Quote Of The Day

“It’s not just that they’re brown; it’s that they’re brown and want to use your stuff. Let more people in, the argument goes, and they’ll end up on welfare, their kids crowding your schools, their parents crowding your hospitals. You could argue that the economic concerns are just masking mass racism, but that doesn’t explain why guest worker programs–which preclude the possibility of their beneficiaries ending up on the dole–poll so well. Committed xenophobes should be more consistent in their distaste for mixing with the Other.” — Kerry Howley, defending her support for a guest worker program

8 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”

  • Howley,’s observation is insightful, correct, and very unfortunate. It seems to me that it is undeniably true that what people dislike most about illegal immigration is the vague feeling that the illegals are taking advantage of the rest of us. Sometimes it’s xenophobic – “They won’t speak English”, and sometimes it’s faulty reasoning – “They’ve broken the law”, but most often it’s self-interest – “Illegals are ruining our country”.

    Of course it is wrong to believe that illegals are somehow a gigantic drain on our economy, or our health system. The simple fact is that the net economic effect of illegal immigration is difficult to measure, but is likely neither a significant gain or a significant loss in the big picture. Think about it – For every un-insured illegal immigrant who uses free emergency health care, there is another illegal worker who injures himself, but doesn’t collect worker’s comp or even get treatment because he’s scared to open his mouth – thereby saving us all tons of money.

    What has happened unfortunately is that one side (the VDARE, FAIR side) has had a lot more money and power to wield, whereas no organized PAC or voting bloc of illegal aliens exists – leaving libertarian folks like Reason and Cato being the closest thing to a political support group for the other side. With that power imbalance, the anti-immigration groups have been able to spin a very successful and very false tale of how illegals are to blame for just about everything.

  • Agreed! This is precisely why I am reluctant to support illegal immigration specific government welfare programs. The more of those programs, the more you change the cost/benefit analysis and create the impression that immigrants do more harm than good – and in effect reduce the support for overall immigration.

    This is why, IMHO, immigration is much more tolerated in the United States than in Europe – they use less government welfare here.

  • My problem with guest worker programs is that many, if not most, illegal workers are working under the table. Any guest worker program is going to be highly regulated by the time Congress and unions get through with it, so only very large employers will be able to afford it. Small employers, who hire the vast majority of illegal workers, won’t participate and will still prefer illegal workers.

    My quasi-libertarian approach would be to get rid of most labor-market regulation at the low end to reduce economic incentives to hire people off the books, sternly penalize employers who still hire people this way, and allow lots more legal visas, including those for temporary workers.

    But I hate greencard slavery, and don’t want to see any guest worker program on the H1B model, where visas are “attached” to a particular employer. In order to keep employers honest, the employee needs to be able to change jobs – or survive being fired – without having to go through a bunch of visa crap. This is necessary to both protect the worker and the job market from excess distortion.

  • Okay, I’m going to jump in this one. My problem with illegal immigration is NOT that they may or may not apply for government programs.

    My problem is that Our group in general HAS made an unholy alliance with the business community, and in that respect? our group WILL ALWAYS LOSE, because in business “AND AN ENDLESS SUPPLY”? spells disaster for us over the long run.

    For me! Part of the Republican creed is INDEPENDENT FOR LIFE.

  • And with all this going on is it any wonder the GOP is losing the hispanic vote?

    I bet the native americans wish they had a republican party 400 years ago when they had their illegal immigrant problem.

  • [quote comment=”168913″]My problem with guest worker programs is that many, if not most, illegal workers are working under the table.


    This might be a good reason to support Governor Huckabee’s Fair Tax plan.

  • urbanleftbehind

    Woundnt a fair tax result in more smuggling activity, adding mundane goods such as electronics, specialty foods, and clothes to a black market? There will be FAYUCAS everywhere!

  • When I look at a candidate, the first thing I look for is their political philosophy, followed shortly by their chance at being effective executives. The last thing I look at is their laundry-list of policy proposals, which were probably drawn up by their campaign consultants and are unlikely to make it through the Congressional sausage factory without lots of changes.

    And I figure out their political philosophy by looking at their track record and things they said – and did – _before_ running for President, to separate their talk from campaign promises. For Huckabee, he’s definitely an “emotional” candidate, with a strong instinct to use the government to “help” people, and he’s overly impressed by “Christian” appeals (see the bunch of “converted” crooks he let out of prison). His political philosophy, based on his record in Arkansas, certainly doesn’t include small or efficient government, which is where things start for me.

    And chances of him choosing the Fair Tax as his political hill to die on? Zero.

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