Saturday, February 6, 2016


We Wanted Workers, But We Got People Instead

By Mark Krikorian

The Corner at National Review Online, February 4, 2016

Harvard’s George Borjas, “America’s leading immigration economist,” according to the Wall Street Journal, has started a new blog. The spark was his upcoming book, We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative, but the book – a layman’s guide to the immigration issue – isn’t going to be released til the fall. In the meantime, he’s published several posts that are well worth reading. In addition to a link to his recent National Review piece on the debate over the labor-market effects of the Mariel Boatlift, he muses on Germany’s experiment in open borders.

His latest posting is on “The Slowdown in Immigrant Assimilation“, looking at slower growth in wages of successive waves of immigrants and slower acquisition of English. Borjas writes that his academic paper (which the posting summarizes) is only partly successful in identifying the cause of the assimilation slowdown (emphasis is added by me): “Those immigrant groups that are larger and more geographically clustered have lower assimilation rates, and the growth of these groups accounts for about a third of the slowdown. But we still don’t know what caused the other two-thirds.” Whatever the other causes, this suggests that, as Reihan has written several times, lowering future immigration is, at the very least, more likely to promote upward mobility of immigrants already here.

(A tangential note on the quotation in the title of this item, which Borjas uses for his book. It’s by Swiss playwright Max Frisch, from the preface he wrote for the 1965 companion book to a documentary on Southern Italian guestworkers in Switzerland, Siamo Italiani, by Alexander J. Seiler. The preface was entitled “√úberfremdung” (over-foreignization) and the oft-quoted line is, “Man hat Arbeitskr√§fte gerufen, und es kommen Menschen” – something like, “We called for a workforce, but people came.” In other words, immigrants aren’t merely labor inputs, as the corporate/libertarian immigration-pushers contend, but human beings who will join, and change, the receiving society. The translation I used for the title of this posting is the one Borjas uses, though I’ve always thought it more euphonically rendered in English as “We asked for workers, but they sent us men.”)


Obama, Immigration, and 'Electoral Caudillismo'

By Mark Krikorian

CIS Immigration Blog, February 3, 2016

In June, the Supreme Court will drop an immigration bomb into the middle of the presidential campaign.

That's when it is expected to rule on the 26-state lawsuit challenging President Obama's edict granting work permits and Social Security numbers to as many as four million illegal aliens who have U.S.-citizen or legal-resident children. This legalization program proposed by Obama is ostensibly temporary, but is understood by everyone to be de facto permanent; revoking lawful work permits from four people is easy, but from four million is essentially impossible.

At issue is not the president's authority to set priorities for deportation. It's not likely he will deport many of the people in question anyway; deportations from the interior have dropped by more than two-thirds since 2011. And the much-lamented "raids" on Central American families have resulted in a mere 77 removals so far.

Rather, the key issue is whether the Constitution's requirement that a president "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" has any meaning, or whether he can simply ignore laws he dislikes. This will be important for U.S. immigration policy, of course. If the Supreme Court were to back Obama, future immigration decisions would become much more integrated into foreign policy, with the president having the freedom to admit (through something called "parole") or legalize essentially anyone he wants, without the need to consult the people's elected representatives.

But more broadly, the court's ruling could influence the evolution of the U.S. political system toward something more like electoral caudillismo than the separation of powers established by the founders of the republic.

House Appropriations Boss Initiates Crackdown on Sanctuaries

By Jessica Vaughan

CIS Immigration Blog, February 1, 2016
. . .
Culberson's letter outlines several steps he expects the Justice Department to take:

* Work with sanctuary jurisdictions to change their policies, and if they do not, take legal action to compel their compliance with federal law;

* Beginning this year, amend the grant application forms for the Byrne/Justice Assistance Grants (JAG), Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants, and State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) reimbursement program to require agencies seeking these funds to swear that they do not have policies that violate Section 1373; and

* Deny funding to any non-compliant sanctuary jurisdictions.

In addition, he asks the attorney general to look at whether jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE are in violation of 8 USC 1324, the federal felony statute that prohibits anyone from shielding illegal aliens from detection. After all, these jurisdictions have been notified in writing by the detainers (federal Form I-247) that the aliens' identities and status have been confirmed by biometric fingerprint matching, and that federal agents wish to take custody of the aliens, and/or to be notified of the date, time, and place of release — so the sanctuaries are knowingly releasing deportable aliens sought by ICE. He said that he will consider applying this section of the law next year to block funding to jurisdictions that release criminal aliens sought by ICE. This action could affect the hundreds of agencies that fail to comply with or accept ICE detainers, for example.
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