Immigration and Libertarians

This National Review Online article addresses libertarians who support the current Senate bill to provide amnesty to a number of illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S. Some good quotes:

  • A decade ago, Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman admonished the Wall Street Journal for its idée fixe on open-border immigration policy. “It’s just obvious you can’t have free immigration and a welfare state,” he warned.
  • Elections in modern societies are, to a considerable degree, referenda on the magnitude of future income redistribution. An immigration policy which grants citizenship to vast numbers of low-skill, low-income immigrants not only creates new beneficiaries for government transfers, but new voters likely to support even greater transfers in the future.
  • Opening borders with the redistributionist state still intact will result in a larger and more confiscatory government. In response to libertarians who propose to open borders and dismantle the welfare state, practical conservatives should answer: “Go ahead. Dismantle the welfare state. As soon as you’ve got that finished, let us know, and then we’ll talk about open borders.”
  • Sen. Ted Kennedy understands that a steady stream of low-skill immigrants will help him build a much larger, tax-fueled government. It is a pity that so many foes of big government fail to appreciate this point.
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