Fix The Economy: Open The Borders

[Crossposted on “TADA” and on “Alas“]

Chicago Immigration Reform Protest - HR4437

Felix Salmon writes:

Never mind the stimulus vs austerity debate: here’s something that both sides should be able to get behind. It’s a simple legislative fix which increases tax revenues without raising taxes; which increases the demand for housing; which increases the economy’s productive capacity; and which boosts wages for American workers. It’s about as Pareto-optimal as legislation gets. So let’s open the borders, and encourage much more immigration into the US!

Salmon links to this report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Giovanni Peri, the author of the report, compared states with high levels of immigration to states with low levels of immigration, a sort of “natural experiment.”

For example, in California, one worker in three was foreign born in 2008, while in West Virginia the comparable proportion was only one in 100. By exploiting variations in the inflows of immigrants across states at 10-year intervals from 1960 to 2000, and annually from 1994 to 2008, we are able to estimate the short-run (one to two years), medium-run (four years), and long-run (seven to ten years) impact of immigrants on output, income, and employment.

Peri found that immigration is strongly beneficial:

First, there is no evidence that immigrants crowd out U.S.-born workers in either the short or long run. Data on U.S.-born worker employment imply small effects, with estimates never statistically different from zero. The impact on hours per worker is similar. We observe insignificant effects in the short run and a small but significant positive effect in the long run. At the same time, immigration reduces somewhat the skill intensity of workers in the short and long run because immigrants have a slightly lower average education level than U.S.-born workers.

Second, the positive long-run effect on income per U.S.-born worker accrues over some time. In the short run, small insignificant effects are observed. Over the long run, however, a net inflow of immigrants equal to 1% of employment increases income per worker by 0.6% to 0.9%. This implies that total immigration to the United States from 1990 to 2007 was associated with a 6.6% to 9.9% increase in real income per worker. That equals an increase of about $5,100 in the yearly income of the average U.S. worker in constant 2005 dollars. Such a gain equals 20% to 25% of the total real increase in average yearly income per worker registered in the United States between 1990 and 2007.

Basically, the US employment market is not a zero sum game. When immigrants come to the US to work, that benefits them (which is a strong reason, in and of itself, to favor opening the borders), but it also benefits us.

It’s also worth remembering that “life without competition with low-skilled non-Americans” is not an option on the menu. American workers will experience the downside of competition even if every single undocumented immigrant was somehow magically deported. But if those undocumented immigrants aren’t in the US, then Americans receive far less of the benefits. As the Economist blog wrote a couple of years ago:

Another possibility is that immigration also increases labour demand. This becomes especially important when we remember two other things. First, the one point upon which everyone can agree in this debate is that immigration substantially increases the productivity and earnings of the immigrants themselves. Secondly, we need to ask how the importation of low-skilled workers is different from the importation of goods produced by low-skilled workers abroad. Absent immigration, Mr Borjas would argue, wages would be higher in America and lower in trading nations. As such, price competition for tradeable goods would press down native worker wages.

Why is that important? Well, for one thing, it suggests that it’s difficult to separate cross-border flows of workers from goods. For another, when comparing outcomes, we need to remember that immigrants are still around whether they immigrate or not. In other words, immigrants might lower the wages of domestic workers, but immigrant consumption demand is much higher when they work on the American side of the border. If they do not immigrate, they’ll still be competing with native workers via imports of cheap products, but they’ll also be buying far fewer American goods, because they’ll be a lot poorer. It’s still difficult to know how things play out in the end, but one shouldn’t pretend that the proper comparison is a domestic labour market with immigrants versus one without.

Notably, even George Borjas — the best-known (and almost the only) economist arguing against immigration — calculates that in the long run, immigration has no effect on US worker’s wages overall (he predicts that immigration lowers the wages of high-school dropouts by nearly 5%, but raises the wages of other Americans, including those with only a high school degree). And Borjas reached his results not through empirical examination of what’s actually happened in the real world, but through an abstract calculation in which he considered only the downside of immigration, but didn’t account for the economic benefits at all.

So the worst-case scenario from Borjas is 1) Not all that bad (some workers gain, others lose, but overall there’s no difference), and 2) based on the dubious assumption that immigration provides no economic benefits to native workers. On the best-case scenario, we have strong benefits for everyone, immigrants and natives alike. And let’s not forget, fighting “illegal immigration” is expensive.

For that reason, it just makes sense to favor open borders (for all immigrants, I’d argue, except violent criminals) and immediate amnesty for all undocumented immigrants.

Further reading: The immigration category at the Ambrosini Critique. And the immigration category at Cardiff de Alejo Garcia. And the study from the Federal Reserve of SF, which is really pretty readable.

This entry posted in crossposted on TADA, Economics and the like, Immigration, Migrant Rights, etc. Bookmark the permalink. 

38 Responses to Fix The Economy: Open The Borders

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    Your logic is flawed. Water is inherently good for plants, as a general rule more water is good for plants, therefore if I build a retaining wall around my property and flood my lot to a depth of 30 feet, my lawn will do better than otherwise. No.

    Immigration is good. More immigration, generally, is good. It does not therefore follow that we should have open borders; open borders are a question of HOW we shall implement our immigration law, not a decision (other than by default) about what our level of immigration should be.

    I want lots of legal immigration, but with the border under control. Your post supports the former (“lots”) but makes no particular case for why we should take, for our “how”, a laissez faire approach, rather than implementing a reasonable level of governmental regulation.

  2. 2
    Korolev says:

    “For all except violent criminals” – that’s the problem, right there.

    I am an immigrant. I immigrated to Australia when I was three years old and I am grateful that I did so. I want immigration to continue, to both the US and America.

    Yet open borders? That’s a bad idea. Yes it will allow more to experience the American dream. But it will also result in a crucial loss of control and management. Every nation has a right to monitor it’s own borders, and I believe that any responsible nation will do so.

    How can you have an open border, yet not have criminals come in? I know the VAST majority of immigrants, legal or undocumented, are NOT criminals, yet some definitely are. You can argue that the benefits outweigh the negatives, but I’m not so sure.

    Once you decide it’s an open border, it’s an open border forever. It will be much, much, much more difficult to track who comes and who goes, and believe me, it’s important to do so from a legal and financial perspective.

    And of course, what about traffic in the OPPOSITE direction? Open borders means it will be much easier for people to escape down to Mexico, to evade the law.

    And how would you go about declaring this “open border” policy? Would you do it like the East German Government did in 1989? Just declare it overnight? I can guarantee you that THOUSANDS if not TENS OF THOUSANDS would cross the border within a month or less. It could be substantially more than that. You’d have to admit them as fast as they came, if you had an open border. That’s gonna great HUGE problems for housing, employment, welfare, all manner of things.

    You talk about the benefits of immigration – and yes, there are huge benefits to immigration. Virtually every single industry benefits from Immigration. I’ve seen with my own eyes all the excellent Latino scientists that work in American labs. I’ve read their excellent papers. America would be severely hurt if it stopped immigration from Mexico.

    But it must be CONTROLLED immigration.

  3. 3
    Korolev says:

    And what about the local reaction?

    Yes, I’m not a tea-partying lunatic who thinks the President is a Muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with that, there’s just not a shred of proof behind that assertion). I don’t want to ban immigration.

    But many in the US do. You guys got lots of racists. Australia does too for that matter. You talk about the racism in America a great deal, so you KNOW its there. The amount of Hard-Core racists might be small, but the amount of people who are a bit racist is very large, as indicated by the fact that 21% of Americans are willing to believe Obama is a Muslim just because he has brown skin (funny how they don’t remember all that hubbub about his Pastor in 08).

    You’ve got at least 21% of Americans or more who could react very violently if you declare an open border. They would not be justified in reacting violently, or reacting in a racist way, but they still WOULD.

    Part of planning sensibly is to take into account people’s feelings, regardless of whether or not they are rational. If you declare an open border, you’ll have to deal with a very adverse reaction.

    Now, you can argue that this is an excuse for doing nothing. Certainly, I believe that people need to do the moral thing, regardless of whether or not it is popular, like passing the Civil Rights Act. You can call my unease and concern cowardice. Maybe it is.

    But this is a sensitive issue. If you did this, you could alienate a huge percentage of the US population. Politicians understand this. It’s not common for people like you or me to understand this because we’re not up for election. You can say that’s a good thing, but being in office does force you to think of things through every single angle. You’ve got to consider the pitfalls as well as the benefits. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and all those useful sayings, y’know?

    Realistically, open borders would be a complete legal, political and potentially civil nightmare.

    Of course, you might have answers to all my objections. Maybe I don’t understand your idea correctly (that’s very possible, I don’t understand much these days, what with the video-games frying my brain), and if you could correct me on any of these points, I would be glad.

    As I’ve said, I’ve benefited from immigration. I like to believe my country has as well and I can’t deny others the right to immigrate. My nation, Australia, accepts tens of thousands of refugees, and I think we should accept far more and speed up our dismally slow acceptance procedure.

    But most Mexican immigrants are not refugees. I’m not going to call them that, because to do so would be to insult all of Mexico. They are just immigrants in search of a better life, and I think America should welcome them….. after checking their status and documenting them. You can argue that the process is too slow. I would agree. But that’s a call for greater current policy efficiency, not open borders.

  4. 4
    drydock says:

    After Reagan’s amnesty in the 80’s wages actually went up something like 25% for formerly illegal workers and also a bit for native born US workers. Amnesty now would be good for the economy, it would have an upward pressure on wages which would stimulate demand. This would be a progressive keynesianism, which is what the economy needs right now. Unfortunately a significant part of the public is misinformed, scared and currently believe that immigration is bad for the economy.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    I’d better qualify: By “open border,” I wasn’t suggesting that there should be no border security at all. I think it makes sense to have an organized border in all the usual ways — checking passports, taking names, etc.. By “open border,” I just meant that we should be letting almost everyone in after taking their names, checking their passports, and other reasonable border precautions.

  6. 6
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    In re the fear of criminal immigrants: In some ways, it makes sense to model children as immigrants. There’s a certainty that some of them will grow up to be criminals, but that’s not an argument for everyone to avoid having children.

    In the interest of pinning down the corners of the the argument, is it possible that states with better economies attract more immigrants so that some of the increased prosperity is associated with immigrants rather than caused by them? In any case, it’s nice to have details that immigrants at least don’t make things worse and may well make them better.

  7. 7
    Dianne says:

    I may have posted this already, but here’s my idea for how to make a simple and hopefully fair immigration process:
    1. Anyone who wants to get in and doesn’t have an outstanding warrant for arrest against them can. People who are wanted for crimes can apply to enter anyway because some of them may have committed “crimes” like running an internet cafe where someone wrote a nasty comment about the local dictator in their home country. It’s just not an automatic entry.
    2. After 5 years of living in the US, anyone who has not come to the negative attention of the government (“negative attention” is defined very loosely here and includes things like applying for welfare as well as getting arrested) automatically has permission to stay and, if they so desire, get citizenship. Again, people who have come to the negative attention of the government can apply, it’s just not automatic. The reason I defined “negative attention” to include things like applying for food stamps and welfare is because of the mythos of the lazy immigrant who comes to the US to live off the taxpayers. This person, should s/he exist doesn’t get automatic right to stay. I would expect that the vast majority of people who enter the US do so with the intent of working and therefore that the number of people who would actually be kicked out would be minimal, as long as the application process for people who had needed help at some point is reasonable. (Basically, I’d set it so that only people who could show no evidence that they’d made any kind of effort to work and stay out of trouble would get kicked out.)

    So, would such a rule result in the US being overwhelmed with immigrants? I doubt it. It’s a lot of work to move to a new country. Lazy people just won’t do it. Unambitious people won’t bother. Some criminals will (ambition does not equal good intention) but that’s why we have a police force-and the police’s work would be much easier, I would expect, if they didn’t have to deal with witnesses and victims who feared them more than they did the criminals.

  8. 8
    Dianne says:

    Another thought re immigration and crime: The current system is clearly not working. Despite attempts to control the border between the US and Mexico, drugs come north, guns go south, resulting in higher crime rates in both countries. How would opening the borders to immigrants make this worse? And what actions would improve the situation? (Personally, I think immigration may be the wrong place to focus for this problem: gun control and reform of drug laws is probably more to the point. But supposedly strict border control is, at a minimium, not solving the problem.)

  9. 9
    Dianne says:

    Realistically, open borders would be a complete legal, political and potentially civil nightmare.

    Yeah, it’s really been awful for the EU.

  10. 10
    Robert says:

    Yeah, it’s really been awful for the EU.

    The EU doesn’t share 2000 miles of border with a country fifty years behind it on human development indices.

    And I believe the EU’s “open borders” are for its own citizens; they do not have an open immigration policy. We have similar “open borders” between the states.

  11. 11
    Dianne says:

    The EU doesn’t share 2000 miles of border with a country fifty years behind it on human development indices.

    You’re probably right, I don’t have a map, but…what about Russia? It’s a tad behind the times and must be bordering the EU by now with all the new countries joining.

    ETA: Just to clarify, the EU doesn’t, as far as I know, have an open border with Russia. Then again, it also doesn’t officially have one with Switzerland and I’ve now made that border crossing twice without being asked for ID in either direction.

    And I believe the EU’s “open borders” are for its own citizens; they do not have an open immigration policy. We have similar “open borders” between the states.

    The EU isn’t one country it’s a trade agreement between a number of countries. In principle, we have a similar agreement with Mexico and Canada, called NAFTA.

    As an aside, I don’t have a driver’s license so when I travel anywhere distant, I have to use my passport for ID. So, in fact, I have to have a passport to go to Iowa (starting from NY) but not to go to France (starting from Germany…by bicycle.) With any reasonable amount of luck, this will remain a silly anecdote.

  12. 12
    closetpuritan says:

    I wonder how much of the increase in wages goes to lower-class, middle-class, upper-class, and super-rich? It makes sense that immigrants are good for the economy overall, but I wonder if the lion’s share of the increase in earnings goes to the immigrants’ employers–which could include small business owners, but also owners of large businesses and corporations who are already quite wealthy. Even an increase in the wealth of the super-rich will generate some additional spending, but from what I understand there’s a greater benefit to the economy when poorer people’s earnings increase (and obviously a greater benefit to the poorer people, who are also the people most likely to be competing with immigrants for jobs).

  13. 13
    Simple Truth says:

    (I just did a paper on SB1070.)
    This bugs me for several reasons, the biggest being that wages for illegal immigrants are lower than the Federal minimum wage. There’s a lot of exploitation going on there. Shouldn’t we think about shoring that up and treating them better before we open the border?

  14. 14
    Dianne says:

    @13: Opening the borders is one way that we can help decrease this exploitation: legal immigrants would be less afraid to demand their rights (ie report an employer who paid sub-minimum wage) than illegal immigrants. So an open border would allow better enforcement of laws designed to protect workers from employer abuse.

  15. 15
    Simple Truth says:

    @14: I’m not sure that more competition for the same jobs would increase reporting of employer abuses. I think historically it tends to run the opposite, but perhaps I am overlooking something.

  16. 16
    Robert says:

    A policy where there are no workers here illegally (and thus no employer leverage via “I can always call ICE”) would almost surely curb some of the worst abuses of the worst employers.

    It would also cause the average immigrant worker’s situation to deteriorate, since there would be more wage competition. As a Republican and a capitalist, I’m all for wage competition; it’s one of the reasons I favor lots of immigration. But advocates of greater/more open immigration should understand that more immigrant workers doesn’t mean richer immigrant workers, in the short term.

  17. 17
    mythago says:

    Would it? There would be more wage competition, but there would be somewhat less wage exploitation, and less out-of-pocket costs to the workers (for example, they would actually be able to claim worker’s comp), as well as less shifting of the costs of illegal workers to the taxpayer.

    If we want to guarantee a particular wage for immigrant workers, that’s what wage and hour laws are for.

    An open, or at least a more open, border would also mean more immigrants would go home. Right now, once you’ve made it across the border, you’d have to be a fool to go back and run that gauntlet again, even if you could afford to. Open borders encourage temporary stays and guest workers instead of permanent illegal residents.

  18. 18
    Thene says:

    Robert#10 – Dianne #9 was a response to Korolev # 3, who was specifically talking about crime prevention. So please tell us all about this outbreak of cross-border crime within EU nations which have open borders.

  19. 19
    Robert says:

    @Thene – As noted, the EU and the United States have different geographies and different neighbors.

  20. 20
    Dianne says:

    @19: Which you haven’t commented on yet. How is it better to have Russia and Turkey as neighbors than Mexico?

  21. 21
    Robert says:

    Better in what way?

  22. 22
    Dianne says:

    Feel free to define “better” in any way that appeals to you. I meant it as “less likely to provoke the population to mass emigration due to poor living conditions and/or human rights”.

  23. 23
    Robert says:

    So you’re asking how are Turkey and Russia less likely to be the source points of mass immigration due to poor living conditions and human rights?

    You seem to be answering your own question.

  24. 24
    RonF says:

    @3, Korolev said

    I don’t want to ban immigration. But many in the US do.

    Prove it. Show me the basis for your statement that many people in the U.S. wish to ban immigration. I don’t think it’s true.

    You guys got lots of racists. Australia does too for that matter. You talk about the racism in America a great deal, so you KNOW its there. The amount of Hard-Core racists might be small, but the amount of people who are a bit racist is very large, as indicated by the fact that 21% of Americans are willing to believe Obama is a Muslim just because he has brown skin (funny how they don’t remember all that hubbub about his Pastor in 08).

    You’ve got at least 21% of Americans or more who could react very violently if you declare an open border. They would not be justified in reacting violently, or reacting in a racist way, but they still WOULD.

    Hm. First, you seem to think that there’s a link between opposition to illegal aliens in the U.S. and racism. Unproven. Second, I know that there are people who think that President Obama is actually a Muslim, but it’s not clear to me that it’s because of his skin color. I thought that it was because of his middle name. Do you have a citation that links the two? Finally, where do you get the connection between “thinks Obama is Muslim” and “will react violently if the borders are open”?

  25. 25
    RonF says:

    @14, Dianne:

    Another way we can cut down on exploitation of workers is simply to use existing law that permits employers to bring in temporary workers on a visa. Jake Squid offered citations of how such visas were successfully used by an employer who had been previously busted for hiring workers illegally. Bust more employers for hiring workers illegally and make it easier for them to hire temporary workers legally and we end up with fewer workers exploited – which I agree is a social good.

  26. 26
    mythago says:

    First, you seem to think that there’s a link between opposition to illegal aliens in the U.S. and racism.

    Really, RonF. You think there’s no correlation between racism and opposition to illegal immigration?

    ETA: If what you’re getting at is ‘not everybody opposed to illegal immigration is racist’ or ‘being opposed to illegal immigration does not by itself make one racist’, that’s obviously true. If what you’re suggesting is that Keep Them Messicans Out plays no significant role at all in the debate about immigration, you’ve got to be joking.

  27. 27
    Radfem says:

    I think there’s correlation between opposition to illegal immigration and racism on some levels yes. Demonstrations by NSM members (aka Nazis) Many of the people belonging to SOS and Minutemen in California and Arizona have ties to the NSM, white supremacists and even the Klan.




    Brown children, American or not=anchor babies
    White children, American or not=American children

    Brown women, American or not=Mexican breeders, wetback whores

    White women, American or not=citizens, mothers

    The racism which is spewed out all over the place in these “debates” is pretty ugly actually. I’ve never heard more slurs about Mexicans as they’re called in polite company since this whole “illegal immigration” debate begun.

    Ironic, given that the number of immigrants from the southern bordering countries has actually dropped in recent years.

  28. 28
    Radfem says:

    There might be an intelligent debate about it but not in my neck of the woods. The racism and nativism gets in the way.

  29. 29
    RonF says:

    Mythago, true to an extent – I’m sure there is a subset of people for whom racism plays a part in their opposition to illegal entry into the U.S. But then those people would also be opposed to legal immigration (at least, non-European immigration) into the U.S. And there are just aren’t that many people opposed to all immigration into the U.S. The vast majority of opponents to illegal entry into the U.S. are fine with those people who come here legally.

    Radfem, I certainly hold no brief for the white supremacists and neo-Nazis. But a very large percentage of the U.S. opposes the presences of illegal aliens. I don’t think the neo-Nazis and white supremacists in the U.S. are a significant part of that. There aren’t that many of them.

  30. 30
    Robert says:

    Is there a xenophobic and anti-immigrant strain of American nativism? Sure. Has been for 40,000 years or so. Recently it’s been taken up by some white people, too. :)

    Does that nativist strain explain much of the opposition to immigration today? I really don’t see that it does. The nativist strain was a lot stronger when I was a kid than it is now – but the identities of the people talking about immigration have changed.

    It’s possible that this represents a memetic success, as the nativist strain has infected previously right-thinking people. But that seems very unlikely. Sudden new memetic success tends to come at the inception of an idea, not hundreds of years into its run.

    More likely, it seems to me, that economic conditions have changed, and that people who perceived immigration as benefiting them personally have been replaced by those who perceive immigration as harming them.

    The one thing that has changed, over the course of my lifespan, has been the establishment of social welfare policies that create a social safety net. Those policies, regardless of their other merit, also have one difficult-to-dispute side effect: they mean that every new immigrant to this country represents an additional potential burden on the taxpayer, in a way that was not true 40 or 80 years ago. 80 years ago an immigrant who didn’t succeed was likely to starve.

    When I perceive that people coming to this country could do me some good (by working cheap or buying my product) without any downside (if things don’t work out, the immigrant goes back to Canada and disappears from the universe of my problems), I am pretty unabashedly pro-immigration. When a downside appears – if things don’t work out, I may have a new welfare buddy – I am far less sanguine.

    You can have unlimited immigration, or you can have a welfare state. You cannot have both.

  31. 31
    mythago says:

    I’m seeing a lot of grand sweeping linguistics here, but not a lot of getting to the point.

    Nativism has always been part of anti-immigrant sentiment. Who the ‘bad’ immigrants with their funny ways and religions and inability to speak English are changes over time, but it’s always been there. Opposition to illegal immigration and advocacy of strict limits on, or elimination of, legal immigration are not mutually-exclusive positions; quite the contrary.

    As for the social safety net, it wasn’t invented yesterday; nor was the idea of “those people” coming here to take what is “ours” (jobs, relief dollars, spaces in schools). It’s probably more acute as of late because people are feeling economically squeezed.

  32. 32
    Jake Squid says:

    The one thing that has changed, over the course of my lifespan, has been the establishment of social welfare policies that create a social safety net.

    Since I’m pretty sure that you’re about my age, Robert, can you enumerate those policies to which you refer? I’ve always thought the opposite – that social welfare policies have become more restrictive in my lifespan. But that’s just been my perception, I’m open to having my mind changed on the matter.

  33. 33
    Ampersand says:

    I guess that you could argue that food stamps — which, iirc, first went national around when Robert and I were toddlers — is an example of one that is (barely) during Robert’s lifetime. Other social welfare programs — including the largest, Social Security — well precede Robert’s lifespan.

    I’m assuming, for the purpose of argument, that Robert isn’t an ageless immortal just getting along by lying about his age in daily life, and occasionally moving abroad for twenty years and then returning as his “son,” a la Hob in Sandman.

  34. 34
    Jake Squid says:

    You’re wrong about the timing of the Food Stamp Program, Amp.

    In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Congress made the FSP permanent with the Food Stamp Act of 1964.

    But it has certainly expanded to cover a much larger number of people within our lifetimes.

    I’m still curious as to which social welfare policies established in his lifetime that Robert is talking about.

  35. 35
    RonF says:

    On that basis the Food Stamp program became permanent after I was well out of the toddler stage.

    I do distinctly remember working at the Purity Supreme supermarket in Central Square in Cambridge, Mass. as a supermarket cashier and wondering why people paying with food stamps were buying so many TV dinners and so much junk food when I, a student ineligible for food stamps, sure as Hell couldn’t afford to.

    I also remember soon thereafter working as a cab driver for Cambridge Yellow. I picked up a fare with a couple of bags of groceries and drove her to the projects. I made so bold as to ask her why she took a cab for the trip and was told “To make sure I get these groceries home.”

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m of the firm belief that students at the elite schools such as MIT, Harvard, etc. should be required by those schools to work a job such as a grocery cashier or a cab driver for at least one semester before they graduate – especially if their parents make more than, oh, say $100K/year. Give them a little injection of real life before they end up in positions where they are affecting the lives of a lot of people who make their living as cab drivers and grocery cashiers.

  36. 36
    Jake Squid says:

    I do distinctly remember working at the Purity Supreme supermarket in Central Square in Cambridge, Mass. as a supermarket cashier and wondering why people paying with food stamps were buying so many TV dinners and so much junk food when I, a student ineligible for food stamps, sure as Hell couldn’t afford to.

    What’s your point?

  37. 37
    Simple Truth says:

    “As much as 45% of the total unauthorized migrant population entered the country with visas that allowed them to visit or reside in the U.S. for a limited amount of time” Pew Hispanic Center

    Most unauthorized immigrants are visa overstayers who were in the country with permission and overstayed. Just injecting a little fact into a debate that mostly seems filled with personal sentiment.
    Also, Robert, across the border != not my problem to me, for many reasons. Cuban missile crisis, Macha Trucha, cartels, Haiti relief fund…there’s a lot of reasons to make sure that our neighbors are doing relatively well.

  38. 38
    Roaa Alrazyeg says:

    yea, I agree that “open borders” and let immigrants come in would help to fix the economy in the long run. when the GDP
    grew by $10 Billion per year in the 1980’s because of Reagan’s amnesty as what James Smith said, a senior economist at the Rand think tank in
    Santa Monica and lead author of the National Research Council’s study “The New Americans: Economic,
    Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration.” Actually, it is worth to mention that there should be
    some contorls and security checks to avoid cirminal issues.