12/02/2005

Immigration Madness, Part I: Immigration and Markets

Yesterday, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. published a commentary of the The American Spectator entitled 'Our Immigration Imbroglio', based on Bush's Monday night speech in Tucson.
Bob starts by producing the' we are a nation of immigrants' canard, conveniently forgetting, as immigrationists always do, to add the necessary coda - 'who were permitted by Americans to become Americans'. A small point, perhaps, but important nonetheless.
He then produces one of the more egregious arguments in favour of immigration that I have ever seen -
"Both sides in this (immigration) debate fail to note the obvious. There is a market for immigrants in this country."
Back up! Is he suggesting that if there's a market for something, it's OK? A market is constituted merely by the existence of a willing buyer and willing seller, which is why there are markets for dope, whores, unregistered assault rifles, pirated DVD's and videos of Western hostages being beheaded by Iraqi insurgents. The fact that there are markets for these products and services does not by itself legitimate them.
He goes on -
"The President is more cognizant of this than those who would restrict immigration, but turn to consider the market for a minute: 1) producers need immigrants; 2) immigrants are coming here because there is work that enriches them. This market has been helpful to the economy. It is growing robustly and without one of the feared downsides of immigration or even illegal immigration, unemployment"
Hmm, there's a 'market' for immigrants...and 'producers need immigrants'...and 'immigrants are coming here because it enriches them'...and 'the economy is growing robustly'...
Maestro! From the top, if you please!
Anyone who says 'producers needs immigrants' should examine the ladies' jewellery on display at the Western Growers' Association's works night out. If a small proportion of the funds invested in the diamonds were invested in plant, then the illegal immigration racket would diminish rapidly.
Ah, but immigrants are going to the USA to be enriched! What about Americans? Don't they get to become enriched? Or do they just have to stand aside and watch their wages drop while the immigrants become enriched?
Growth! That's the reason you Americans need immigration - to achieve growth! Gee, just for a second I forgot that growth is an absolute figure, an abstraction even, calculated upon the entirety of all economic activity, without taking into account the impact of the means by which 'growth' is achieved on the economic life of individual citizens!
Oh and no unemployment, Bob? Here's a little snippet from the same Bryanna Bevens piece on the pecculence of the Western Growers -
According to Western Growers itself, the lettuce industry in Arizona has “exploded” over the last three years:
Arizona’s top fresh produce commodity is lettuce with $356 million in cash receipts for 2003, which has rapidly exploded to $590 million in 2004.”

Yuma County, Arizona also has a 24 percent unemployment rate. [pdf]

Hmm…how can they have a 24% unemployment rate and a labor shortage at the same time?"
Tyrrell then notes that, 'The real problem is border security and an orderly society." Almost, but not quite - without borders to work within there can be no meaningful laws. Without laws there can be no nations and without nations there can be no economies- and no markets.
Borders, along with common language and culture, are the fons et origo of nationhood.
He continues,
"Any prudent law has to be based on what James Madison in The Federalist Papers called the "genius" of the people. The American people are by nature generous, optimistic, and tolerant. It is apparent, at least to me, that as we began arresting illegal immigrants the process would soon come to a sorry end"
"Wretched immigrants would be held up by many Americans now favoring the tough approach as the victims of unjust law enforcers. Civil libertarians would step in. The approach would be brought to ruin, and the "hate-America" crowd would have more spurious evidence that this is a racist and intolerant country. "
Who cares what they think? As a devoted reader of Paul Craig Roberts, I'm as committed a civil libertarian as your average pierced and freakish tofu-muncher. But unlike the left, I also respect the rule of law, can recognise that everything the left now does is designed to subvert the rule of law and have no objections to saying so. Is Tyrrell losing his nerve at the thought of being called a 'racist'?
Bob's in favour of tougher border security and amnesty for illegals - like all ideologies, great in theory but one which falls apart with he first rape or murder perpetrated by an amnestied illegal. He concludes -
"The market for immigrants is here and will not evaporate".
The piece was published yesterday, and has inevitably attracted reader mail today. As one extremely wise, extremely perceptive correspondent put it,
"With all due respect to Bob, his article reads as if it were written by a guy who doesn't mow his own lawn. "

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