Canadian immigration sentences to ponder

It’s that commitment to policing immigration that has, paradoxically, sustained such high levels of support…

As for illegal and irregular immigration, Canadian governments from both ends of the political spectrum have worked—quietly—to ensure there is as little of it as possible. The unspoken underpinning of Canada’s otherwise welcoming immigration policy is a giant and assiduously maintained border wall…

Despite Canada’s open-door reputation, the country has some of the world’s most restrictive visa rules. A World Economic Forum survey of travel and tourism professionals ranked Canada among the worst in the world—120th out of 136 countries—for the restrictiveness of its visitor visa requirements. It’s a quiet but effective means of preempting irregular immigration.

That is from Tony Keller, the piece has other points of interest, such as how border-jumping from the U.S. is a major factor causing the Canadian immigration consensus to fray.  And don’t forget this:

Since the late 1980s, Canada has consistently been a high-immigration country, at least relative to the U.S. As a result, the proportion of Canadians born outside the country hit 21.9 percent in 2016. That same year, America’s foreign-born population was 13.4 percent. That’s a record high for the U.S.—but it’s been 115 years since Canada’s foreign-born population was at such a low level.

Under one simple model here, people need to feel in control before they will entertain further liberalization.


Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore all:

1. Have a lot of immigrants.
2. Strict border control. In the case of the three latter, a great big beautiful wall. It's called the Pacific Ocean. Eat your heart out Donald!

OK, technically for Singapore it's not the Pacific but you get the idea. I've lived in three of the four. Somehow notoriously law abiding Singapore has the smoothest airport entry/exit ever...

Canada also has a border to the south, the United States. 😂

But the illegal immigration is from Canada to the US historically.

Elon Musk was an illegal, from Canada. Not different from illegals from South of the US, Europe, Africa, Asia. Like Trump's first and third wives.

Such illegal status was routinely fixed by paying a lawyer before about 2005.

I know you've been smoking marijuana for a long time, but surely even you must realize that immigrants are not fungible commodities like coffee beans or lumber.

That would be a surprise to many of our resident alt-right commenters, who insist that we're trying to "import" them to substitute for our native white labor.

Do you smoke a lot of weed too? Re-read your comment and tell me how it's an argument.

I have long suspected they were to be a substitute for our native nonwhite labor, but then I guess I am probably more alt alt-right.

“Under one simple model here, people need to fell in control, before they will entertain further liberalization.”

One key insight may be that people can “feel in control” without actually being in control, and vice versa. Solve for the equilibrium!?

Tell people what they want to hear for a long time, until someone else comes along and says they've been lied to (true or not), and the clown wins the election?

Here's my 2001 article "Canada Doesn't Want Me" about how I didn't qualify to immigrate to Canada:

That is really similar to my own experience. Thanks for posting. I didn't start the application process until 1997, but I came in 1992 on an F-1 visa. After an 11 year wait I got my green card via brother/sister sponsorship from Canada in 2009. I naturalized as a citizen in 2014. Twenty-two years total.

I wonder if Sailer would even qualify to immigrate to the US if he had been born in Canada. As a journalist, it would probably be very difficult to get a labor certification approved.

It helps their only land border is with a country richer than theirs.

How are you measuring that? From Toronto, upstate New York (Rochester, Buffalo) ... western Penn...(Erie).... looks pretty poor. Same thing with the surrounding area for Montreal... New Hampshire...

Because if you are considering emigrating for economic purposes, and have been generally law-abiding, it's easier to go 2000 miles legally than 200 miles illegally.

"How are you measuring that?"

How about this?

per capita nominal GDP [IMF]

US 59,501

Canada 45,077

Western NY is not a "country" last I checked.

Bob, this misses my point. Those numbers are aggregates. Yes, Canadians know there are rich people in New York City and San Fransisco. But we don't look across the border with envy....we see New Hampshire...

But your point is so silly, no one believes even you think it's a real point. You're fully aware that Manhattan exists, along with every other Canadian

I thought we were all on board with the idea that Behavioural Economics is not silly?

58,327 in New Hampshire

35 US states are higher than Canada

Bob & Careless, in practice it is more Behavioural than ¨rational man¨. As Canadians are quite content to stay home... are not lined up at the border. Their reasoning must be along behavioural economics lines. We do not look out at America and just see wealth. We see poverty, and lot´s of it. If you are looking for hard numbers showing this look at GINI scores.

The OECD puts the US at 39, Canada 31. This is a substancial difference.
This same OECD page has relative income poverty 16.8%... Canada 12.6%
Canada poverty on this basis is along with Australia, UK. America´s is higher than Mexico that the OECD puts at 16.7%.

Actually, we look across the border and see medical bills..

This is silly. About 50,000 Canadians choose to visit the US for treatment every year.

And often there is no choice because crowded Canadian hospitals are forced to send patients to the US. Recently in Ontario there was a severe shortage of neonatal beds and American hospitals picked up the slack.

The Canadian system would crash without the US safety valve.

This is a falsehood oft repeated that is unsubstantiated by data.

There are roughly the same number of Canadians living in American as there are Americans living in Canada.

So, it doesn't look like there's a lot of strong overall preference.

Antifa probably says the same thing about speech. We need to really crack down on politically incorrect speech to maintain support for "free" speech.

If Antifa got 40% of the vote that might count for something.

Professor Cowen has said a few times, and it's a good point, that even if you think the US can handle unlimited amounts of immigration, if you fail to ask the people already here about it and the people already here put up a fight, you are going to lose. Even if you can prove on paper that you system is superior it will fail.

I think there are very small steps that could convince the people who are worried about immigration that their concerns are being addressed. One thing would be to not have illegal immigrants on the stage at the Democratic convention, but as is usual in politics, people would rather win than succeed.

Travel and immigration are not the same.

The electronic formularies to fly to Canada may be a hindrance to air travel ranking. But this is irrelevant for immigration.

But it's not irrelevant to what the article calls "irregular" immigration. The most common form of illegal immigration to the US is not border crossings but people overstaying their visas. These are usually work visas, but travel visas fall into that category as well.

I wonder, though, how the US could address this in the way Canada has without creating a storm involving US domestic law, specifically the 1965 immigration act's provision against discrimination based on nationality. There's a very strong case, especially after the Supreme Court case this past term, to make that it doesn't violate that law to subject people from countries from which many people overstay their visas to the US to extraordinary levels of scrutiny, such that most will be rejected outright for an initial visa, but in the current climate the immigration bar and pro-immigration advocates would probably fight such a policy change tooth and nail in the courts and media. I'm sure Canada has a similar immigration law to the US in regards to non-discrimination based on nationality, but it is probably not held to the level of exactness that it is in the US. The US also presents itself as more business-friendly than Canada, and part of that is making visas easily accessible for international business travel, including visa-free travel in a lot of cases from countries in which visa overstays occur.

Require a bond, which would be forfeited if the person didnt exit on time. Set the overstay goal at less than x%. Price discovery happens.

Problem: we do not check exits. Every other country makes you go through customs to leave the country. America doesn't.

If we were at all serious about reducing illegal immigration, not checking exits has got to be about the most easily solvable part of the problem.

It's related at the margin. Air travel is how some people go to Canada and claim refugee status. If you can't get a visa to travel to Canada, it's harder to go and make a refugee claim. There's been plenty of that in Canada.

This is, surely, not news to anyone. I actually said as much yesterday. And I hardly have my finger on the pulse of popular opinion.

We simply have the worst class of rulers in the history of the West. At least since Richard the Something walled his nephews up in a tower. They are idiots. They really think that grossly violating the law would not have any social consequences.

But, is the FBI in for a shock.

When I arrived in the US from the UK, it took my at least a year to really comprehend that the debate was about managing *illegal* immigration. I assumed it was about the level of legal immigration.

This isn't a debate in the UK. Illegal immigrants get deported. That's the position of all parties. The debate is about the level of legal immigration (all tied up with the EU, obviously)

No one gets deported in the UK. That may be the position of all parties but an actual deportation is exceedingly rare. They simply claim they might be tortured back home and so they get ten years to fight it out in the courts with Legal Aid providing a QC.

In Britain there really is no way to tell illegals from anyone else. Fake driver's licenses and National Security Numbers are easy to get and there is no National ID card.

This is incorrect:

I understand that the UK government has an ignoble record of throwing out of the country various harmless souls who are unlikely to offer violence. Presumably the people we don't throw out are the people we should.

So 650,000 people enter every year. And the British government deports 12,000.

You know, I don't think your source is a stunning rebuttal of what I said.

it took my at least a year to really comprehend that the debate was about managing *illegal* immigration. I assumed it was about the level of legal immigration.

It's almost like a huge number of people, including very many in the media, are intent on causing such confusion by conflating the two

It's all about crafting a narrative.

There are roughly 500,000 Chinese in greater Vancouver, and instances of antagonism and racial hatred have been common since the 1980s. But many are wealthy (they are sometimes referred to as "yacht people"), coming from Hong Kong at the time of the turnover and more recently the beneficiaries of the Chinese economic miracle coming from mainland China. Mainland Chinese are moving to Vancouver due to the existing Chinese population in addition to the climate and the perceived high quality of the public schools. The arrival of the wealthy Chinese immigrants caused housing prices in Vancouver to surpass housing prices in NYC.

Long term I think it's good to have a bunch of well educated rich people move to your country. A few generations in, the descendants only speak english and they have benefit of their ancestral financial and human capital.

Long term, the Chinese will take old imperial relics like Australia and Canada out of the Commonwealth.

The housing price issue is a bit more complex than immigration. Most of the wealth being brought in from China via people fleeing possible seizure by the CPC is getting invested in the multimillion dollar property market.

Most of the distortion is due to the usual planning and zoning idiocy from the local government level limiting supply.

In Vancouver, a multimillion dollar house can be a very ordinary house.

I see plenty of high rises in Vancouver, Burnaby, North Van, etc. The problem is not just NIMBYism. It's the supply and demand for natural amenities (weather, scenery) which are in relatively fixed supply, and with the massive increase in the wealth of the Chinese and some others, the demand just went up.

Denigrate the US population if you must with your snark about feeling in control, but there is a lot more it than that, obviously. Many, if not most, people in the US have experience with relations or friends from outside the US being having visa applications denied: The notion that we are bad, ignorant people because we might feel that the rule of law involves notions of equal treatment between those who obey the law and those who do not tells us all we really need to know about academics and other elitists generally. How difficult is it really to understand that a majority of Americans support all of the following: (1) increased legal immigration based upon merit rather than national origin or extended kinship (2) enforcement of whatever the laws we happen to have at the moment (3) amending the laws by legislation rather than extra-constitutional administrative processes. And all of these notions of which country has the most immigrants are rediculous given the US has no idea of exactly how many illegals reside here already. It is not the majority of US citizens who support Trump on his immigration agenda that have a problem here.

edgar: "increased legal immigration based upon merit rather than national origin or extended kinship"

What is "merit"?

...for some immigrants to Canada "merit" means they fit a goal, for example to welcome thousands of Tibetans "stuck" in India (I live in their hood in Toronto). For others "merit" can mean a specific IT skill set.

Trump viewed the Canadian point system as one to emulate at one point. Give points based on desired skills and attributes. You are fluent in English you get points. You have a Masters or PhD, more points. That's the idea behind merit.

"Merit" is, apparently, the ability to compete with educated Americans rather than with the working class.

We have so many illegal immigrants because (1) we offer a lot of opportunity, (2) it is almost impossible to immigrate legally, (3) we are on a continent, not an island, so it's easy to get here.

Is "immigration" actually a valid word?

One kind of thing is Canadians moving to America to drive in NASCAR and Americans moving to Canada to play ice hockey.

The opposite kind of things is Canadians moving to America to build ice-rinks and introduce ice hockey, while Americans move to Canada to build race tracks and introduce NASCAR.

Having a word that means both is like having a word that means hot or cold but not luke warm, or having a words that means tall or short but not average height. Imagine trying to talk in a language that only has union-of-opposites words. The weather forecast predicts that it will be cold/hot and you are left baffled as to whether to wear shorts or a coat.

Such linguistic poverty makes quarreling inevitable. You ask for help getting trousers the right length because you are tall/short. People suggest using scissors to remove the surplus fabric. But you hit your head on door frames, your feet stick out of your blankets when you go to sleep; it is so annoying that people don't understand what it is like to be tall/short and give really useless advice.

Discussions of "immigration" read like that. You are supposed to be for it or to be against it. Do you want Swiss immigrants to start your watch making industry? Do you want surplus men from polygamous countries to give young women a wider choice of husband? Merely using the word "immigration" sneaks through a bold empirical claim that differences people care about are not real.

We speak a crappy language with just a single word "immigration" that lumps together those fleeing Kristallnacht with those fleeing The Night of the Long Knives (Röhm-Putsch). That linguistic poverty guarantees a quarrel even before we get on to the substance of the argument and mention economic poverty.

Sharpest comment this week.

I like the comment a lot, but mostly, in the U.S., by "immigration" we mean economic immigration by people seeking working-class jobs. I don't think there is a lot of opposition to immigration by PhDs, MBAs, etc. Maybe a little, but that is not the source of the current heated debate.

Canada has held a toddler in immigration prison since birth.

His mother, Glory Anawa, has lived in Toronto’s Immigration Holding Centre since 2013, after Glory—who was three months pregnant and says she was fleeing the threat of female circumcision in her village in Cameroon

So her claim to refugee status is a lie (the FGM rate for black, non-Muslims in that country is basically zero). Great example story, guys. She's choosing to hang out in detention, not fleeing anything.

If the government is unable to deport an asylum-seeker in a timely way, she says the alternative should be to manage him or her in the community

IOW, if you want to immigrate to Canada and can get a tourist visa, destroy your ID somewhere between the flight and immigration, claim refugee status, don't give them your real identity, and if you're denied they have to let you go free in Canada. Brilliant plan

"My family members and neighbors are stupid and violent" is a Cameroon problem, not an international problem.

If all these places all over the world that are, as usual, failing, aren't going to grow up and be accountable and livable, then they should be declared open for imperial conquest. The alternative is Europe and the Anglosphere being reduced to the Global South mean for living standards and governance.

this does not change the fact that people in Canada are 1000000x more welcoming than the people of Trumpland

It's worth noting that, unlike America, Canada's point for having a guarenteed job lined up do not depend on whether another Canadian, somewhere, anywhere, could possibly do the job, as proven by a 3-5 year process which requires the employer to interview alternative candidates and explain to the Department of labor why they aren't qualified.

So I don't know what your standards for restrictiveness are, but I'm guessing that length of time that it takes to actually get a visa isn't among them. Or average legal fees required to get through the process.

And if we're being honest, neither does the US system.

Yes, it does.
It's called the labor certification, which is part of the process to get an employment sponsorship.

In the PERM process the employer must prove to the DOL they were unsuccessful in recruiting a qualified U.S. worker for the position through a test of the labor market. The position must be permanent, full time and pay the prevailing wage for that occupation in that geographic area. Below is a brief introduction of the green card process through employment. It consists of three steps: labor certification, immigrant petition, and green card application.

The First Step in the Green Card Process through PERM labor Certification is the PERM procexx with the DOL. The PERM filing process itself is in 4 parts. The first part in the DOL process involves defining the duties and the minimum requirements of the prospective position. Extensive care and detail should be used to identify the education, experience, and skill required to perform the duties of the position as the description provided will be critically assessed. Later when filing the PERM Form 9089, the employer will be required to attest to two statements:

1. These are the actual minimum requirements for this specific position; and

2. All others in the group, who perform substantially the same job duties, also met these same minimum requirements prior to being hired into that position. This means no one was hired with less than the stated minimum requirements.

After defining the position the employer needs to submit a prevailing wage request to the DOL. In the request the employer will include information about the job duties and work location.

The second part of the DOL process follows identification of the minimum requirements above. The employer submits a prevailing wage request (PWR) to the DOL. The DOL will provide the employer with a prevailing wage determination (PWD) for the prospective position. The PWD is the minimum wage an employer may pay a sponsored worker under the PERM sponsored immigrant visa. While an employer may ask for a prevailing wage redetermination, if they find the wage unacceptable, it causes delays to the process. Well-crafted minimum requirements can predict the occupation and wage level to the satisfaction of an employer without delays. Once an employer obtains an acceptable PWD, the may begin recruiting for the position.

The third part of the DOL process is the test of the labor market with recruitment. The employer must place multiple advertisements for the prospective worker's job position in addition to filing a job order with the state workforce agency. The newspaper ads for the position must run in the Sunday paper on two different days. For professional positions the employer must use three additional recruitment methods. During this time the employer must timely respond to any applications or resumes submitted by candidates. After the last ad recruitment ends there is a 30 day waiting period required before the employer can move on to filing the PERM.

You do know that its all gamed, right?

There was a you tube video of a consultant at a conference explaining how to jump through these hoops.

p.s. no one reads the newspaper anymore, either.

It's an adversarial process where you have to convince the Department of Labor that none of the US candidates are qualified. If it's gamed, it's "gamed" in the same way that murder trials are gamed. You hire the best lawyer you can get, and they try as hard as possible to craft the advertisments and arguments before the DoL adjudicators to convince them that they should be allowed to hire you. My understand is it takes about $10K-$15K to sponsor an employee.

One of my wife's best friends in college graduated in 2010 and immediately got a job with her BA in accounting as an H1-B accountant. In 2010, with 10% unemployment.

No, there was no conceivable way to convince anyone who was not a complete idiot that there was a shortage of her precise skills

An h1b is not a green card. It is a temporary visa and the requirements are lower. Hopefully in 5 years she will have enough experience to pass the labor certification and apply for a permanent residents visa. Good luck to her.

Since you said 2010, I'm curious about where she is now. H1b visas only last 6 years. Is she still in the us and if so via what immigrant visa?

I couldn't tell you. She switched companies (yes, another H1-B) in 2014, and as I'm now divorced, I don't keep track

There's plenty of links on this if you care to do the research.

Most (but not all) foreign workers must go through the PERM labor certification process before they can get a green card. PERM requires U.S. employers to place multiple advertisements for the foreign worker’s prospective job position, and certify to the Department of Labor (DOL) that no willing and qualified U.S. workers were available to take the job.

It's pretty clearly a lie that these immigrants are doing jobs that Americans simply cannot do. There may be some very very specific jobs in the country that Americans can't do, like speak Farsi natively while programming a microcontroller in a monsoon, skills which are honestly needed by 2 or 3 employers across the nation.

I've worked with a number of people on such visas and they were all good workers, and valuable contributors to this country, but the concept that there was no one in America with those skills was bullshit. There are plenty of Americans with the same skills, it's just that they are more expensive than the employer wants.

Since the system is a lie, I would be fine just throwing the whole thing out. If they are highly skilled, give them a high priority in entrance. But "highly-skilled" isn't "skillset unavailable in America."

Well, this is why it is very difficult to get a labor certification and immigrate via the employment sponsorship route. Because it's really, really, hard to prove that there is no qualified American.
A fresh out with a BS probably isn't going to qualify. You need minimum, an advanced degree in a STEM field, or a BS and at LEAST 5 years of experience. This is reflected in the fact that the priority dates are 'current". As in, there's no backlog because not enough people are actually making it through the paperwork to fill up the quota.

As I pointed out just above, this is a laughable falsehood. BA accounting, no work experience outside of an internship

I'm not sure why anyone is surprised that controlled, large immigration that usually gets high-quality people is more popular than the European or American type. (To be fair, the American type is more of a blend of low-quality and high-quality immigration.)

"people need to fell in control before they will entertain further liberalization"

Too simple a concept for 1 and 1/2 of our political parties to grasp.

A big effort to stop illegal immigration would eliminate half of the opposition to immigration and enable a bargain to be struck.

Half the GOP wants cheap labor and the Democrats want a political hammer so here we are.

If the immigration laws weren't so restrictive there would be a lot less illegal immigration, so it's sort of a catch 22.
People aren't illegally immigrating because they're too lazy to go through the legal process. They are immigrating illegally because there is no way they could possibly immigrate legally. Not even get a temporary guest worker visa.

Let's be honest; most of the people immigrating illegally would have no hope even under an eased legal route.

They're mostly low skills. Whilst people would support easier legal immigration in exchange to tighter enforcement, the people who would benefit from such as not the current illegal immigrants.

The clas "I'm cheating because legal is too complicated" doesn't exist

Bush (the second) wanted a temporary guest worker program for those people. They could come to the US for a two year stretch make money and then go home to Mexico. That would provide an outlet for unskilled labor.

Very true, but then why is it the US government's responsibility to provide job opportunities for Mexico's excess unskilled laborers? I don't see what obligation the US has to do any of this.

Well, in the context of this discussion, it is a question of how to reduce illegal immigration - if you create a legal avenue for unskilled laborers to come and work on a temporary basis, you will divert the flow of aliens from the illegal channels.

Because we need the work done. Have you ever tried to hire 2000 fruit pickers in a hurry, where the fruit rots if you don't succeed?

Contra the NY Post, 13.4 percent immigrants is NOT a "record high"--in the 1870 to 1910 timeframe it was higher, peaking around 15 percent:

What is of greater interest is what happens between 1920 and 1970, a period whose censuses bracket what I call the "Great Pause" (1924-1965) : a period during which the US, for the first time in its history, enacts a comprehensive (COMPREHENSIVE, for all you Chinese Exclusion Act guys) immigration law--the 1924 Immigration Act--until its supersession by the 1965 Immigration Act.

You'll note that the percentage of foreign-born drops from around 15 percent to around 5 percent, which is huge (YUUUGE!). And indeed this is underscored by the actual raw numbers dropping from around 14 million to just under 10 million--a one-third reduction--while the total US population roughly doubles from around 100 million to around 200 million.

I see this as part of the problem with the immigration "debate:" few people really appreciate the connection between assimilation and domestic tranquillity. And I suspect until we are compelled by the force of things to either surrender control of the borders or really, seriously crack down, people will still go to bed at nights thinking that the 1960s and 1070 were the norm, not the exception.

Is canadian immigration really that restrictive?

How long does the immigration process take… roughly?

Most permanent resident applications, no matter in which category you apply, take from 6 to 12 months to be processed.
That said, some applications are processed much faster… I was one of the lucky applicants, I received the permanent resident in only 4 months!
On the other side, some applicants will wait for a few years.

Contrast that with the US immigration process - the priority date to get a permanent residents visa for your spouse, is currently 2 years. That is the shortest wait time. Married sons and daughters of US citizens from Mexico and the Phillipines can expect to wait 23 years for a visa (they are currently processing visas from 1995).

You may be able to enter Canada faster, but they are slow for you to get "Canadian" status which is important for many benefits.

Source: friend married to Taiwanese who was angry that after 2 years she wasn't allow that status, but Syrian refugees immediately received it.

Finally, your "wait for a green card" times are quite long, but your spouse can actually be in the country waiting for it. So, its a bit cheesy to claim its two years.

Source: my spouse is from Taiwan. It didn't take 2 years to get the visa. IIRC, it was a few months. It was not fun and it was annoying as hell, don't get me wrong.

Your spouse can be in the country, but will not be allowed to have a job during that time. Kind makes it hard if your spouse has any kind of a career.

Also, wait times have been slowly getting longer. I am basing the 2 years on the current priority dates according to the state department bullitin.
When your spouse immigrated they may have been shorter.

Um, yes you can. It's been a while, but I think it's form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and that it's basically a rubber stamp. It's what I used. You have no restrictions on your employment with it, I think.

A little over 50% (54% in 2016) of immigrants to Canada are "economic" immigrants. The rest are "family class" (27%), refugees (18%), and humanitarian (1%).

The current government is seeking to increase the number of family class immigrants. As of 2017, they have changed the definition of "dependent" to under 22 years old (was previously under 19).

Oops, wrong numbers. 2016: 52.6% economic, 26% family, 20% refugees, 1% humanitarian.

Or you could use data from a year that did not involve such out-of-the-ordinary circumstances:

Unsurprisingly, this blog post caused significant cognitive dissonance.

I've asked the question before, but never gotten an answer.

Why does the US (with 320 million people) or even Canada for that matter, need ANY immigrants? What's the compelling case that its in the US national interest, or the interest of US citizens?

If zero is too low - we miss the truly exceptional, then suppose we set a annual limit of 10,000 - enough to get the best and the brightest (the Andy Grove and Ayaan Hirsi Ali of the world). That's 300,000 people over a 30 year generation.

A million a year seems completely ridiculous.

It is ridiculous. It's a large city per year. The numbers should be lowered while it's still possible to do so peacably.

Obviously the US doesn't need immigrants, in the sense the country would fail. We still average over 2 births per woman so we don't depop any time soon.

But asking the other side to prove their requests are requirements is silly. Hazel could if the US needs to keep out all immigrants and obviously it doesn't.

A more reasonable question is whether immigration collectively, or each immigrant individually, is beneficial to the existing citizenry.

And it's a great argument for having an immigration price. There's a price at which it's beneficial to bring in Hannibal Lector because it more than covers the downsides. You can tune the price to the applicant.

The supply-demand curve could only operate freely in the absence of civil rights laws, birthright citizenship, public infrastructure, and welfare and national security bureaucracies.

Assuming you could wipe the slate clean like that, things would turn out like you'd expect. High demand for scientists, engineers, skilled artists and artisans, and good-looking women. Fungible labor, the diseased, old people, the violent, the stupid, not so much. White neighbors would still be the most expensive.

Birthright citizenship is a bit of an issue, but charging 2x the NPV of your lifetime share of the budget ought to cover most of the rest.

Otherwise, yeah, I mostly agree with the second paragraph, though I wouldn't phrase it that way. You see a low price charged for "scientists, engineers, skilled artists and artisans, and good-looking women" and a high price charged for "[f]ungible labor, the diseased, old people, the violent, [and] the stupid."

It makes a lot of sense to allow the 28 year-old english-speaking ChemE PhD to immigrate, so you charge him a low price. It makes little sense to allow the 68 year-old illiterate laborer to immigrate, so you charge him a high price. You tax the thing you want less of at a higher rate than the thing you want more of.

The framing is key: the current citizens have something of value - the ability to create more citizenships and visa slots - it's crazy to expect them to give that away for free. Even if Bryan Caplan is right and there's a mild benefit to them for doing so, citizens could still extract more value by selling the capability they have which is in such high demand rather than doing it for free.

This actually isn't a terrible idea. If there's an immigrant who can't afford to pay for a permanent resident's visa he could conceivably get the money from a loan or raise it from relatives, or have a prospective employer simply pay it and then deduct payments from his salary. Just raise the price of immigrating high enough to get to the level you want and let the market sort it out.

Engineer: The answer is that low-skill output is counted in GDP. Higher profits (thus higher equity returns) result from employing low-skill workers. Consumers benefit from such arrangements and inflation will be less than otherwise.

The primary reason we are looking at slower long run real GDP growth and deficits in the social security system is very slow population growth -- probably under 1%. Allowing more immigration would go a long way to dealing with these problems.

Of course, Japan seems to be living with slower population and economic growth without immigration.

You are absolutely deluded if you think immigrants are coming here to be serfs on the tax farm for old white people. The Social Security solvency debate is going to get very ugly in a decade. Actually, it won't even be debated.

anti-gnostic, you may be right, but engineer asked why we should allow immigration and that is what I was replying to.

your response is typical of what is creating these problems. Exactly why should we reject out of hand a rational response to a major problem.
At least it is not like global warming where the projections can be seriously questioned.

I’ve heard the “support SS” argument made. I find it not very convincing, and usually made without consideration of the full scope of costs incurred due to immigrants (k-12, ESL, their eventual ss and Medicaid / Medicare, etc.).

If one were motivated by this, one should be applying a strong filter to ensure you get the easy to assimilate English speaking eye surgeon and reject the low skill limited English guy who’s never going to break median income. That’s not the way the “support SS” rationale is ever presented, however.

Engineer, since you asked about the "interest of U.S. citizens" beyond the "support Social Security" argument (which I am not making) is the obvious argument that some of them fill low-skill jobs, some high-skill, and some in between. If employers are not insane there is a likely net benefit in each hiring. Of course equity returns will also be higher.

Among equities of course is real estate in English-speaking countries which is sort of a proxy for the popular immigration destinations. It would be interesting to see if the crash in realized rental income was anywhere near the magnitude of the crash in housing prices in the period of 2006 to 2012 in the cities which are immigrant destinations. I am going to guess "no" but I don't know which series would have that rent data.

With a majority of US immigrants not being in the Skilled section, the SS support argument doesn't hold true. If we really want SS support and better GDP growth, we need to switch to a skill/job/income-based immigration system.

Diganta, low-skilled output is counted in GDP. When immigration decreases wage inflation, all else equal, real GDP growth is higher. Real equity returns will be higher.

Quantitatively, the levels of migration you need to maintain any serious solvency in pensions need to be ludicrously high. You'll get a culture clash before you get a solution to the pension problem.

Japan's is the OECD champion for GDP/capita growth per working age population - Maybe that will work out better for them once they smooth the age hump.

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