How Many Improverished Migrants Should the United States Admit Over the Next Five Years?

The recent travails of an LDS missionary, an unauthorized visitor in the United States, has prompted concerns by many for the plight of such people who risk deportation. There are calls for improvement of immigration bureaucracy and laws, which are all very laudable, but sidestep some fundamental questions. Should one country enforce any limits on how many people from other countries may live there?

The World Bank estimates that 300 million people in China subsist on a dollar a day or less; that’s a purchasing power parity dollar, not a currency exchange rate dollar. This group of mostly rural people, as large as the entire population of the United States, faces internal restrictions impeding migration to China’s cities. For example, the children of rural Chinese are classified as rural even if born in the city and can’t attend schools for city children without paying fees that may exceed their parents’ income.

China is the world’s most populous nation, but it’s not the only place with vast numbers of extremely poor people, people much poorer than most Mexicans. Let’s say there are a billion such people. Now, most of that billion, because of ties to their homelands, would likely stay where they are even if they could earn $10 or $50 a day elsewhere, but it is not unreasonable to estimate that 200 million of them would jump at the chance to move to a country like the United States. Each who moves would improve his own prosperity, and he would have opportunities to be much more productive than before, so the world as whole would be richer.

How many should the United States allow to take up residency over the next five years? How many should Canada allow? As many as it takes until a Chinese peasant living on a dollar a day sees no advantage in moving to the United States or Canada? If fewer than that, then may restrictions be enforced?

Sources: BBC News, NY Times, Council on Foreign Relations

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About John Mansfield

Mansfield in the desertA third-generation southern Nevadan, I have lived in exile most of my life in such places as Los Alamos, Baltimore, Los Angeles, the western suburbs of Detroit, and currently the northern suburbs of Washington, D.C. I work as a fluid dynamics engineer. I was baptized at age twelve in the font of the Las Vegas Nevada Central Stake Center, and on my nineteenth birthday I received the endowment in the St. George Temple. I served as a missionary mostly in the Patagonia of Argentina from 1985 to 1987. My true calling in the Church seems to be working with Cub Scouts, whom I have served in different capacities in four states most years since 1992. (My oldest boy turned eight in 2004.) I also currently teach Sunday School to the thirteen-year-olds. I hold degrees from two universities named for men who died in the 1870s, the Brigham Young University and the Johns Hopkins University. My wife is Elizabeth Pack Mansfield, who comes from New Mexico's north central mountains and studied molecular biology at the same two schools I attended. We have four sons, whose care and admonition, along with care of my aged father, require much of Elizabeth's time. She currently serves the Church as Mia-Maid advisor, ward music chairman, and choir director, and plays violin whenever she can. One day, I would like to make shoes.

73 thoughts on “How Many Improverished Migrants Should the United States Admit Over the Next Five Years?

  1. Unfortunately for the poor in China, it takes big money to move to the US. And things are changing fast enough in China that such a move is probably becoming less and less desirable.
    Now, if China bordered the US, and entering wasn’t quite so expensive, I’d say we should let in as many as would be able to make a living wage. Maybe we could even put up a Statue of Liberty to welcome them in. We’d be better off from their contribution to our economy, and they’d be better off with the increased living conditions.
    It would be a great boost to missionary work too, as missionary work in China itself is severely limited.

  2. “I’d say we should let in as many as would be able to make a living wage.”

    Would you expand on that?

    Also, I’m not sure how or why China’s proximity to the U.S. should enter in. Is a no-frills plane ticket across the Pacific that much more than the costs of unauthorized entry from Mexico?

  3. If we’re going to bring Mexico into this, we can’t compare apples to oranges. Legal entry into the US from Mexico should be much cheaper than legal entry from China. Looked at plane tickets to Asia lately? Not cheap, especially when considering how much these people make.
    As to the first question, I really think the law of supply and demand should play a part. In down years, like this one, where unemployment is high, we should drastically reduce the number of immigrants coming in. In better years, when unemployment is low, we can drastically increase that number.

  4. The people in China just can’t run for the border. To get on an airplane from you have to show documents over and over. When you get to the states you enter a fenced in area and go over it again. Only other way is illegally on a boat and enter the US that way. I don’t know how hard that would be.

    I am all for legal immigration. It is our experience that to do it legally takes patience and the willingness to be abused by government workers. It also takes quite a bit of money to have documents processed.

  5. JA Benson, it also usually takes many years, unless you are wealthy. 10 to 15 years is not unheard of.

    My idea would bring that waiting period down to just a couple years by a combination of looser immigration and efforts to develop opportunities in other countries like China so that immigration isn’t as attractive.

    I have no idea where the numbers would end up.

  6. I agree Kent. We should make legal easier and illegal a lot harder. It took us 1 year to process for Hong Mei. Compared to an adult it was warp speed, but for a child it was 1/3 of her life.

  7. JA Benson and others, your comparisons of immigration across the Pacific with immigration from our southern neighbor assume restricted borders. I’m posing a situation where anyone who wants to may enter a nation, a situation where airlines can openly ferry us many laborers to our airports as want to come, and I’m asking if there is any reason to throttle that back. People are for legal immigration and against illegal immigration. Fine. Wave the legislative wand, and pronounce all humans everywhere immediately eligible for U.S. residency; just come when you’re ready. Would that be a desirable thing?

    Tim, would your economy-dependent immigration levels be implemented in some fashion by the receiving nations, or would that be done solely by the migrants themselves?

    Also, although migration from Mexico is cheaper than from across the oceans, travel from Mexico is more expensive than everyone staying put. Even a $3,000 plane ride would be made up in a few months for one of the billion currently living on a dollar a day.

  8. John M, you’re fighting a straw man battle here. I think very few analysts of immigration are saying we should accept every single immigrant who currently wants to come. That’s certainly not my position.

    There are really two big issues:

    1)What do you do with the immigrants who are already here? Personally, I favor a path to citizenship after paying a minor fine, which is basically what the “amnesty” plan was from two years ago.

    2)How many can come in the future? In my opinion, we could probably allow somewhere in the range of 5-10 times our current quotas. Personally, I would concentrate on high-skilled immigrants. There is a huge demand among high-tech companies for such immigrants. These immigrants should have a clear and understandable path for citizenship and should be able to become citizens within five years or so.

    Personally, it would increase my willingness to crack down on illegal immigrants if we took such steps.

  9. Geoff B., I’m not sure if I’m fighting a straw man or not. I’m genuinely curious what opinions are on this because I’m not sure if people mean that I think they are saying. I could probably compile a list of two dozen Mormon blog comments over the past few days that say more or less “It is reprehensible to impede any nonviolent person who wants to enter United States from doing so.” I’m a little surprised that you, Geoff, for example, would limit immigration at 10 times the current quotas rather than whatever would produce a free equilibrium between nations.

    On amnesty, I favor amnesty for those who have been here on the order of seven years because I think it is abusive to start applying laws that we were willing to ignore long enough for people to form a whole new life. It seems like a very hard problem though to screen unauthorized immigrants who have been here some number of years from those who falsely claim to have been. I think there should be major, “trouble with the IRS because you didn’t pay taxes for two years”-level penalty that is onerous but worth bearing.

  10. I think the answer is we could probably sustain roughly the number of illegal immigrants we are receiving now, although probably not all permanently. It would be better all around if they were able to visit on work visas legally and travel back and forth.

    Work visas should be granted such that up to 10% of the U.S. population are non-citizens. Thirty million or so at any given time. Various reasonable measures should be undertaken to establish that work visa recipients can sustain themselves and their families above the poverty line.

    Anyone who demonstrates after ten years of temporary work status that they can provide for themselves and their family above the 30% percentile income level should be welcomed as U.S. citizens.

    Policy wise, strengthening the border is a far more humanitarian policy than factory raids and the like. Illegal immigrants currently in the country for more than five years should be able to obtain green card status after paying or demonstrating the ability to pay a $10,000 fine (for each adult), one time amnesty basis.

    One last thing. All non-U.S. citizens should pay federal income taxes at a 30% rate with no deductions. The extra revenues should be used to cover the impact to health care and education. In addition, that would reduce the negative impact to the labor market, because the market rate for unskilled labor would rise to cover the difference.

  11. We are educating engineers and scientists in our universities and then sending them back to their countries to work. I think we should allow those who can contribute to our country economically–without taking jobs from Americans–to become citizens. I also think that illegals should be carefully screened. Those who are criminals should be immediately deported and those who have worked here for ten years or more should pay a fine and apply for citizenship. They should then compete for citizenship with skilled workers throughout the world who want to become American citizens. If we give illegals a fast track to citizenship, it will encourage further illegal immigration.

  12. OK, John I get it now. You were speaking hypothetically. Sorry to be so dense. I think legal immigration is a wonderful thing and I totally agree with Geoff #8. USA is a wonderful country because of it’s melting pot of nationalities.

    If we let in more skilled workers we will need more universities and especially medical collages. Right now we are educating many of the world’s elite young adults and it will be even harder to get into the best schools right on down the pike.

  13. I don’t know the figures but there is a not insignificant number of illegals from China. They are smuggled by boat, and have to work off their “fee” by working for the smugglers or their designated employers for X number of years, for virtually slave wages. They are effectively indentured servants. It is probable that some similar “indentured servants” come in via legal means with similar arrangements of working to pay off the airfare/boat-passage plus whatever fees the “arrangers” charge.

    A lady missionary from another church who spent years overseas and speaks fluent Mandarin told me about it. Her church caters to the Chinese immigrant community, so she has an idea of what’s going on. And it seems to correlate with some strange behavior that I’ve seen at certain larger Chinese restaurants. She tells me one of their tactics is they shuffle the girls around between various cities to keep them controlled, and forbid the girls to talk any more than minimally to customers at the restaurants.

    I’ve met a handful of illegal Indian immigrants, but they seem a very tiny minority. However, those may have been cases of over-staying a visa. I have not met any Africans who I suspected of being illegal, but I’m told there are a few.

    Geoff: the US currently issues 140,000 green cards/year to Mexicans. Do you really think the number should be 5 times greater?

  14. A question I’ve not seen addressed much concerns cultural acclimation vs. cultural importation. If you have 1,000,000 people entering the United States from any one place every year, that’s not emigration, that’s mass migration. When that many people move from (e.g. Mexico) to the US, they don’t have a chance to become cultural Americans. Instead they (e.g. Mexicanize) America.

    So separate from all the social and economic questions is the question of how much value we assign to American ideals like liberty and justice for all, unquenchable reaching and striving, and the boundless opportunities available to one and all. These ideals don’t exist in every nation, and when enormous groups of people with other ideals come here, they cannot possibly learn of and appreciate the ideals of their new country. On the other hand, have you ever talked to a newly-sworn-in citizen about America?

    I do not claim to have a solution, but I do not doubt that losing what remains of such uniquely American ideals is a real risk with such large migratory movements.

  15. John, I appreciate this post–as well as your great response to mine on T&S.

    My take on immigration is actually pretty simplistic. With a bit of tweaking, it really consists of two parts:

    (1) Remove incentives for those who want a free lunch
    (2) Open the borders to anyone who wants to come here

    We don’t have to ensure some proof of a “living wage”–because it will be up to each individual to decide if they are able/willing to live on whatever they can earn. We don’t have to worry about the productive citizens being overwhelmed by an influx of unproductive ones because (a) fewer unproductive ones will want to come without incentives and (b) the unproductive ones will simply bear the responsibility for their lack of production themselves.

    In many ways that also addresses the “cultural acclimation” Ben Pratt spoke of, because those who come are more likely to actually be interested in “liberty and justice for all, unquenchable reaching and striving, and the boundless opportunities available to one and all”–because they won’t be coming here for the free health care, free medical care, free housing, free food, etc. They’ll be coming for the same thing my ancestors came here for: a chance.

    As for what to do with those who are already here, I don’t mind immigration reform as long as it doesn’t further enslave American citizens. But I think it’s ludicrous to reward those who broke the law to get fast-tracked or any kind of special deal. If you object to deportation and back-of-the-line status–which sounds the most fair to me–I suggest that those who’ve been here a long time might be able to qualify (assuming those who’ve been trying legally “for a long time” get preference) but only AFTER they pay up on the taxes they should have paid for all that “long time” they were benefitting from American citizens illegally. And with a fine to boot.

  16. Book, the point is to bring supply in line with demand. I honestly don’t know without doing a major study if the number is five times current numbers or 7 times current numbers or even three times current numbers. But keep in mind that if we had a policy of legal immigration that was more in line with the real demand we would not have a large illegal immigration problem. The reality is that it is nearly impossible for a huge number of people to get legal visas to the United States right now. Once you create artificial barriers to entry that do not reflect the realities of supply and demand, you increase the incentive for people to enter illegally, which is what gets law and order types like my fellow conservatives so upset.

    Book, 1 million Mexicans a year (to pick a number out of the air without any verification) is still a very small number of people as a percentage of our population compared to past immigration. Take a look at this chart:

    http://uspolitics.about.com/od/immigration/l/bl_immigration_population.htm

    Basically, immigration as a percent of population, even with all the uproar over illegal Mexican immigration, is still very small compared to earlier times in US history.

  17. By the way, John M, I think it’s probably a good exercise for open border types like myself to think realistically about this issue. I think you are correct that a lot of the rhetoric has been, “it’s cruel to keep them out” but the reality is that there is a number that is unsustainable, and open border types need to keep that in mind.

  18. Ben Pratt brings in an important concept that a nation is more than just an economy. My ideal world would be the one Alison Moore Smith describes. Migration control can only be implemented as some curtailing of the liberty of everyone, an ID regime where your papers have to be in order to work, board a plane, open a bank account, etc. It’s saddenning to remember all the things you could do thirty years ago that are controlled now. It irritates me immensely when some want drivers’ licenses to constitute proof that you are a legal resident and all paid up on child support instead of simply that you are capable of handling a car safely.

    Samuel, thanks for the scripture reference. Interesting things to ponder there on several levels.

  19. Karen, one way of looking at it is that sending capable foreigners back home with an American university education under their belts may be a very effective way of aiding the development of other nations.

  20. As a Californian, thank you to Ben Pratt and Alison Moore Smith for bringing up two very important points in this discussion that I wholeheartedly echo. I don’t want to deny anyone the chance my immigrant ancestors had, to work hard and become American, but neither do I want to lose my cultural country nor go bankrupt when the open border is flooded with those whose will want to take advantage of free healthcare, welfare and food stamps. Who can blame them? We’re rich and we’re just giving it away – even when they’re here illegally. I know many are hardworking, honest folk and there are still mouths to feed back in Mexico. But you have to consider the economic affect and plan accordingly.

  21. @Mark D. (#10)

    All non-U.S. citizens should pay federal income taxes at a 30% rate with no deductions. The extra revenues should be used to cover the impact to health care and education. In addition, that would reduce the negative impact to the labor market, because the market rate for unskilled labor would rise to cover the difference.

    That’s an excellent idea. As a Salt Lake City resident (west side at that), my views on illegal immigration are influenced by what I see every day. As sympathetic as I may be to my neighbors and ward members, I simply cannot get over their sizable impact on health care and education. Many make the argument that illegals contribute to our economy. I’m no economist, but I’d love to quantify that contribution and compare it to the costs associated with their being wards of the state. I bet that contribution goes negative pretty quick.

    @JA Benson (#12)

    USA is a wonderful country because of it’s melting pot of nationalities.

    You’re correct that it is one of the things that made this country wonderful. And it is still true in some places. Not any more in Salt Lake. Much of the county has- to use Ben Pratt’s words- been Mexicanized. That is to say there are virtually no “melting pot” characteristics in some places (including my neighborhood) any more. We’ve allowed unchecked illegal immigration here under the “melting pot” principle, among other reasons. How ironic that many parts of Salt Lake County have now become something of an Anti Melting Pot.

    @Ben Pratt (#15)

    A question I’ve not seen addressed much concerns cultural acclimation vs. cultural importation. If you have 1,000,000 people entering the United States from any one place every year, that’s not emigration, that’s mass migration. When that many people move from (e.g. Mexico) to the US, they don’t have a chance to become cultural Americans. Instead they (e.g. Mexicanize) America.

    Very well said. Open borders folks would be wise to consider this. A minor disagreement though- it’s not so much that they don’t have a chance to become cultural Americans as they simply have no desire whatsoever to become cultural Americans. I know two U.S. citizen families of Mexican origin that have moved out of my neighborhood disgusted at both the “free lunch” (heck, free anything) mentality and the lack of respect for American culture. Is this the goal of all of our sympathy? I don’t think so.

  22. I’m not sure I get people’s problem with nonassimilation. That’s one of the strengths of the U.S. When I grew up in San Diego, I could get great Mexican food. I could find neighborhoods where everybody spoke Spanish.

    Now I’m in New York. A century ago and more, Eastern European Jewish immigrants came to the lower east side. Many first-generation immigrants did not assimilate–they kept their language and, to the extent possible, their customs. Now, 100 years later, I can find, among other things, amazing delis. Bagels are a fixture of the city, and there are strong Eastern European influences throughout New York.

    Ditto for Chinatown, only it is still in the process of assimilating.

    I haven’t studied it, but my anecdotal impression is that very few waves of first-generation immigrants have assimilated into the broader culture, or at least few have assimilated quickly. Little by little, though, the immigrants, their children, or their grandchildren interact with the broader U.S. culture, adopting parts of it and sharing parts of their natal culture with us. What’s the difference between the Irish, Jewish, and Catholic immigrants of a century ago and the Mexican immigrants of today? Pretty much 100 years.

  23. @Sam B. (#24)

    I’m glad you are able to find good food. I’m talking about the non integration of distinctly American cultural values that made the U.S. a place they’d want to risk their lives to come to.

    I echo Ben Pratt’s earlier comment:

    So separate from all the social and economic questions is the question of how much value we assign to American ideals like liberty and justice for all, unquenchable reaching and striving, and the boundless opportunities available to one and all. These ideals don’t exist in every nation, and when enormous groups of people with other ideals come here, they cannot possibly learn of and appreciate the ideals of their new country.

    It’s one thing to bring precious aspects of one’s culture to the U.S. and hold to them as you embrace American culture. What’s happening (at least here in Utah) is quite different. Even second-generation immigrants are antipathetic to American culture and only learn the language in order to get by.

    Using analogies from the past, as you did and as apologists for illegal immigration tend to do, is really a cop-out. There’s a different dynamic here, a different mindset, a unique set of circumstances. And it’s happening on a greater scale than in the past. The difference is definitely more than just 100 years.

  24. Tossman :
    @Sam B. (#24)
    Using analogies from the past, as you did and as apologists for illegal immigration tend to do, is really a cop-out. There’s a different dynamic here, a different mindset, a unique set of circumstances. And it’s happening on a greater scale than in the past. The difference is definitely more than just 100 years.

    Perhaps. Yet I get the distinct feeling that most generations of Americans that has dealt with immigration has felt the same way–that immigration in the past was OK, but that the immigration that’s happening now (whether the Irish, or any other group) is somehow worse.
    The ratio of immigrants, compared to those already living in the US, is substantially lower now than it was in the 19th century.
    I have yet to meet a second-generation immigrant that is antipathetic to American culture. And I’ve known quite a few. A few who are brought into the US as teenagers might be antipathetic, and certainly some of the adults, but the vast majority of those who are brought in as children, or who are second-generation, are much more American than anything else.

  25. Tossman,
    Using analogies to the past is no more of a cop-out than explaining your views toward immigration based on what you see in your Salt Lake neighborhood.

    Today’s immigration is different? How? Because Mexicans bring gangs and drugs? Look at the history of the Bowery and Five Points–the Italian and Irish immigrants brought crime and gangs (and, in some situations, drugs). I already spoke to nonintegration. The people coming are lowerclass and poor? And how is that different? Mexicans are racially different than their norteamericano brethren? We raciallized Italian and Irish immigrants. They get together in their own communities? How about Little Italies? Chinatowns? The Lower East Side? My wife’s great-grandparents came from Belgium, settled in a Belgium neighborhood in the Great Lakes somewhere, hung out with Belgian immigrants, and continued to use Dutch (actually Flemish, but I’m not terribly concerned about that difference) principally. Even the Mormons came and congregated, not integrating into the broader United States.

    So what’s the difference? Every generation has scapegoated that generation’s poor immigrants. The immigrants have come nonetheless and, as a whole, have made this a better and stronger country.

    Ultimately, though, I don’t buy your assertion that the integration of immigrants is materially different today than it has been at any point in the past. The fact that our Muslim immigrants aren’t radicalized in the same way they often are in European countries lends credence to this idea. And, like Tim, I have interacted with a lot of second-generation Americans. All of them speak English (sometimes with an accent), all of them enjoy the freedoms of the U.S., and the bulk of them are productive members of society.

  26. And what is this “distinctly American cultural values that made the U.S. a place they’d want to risk their lives to come to”? Certain immigrants, both legal and illegal, continue to risk their lives in order to come here, which, per your sentence, should be prima facie evidence that they value something distinctly American, whether it is culture or, more likely, political and economic freedom and opportunity.

  27. I should add (and then I’m out) that my personal experience in Utah is nowhere near what Tossman describes. It’s possible that I didn’t interact with the same immigrant communities with which Tossman interacted–I lived there for parts of 4 years as a student at BYU, so I didn’t interact a ton with non-students–but I did live near south Provo and did have some interaction with the Brazilian community. The Latin Americans I knew were immensely interested in becoming a part of the majority culture. I certainly encountered antipathy toward Utah culture among the immigrants than among the Californians, and I encountered no antipathy toward learning English.

  28. Tim, let me be clear. I’m not talking about our legal immigration process, which I agree is today far from perfect. I’m talking strictly about illegal immigration from Latin America, mostly from Mexico.

    I can only speak for my neighborhood and home town, and from the perspective of a second generation immigrant from the South Pacific. Dismissing illegal immigration as harmless and rationalizing it as simply a repeat of past immigration waves is either lazy or a complete act of denial.

    Tim, I should have used “apathetic” instead of “antipathetic.” I don’t know how eager earlier immigrants were to embrace American culture, but I do notice a palpable apathy to American culture in today’s illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants (we’ve got a lot of Pacific Islanders, Pakistanis, and Indians) and refugees seem to be very eager to assimilate.

    Again, I can only speak for my local situation. But then again, Utah is one of the most illegal-friendly states in the union, so my small sample may be very representative of the overall situation.

  29. rationalizing it as simply a repeat of past immigration waves is either lazy or a complete act of denial.

    Sam B. is right. Insisting that today’s immigration is materially different from that of the past is sheer ignorance, and a repetition of the same past’s bigotry and fearfulness.

    I’m an inner-city Salt Laker, Tossman. Your experience does not reflect the Salt Lake I know, nor the inner-city Las Vegas I grew up in.

  30. @ Sam B.

    Today’s immigration is different? How? Because Mexicans bring gangs and drugs?

    Not really. Though I don’t appreciate those aspects of illegal Mexican immigration. I live in the neighborhood that President Monson grew up in. There are old ladies in our ward who still refer to him as “Tommy.” Do an archive search in our SL newspapers for “glendale” and see what you find. It is quite possibly the most dangerous and crime-ridden area in the state, thanks to drugs and Latino gangs.

    I’m not going to take the time to list every aspect of each, but I’ll suggest that intent is different, expectation is different, economic sacrifice is different.

    Every generation has scapegoated that generation’s poor immigrants. The immigrants have come nonetheless and, as a whole, have made this a better and stronger country.

    Maybe you could elaborate on how you think mass illegal immigration will result in a stronger country.

    I should add (and then I’m out) that my personal experience in Utah is nowhere near what Tossman describes. It’s possible that I didn’t interact with the same immigrant communities with which Tossman interacted–I lived there for parts of 4 years as a student at BYU…

    Bingo.

    @Ardis

    I’m an inner-city Salt Laker, Tossman. Your experience does not reflect the Salt Lake I know, nor the inner-city Las Vegas I grew up in.

    Well good. I’m glad it’s sunshine and lollipops for you.

  31. I hope people can continue expressing their views and desires in this matter without feeling any need to denounce the same for others. I’m finding it instructive to learn the variety of what things people want.

    Two thoughts: For my purposes the legal/illegal distinction is not helpful; the only reason to make such a distinction is to differentiate those who may enter and stay and those who may not. My question as I set out is: How many do we welcome?

    Second thought: I think immigration started getting out of hand in the early 20th Century; I don’t think it was an optimum golden age. The nation as whole at the time seemed to think that also since drastic changes were made starting with the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 limiting annual immigration to 3% of the population, and then 2% with the Immigration Act of ’24. Without those limits and several decades of consolidation, I don’t think it would have been well for the United States.

  32. Tossman,
    I actually need you to list how today’s immigration (and note that I, like John, am not really concerned here about the legal/illegal dichotomy for these purposes). You assert that intent, expectation, and economic sacrifice are different. Help me out–what was the intent, expectation, and economic sacrifice of previous waves of immigrants, and how does it differ from today’s immigrants? The arguments against immigration you make don’t differ in the least from arguments made in previous generations; the only difference is the countries from which immigrants are coming.

    And I really don’t have any idea what you mean by the fact that old ladies call Pres. Monson “Tommy.” Your argument is that your neighborhood used to be safe and affluent (or relatively middle-class) and that it has degenerated, and such degeneration is the result of illegal immigrants? Because I don’t buy it.

  33. 3% of the population is about 9 million. 2% of the population is about 6 million. Per year. Yes, those are huge numbers of people, and yes, more than that coming into the US on an annual basis would probably be too much.
    Our immigration numbers are far, far below that. I think we’d be fine with 2% (except possibly in years like this one, where immigration numbers drop anyway because of high unemployment).

  34. I actually need you to list how today’s immigration (and note that I, like John, am not really concerned here about the legal/illegal dichotomy for these purposes.

    Since I do see the importance of distinguishing between legal and illegal immigration, I don’t know how I could possibly “help you out” by listing distinctions. You will not be convinced.

    Your argument is that your neighborhood used to be safe and affluent (or relatively middle-class) and that it has degenerated, and such degeneration is the result of illegal immigrants?

    Uh, yeah, I do. Again, do an archive search in the Trib for “glendale.” Yes, Glendale used to be safe back in Pres. Monson’s day. It is not now. I just dare you to walk down, say, 1500 West or 400 So. at any time of day. Maybe park your car on Redwood Rd. and leave it for about 15 minutes. See what happens. Do all that and then tell me you don’t buy my argument.

    Perhaps, since you don’t buy this argument, you could pose your own theories as to how why this neighborhood degenerated.

    Regarding John Mansfeld’s question, I would welcome as many as we could handle, but I wish we could make things fairer. For example, how fair is it that we make the rest of the world wade through years of expense and red tape to come here legally when we simply let untold millions walk across our border? Somebody in the Ukraine should have the same opportunity to come here as somebody from Mexico. Other than political correctness reasons, why shouldn’t we be able to make strides toward that type of system?

    Not to oversimplify, but I wish we could allow immigrants with the understandings that 1) You’ll pass a basic English test before you can come, 2) we expect some assimilation when you get here, and 3)We’re not going to take care of you for the rest of your life.

    Right now, we say “come one, come all,” but only if you’re close enough to walk over, and we’ll go bankrupt paying for your food, housing, and ER visits. This is an unsustainable model.

  35. Your argument is that your neighborhood used to be safe and affluent (or relatively middle-class) and that it has degenerated, and such degeneration is the result of illegal immigrants? Because I don’t buy it.

    You’re right not to buy it, Sam B. That’s the same neighborhood my mother grew up in, and despite what people assume about us sunshine-and-lollipop folks, I don’t feel any need to pretend my mother came from a land of manors and wealth. It was on the wrong side of the tracks then, filled with widows, poor people, immigrants (chiefly from Germany) and the lower working classes — heck, why do you think the welfare program was started in the stake next door? It’s the same kind of neighborhood today — lots of hardworking but generally not well-off people, leaning heavily to those on their way up (new arrivals — chiefly from Central America and the Pacific Islands — young families struggling to establish their economic lives) and those on their way down (widows, retired people, those who can’t afford larger, newer homes elsewhere).

    But it has not degenerated from some paradisaical condition. The near west side of Salt Lake is what it has always been, with perhaps an evolution in surnames and musical tastes.

  36. Bookslinger makes some excellent points. If the borders were more open, and as long as the people financing immigration could recapture their costs through the indentured servant mode they currently use, I could easily seen 20 million or more Chinese a year coming here.

    The Mexicans I meet are hard working and diligent.

    The Pakistanis I met were graduate degree holding chemists who were working in a dry cleaner. They actually made less in the United States, but had religious freedom, which was what they were after.

    A lot of interesting points here, and useful, I’m thinking.

  37. But it has not degenerated from some paradisaical condition. The near west side of Salt Lake is what it has always been, with perhaps an evolution in surnames and musical tastes.

    So you really think that Glendale is just as safe as when when your mom grew up there?

    I never said it was manors and wealth. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed that everybody here was familiar with Pres. Monson’s humble upbringing.

    It’s sad to see the neighborhood today because the area is so historically rich. Ardis, I bet your mom remembers attending the little stone church on Gladiola.

  38. Tossman,
    When I was dating my wife, I not infrequently walked 5 or 6 blocks through Washington Heights to the subway at 2:00 in the morning. So I’m not superscared of Glendale. Heck, I live next to projects and across the street from a halfway house/homeless shelter.

    Why did the neighborhood degenerate (if it did)? My guess is for the same reason my grandparents’ neighborhood in San Bernardino is much different today than it was when they moved there in the early 1950s–it lost its hipness. Nicer and newer homes were built elsewhere, those who could afford to moved to those nicer and newer homes, and the neighborhood became less expensive. (Again, assuming that it has fallen from grace; Ardis seems to suggest that it’s always been working class and, given my lack of familiarity with Utah neighborhoods, I don’t have any way to judge).

    Okay, I see now that you say it was never affluent. Nonetheless, that’s how neighborhoods change. Immigrant groups move to a neighborhood and, at some point, often move away. As they move away, other groups take their place. Harlem was a Jewish neighborhood and, when that group left, southern African-Americans came and took their place. Washington Heights was also a Jewish neighborhood that is now largely, though not entirely, Dominican. Heck, Chinatown is taking over Little Italy little by little. Cities and communities ebb and flow. Glendale may be in a bad place right now (seriously, I have absolutely no idea). The Atlantic Monthly had an aricle about this a couple months ago, arguing that suburbs and exburbs are the next inner-cities: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/subprime

  39. Is Mexico offering immigrants from the US the same things that we offer immigrants from Mexico?

    It’s illegal for us (North Americans) to own land in Mexico.
    It’s illegal for us to get full time jobs (without going through a lot of hoops) in Mexico.

    If totally opening the border between countries is such a good thing, why haven’t all countries done it?

    Geoff: I also think that the “demand” for immigrants in the US that you refer to is artificial. It’s a construct of employers who are willing to hire illegal immigrants, and a byproduct of the welfare system. I also think there’s a tie-in to abortion. Abortion has eliminated tens of millions of US citizens from the work force. If those babies had been allowed to grow up, there wouldn’t have been the need to import so many workers.

  40. Bookslinger,
    “If totally opening the border between countries is such a good thing, why haven’t all countries done it?”

    Political expediency. It has been a general article of faith for a long time, for example, that free trade without excise taxes or domestic subsidies is the best thing for a country’s economic development. But when a domestic industry starts feeling the pinch, the politically expedient thing is to help that industry out. And there may be good reasons for helping the industry out. But it, according to the free-market hypothesis, is not the best thing.

    Heck, even the U.S. will turn protectionist when the going gets tough. Politicians are politicians, and will sometimes choose second- (or third- or fourth-) best. The fact that not all countries have open borders does not militate as strong evidence that open borders are a bad thing.

  41. @Tim #26

    Yet I get the distinct feeling that most generations of Americans that has dealt with immigration has felt the same way–that immigration in the past was OK, but that the immigration that’s happening now (whether the Irish, or any other group) is somehow worse.

    I do, except my “other group” isn’t base on ethnicity, but on motivation for coming.

    In Florida our ward had a variety of ethnicities. One of my first friends there was a woman who was an illegal alien who was a very new convert to the church. She told me at length the how “[her] people” (a) got all the new stuff they wanted for their families without really having to pay for it and (b) how to have babies for “free.”

    The plan included what stores to frequent, which hospitals to go to, whom to talk to, how to list your personal information. It wasn’t just common practice, it was systemic.

  42. It seems we’re getting pretty far afield from John M’s original question, which is “how many should be allowed to get residency in the next five years?”

    The reason this is important, I think, is that it concentrates the mind on the realities rather than the abstract. Is West Salt Lakes worse off with Mexican immigrants than it would be with another group? Hard to say. Is it worse off than it was 50 years ago? Hard to say, subjective.

    But if open borders types (like myself) can say to themselves, “well, we really don’t want to let 200 million people in” then we can start looking at realistic solutions.

    What always happens in these discussions is that somebody says, “I don’t like what’s happening to U.S. culture with all the Latins coming in.” And then somebody else responds, offended, “this always happens with immigration and by the way, that’s racist (or chauvinistic).” And then the other guy says, “yeah, but they’re changing the nature of the United States.” And on and on in an endless loop.

    The reality is that most open border people like myself can’t accept EVERYBODY coming to the U.S. And restrictionists are usually in favor of SOME legal immigration. So, if we were to concentrate on the original question (rather than the offended comments back and forth) we actually might find some areas of agreement.

  43. Geoff,
    My problem with reacting to John’s original question is, simply enough, that I don’t have any idea. The best response, in my opinion, is, As many as we can absorb. But I don’t know if that “absorb” is a matter of economics, a matter of available housing stock, or something else. Moreover, I don’t have any data on how many people the U.S. economy and U.S. cities/suburbs/rural areas can absorb. You’re right that a tangible question focuses the mind, but without actual data and analysis of that data (the bane of blogs, it would seem), there’s not much else to say.

    So I’m stuck calling people racist and chauvinistic (although, in my defense, I deliberately refrained from making any such accusation).

  44. The scripture that I think of when I consider the barrier model of immigration control (patron saint: Erich Honecker) is from D&C 121:

    “As well might man stretch forth his puny arm to stop the Missouri River in its decreed course . . .”

    And, as John Mansfield has pointed out, imposing restriction on immigrants means imposing restriction on all of us–when the United Blowhards of America (aka the Congress) start yammering on and on about a secure identification card that could not be forged, and how that would solve all our workplace enforcement issues, I’m tempted to say: “No half measures. Just line us all up for chip implantation at the nearest Federal Health Service Dispensary!”

  45. Alison,
    From what I’ve seen, immigrants, on average, are more likely to work, work harder, and work longer hours than non-immigrants.
    I wonder if any studies have been done comparing willingness to work between immigrants and non-immigrants.
    I’m sure there are immigrants out there that don’t work, and don’t want to. I’ve met a lot of immigrants in the US, and I’ve never met one who’d been in the US for longer than a month that wasn’t working almost full-time or full-time (except for students, and some of them, including high school students, had full-time work as well).

  46. Tim, I don’t disagree that immigrants have an excellent work ethic. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t also looking for a handout.

    You might be amazed how many new immigrant members mysteriously fall inactive the week after their extensive (and I mean extensive – I was all three clerks in my ward for a few years) welfare requests get denied. I signed many a check for rent, car payments– even cable TV. What happens is the stake requests service missionaries for help in these areas.

    So in many cases, these requests must come through the service missionaries before they reach the bishop. The service missionaries I dealt with were usually much more strict about tithing status and budget prep than the bishop was, and many of these requests would get denied at the service missionary level. Like clockwork, as soon as this happens, these members are never seen at church again.

  47. Add me to the open borders list–I think the Ellis Island approach of allowing people in except for certain criminals or health conditions, works fine. Perhaps a requirement that the person find a job within a certain period.

    The passage cited by Mark also comes frequently to my mind–that we can no more stop the Missouri than we can stop the migration of peoples. I think we can affect it, but we cannot stop it (without taking measures such as those taken by certain totalitarian regimes before the walls came down).

    It is odd, to me, that so many (Geoff is excluded) who believe that the free market is usually part of the solution, if not the primary solution to so many problems, believe that tight regulation (and “enforcement of the law”) is the answer to determining the optimal location or number of human beings within our boundaries.

  48. My apologies for the last paragraph because it borders on ad hominem. Let me restate as follows: Just as, in general, free markets usually allocate goods and resources better than government regulation, I believe that infuses a more free market into the immigration process would result in more optimal allocation of people within countries than heavy handed government regulation or “enforcement of law.”

  49. From what I’ve seen, immigrants, on average, are more likely to work, work harder, and work longer hours than non-immigrants.

    I didn’t think we were talking about immigrants. Are we?

    If you’re talking about illegal aliens then my solution is perfect. Get rid of the incentives and the handouts. They’ll still come and outshine all the “native Americans.” More power to them.

    If that is the case, then it WOULD likely “Mexicanize” American–because the exceptionally hard-working Latin immigrants would be on the top of the heap. And Mexicanization would be a good thing, because it would be promoting a culture of self-sufficiency and production.

    The primary reason I’d lean more toward promoting American culture over Mexican culture is simply that I like the results of the culture in American much more than those in Mexico. If I didn’t, I suppose I’d be trying to move there–legally, of course.

  50. DavidH, I think the argument breaks down because free education, free healthcare, free _________________ aren’t the “free” that the free market is about. When you’ve taken boatloads from the productive citizens and redistributed it to everyone — citizen and non-citizen alike — you aren’t operating in a “free market” in the first place. The need for the immigration controls comes, in large part, BECAUSE of the government manipulation.

  51. How about Mormon 5:24, or 3 Nephi 20:16 or 3 Nephi 21:12?

    What I take from these scriptures, is the US needs to seriously address the illegal alien issue in a positive/righteous way for South and Central Americans or we white folk/gentiles are dead meat. :)

  52. I didn’t think we were talking about immigrants. Are we?

    If you’re talking about illegal aliens then …

    Excuse me, but how can there be any productive discussion about any subject at all when rigid ideological — what? arguments? talking points? slogans? I don’t even know what to call them — are thrown up as barriers?

    My views on immigration are still very much in flux. I don’t doubt that I’ve been classed with the bleeding heart, liberal, throw-the-borders-wide-open, give-‘em-everything-their-little-hearts-desire faction, but I’ve never even come close to actually saying any of that in the overlapping discussions in the last few days. Rather, I’ve tried to put the brakes on exaggerated claims, racial bigotry, and fear-mongering — which comes across as extreme liberalism when it’s used to counter extremism on the other side.

    But when a participant in the discussion gets cute this way, deliberately pretending not to understand a commonly used term in favor of a purely ideological, deliberately inflammatory statement, then it’s clear that there is zero interest in even communicating, much less in adjusting prejudices to make way for a new thought. There’s no point in talking with the brick wall of close-minded ideology.

    (To clarify, it is inflammatory because of the deliberate cutesiness of it, being thrown up as it is to counter a non-ideological use of a common term; used as it is in #56 the term isn’t inflammatory, because it used used ideologically. A normal, charitable, decent reader can be expected to understand it as given and not counter it with “what do you mean, “illegal alien”? don’t you mean “wetback”?)

  53. Tell us how you really feel, Ardis. I’m glad to know I’m being cute today. I don’t usually get called out for that particular quality.

    Excuse me, but how can there be any productive discussion about any subject at all when rigid ideological — what? arguments? talking points? slogans? I don’t even know what to call them — are thrown up as barriers?

    Ardis, I’m sorry you were offended. There is a meaningful difference in my mind between someone who–like my sister-in-law–followed all the time-consuming, wedding-delaying, nutty laws of the land to come here by the book and someone who sneaks in and perpetuates long-term deceipt. And I DO think that it might even be somewhat reflective of someone’s work ethic–which was the point of Tim’s response to me.

    Still, my question wasn’t “thrown up…to counter” anything it all. The question was asked to CLARIFY. If Tim’s assertion is that IMMIGRANTS are more hard-working, whatever, than non-immigrants–it is a DIFFERENT assertion than that ILLEGAL ALIENS are more hard-working, whatever, than citizens. I don’t know if either is true, but they are different positions. I thought he used the term “immigrants” intentionally–to be more inclusive or something. If he didn’t, I’ll allow him to answer that.

    Without empirical evidence my thought would be that immigrants might, at very least, appreciate the freedoms here more than someone who has always had them. The same that life-long members are accused of taking the gospel for granted.

    You’ll note that I later said that I didn’t MIND the “Mexicanization” of America if, indeed, his assertions are true, because I support a culture that has a stronger work ethic. If the Mexicans are, by and large, harder workers, then we could use an infusion of that. You’ll also notice that I’m in favor of allowing anyone from anywhere come–as long as the current citizens aren’t unfairly burdened by it.

    And, for the record, if you equate “illegal alien” and “wetback,” then I’m at a loss.

  54. Back on topic, I suggested that guest worker programs and immigrations should be allowed such that up to 10% of the U.S. population are non-citizens at any given time. That is about 30 million people. Anyone think that we should have more than that? Does anyone doubt that if we eliminated border controls under current tax / welfare policies that we wouldn’t end up with 100 million? i.e. perhaps 1 out of 4 residents?

  55. I should mention that at present there are about 12 million legal (non-citizen) permanent residents, about 1.5 million legal temporary residents, and twenty million illegal immigrants.

    We currently grant about 1 million immigrants legal permanent resident status every year and about the same number of the LPRs are become citizens every year, suggesting an average 12 year tenure as LPRs assuming all LPRs are eventually naturalized.

    I think the number of LPRs is about right, but that the number of legal temporary residents (LTRs) could be increased by about twenty million, enough to encompass the equivalent of the entire illegal immigrant population. The trick is doing this without getting another twenty to a hundred million on top of that, which is probably unsustainable under current tax, health, welfare, and education policies.

  56. Alison,
    I’d say that both legal and illegal immigrants work, on average, harder. The vast majority didn’t come to the US to slack off. They came here to work.
    I’m sure some do take advantage of government and church welfare programs. But I doubt they do so any more than American citizens of the same economic status (poor or lower middle class). Right now, I know a number of citizens that aren’t working and aren’t looking for jobs–they’re relying solely on government welfare. I don’t know of many immigrants, illegal or legal, who do that.
    Mark D.,
    Could you provide a source for the number of immigrants currently in the US? Those numbers seem a bit high.
    I’d support 10-15% (30 to 45 million) non-citizen immigrants, as long as people living in the US are encouraged to become US citizens, and as long as unemployment levels are low.

  57. Mark D., I like those ideas. The magnitude of immigration you suggest is, I think, a level that would satisfy most people. It seems odd that the number of permanent residents is eight times the number of temporary residents; that seems out of line with the needs and interests of all involved. You would think that the number of people interested in living in another country for a few years and then returning to the home they love would be as large or larger than the number who want to relocate permamently. As you wrote, how to do these things is a puzzle. It might be hoped that creating a larger legal temporary resident channel would dry up the networks supporting current illegal immigrants, and also that with temporary residents openly part of the system, they would disperse throughout the country more and not concentrate in a sometimes unhealthy manner that overwhelms public services. It is not a farfetched fear, however, that what we would end up with is 20 million new temporary residents from countries that don’t presently send many migrants to the U.S. plus the same body of illegal immigrants that we already have.

    Audacious Epigone has a table of “percentages of countries’ native populations residing in US.” It shows 11% of Mexican born living in the U.S. The 2000 Census shows 1.5 million who were born in Puerto Rico living in the fifty United States and 3.4 million living in Puerto Rico. With open borders, the Mexican population in the U.S. might double or triple. But look at our immigrants from some other countries. Our 1.4 million China-born are only 0.1% of the world total. Likewise with our 1.5 million India-born. There are only 82,000 Indonesia-born in the U.S., which is 0.04% of Indonesia’s population. Those three nations alone would send us 20 million each before the end of the year if that were allowed. Some people say that there is pressure driving migrants to enter the U.S. so great that nothing can be done about it. Well, for all the shortcomings of our current enforcement, largely the job is getting done.

    I mentioned Canada in the initial post. It is a country roughly equivalent in many ways to the U.S., but with a tenth the U.S. population. It welcomes many immigrants, proportionally more than the U.S., I think. Without deliberately selecting the few lucky few who are allowed to become Canadian residents and enforcing those choices, Canada would be overwhelmed in short order. I don’t know much about Canada’s immigration system and enforcement, but I suspect there are probably some useful lessons there for the United States.

  58. Reglamento de la Ley General de Poblacion (General Law on Population) in Spanish dated Abril 14 de 2000 Capitulo Quinto –Migracion Seccion 1

    Mexico welcomes only foreigners who will be useful to Mexican society:

    Foreigners are admitted into Mexico “according to their possibilities of contributing to national progress.”

    Immigration officials must “ensure” that “immigrants will be useful elements for the country and that they have the necessary funds for their sustenance” and for their dependents.

    Foreigners may be barred from the country if their presence upsets “the equilibrium of the national demographics,” when foreigners are deemed detrimental to “economic or national interests,” when they do not behave like good citizens in their own country, when they have broken Mexican laws, and when “they are not found to be physically or mentally healthy.”

    The Secretary of Governance may “suspend or prohibit the admission of foreigners when he determines it to be in the national interest.”

    Mexican authorities must keep track of every single person in the country:

    Federal, local and municipal police must cooperate with federal immigration authorities upon request to assist in the arrests of illegal immigrants.

    A National Population Registry keeps track of “every single individual who comprises the population of the country,” and verifies each individual’s identity.

    A national Catalog of Foreigners tracks foreign tourists and immigrants and assigns each individual with a unique tracking number.
    Foreigners with fake papers, or who enter the country under false pretenses, may be Imprisoned. Foreigners with fake immigration papers may be fined or imprisoned.

    Foreigners who sign government documents “with a signature that is false or different is subject to fine and imprisonment.

    Foreigners who fail to obey the rules will be fined, deported, and/or imprisoned as Felons. Foreigners who fail to obey a deportation order are to be punished.

    Foreigners who are deported from Mexico and attempt to re-enter the country without authorization can be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

    Foreigners who violate the terms of their visa may be sentenced to up to six years in prison . Foreigners who misrepresent the terms of their visa while in Mexico — such as working with out a permit — can also be imprisoned.

    Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population States…

    “A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of three hundred to five thousand pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally.”

    Foreigners with legal immigration problems may be deported from Mexico instead of being imprisoned. Foreigners who have contempt against national sovereignty or security” will be deported.
    Mexicans who help illegal aliens enter the country are themselves considered criminals .Under the law, A Mexican who marries a foreigner with the sole objective of helping the foreigner live in the country is subject to up to five years in prison.

    Shipping and airline companies that bring undocumented foreigners into Mexico will be fined. The general immigration laws of Mexico are very similar to 8 U.S. Codes of the I&N Act. The review of basic Immigration laws of various nations including Mexico have been researched by various authors including Professor Michael Waller and Reports for U.S. Congress. Open border advocates, special interest groups in the United States do not appreciate this information made public although the facts have been readily available and widely distributed. Condemning U.S. Laws as cruel and inhumane lacks any measure of common sense when the majority of nations in the world including Mexico have even stricter immigration policies.

  59. Just a few observations.

    First, let’s remember that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It isn’t any more remarkable that 40% of Puerto Ricans live somewhere besides Puerto Rico now than it is that 40% of other Americans probably live somewhere besides the state of their birth.

    A porous border means that people can move in both directions. The number of people entering illegally from Mexico has decreased since the U.S. economy has gone into recession, and many who were here have gone back. That fact should also tell us something about the motivations of those who enter illegally. If they want to freeload we would notice no decrease. Most of them work incredibly hard at distasteful or dangerous work. Anybody who has ever worked doing paving, roofing, or drywall work knows what I mean.

    We cannot complain about people who come here just to get a bunch of free stuff and simultaneously complain that they are taking Americans’ jobs. Our booming economy needed workers and so they came, many of them illegally. Now our economy doesn’t have jobs for them so they are going back. Markets do work, and I do not think they are distorted to any significant degree by our social safety net, to the extent it can be called that.

    Since most undocumented workers never collect social security benefits, the FICA which is withheld from their pay is a windfall to our economy and the SS fund. This amounts to billions of dollars per year into the treasury and we need to keep that in mind when we total up the costs of illegal immigration.

  60. Mark Brown, my point with the Puerto Rico datum is that though all Puerto Ricans could live in the U.S. if they wanted, only 29% of those born there have chosen to do so, and 71% prefer to stay on their island. Similiarly, most Mexicans would not want to come to the United States even if we begged them to. When I wrote that the Mexican-born population in the U.S. could double or triple, my point was that is the most it could increase. When discussions of immigration come up, we tend to focus excessively on our southern neighbor.

  61. On the “hard-working foreigners” theme, I don’t wish to disparage foreign-born workers, but I also don’t want to disparage our native-born workers with the notion that they are lazier than foreigners. Here are some BLS numbers that are a bit interesting. One nice thing is that foreign-born mothers are less likely to be employed. For those with children under 6, 47% are employed, compared with 63% for native-born mothers with children under 6.

  62. Does anyone doubt that if we eliminated border controls under current tax / welfare policies that we wouldn’t end up with 100 million?

    I don’t doubt it at all.

    In theory, Utahns are very conservative. But even the “most conservative state in the union,” converts to near socialism when the handout is going to benefit them PERSONALLY. I’m shocked at how often the idea of self-reliance only matters to some when it’s someone ELSE’S self-reliance that is being looked at. The culture of wanting something for nothing seems to be flourishing all over.

    Tim, how did you come to the decision that non-citizens work harder? I’m not disputing that idea, just wonder what the basis is.

    As I said on T&S, in 2005 my identity was stolen by an illegal alien and last summer my college daughter had her car totaled when broadsided by an unlicensed, uninsured illegal alien in Provo. Still, I was surprised when a raid in Lindon, Utah, a year or so ago found that MORE THAN ONE HALF of the illegals working at a plant there had stolen identities of American citizens. I don’t know how hard they are working, but when that high of a percentage is stealing from citizens, it diminishes the contribution significantly in my mind.

    That fact should also tell us something about the motivations of those who enter illegally.

    I’d like to know more about cause before deciding. I’ve heard two other issues that might contribute. (1) I keep hearing people bemoaning the fact that many are leaving BECAUSE of the revved up enforcement, raids, and threats of liability to those who hire illegal aliens. (2) Most of the illegals I have known personally combined government programs (free education, free health care, etc.) with undocumented work situations. (Some paid taxes, some didn’t.) It was BOTH together than made it desirable to be here.

  63. I have some strange angles on this issue at http://howonelives.wordpress.com

    The real problem is not that it’s not illegal to send missionaries out who don’t have green cards or ecclesiastical visas. The problem is that doctrinally they don’t even qualify for membership or the Priesthood to begin with. If Jose was on a “tourist” visa for example, that’s even worse. Hopefully he only had an expired R-1 visa. Did he?
    Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(R) provides a nonimmigrant visa category “R” for individuals seeking to enter the United States to work in a religious capacity on a temporary basis.

  64. Other than the fact that your understanding of the doctrine of the church as to who is eligible to be baptized or receive the priesthood runs directly counter to those whose responsibility it is to declare that doctrine, that you’ve cited a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that defines “religious worker” but not the actual section that authorizes the issuance of non-immigrant visas to them (try INA section 214, 8 USC 1184, and the regulations issued thereunder, 8 CFR 214.2(r), and that you’ve “hoped” for a situation that is about as likely as snow falling in Miami (R-1 Visas are issued for an initial period of 3 years, and may be extended for 2 more years thereafter, which reduces essentially to zero the likelihood that he had an expired R-1 visa)–as I was saying, other than that, yours is a great comment, Howonelive.

  65. Allison,

    Undocumented/illegal immigrants are not eligible for welfare benefits, not even Medicaid. True, hospitals are forbidden from turning away from emergency services anyone in need who has no money, including undocumented/illegal immigrants. That is true also for any citizen who is without insurance or Medicaid. That is a far cry for free medical coverage–it is a very limited provision of emergency care.

    The Supreme Court of the United States has held that states may not exclude children from public education, K-12, on the basis of the immigration status of children or of their parents. There is no across-the-board free post-secondary education for undocumented/illegal immigrants.

  66. The merits of the idea aside, the Supreme Court just made that up, of course.

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