Sunday, June 13, 2010

National self-interest

Immigration policy is a minefield of conflicting interests.

Corporations want cheap labor to exploit and to keep citizen labor costs down. Citizens would of course prefer to make better salaries with less competition.

Elites want inexpensive landscapers and house-cleaners. Native born workers need jobs too, especially when unemployment is nearly 10%.

We all want someone to help pay our Social Security, but that assumes illegal immigrants are not being paid under the table. Of course, when I say all of us, I should exclude the open racists who don't want Hispanic immigration because the immigrants are brown.

No one wants the crime of immigrant communities who can't report their criminal elements to the police, though it's not clear that illegal immigrants in general have a higher crime rate than good ol' natural born Murkins. No one wants immigrants to drain welfare funding (well, hardly anyone).

Mostly, immigration policy should be framed, not in moral terms, but in terms of national self-interest. What immigration policy best serves Americans? We clearly both gain and lose by immigration. How do we make our society better by adding new people from outside?

In the case of Eric Balderas, it's hard to see how our national interest would be served by deporting a college kid made good. Especially since he'd be eligible for a student visa in any case...

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