We hear a lot of talk from people on the right about how important it is to enforce immigration laws.
Ilya Shapiro offers up an illustrative example of why we would do a lot better to drastically reform our immigration system rather than enforce it.
And now another story about the inanities of our immigration non-system. Two Britons, Dean and Laura Franks, have run a restaurant in Maine for nearly ten years. Fine, upstanding people who contribute to the economy and whose business is apparently much beloved in their town.
The problem is that the economic downturn decreased the restaurantâ€™s profits, to a level where the â€œinvestmentâ€ theyâ€™re making in the country is too â€œmarginalâ€ to warrant renewal of their E-2 visa (one of the few immigration statuses I have not had). Yes, thatâ€™s right, the business is making a profit, employing people, creating wealth, nobodyâ€™s a drag on the welfare state or law enforcement, butâ€¦ not enough. The feds say shut it down.
The United States had no restrictions on immigration of any kind before 1875, when they prohibited immigration from China. There were no quotas on any kind of non-Asian immigration before 1921. (History of US Immigration Laws link)
Today’s complicated, occult and bizarre system of economic and national quotas negotiated behind closed doors represents a weird evolution of a momentary legislative triumph of nativism (1921) in response to post-WWI fears of the arrival of a flood of Bolshevik radicals.
The racial, eugenicist, and anti-Bolshevik phobias that created the current law are all totally out-dated and passÃ©. We have plenty of bolsheviks of our own and theories of the desirability of preserving any kind of specific national ethnic character are in complete disrepute.
If history teaches anything, it teaches us that the massive wave of typically poor, ill-educated and culturally exotic immigration around the turn of the last century from Eastern and Southern Europe was a blessing. Those immigrants proved totally assimilable and and their descendants made tremendous economic and cultural contributions to the the United States.
The United States rose to its current position of international leadership precisely because of the turn of the century wave of immigration. All that immigration made it possible for the United States to become the greatest industrial power in the world, and it was the children of those 1900-era immigrants who filled the enlisted ranks of the US Armed Forces that won the victory in the Second World War.
It is not a proper function of the government of the United States to come between persons who want to participate in voluntary exchanges of payment for labor. Immigrants arrive here seeking opportunity because there are Americans who want to hire them. The American economy needs more of both low skilled and high skilled labor. Government should get out of the way of the free market.