Look how obvious it is. Arizona's female governor Jan Brewer signed a bill into law on April 23. Illegal immigration is currently a federal crime and this law makes it a state crime too so Arizona police can enforce it. Because Brewer a woman, chauvinist protesters want to keep her down by opposing the law - including self-hating women who are jealous of any other female who has risen to a position of power.
That's a good argument, right? Really? It works for the left...
OK, reality check. There's already enough nonsense on both sides of this issue. Arizona SB1070 does not empower the police to pull people over just to check their immigration status, although that's the bulk of the criticism. The purpose of the law isn't to change police behavior - it's to authorize law enforcement - such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio - to continue checking immigration status without interference from federal agencies.
"The new law makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. Immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the U.S. could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500. Other provisions allow lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal to hire undocumented workers for day labor or knowingly transport them."Now I don't see any arguments about why we should pick and choose which laws to enforce. The opponents clearly state that this is about enforcing existing laws. Their definition fairly represents what the new law does, although their comments do not.
I will make the case on why not enforcing this law makes sense, but first what's wrong with the anti-immigration view.
Where the right is wrong
There are two main thrusts to opponents of illegal immigration. One is that they take jobs away from Americans, and the other is that they take public benefits like welfare.
Some people support both of these views, which doesn't make sense. A given immigrant can not work and collect benefits for not working. It's really one or the other.
It could be that immigrants as a whole perform a mix of the two, but that's the way a welfare system is supposed to operate; those who work pay for those won't don't.
Now what if an immigrant comes to America and "steals a job" by agreeing to work for a lower wage than an American? Isn't that bad?
No, not at all. This is a classic protectionist argument and I'm surprised it's not more popular with the left. Yes, a given American worker will lose a labor job. However, the company will save money with lower labor costs, and in a competitive market, pass some of those savings on to the consumer. This will give people more money to spend in other areas, creating more jobs in other industries.
This goes back to Adam Smith. It's good for both parties to use cheap foreign labor, and all immigration does is change the side of the border those factories are located. In this sense, opposing immigrant labor is a version of the ancient pauper labor fallacy that's still popular with anti-globalizationists.
What's interesting is that few people doubt that it's rational for Mexicans - the group that is most responsible for illegal immigration in Arizona - to come to America to find work. Even though their best option is to work for lower wages than Americans, people realize that's it's a better opportunity than what's waiting for them at home. They also agree that this makes the immigrants wealthier.
This view, which is absolutely correct, is not compatible with the anti-sweatshop view - that offering low-paying jobs in poor countries exploits the workers and keeps them in poverty. Instead, in both cases you see the workers getting richer, and America as a whole benefits at the same time.
There will be losers in this scenario - some Americans with low skills will be out of a job. But American workers as a whole will benefit from the new jobs that open up. There will be more winners than losers.
And unlike what the "buy local" advocates preach, it doesn't hurt America to see our dollars leave the country when immigrants mail some of it back home to their families. Those families do not burn the money - they take it to a bank and exchange it for the local currency. Essentially they are buying money with another type of money. That bank will take the greenbacks and invest them back in America. American dollars have no choice but to come back to America.
Why the welfare state changes the rules
I know a lot of lefties who lust for the big welfare states of the Scandinavia. Countries like Denmark have high taxes and a lot of public goodies to dole out to the citizens.
They also have super-strict immigration policies. It's easier to get into Fort Knox then some of these countries. Why is that?
It's because when you promise a lot of free money to people in an area, people will move to that area to collect that free money. These people aren't being lazy or evil - just smart. When you reward people for being in a certain situation, more people will put themselves in that situation. That works for good things, like having a college degree, but it also works for bad things like being unemployed.
So a generous welfare state will attract people who want to take advantage of it. It's just human nature. That's why welfare states must keep people out if they're not willing to work. This isn't xenophobia - it's keeping the system from having too many takers and not enough givers.
Milton Friedman weighed in on this issue and said that immigration has always been good for America. He said today illegal Mexicans immigrants are still good for America, but making Mexican immigration legal would be bad for us because of our heavy welfare state.
"That’s an interesting paradox to think about. Make it legal and it’s no good. Why? Because as long as it’s illegal the people who come in do not qualify for welfare, they don’t qualify for social security, they don’t qualify for the other myriad of benefits that we pour out from our left pocket to our right pocket. So long as they don’t qualify they migrate to jobs. They take jobs that most residents of this country are unwilling to take. They provide employers with the kind of workers that they cannot get. They’re hard workers, they’re good workers, and they are clearly better off."That was 30 years ago, and our welfare state is even more generous now. By keeping immigrant workers illegal, they mostly don't pay into or take from our public assistance programs.
That's not entirely true, of course. They still pay sales taxes, and property taxes indirectly through apartment rent. While illegal immigrants don't have access to things like social security, they are able to send their children to public schools. In California it's illegal to check a students immigration status, so we have cash-starved public education system that's paid by legal residents, but also serves illegal ones. Hospitals and law enforcement also absorb costs from serving illegal immigrants.
So Americans benefit from illegal immigrants because they must come here to work, not to collect free public money. It's a good thing that we're not rounding them up off the streets.
Still, there are some moral problems with not enforcing our own laws. It's good that law enforcement in Arizona can punish illegal immigrants with deportation when they are caught for unrelated crimes, and this gives immigrants double the reason to obey our other laws.
Because it won't effect just any person off the street - only the suspects of unrelated crimes - this law should help filter out the criminals from our illegal immigration population. It won't be perfect and it will also deport some illegal immigrants who are just here to work. However, these people are still breaking our immigration laws and it's the duty of police to enforce the laws - whether they agree with them or not.