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Yet in the real world, fortunately, justice usually pays. This brings me to my second big claim: Being just to foreigners would cost us less than nothing. Opponents of immigration spend most of their time staring at foreigners to find fault.Becoming a violent criminal is a poor path to prosperity. But if you pick a random would-be immigrant – even a random illiterate peasant – and calmly weigh his positives and negatives for us, the sum is positive. Hard fact: Immigration laws trap people in countries where workers produce far below their potential. The reason isn’t that American employers are nicer than Haitian employers.
As a result, hundreds of millions who want to move here are stuck in their birth countries. But given America’s illustrious open borders tradition, it is fitting that we lead the way.
Most would-be immigrants are desperately poor, but could easily work their way out of poverty if they were here. My case for open borders comes down to two claims: One moral, one empirical.
A typical estimate is that global free migration would double global production. How is vastly higher production in your self-interest?
The obvious reason: More stuff produce means more stuff consumed.
Friends of immigration restrictions often compare nations to families. I love my children more than I love the rest of you put together.
This is a good reason to worry that I’ll treat you unjustly if there’s ever a conflict of interest. “I want my beloved son to get this job” does not justify slashing rival candidates’ tires the morning of the final interview. Your love for Americans may tempt you to treat foreigners unjustly, but it’s no excuse for treating them unjustly.
It’s complicated, because immigration also increases labor demand. To grasp immigration’s full effect, keep both eyes on production.
Trapping Mexican farm workers on primitive Mexican farms starves them and us.
The empirical claim: Being just to foreigners would cost us less than nothing. made it illegal for blacks, women, or Jews to take certain jobs or live in certain neighborhoods. My question: How is mandatory discrimination against foreigners against less wrong than mandatory discrimination against blacks, women, or Jews?
When people immigrate here to work, they simultaneously enrich themselves and us. The leading rationale is that “we should take care of our own first.” That might be a good argument against sending foreigners welfare checks.