Blogs > Liberty and Power > Before the Law Stands a Doorkeeper

Jun 13, 2006 4:16 pm

Before the Law Stands a Doorkeeper

[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

The more “moderate” opponents of immigration are often heard saying, “fine, let people immigrate by all means, but they should do it the legal way.”

A fair response to this bromide would be: “What legal way?” As this article shows, for most low-skilled Mexican workers there is no legal way to enter the United States. The U.S. has a quota of 5,000 green cards for low-skilled workers; that’s just one percent of the number seeking to come in. For the rest, the alternative is a temporary work permit, but getting one of those “often requires the worker to ... pay off someone in Mexico.”

In short, there are Mexicans who want to work, and there are Americans who want to employ them, but the U.S. and (despite popular impressions) the Mexican governments have conspired to prevent, at gunpoint, these peaceful and mutually beneficial transactions.

In other news, I’m off to a joint Liberty Fund / Social Philosophy and Policy Center conference (topic: ancient political thought) in San Diego / La Jolla; back next week. I lived in San Diego in the early 70s, but haven’t seen it since 1977; it’ll be nice to see it again.

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