back up plan. What is it with Virginia and Democrat violence anyway? Tyler publishes his screed lamenting low levels of political violence (the complacency book), and riots break out in Charlottesville, a Democrat attempts to kill off the congressisonal leadership, and Governor Terry McAulliffe boasts about how he is going to punch Trump. What a pathetic but dangerous moment in history.

They don't vote correctly

Oh, and note Tyler is still deflecting attention from the more fundamental question of if, or how, to reform the family immigration program allowing certain immigrants to bring in their siblings and parents and the Diversity Visa Program which uses a lottery system to grant visas to people in select countries. If there is a plausible argument in favor of continuing with status quo, I have yet to see it.

Imagine if the IRS allowed low level tax evasion, you know, to help hard-working Americans who just forgot to fill out their taxes for a decade or so.

This would probably help our economy - its like a tax cut.

Some people could offer lower cost services than others - if you don't pay taxes, you can undercut those who do.

Its probably an overall positive to the economy.

Let's run an experiment and try this out.

Most of us evade some sales taxes.

What's weird is I try not to evade sales tax, because as a business owner, I do not want any reason for the FTB to be upset with me.

Its still sometimes a pain!

Oh, and some states have sales tax holidays. I guess that's institutionalizing my idea.

If you're not going to enforce immigration laws as your supposed back-door way to the rule of law, then simultaneously you shouldn't enforce all those laws that socialize the costs of immigration, right?

Are you in need of funding for your project? You have an investment plan or you want to expand
your business but no proper funding? NO up front!

James Darr

Yes! I plan to invest in building a terrific team of crack commenters on, who will go on to win all the arguments and dominate the comments section until I run out of money. Which will be soon, since I have no proper funding and zero prospect of attracting any. Far from being an injustice, this makes sense, as I lack any way to monetize these valiant victories. Still, it's a real bummer.

But now here you are, James Darr, with your offer of proper funding with NO up front . . .

"The identity of the USA is that it is a nation of immigrants."

Wanna put that to a vote? The country was founded by settlers and colonists (like pilgrims and puritans), pioneers (like those in covered wagons) expanded it physically while immigrants just helped fill out the population.

Calling everybody who lives in a country they weren't born in 'immigrants' just confuses the issue.

How were 'settlers and colonists' not immigrants? And plenty of those covered wagons were full of immigrants.

Because "immigrant" is a category imposed by the admitting State. No such entity existed in the Americas until the settlers and colonists got here from Great Britain and Spain and eventually set up their own States.

A related question: does a nation of immigrants ever become a nation of natives? It seems the "nation of immigrants" must forever be importing increasingly exotic peoples to preserve its "immigrant" identity. This translates pretty easily into everybody on the globe just being an American or potential American. Foreign interventions are justified on behalf of America's future citizenry everywhere. We fight them over there because we're going to be inviting them here!

"the “nation of immigrants” must forever be importing increasingly exotic peoples to preserve its “immigrant” identity."

Like now?

" everybody on the globe just being an American or potential American"

That's pretty much the party line of both repubs and demos (for different reasons)

On a theoretical level, there are grave disadvantages to failing to enforce the law.

It is never clear exactly when the law might be enforced, because no trial means no case law.

This element of uncertainty penalize people who are scrupulous about keeping the law, or who have more to lose from prosecution, by denying them opportunities open to law-breakers, with whom they may be in competition, if only for status.

If the decision to prosecute lies at the head of the executive, they have a veto which cannot be overridden - if this applies to all laws, they can literally get away with murder.

If the decision to prosecute lies with officials, they gain great power by selective enforcement, to be used at whim.

If the decision to prosecute follows from people making sufficient fuss, then lawbreakers - who may just be doing what the majority do - are vulnerable to blackmail.

I am not competent to solve the puzzle of US immigration policy, but I doubt very much if anything good will come of muddling the issue by passing laws which are then not enforced. I suspect that there is a "Dutch book" argument against this and other inconsistent policies.

Umm Tyler, what law doesn't eventually involve human bodies?

Anyone want to inform this author-dope that all law enforcement is about human bodies?

I've seen him stoop very, very low in trying to defend illegal immigration.... but he always manages to bend down just a bit more every time. It's very telling that he has no good arguments at all.

Yes. And all laws ultimately are backed by violence or a chain of punishments that ultimately ends in violence. That's standard anarcho-libertarian theory.

It is daft to criticize immigration enforcement law with a criticism that applies to all laws of every kind. It would be more honest to simply criticize the premise of all government laws, which is the school of thought of Michael Huemer and Bryan Caplan.


Ta-Nehisi Cowen is the man!

Well, after 205 comments I doubt anyone is reading.

But if you are, the selective enforcement of law is a terrible idea (In immigration and every other area of law), and hardly a principle to stand on, and probably corrosive to a democratic society.

Please read "Inside Bureaucracy" by Anthony Downs.

Egads, this may the worst post in internet history.

Yes, blame it on the United States and the rule of law. Real smart.

I'm so tired this nonsense from ostensibly smart people (it's sad to see people going to jail or being deported for sneaking into the country and breaking the law! waaaah!). What about me and my family who has to suffer and pay for this BS? Do those humans deserve humane treatment? The people coming from the Third World disproportionately take welfare, vote for the left, bring their illiberal cultures with them, and some even go on killing sprees for Allah. No, I don't want them here---let them stay in their shithole countries (and perhaps try to fix them).

The left can't win on the merit of their arguments (Communism is a hard sell in the Anglo-Saxon West), so they import voters to retain power. Apologists for mass immigration who have a preference for freedom and laissez-faire are spineless cowards who are too scared to face the social consequences of saying/doing what's right.

Please use a different handle. I've been using "Kris" for a few years now, so I think I can claim it for myself. Since I have an almost diametrically opposite view on the subject of immigration from you, other commenters are going to be confused.

Immigration boosters like Tyler protest greatly at enforcement of immigration laws, yet they do not say much about all the government’s heavy-handed interventions (like the government’s non-discrimination crusade) that skew the incentives towards illegal immigration and also make it impossible to deal with the problem at more granular levels.

Combining liberal immigration with a welfare state, universal suffrage, and no freedom of association amounts to a particularly aggressive form of forced integration and demographic displacement. Hardly “libertarian.”

Immigration to the US ran very high even when the US was explicitly racist. See the history of the Irish and Chinese, for example, who were not coming to a country where the gov't was doing anything near a non-discrimination crusade.

The point is not high vs low, it’s that high immigration is one thing while high immigration coupled with coerced integration/no freedom of association is quite another.

Today with fair housing, integrated schooling, etc., natives cannot bar Mexicans (for example) from moving into their neighborhoods or attending public schools. They are forced to welcome them and even cover the additional expense of ESL, etc. That simply wasn’t happening with the coolie labor in the 19th century. It’s a totally different game.

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