The Biggest Danger of Uncontrolled Immigration

The extent of our economic freedom and the defense of our property rights are the key factors in our accumulation of wealth (goods and services) and a rise in our standard of living via the division of labor. But economic freedom and property rights depend critically on our laws and institutions, that is, the kind of government we have.

There is no question that we’ve moved away from the good laws and institutions that promote capitalism and embarked instead on a course of bad laws and institutions that promote socialism. This is why over a period of decades our living standards have not grown as much as they could have, and why some large portions of Americans can’t seem to get ahead, drop out of the labor force, live on welfare or even live on the streets.

Immigration is good for a country under two conditions. First, the country has the good laws and institutions that protect economic freedom and property rights. Second, the immigrants assimilate to the good laws and do not change them for the worse.

The socialist aspects of our current system are its bad laws. Immigrants don’t do Americans any good if they burden those parts of our system that offer “free” or subsidized goods and services. We cannot have a welfare state and allow unlimited immigration. Too many immigrants will opt for the free benefits. The wealth transfer is a tax upon working taxpayers. This amounts to greater socialism and economic retardation. The Anti-Capitalistic ... Mises, Ludwig von Best Price: $5.00 Buy New $3.95 (as of 04:45 EST - Details)

In order to benefit from immigration, as we have in our pre-1930s past when the welfare state and socialist regulatory laws were minimal, we need to get rid of these bad laws and institutions. This being unlikely at present, immigration becomes a worse and worse problem. It must be stopped, but stopping it requires a wall and police state measures. As George Reisman notes, the welfare state becomes a police state with unlimited immigration.

Then there is the second condition, which is that immigrants assimilate to our laws and institutions if they are the good laws supportive of and consistent with capitalism, private property rights and economic freedom. If they assimilate to what we have in our country today, this means adopting and supporting a system that has large socialist elements. This is definitely undesirable in terms of promoting the growth of wealth. We do not want to teach immigrants that American prosperity owes to our panoply of socialist interventions.

Worse yet, there are conflicting sentiments among immigrants to contend with. Some or many come because they want to work, educate themselves and get ahead in ways they couldn’t where they came from. But some or many also bring with them sentiments and political attitudes of their mother countries that they’ve imbibed and do not realize are contradictory to economic freedom and private property rights. Once within the bosom of our system with its socialist elements, they are likely to fall right in line with them, thinking they are being true Americans in supporting laws like Obamacare, Medicare for All, or other socialist laws and administrations.

In other words, the greater the immigration, the greater the support for socialism, both because the immigrants learn that here by assimilation and because it’s consistent with their prior political training and attitudes. The fraction of Americans supportive of capitalism then declines and socialist legislation becomes easier and easier to pass.

This dire situation will come into being even faster when existing American socialists and newly-minted socialist leaders among the immigrants actively organize and proselytize among immigrants susceptible to their appeals.

What are the political attitudes of immigrants? There is no one answer. The answers vary from one country to another. What Sweden, Germany and America experience may be three different things. The Politically Incorr... Thomas E. Woods Jr. Best Price: $1.51 Buy New $8.71 (as of 06:15 EST - Details)

I’ve found one recent paper (October 2016 in the Journal of Politics) that examines our situation with respect to Mexicans in our country. Mexicans constitute about 1/3 of our immigrant population. The title is “Partisanship by Invitation: Immigrants Respond to Political Campaigns”.

The study examined two elections: 2006 and 2008. The authors, James A. McCann and Katsuo A. Nishikawa Chávez, find that the Democratic party benefited much more highly from its partisan appeals than did the Republican party. The detailed findings led the authors to conclude

“Barring a major shift in the dispositions of Republican lawmakers and party activists towards identities and issues that Mexicans and other immigrant groups hold dear, a shift that appears improbable at this juncture, there is likely little chance that Republican campaign messages in any electoral environment could pull the Mexican-born toward that party, even if Republican candidates themselves are perceived as personally attractive figures.”

Although the Republican party has been no stranger to socialist legislation, such as extending Medicare to prescription benefits, the Democrats are worse. They typically propose the socialist extensions and campaign for them for years on end until they become law.

The biggest danger of uncontrolled or unlimited immigration is that it shifts American politics even more greatly toward socialism.