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Published: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Last Build Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 10:43:38 -0400


Trump Is Wrong About Terrorism and Immigration

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400

Donald Trump predictably blames "our extremely open immigration system" for Saturday's bomb attacks in New Jersey and New York City. His critique overlooks the details of this particular case as well as the general rarity of terrorism by immigrants. Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old man police arrested on Monday in connection with the bombings, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who immigrated to the United States from Afghanistan at the age of 7. He seems to have been radicalized within the last few years, a period when he spent nearly a year in Pakistan and became noticeably more religious and taciturn. It is hard to imagine how the "extreme vetting" Trump advocates for immigrants from "any nation that has been compromised by terrorism" could have kept Rahami out of the country. What questions could have been posed to his parents that would have predicted his violent turn two decades later? Trump faults his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for supporting the admission of Syrian refugees, who he says pose an unacceptable risk of terrorism. But according to a recent study by Cato Institute immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh, "the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee is 1 in 3.64 billion per year." Trump has recommended "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on"—a plan that his own running mate called "offensive and unconstitutional." More recently Trump has said the moratorium should apply to all visitors from countries "compromised by terrorism," a category that arguably includes most of the world. Some pundits favor a cleaner approach. "Confronted with the threat of Islamic terrorism," Nowrasteh notes, "well-known conservatives like Larry Kudlow, David Bossie, and Ann Coulter have called for a complete moratorium on immigration." A broad moratorium would have the advantage of preventing all terrorist attacks by newly admitted immigrants. But it would also exclude more than 1 million innocent people each year it was in effect, at a huge economic cost. Nowrasteh cites estimates ranging from $35 billion to $229 billion a year. Nowrasteh reports that tourists accounted for 94 percent of deaths caused by foreign-born terrorists in the United States from 1975 through 2015. Including tourists in the moratorium would raise the annual cost by another $194 billion or so. Given the rarity of deaths caused by terrorism, Nowrasteh shows, such costs cannot possibly be justified. Based on a value of $15 million per life, he puts "the combined human, property, business, and economic costs" of attacks by foreign-born terrorists during the 41-year period covered by his study at $5.3 billion annually, which is "far less than the minimum estimated yearly benefit of $229.1 billion from immigration and tourism." Even that calculation overestimates the potential security benefit of cutting off immigration, since it is dominated by the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, an anomalous event that is unlikely to be replicated. The 9/11 attacks (which were perpetrated not by naturalized citizens or by refugees but by visitors with tourist or student visas) account for 99 percent of the 3,024 deaths caused by foreign-born terrorists from 1975 through 2015. Excluding 9/11, the overwhelming majority of terrorist murders in the United States—more than 90 percent—have been committed by native-born Americans. Except for 2001, the risk of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist has been minuscule and flat for more than four decades. That risk is extremely low even if you include 9/11: about 1 in 3.6 million per year. You are more than 200 times as likely to die in a traffic accident, 20 times as likely to be killed by falling down stairs, and four times as likely to drown in a bathtub. Any politician who wants to impose large costs in response to such a tiny risk has a lot of explaining to do. © Copyright 2016 by Creators Syndicate Inc.[...]

What If Donald Trump Jr.’s Bowl of Skittles Were Gun-Owners?

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 12:03:00 -0400

(image) Donald Trump Jr. took after his dad and sent out a tweet that's riled social media up. The tweet was of an image of a bowl of skittles. "If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?" the image, branded with the Trump-Pence logo, asked. "That's our Syrian refugee problem."

There are plenty of problems with it—people aren't skittles, there's more than a bowlful of them being admitted into the U.S. each year, a small proportion of them are actually from Syria, not even three are guaranteed to kill you, and the refugees go through a screening process.

Perhaps most importantly, some dangers are the cost of freedom. Countless real world phenomena could kill you, and it would be safest to sit under the bed in your bedroom and never go out into the real world. Progressives had their moment mocking Trump Jr. for his fearmongering, but it is a native language to the left as well. After any prominent enough incident of gun violence, progressive leaders will rile up their base by demanding vague "common sense" gun control and even demonizing law-abiding gun-owners.

So what if the bowl of skittles were made of gun-owners? Would those on the left mocking Trump Jr. "take a handful" then? Both gun ownership (self-defense) and freedom of movement can be considered natural rights, but neither the left nor right in this country accept both as such. When Trump insisted immigration was "not a right" (in the Constitution, it's not), many on the left mocked him. But not only does the left regularly deny that the right to bear arms is a right (in the Constitution, it is), but left-wing politicians like Bernie Sanders have even claimed that open borders were a "right wing ploy." The response that "refugees are people but guns are not" is inadequate—gun owners are people too.

Hillary Clinton has touted immigration reform, but she has not offered anything close to making immigration anything resembling a right. All "comprehensive" immigration reform really needs to do is permit law-abiding individuals to cross the border freely, and perhaps a dismantling of the welfare state to remove perverse government incentives for immigration. But for the left, as for the right, immigration reform is about imposing controls and extending the powers of the federal government.

Trump's unapologetic anti-immigration stand (both the illegal and legal varieties) and overt fearmongering over terrorism certainly makes it easier for Democrats to claim the high ground, but it does not erase Democrats' poor record on immigration (they helped scuttle efforts toward immigration at the tail-end of the Bush administration and it was not a priority when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress) nor their history of fearmongering. Barack Obama ran for re-election in 2012 on a platform that prominently included "killing Osama bin Laden." In Philadelphia last week, he insisted only voting straight-ticket Democrat would keep the U.S. safe, secure, and prosperous. And while his supporters tended to believe things in the U.S. were getting worse (why wouldn't they? Democratic politicians have been telling them so), at least Trump's success at parlaying pessimism in the future into popular support might cause Democratic politicians to reconsider the wisdom of downplaying an objectively bright future.

Will We Build a Wall Against Chinese Immigrants, Too?

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 09:50:00 -0400

Can you guess who the victims were of the largest mass-lynching in American history and where it took place? Most people would, I think, guess blacks first, then maybe Mexicans or Native Americans. And we'd assume it was somewhere in the old Confederate states. Writing in the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby notes that the 18 men and boys killed on October 24, 1871 were chosen dragged out of their houses and beaten and hanged because they were Chinese. The locale wasn't Alabama or Mississippi, either. It was Los Angeles, California. They were Chinese, and they were murdered by a mob, nearly 500 strong, that included some of the city's leading citizens. "Their first victim was an elderly, inoffensive Chinaman, whom they seized and dragged headlong through the streets, beating and abusing him at every step," the Los Angeles Daily Mirror later recounted. At the corner of Temple and New High streets, the lynch party tied a noose around the old man's neck and hauled him up. "The rope broke and the unfortunate wretch, innocent of any wrong, asked for mercy from his cruel tormentors. This was denied with jeers, and he was again hung up; this time successfully." As readers of Reason know, the first mass exclusions on the basis of country of origin (then as now a proxy for protean categories of race) covered the Chinese in a law titled with unabashed descriptiveness: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. (Read Erika Lee's recent history The Making of Asian America for more.) Jacoby notes that Chinese now comprise the single-largest group emigrating to the United States: In 2013, according to the Census Bureau, China was the country of origin for 147,000 US immigrants, compared to just 125,000 who came from Mexico. Over the previous 10 years, immigration from China and other Asian countries had been rising, while immigration from Mexico decreased. Since at least 2009, reported demographer Eric Jensen, more immigrants to America have been Asian than Hispanic. By 2013, the disparity was unmistakable: Asians accounted for 40.2 percent of the total immigration flow. Hispanics made up only 25.5 percent. Last week, The Wall Street Journal crunched even more recent numbers. "In 2014, there were 31 states where more immigrants arrived from China than from Mexico. . . . Even in California, a top destination for Latinos, Chinese immigrants outnumbered Mexican immigrants." (The data include all immigrants, legal and illegal.) If Mexicans are the enemy within—all this talk of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants is mostly aimed at them—China has mostly replaced Russia or Japan as our major enemy without. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, virtually all of the failed GOP candidates for president, and especially Donald Trump mince no words in saying they will hold China accountable for flexing its regional military might, "manipulating" its currency (something all national central banks do simply by existing), and especially "stealing" American jobs. And of course, Chinese immigrants in America threaten "us" in a way that is less like low-skilled Mexicans and more like the fears stoked by Jews back in the early 20th century: Chinese kids are so super-smart, especially in math and engineering, right, that they aren't taking manual-labor gigs away from low-income, low-skilled natives? They're taking away all the slots at the University of California system and maybe even the Ivy League! They're not human, they work too hard! Jacoby closes his piece with a trenchant observation about how "we" (real Americans, who can trace at least two generations in the U.S. of A.!, but not inlcuding blacks) always eventually do the right thing after exhausting all other options: We look back today at the demonization of Chinese immigrants in the 1870s and 1880s and are aghast that so many Americans could have spouted such ludicrous, ugly stuff. We have come a long way from the Chinese Exclusion Act to today's robust Asian immigration flows. A generation or two hence, Americans will look back at the har[...]

Gary Johnson's Sensible Plan to End Labor Prohibitionism at the Border: New at Reason

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 22:46:00 -0400

Gary Johnson may have had a brain freeze on Aleppo, but he is by the far the most clear headed of all the candidates on immigration, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia. He is (image) offering what neither Trump nor Clinton is, namely, an immigration fix that is humane, fair and workable. It will solve the illegal border traffic and enchance border security without walls or "deportation" task force or terrorizing Latino families.

But the most important thing is that it'll say true to America's limited government commitment. So it'll be a shame if his little Aleppo gaffe derails his candidacy.

Gary Johnson Understands One Thing Much Better Than Trump or Clinton: How to Fix America's Immigration System

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 22:24:00 -0400

ObamaCare is collapsing. An entitlement crisis is looming. The national debt is exploding. And the Middle East is imploding. But somehow, the central issue driving the 2016 presidential election is what to do with about 3.5 percent of the American population that works hard, pays taxes, and delivers untold consumer benefits: undocumented immigrants. Despite the relentless focus on immigration, the debate surrounding this issue has been awful. If Donald Trump is cruel on immigration, Hillary Clinton is cynical. In fact, the only candidate who is humane and sensible is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee. There's no doubt that Trump has pulled his party to a very dark place, where none of the GOP's usual qualms about the perils of Big Government apply anymore. After a brief flirtation with a softer stance, he returned to form last week, doubling down on his harsh rhetoric. He reiterated his pledge to build a big, beautiful, and "impenetrable" wall on the southern border and get Mexico to pay for it — never mind that the Mexican president told him only hours before that Mexico would never foot the bill. Trump promised to create a federal deportation force within the first hour of assuming office to ferret out two million undocumented criminals — never mind that the Department of Homeland Security says that there are only 820,000 such immigrants. He amped up his "no amnesty" rhetoric, declaring that not only would he rescind President Obama's executive order giving some undocumented immigrants a temporary deportation reprieve, but also issue detainers to any undocumented immigrant arrested for any crime, presumably even something as minor as loitering or possession of small amounts of marijuana — never mind the terror this would inject into Latino communities. Perhaps worst of all, he's hinting at curbing legal immigration even further to protect American jobs and wages — never mind that such restrictionism is precisely the cause of the undocumented population in the first place. But if Trump has been hysterical on this issue, Clinton has been AWOL. She barely said a peep about Trump's 10-point immigration plan. And in the past she has backed proposals that can be fairly described as Trump-lite. Clinton has often emphasized the need to "control" borders, and boasted about how as a senator she voted "numerous times" to spend more to "build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in." What's more, she's had a few of her own flip-flops over the years. During her previous presidential run, she had strongly (and rightly) condemned a federal crackdown on sanctuary cities such as San Francisco. But in the wake of the freakish killing of a 31-year-old California woman by a clearly deranged undocumented Mexican worker in San Francisco she declared that she has "absolutely no support" for a city that defies federal deportation rules — a Trump-worthy distortion of what sanctuary cities are all about. And just like Trump, she wants a biometric entry-exit system to track every border crossing of everyone — Americans and foreigners alike. Clinton is now vaguely promising to go beyond President Obama's executive amnesty and use her presidential powers to offer deportation relief and work permits to more undocumented immigrants while pushing full-blown amnesty in Congress. But as a senator, she derailed then-New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's efforts to issue driver's licenses to them. Meanwhile, neither Clinton nor Trump has proposed a guest worker program, the best antidote for the labor prohibitionism that drives illegal crossings. And that brings us to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee. He may not know what "a leppo" is but he does understand what's wrong with America's immigration system and what needs to be done. He is the only candidate who wants the market — rather than bureaucratic "quotas" and "caps" — to regulate immigration flows, confining the government's role to conducting bac[...]

Candid Canadian Cannabis Consumers Still Can't Can't Come to This Country

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 08:41:00 -0400

Citizens of other countries can legally visit the United States if they've been convicted of driving under the influence, breaking and entering, smuggling, assault, or involuntary manslaughter—but not if they have ever smoked pot, dropped acid, or snorted cocaine, even if it happened decades ago and they were never charged with a drug offense. Under Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, "any alien...who admits having committed acts which constitute the essential elements of...a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled inadmissible." That rule has been on the books since 1987, but it is only fitfully (and arbitrarily) enforced, so it continues to ensnare unwary tourists who do not realize that candidly answering questions about past drug use can end a trip before it begins. The CBC recently described two such cases. In 2014, it reports, Matthew Harvey "was driving from Vancouver to Seattle for a concert when a customs officer noticed a marijuana magazine in his car," which prompted questions about his marijuana use. Harvey answered honestly, thinking it was no big deal, especially since he used marijuana legally for medical purposes in Canada and was on his way to a state where it was legal for recreational use. But marijuana is still completely prohibited by federal law, which is the relevant point as far as Section 212 goes. Although Harvey has worked in British Columbia's marijuana industry, his lawyer says that had nothing to do with the decision to bar him from the United States, which was based entirely on his admission that he had smoked pot recreationally as an adult. Now Harvey would like to take his 3-year-old daughter to Disneyland, but first he must obtain a "waiver of ineligibility." The application costs $585, whether or not a waiver is granted, and that fee will rise to $930 later this year. The waiver must be renewed as often as once a year, depending on the term chosen by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Another Vancouver resident, Alan Ranta, was on his way to a music festival in Washington last July when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers found a purse humorously labeled "weed money" in his car, which led to questions about Ranta's drug use. "I answered truthfully," he told the CBC. "I said I had smoked [weed]. That led to followup questions on how much I smoked, where had I smoked it, and when I smoked." None of those details actually matters under Section 212. As long as Ranta consumed cannabis when he was 18 or older, even if it was just once, he is "inadmissible." Other examples of Canadians turned away at the border because of illegal drug use include Myles Wilkinson, a fantasy football player with a 1981 conviction for marijuana possession who in 2013 won a trip to the Super Bowl he was not allowed to take, and Andrew Feldmar, a psychotherapist who was prevented from visiting his children, friends, and colleagues in the U.S. because a CBP officer's web search turned up a journal article in which Feldmar discussed his experiences with LSD and other psychedelics in the 1960s. Unlike Harvey and Ranta, who incriminated themselves, Wilkinson and Feldmar were tripped up by publicly available information. For travelers who have a choice, Harvey recommends a strategy of "deny, deny, deny." Len Saunders, an American immigration lawyer consulted by the CBC, suggests a less legally perilous approach: "Saunders' advice to Canadians asked about their past marijuana use at the border is to refuse to answer the question. They may be held for several hours, but there is no legal requirement, he says, to answer the question." [Thanks to Marc Sandhaus for the tip.][...]

Gary Johnson May Not Know Aleppo, But He Does Know What's Wrong With America's Immigration System

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 10:30:00 -0400

Governor Gary Johnson is getting a lot of flack for not knowing what "an Aleppo" is — even as the former US ambassador to Iraq, Christopher Hill, and the New York Times flub it themselves, erroneously(image) calling it the capital of ISIS (and that too in the process of trying to explain it to him).

But it'll be a bigger snafu if Johnson's snafu is the final nail in his prospects for inclusion in the presidential debates. That's because on the subject that has (unfortunately) launched Trump's (unfortunate) candidacy and dominated this election season — undocumented workers — he is by far the most clear headed compared to TrumpTon, I note in my morning column at The Week. "If Trump has been hysterical on this issue, Clinton has been AWOL," I point out.

Johnson, by contrast:

[I]s the only candidate who wants the market — rather than bureaucratic "quotas" and "caps" — to regulate immigration flows, confining the government's role to conducting background checks and issuing Social Security numbers. He objects to the very term "illegal immigrant," because it implies that legality depends on papers issued by the government — an utterly offensive notion in a free society. (Come to think about it, how about calling these people "paperless workers?")

Go here to read the whole piece.

Trump's 'Softening' Can't Make His Immigration Stance Popular

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400

Recent polls indicate that less than a quarter of Americans think the 11 million or so people who live in this country without the government's permission should be forcibly removed. That lack of enthusiasm for mass deportation explains Donald Trump's much-ballyhooed "softening" on immigration, which has produced a mushy mess. While seeking the Republican presidential nomination, Trump insisted that unauthorized immigrants "have to go," along with their American-born children (who are U.S. citizens), raising the total number of deportees to about 16 million. He said a "deportation force" could get the job done "humanely" within two years. Although popular among Republican primary voters, that promise was self-evidently insane. Even assuming that Trump would bow to the legal reality that U.S. citizens cannot be deported, removing 11 million people in two years "would mean arresting more than 15,000 people a day on immigration charges, seven days a week, 365 days a year," as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) notes. Such a project would be a constitutional catastrophe as well as a logistical nightmare. "There is no conceivable mechanism to accomplish the roundup that Trump has promised while respecting basic constitutional rights," the ACLU warns. Since "undocumented immigrants are not readily identifiable as such," deporting all of them would entail "tactics like suspicionless interrogations and arrests, unjustified and pretextual traffic stops, warrantless searches of workplaces and homes, and door-to-door raids in immigrant neighborhoods." If "practiced on a huge scale throughout the country, those activities would systematically violate the Fourth Amendment." Whether or not Trump has read the Constitution, we know he reads polls, which show the vast majority of Americans oppose his expulsion plan. "It's a very, very hard thing," he conceded in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity last month, saying even many of his supporters think it's wrong "to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out." In response to such concerns, Trump suggested he would be open to some form of legalization. Although there would be "no citizenship" and "no amnesty as such," he said, if unauthorized residents "pay back taxes," he would be willing to "work with them." Trump's big immigration speech last week was supposed to clarify what he meant by that. Instead it muddied matters more. "For those here illegally today, who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only: to return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else," he said. "Those who have left to seek entry under this new system…will not be awarded surplus visas, but will have to apply for entry under the immigration caps." That approach, which Trump described as "fair, just, and compassionate," sounds even less generous than the one he outlined a year ago. "We're going to try and bring them back rapidly, the good ones," he said then. "We will expedite it so people can come back in. The good people can come back." Trump's softening seems more like a hardening, just in time for a general election in which most voters reject his mass deportation scheme, his border wall, and his message that illegal immigrants represent an intolerable threat. Calling Mexico's president "wonderful" and allowing that "there are many illegal immigrants in our country who are good people" (up from "some" last year) probably won't be enough to reassure moderates or get Trump the Latino support he needs. The polling firm Latino Decisions estimates that Trump needs at least 42 percent of the Hispanic vote to win the election. Mitt Romney, who said he would encourage "self-deportation" by making economic conditions intolerable for unauthorized immigrants, got just 27 percent in 2012, down from 44 percent for George W. Bush in 2004. Four year[...]

Of COURSE Donald Trump Hates Jeff Flake: The Senator Preferences Fiscal Conservatism Over Party Politics

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 17:30:00 -0400

This Sunday, on CNN's State of the Union, host Jake Tapper asked Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) which presidential nominee he'd vote for if the election were held today: FLAKE: I would not vote for Hillary Clinton. And, as of now, I would still not vote for Donald Trump. TAPPER: So, if you—if you don't want to vote for either of them, would you vote for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian? FLAKE: You can always write somebody in. So, I just know that I would like to vote for Donald Trump. It's not comfortable to not support your nominee. But, given the positions that he has taken and the tone and tenor of his campaign, I simply can't. Later in the interview, Flake said "I think Republicans do need to distance themselves from Donald Trump," and blamed Trump's rhetoric for putting the reliably Republican state of Arizona into presidential play. Trump's response was not surprising. The Republican Party needs strong and committed leaders, not weak people such as @JeffFlake, if it is going to stop illegal immigration. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2016 The Great State of Arizona, where I just had a massive rally (amazing people), has a very weak and ineffective Senator, Jeff Flake. Sad! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2016 Flake has not been shy about his criticism of Trump, and Arizona Republicans have been equally non-reticent about throwing those comments back in the senator's face. Meanwhile, the headline over at Trumpbart News nearly wrote itself: "Jeff Flake Started the Fight With Trump, and Deserves It." None of this should be remotely surprising. In a long interview with Reason this January (in Cuba!), Flake sounded multiple alarm bells about the direction of his own political party. Some quotes: * "It is a very, very disturbing trend that we're seeing in the Republican Party against free trade. It's always been there but usually confined to a few isolated members, the Jeff Sessions of the world and others, but now it seems to be spreading." * "My sense on immigration is not just that Republicans risk alienating the largest-growing demographic, the Hispanic population, in the country, but that we're a serious national party and we need to have a serious policy. Simply saying we're going to build a wall and deport everybody who's here is not a serious policy." * "If you want to know what keeps me up at night more than anything—and there are plenty of threats out there—it's waking up some morning and having the markets already decided that we're not going to buy your debt anymore, or we're only going to buy it at a premium and interest rates are going to have to go up. When that happens, then virtually all of our discretionary or non-military discretionary spending goes just to service the debt and then we are Japan." * "I was in Congress between 2000 and 2006 when we had Republicans controlling both chambers and the White House. I can tell you that whenever entitlement spending or social security reform came up, you'd hear, 'We've got a midterm election just around the corner, we're not going to take that risk.'" On that latter note, Flake has been consistent over time. In the fall of 2006, a couple of fresh-faced Reason youngsters named Katherine Mangu-Ward and David Weigel asked a slew of libertarian-friendly types to answer the question "Who Deserves the Libertarian Vote?" Flake, then a congressman, gave this for an opening answer: Well, if they grade on a curve, we're still a better choice. (Laughs) If you believe in limited government, the Democrats don't offer you very much. I've yet to see a Democrat actually bring a proposal to the floor that spends less or is less intrusive. But having said that, there's nothing we've done as Republicans that ought to make libertarians excited about our record. The Arizonan was brutal in his assessment: "You look at any[...]

If Your Case Against Immigration Is 'You're Going To Have Taco Trucks on Every Corner,' You Lose, Amigo

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 10:46:00 -0400

src="//" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="480" height="269" frameborder="0"> via GIPHY Like war, a political campaign is a series of brief, clarifying moments larded up with endless stretches of boredom and waiting. There was a lightning strike last night on MSNBC, when the founder of the group Latinos For Trump defended the Republican presidential nominee's anti-immigration policies and anti-Mexican animus last night on MSNBC. "My culture is a very dominant culture," said Marco Guiterrez. "If you don't do something about it, you're going to have taco trucks on every corner." If your best argument against immigration is an overabundance of food trucks, well, to quote Willy Wonka, "YOU GET NOTHING! YOU LOSE! GOOD DAY, SIR!" To the extent that Guiterrez is speaking for Donald Trump, he shares his boss-man's near-complete lack of understanding about food, America, and entrepreneurship. And, we might add, the overwhelmingly positive feelings that most Americans have toward immigrants. Indeed, one of the great mysteries of this election cycle is how illegal immigration, especially from Mexico, ever was mistaken for a pressing concern. As it happens, over three-quarters of Americans believe current illegals should be given a path to full citizenship (63 percent) or to legal status (15 percent), while only 18 percent think they should be identified and deported. FFS, 52 percent of REPUBLICANS believe illegal immigrants should be given a path to citizenship after meeting certain requirements. Except for the Obama administration, which has deported a record number of immigrants, Hillary Clinton, who was "missing in action on immigration," and a small group of conservatives—including the nativists at National Review, who attacked Donald Trump for being soft on legal and illegal immigration—immigration isn't a problem. What Trump and Guiterrez don't seem to appreciate is that people like immigration because it brings new possibilities into the country. Latino or Mexican culture isn't any more "dominant" than past immigrant cultures. The clearest markers of a culture are language and food. It turns out that Spanish-speaking immigrant households are learning English in precisely the same generational pattern that held for Jews, Italians, Poles, and previous newcomers. Eighty percent of third-generation folks from Spanish speaking households speak English as their dominantlanguage while 0 percent speak Spanish, says Pew Research. As for food, today's Mexican food is as American as apple pie, pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs, sushi, and chop suey. As Gustavo Arrellano argued in a June 2012 Reason magazine cover story, it might even be more American. Precisely who, other than direct competitors with bricks-and-mortar restaurants, doesn't like food trucks? That's not simply because, as we've documented endlessly here at Reason over the years, they are bringing tasty and delightful food to underserved areas from Los Angeles to downtown Washington, D.C. It's because the food-truck revolution, every bit as much as Uber or Airbnb or Tesla or any other hipper and more cutting-edge business, exemplifies something primal in America's cultural DNA. They are small businesses first and foremost, typically run on shoestring budgets, sweat equity, and family-based micro-loans. They experiment and mongrelize and are desperate to please customers. They are mobile and fast-changing, they take risks and they live with booms or busts. Forget the Okies driving pickup trucks across the barren plains in the Dust Bowl era or even the garlic-and-bagel eaters disembarking at Ellis Island in the late 19th- and early-20th centuries. These days, if you want to see not just the American Dream made flesh, but the American future incarnated, head down to wherever food trucks congregate an[...]

The Fifth Column on Trump, Immigration Politics, and Colin Kaepernick

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 09:35:00 -0400

(image) Since Hit & Run commenters love them some Kmele Foster, they should be particularly interested in this week's episode of The Fifth Column, since co-hosts Michael C. Moynihan and myself take turns mocking "Kmelism," which may be the 21st century semi-AnCap version of whataboutism, though Mr. Foster does put up a strong defense.

On the show this week is friend Andrew Kirell of The Daily Beast. On the docket is what you'd expect: Colin Kaepernick, Donald Trump's big immigration day, the fingerprints of #NeverTrumpers on his rise, and so on. Take a listen:

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Head over to the podcast website for info on how to subscribe; you can also listen using iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Please leave hilarious comments wherever you encounter the podcast in the wild!

Newt Gingrich in 2013: ‘We Simply Cannot Continue’ With ‘Catastrophic’ Immigration Rhetoric

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 19:06:00 -0400

Former House speaker and current Donald Trump supporter Newt Gingrich was super psyched about the Republican nominee's big immigration speech last night: Mexican President by day, firm immigration speech by night. Good example of how energetic and audacious a Trump Presidency will be. — Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) September 1, 2016 Energetic and audacious! I can think of other words to describe a speech advocating federal "ideological certification," heavy "consequences" for U.S. companies that relocate, getting Gulf States to pay for safe zones in Syria, and Lord knows what else, but hey look! The media! DC media anger over Trump speech reflects their left wing pro illegal, anti law enforcement bias. Most Americans dont agree with them — Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) September 1, 2016 There's more in that vein over at Gingrich's Twitter feed. Well, what if I told you there was another critic of a GOP presidential nominee's harsh-sounding immigration politics who warned that such "rhetoric can kill the Republican Party among Latinos," only this time it wasn't some subversive left-wing cop hater in a decadent enclave, but, uh, Newt Gingrich? Check him on out from February 2013, as reported by The Hill: "It is difficult to understand how someone running for President of the United States, a country with more than 50 million Hispanic citizens, could fail to acknowledge that the American people should not take grandmothers who have been here 25 years, have deep family and community ties — and forcibly expel them," he writes before attacking Romney for his comments on "self-deportation," warning that "rhetoric can kill the Republican Party among Latinos." […] "I write this because as the current immigration debate heats up it is critical for us to recognize that words and attitudes really matter," he writes. "Understanding what people hear matters. We may not mean to say what people hear we say. After decades in politics this is a lesson I have learned the hard way. As a party, we simply cannot continue with immigration rhetoric that in 2012 became catastrophic—in large part because it was not grounded in reality." Mitt Romney, it cannot be stated enough, ran his 2012 GOP primary campaign as a hawk's hawk on immigration, bashing Gingrich as a softy, and claiming (ludicrously) that Rick Perry's in-state tuition rates for illegal-immigrant kids in Texas was "a magnet to draw illegals into the state." As for the buffoonish Gingrich, his mouth is capable of stringing together endless combinations of words, including, this March, "Trump's shift toward inclusiveness, team effort and unity was vitally important. He has to build a Reagan like inclusiveness to win this fall." Whatever the defective habits of mind and politics that produced and enabled yesterday's display of dystopian fabulism—scratch that, unassailable policy—it predated Trump's involvement in Republican politics and will certainly outlive his exit.[...]

Want to Reduce Illegal Immigration? You Don’t Have to Build a Wall

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 15:50:00 -0400

Donald Trump's hard-line immigration speech on Wednesday night included plans for hiring more border patrol agents, deploying bio-metric scanners to catch illegal immigrants and establishing a new "deportation force" to round-up and eject many of the estimated 11 million people in the United States without documentation. Of course there will also be a wall. An "impenetrable, physical, tall, beautiful, southern border wall" that would be paid for by Mexico, as Reason's Ed Krayewski reported. Cracking down on illegal immigration is the central plank of Trump's campaign, but if he's serious about shutting down the flow of undocumented workers across America's southern border, he might want to consider an idea more radical than giant walls and an expanding immigration police force: letting more people into the country legally. As David Bier, an immigration policy analyst for the Cato Institute, notes in a blog post this week: historically the best way to reduce illegal immigration has been to increase legal immigration. That's because one of the biggest impediments to legal immigration is the federal government's quotas on certain categories of workers. Those quotas are arbitrary totals completely disconnected from the economic forces that drive immigrants to seek work in the United States. Those quotas "are the definition of an unreasonable immigration policy," writes Bier. "They are no different than Soviet manufacturing quotas, and they have the exact same effect: discord in the free market—surpluses where workers are unneeded, shortages where they are needed, and black markets that inevitably results when government makes movement illegal." For example: the federal government issues about 150,000 visas annually for temporary farm workers — a number that doesn't even come close to the estimated 2 million seasonal workers on U.S. farms and ranches. When government policy allows more lesser-skilled guest workers in the country, there are fewer illegal immigrants, Bier argues with this graphic: In an op-ed for CNN on Wednesday, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson explained why this approach would do a better job of reducing illegal immigration than Trump's proposals (or current U.S. policy). "Our politicians, both right and left, have created a system for legal immigration that simply doesn't work. We have artificial quotas. We have 'caps' on certain categories of workers that have no real relationship to the realities of the free market," Johnson wrote. Instead, Johnson favors a system with no caps, no categories and no quotas. "Just a straightforward background check, the proper paperwork to obtain a real Social Security number and work legally," he wrote, calling that "a reliable system to know who is coming and who is going." Note that he isn't calling for open borders or amnesty for illegal immigrants. People coming to the country still have to follow the rules, but he says the government should make it easier for them to do that. Under Trump's plan (and current U.S. policy) there are essentially two groups of people coming across the border: legal immigrant and illegal immigrants. The first group is fine, but the second group consists of de facto criminals because they are breaking the law to enter the country, the argument goes. Immigration policy requires a bit more nuance than that. Let's assume there are actually three groups of people coming across the border: legal immigrants, illegal immigrants who want to come here legally but cannot because of quotas and actual criminals who are coming to the United States to traffic drugs or fulfill any of the other fevered nightmares of the so-called Alt-Right. Current immigration policy forces the second and third groups to cross the bor[...]

Clinton's 700-Mile Border Fence Is Just 300 Miles Shorter Than Trump's

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 12:45:00 -0400

Who (besides libertarians) would have figured that the 2016 election is really an extended case study in what Freud termed "the narcissism of small differences," or "the phenenomen is the phenomenon that it is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and that are related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and are ridiculing each other because of sensitiveness to these details of differentiation"? That seems a pretty apt description not just of the Democratic and Republican parties but their two presidential nominees. Hillary Clinton wants to jack spending from 22 percent of GDP to 22.7 percent of GDP over the next decade, while Donald Trump wants to increase it by...22.5 percent (and this calculation was done before either candidate revealed more spending). Both are anti-trade and pro-zero-sum thinking about economics, want to punish American businesses that ship jobs overseas (whatever that means), and indulge in baby-boomer nostalgia. Each wants to bomb other countries (though their targets and reasons do vary a bit) and both have pledged to censor the Internet in the name of the global war on terror. And then there's immigration, especially the issue of a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump's rise to the GOP nomination was founded upon his enthusiasm for deporting all the illegals, especially the Mexican rapists, drug mules, job-takers, and disease-carriers, while Clinton served as secretary of state for the Deporter in Chief. And what about that wall? As The Daily Beast's Betsy Woodruff reports, Trump wants to build a 1,000-mile long beauty to stop the non-existent flow of Mexican illegals (we reached peak Mexican in 2007; after that our rotten economy created a better barrier than all the steel made in China would ever provide). And Clinton? Well, back in the day, as a New York senator, she voted for a 700-mile fence. "Look, I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in," she said at a campaign stop last November in video flagged by the conservative tracking group America Rising. "And I do think you have to control your borders." She may have been alluding to 2006, when she voted for the Secure Fence Act. That legislation, which Bush signed, required 700 miles of double-fence physical barriers along the southern border. It also required more vehicle barriers, checkpoints, cameras, satellites, and drones, as its page details. And back in the day, she also sponsored legislation that would create "a biometric entry-exit tracking system [which is] exactly what Trump called for Wednesday night (and in the immigration plan he released last summer)." Read more here. And she was, of course, "adamantly against illegal immigrants" for a spell and wanted to screw over folks who employed them (Trump wants to do that too!). So the distance between Clinton and Trump on immigration, especially now that he has "softened" his deportation language," is pretty narrow. Indeed, it might just be 300 miles of useless pork-barrel spending on fencing in the Southwestern desert.[...]

Is American Multiculturalism a Failure?

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:01:00 -0400

Has the great American experiment in diversity ended in failure? That's the impression you might get from an array of recent developments -- Black Lives Matter protests, anti-Muslim sentiment, resentment of undocumented immigrants and, last but not least, Donald Trump. We seem to be loudly fracturing and separating, not coming together. We're all pluribus and no unum. Trump's embracing of the alt-right movement, which was condemned at length by Hillary Clinton in a recent speech, highlights our apparent racial and religious polarization. His new campaign CEO is also head of Breitbart News, which regularly fans white fears and denounces "multiculturalism." A characteristic Breitbart story began mournfully, "Four centuries after white Christians landed in Jamestown and settled what would later become America, a report reveals that white Christians are now a minority in the nation their forebearers settled." (They were also a minority then, by the way.) More mainstream conservatives also fret about the perils of diversity. "Multicultural societies," warned Victor Davis Hanson, a scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, "usually end up mired in nihilistic and endemic violence." It's clear from Trump's capture of the Republican nomination that many whites regard demographic diversity as an evil, not a blessing. When he vows to "make America great again," he harks back to a time when the country was more homogeneous. But the Trump phenomenon is a symptom of growing desperation, not growing strength, among a shrinking faction whose conception of America is obsolete. These people are in a frenzy because they are beginning to realize the battle is lost. Most Americans have come to embrace the inclusion of every race, ethnicity and religion in our society. That wasn't always the case. In 1994, reports the Pew Research Center, 63 percent of Americans said immigrants were a burden. Today 59 percent regard them as an asset. The shift is even more pronounced among young people, 76 percent of whom have a positive view of immigrants. For many people, racial and ethnic lines are increasingly irrelevant. In 2010, 15 percent of new marriages occurred between partners of different races or ethnicities—more than double the rate in 1980. "Among all newlyweds in 2010, 9 percent of whites, 17 percent of blacks, 26 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of Asians married out," reports Pew. One reason white Christians are a declining share of the population is that more whites are abandoning Christianity. Since 2007, the share of whites with no religious affiliation has risen from 16 percent to 24 percent. Islamophobia is rife among Trump supporters. Two-thirds of them express negative attitudes toward Muslims. But only one-third of all Americans feel that way. Islamic terrorism has obviously fueled worries and suspicions. Even so, in 2011, 82 percent of American Muslims said they were satisfied with their lives—which suggests they don't find prejudice to be a major problem. The biggest source of racial tension is also the oldest one—the divide between whites and blacks, manifested in economic disparities and broadly different views of law enforcement. Most whites express confidence in police, but only 30 percent of African-Americans share that trust. Though blacks continue to feel they face discrimination, most whites believe they don't. Other groups, though, have integrated themselves into American society more fully than could have been expected. Asian-Americans, who once faced intense prejudice, are likelier than any other group to intermarry and to live in racially mixed neighborhoods. Their households also have a higher median income than white [...]