Resolved: The United States Should Adopt an Open Border Policy
== Voting ==
Select winner, 3k ELO, 2 week voting period
== Structure ==
10k characters. 71 hours to argue. 4 rounds.
== Clarifications ==
Open border policy: a policy in which legalization itself is no longer a crime. There will be border checkpoints, but immigration in and of itself would no longer be a crime and immigrants already here would be legalized. They would not be given citizenship per se (they could apply after a few years), but resident Visas would be given.
Current policies: For the sake of consistency, policies like "welfare" will stay the same. I could not argue, for example, that we should just cut back welfare or not give it to the immigrants. I could not argue for tax changes, either. On the flip side, Roy could not argue the same. Current fiscal policies, except immigration, would remain roughly the same.
== Teams ==
I accept and look forward to a good debate on an important subject. I agree that 16K and JMK can work jointly on their case.
Immigration benefits the economy
Economists have reached a consensus: immigration benefits the economy. Peri argues that increasing immigration would generate “growth, innovation, and labor market efficiency and flexibility,” generating a “substantial economic stimulus.” 
Roy will focus on low-skilled immigrants. They’re part of the puzzle, but a large number of well-educated immigrants would also enter the US, increasing innovation. Foreign students’ work is cited more by other researchers and they often produce work at a faster rate; limits to the number of student Visas have negative consequences for academic innovation . Other researchers, using patents as a proxy, find similar results. A 1% increase in immigrant college graduates leads to a 6-15% increase in patents per capita . American cities that attract immigrant college-grads have more patents for electronics, pharmacology, machinery, and industrial chemicals; all technology-heavy industries are more innovative when high-skilled immigration increases . Once immigrants graduate, they patent at a higher rate than native-born citizens . Most increases in American living standards has been due to innovation that increases labor and capital productivity .
Low-skilled immigrants have higher labor mobility which smooths out local economic fluctuations. US-born workers rarely relocate due to economic shocks . Immigrants are much more willing to relocate. Labor immobility causes market to get clogged up and labor shortages to form. Immigrants fill this void as they move seasonally, for economic fluctuations, or for other reasons . One million immigrants have left the country voluntarily as our economic outlook has been mediocre . The EU, which has open borders between its members, has demonstrated the benefits of a flexible labor market. Up to 25% of a labor shock in the EU would be corrected by immigration within a year . Peri argues that this labor mobility “[serves] to smooth out local booms and busts; by moving away from declining regions and into booming areas, immigrants help stabilize the economy and reduce the “mismatch” between local demand for labor and its supply.”
Low-skilled immigrants increase productivity by allowing native-workers to spend more time working rather than staying at home. Well-educated men and women tend to marry one another . For both of them to work outside the home and utilize their skills, they need to hire help in order to care for their yards, children, and homes. Areas with larger influxes of immigrants have lower prices for dry cleaning, gardening, and housekeeping, indicating that these areas have a larger supply of immigrants doing these jobs for a lower price . This makes it cheaper and easier to afford these services, and allows women to participate in the labor force. Research confirms this conclusion . This would increase economic output.
Research has found that immigration increases job opportunities. As demand for immigrant-related services increase, so does the variety of services offered. This means for every one immigrant, more than one job can be created due to the increased demand for goods and services . By raising demand, immigrants cause firms to expand, leading to more hiring . The correlation between unemployment and immigration is weak .
Peri has argued that between 1990 and 2006, immigration has increased yearly American wages by an $5100 . The following graph shows the employment and income responses to immigration.
Immigrants even create their own demand for labor. Immigrants are more likely to start firms than native citizens . One in ten immigrants own a business, and the businesses they create have more startup capital . Although immigrants only make up 12.9% of the population , they own one in six small businesses. In 2014, 28.5% of launched businesses were owned by immigrants. Many of these business owners are Latino .
Legalizing immigrants without increasing border security increases GDP three times more than legalization would if we ‘secured’ the border . If the entire world opened their borders, GDP would increase by $65 TRILLION .
Research has shown that economic freedom closely correlates with economic growth. The more property rights, the better rule of law, and more business-friendly environments increase economic growth substantially . The following graphs show this :
Cato demonstrated that more immigration leads to more economic freedom . Immigrants have positive impacts on the institutions that lead to a higher economic freedom score . The children of immigrants are also more libertarian/conservative, meaning in the long term their voting patterns would promote pro-market policies . There is a correlation between more immigrants in the US and a smaller government .
Even immigration critic George Borjas admits that the net impact of immigration is positive . The notion that mass migration caused by open borders would be detrimental is not borne out by the data. 125,000 Cuban immigrants entered Miami between May and September of 1980, equivalent to a 7% of the labor force. David Card was unable to find any negative effect on native employment or wages due to the arrival of the immigrants . In Israel, immigration led to the population increasing 12% between 1990 and 1994. Rachel Friedberg was unable to find any detrimental effects on natives due to mass migration . The effects of immigration are net-positive on both native and migrant workers. Any negative effects were short term and were equal to zero after a few years .
Long-Term Policy Ramifications
By boosting productivity, immigration would increase both short-term growth and the economy’s long-term productive capacity. The theoretical case and empirical case for this is well-documented. Consider a Cobb-Douglas Production Function :
Y = F (K,L) = A*k^b * l^(1-b)
Where long-run output is a function of total factor productivity (A), the capital stock (k), and the labor stock (l), with the parameter, b, representing capital and labor’s share of income.
Perry finds that immigration increases both TFP, with an elasticity of 1.25, and total hours worked, with an elasticity of .12, both of which increase potential output .
This is significant because, in the wake of the Great Recession, both productivity and trend output have weakened. Fernald  attributes this to waning IT gains, while Wilcox et al.  attribute it to the depth and longevity of the downturn due largely to hysteresis, whereby cyclical unemployment turns structural as the skills of long-term unemployed works atrophy; Kroft et al. find evidence for this “negative duration dependence” . Also, labor force growth has lagged, capital investment has waned, and credit standards remain elevated .
All else equal, the economy will converge to a “new normal” real rate of growth. Instead of the long-run average of 3 percent growth, we’ll grow about 1.83 percent . Not only will this stifle innovation, inhibit wage increases, and cripple the role of the U.S. abroad, but it will reduce the “normal” level of interest rates, which fluctuate with the fundamentals of the economy. Williams and Laubach find that the equilibrium real interest rate varies one-for-one with changes in trend growth . Following the BOG Staff projections, this corresponds to an equilibrium real interest rate of only 83 basis points.
There are two major implications. First, the long-run nominal federal funds rate--the interbank lending rate the Federal Reserve targets to influence economic activity--will only reach 2.83 percent over the long run. This limits the Fed’s ability to respond aggressively to shocks, and may force it to resort to unconventional tools, the effects of which are uncertain and require near-perfect credibility.
Second, it will increase risks to financial stability . When interest rates are low--as they will be, especially when “low” is the new normal--investors may underprice risk and “reach for yield” in hope of higher returns, a phenomenon well-documented by Chodorow-Reich . This exacerbates the risk of future financial crises, with dire effects on the real economy.
An open-border policy would increase trend growth by increasing the economy’s productive capacity, and push up the equilibrium real rate and safeguarding financial stability.
Benefits to the immigrants themselves
Migration is one of the most powerful poverty reduction tools . Living in a rich country provides a “place premium”: a worker living in the US would make more than an identical working elsewhere. Regions with higher productivity and technological advancement make workers of identical skills more productive, meaning wages rise simply by moving to a developed country . An unskilled 35-year old worker would gain $15,000 in income each year simply by crossing into the US . “Guatemalan immigrants raise their real earning power by 200% just by stepping into the US; Filipinos experience a 250% wage increase; Haitian immigrants reap a 680% increase.” On average, immigrants would see their wages double .
Migrants also benefit their families back home by sending remittances. A 10% increase in income leads to a 6% increase in remittances. Remittances reduce the amount of child labor, increase the amount of capital accumulation, and increase educational expenditures . 43% of Mexicans who have escaped poverty have did so by moving to the US .
Bryan Caplan thinks that open borders would lead to the “rapid elimination of absolute poverty on earth.” Michael Clemens argues that effects on the US would be minimal. It is an issue of their poverty or their prosperity--the US will stay wealthy regardless . Other researchers agree .
1. Natural barriers to immigration are gone
Among the earliest arrivals would be 60 million refugees, mostly from the Middle East and Africa, steeped in sharia law and theocracy. They are unfamiliar with democracy and basic laws respect for human rights. There are unwilling to assimilate. There are jobs in the US for some unskilled workers, but nowhere near enough to employ 60 million workers, let alone 1.1 billion. Open borders immigration would slow and ultimately stop when the US reached equilibrium with the parts of the world supplying immigrants. That would happen when the economic opportunities in the US, freedom the corruption, and the general unpleasantness of the government equalized with the rest of the world. We can expect current residents to flee to countries maintaining border control and the standards of freedom and democracy closest to what was enjoyed by the US.
2. People emigrate to flee oppression and starvation, and that inflates welfare costs
The main reason for moving to a new country is to take refuge from an untenable situation: political oppression, violence, or looming starvation. There are nearly 60 million refugees in the world, with, for example, 9.5 million in Syria alone. [1. http://www.theatlantic.com...] These are people who have already been displaced from their homes, so it's not a question of breaking ties to where they have always lived. They are motivated to escape.
With an open borders policy, the obstacle of moving to the United States is almost solely the cost of travel. In the modern era of air travel, that's the cost of airfare. A web search finds fares to Turkey, an average Middle Eastern location, for $600. (That's round trip to account for planes returning empty.) To account for further distances, we'll call the cost $1000. Many are willing to put up the $1000 for a refugee to reach America. Some refugees will be able scrape up that much money. Others will have relatives in America. There are charities that would certainly prove massive aid, especially to fellow members of a religion. Christian charities will help Christian refugees escape extermination in Iraq an Syria, and they will help others in persecuted groups. The oil rich Arab countries will likely help Muslim refugees. The United Nations has a major effort for resettling refugees.
Countries currently having the burden of maintaining refugees have a great economic incentive to solve assist immigration to the US. Jordan spends $1365 dollars per refugee per year, amounting to $871 million in 2014. The cost grows rapidly as Syrians flee the battle between ISIS and Iranian-backed forces. [2. http://dai.com...] Rather than spend $1365 per year, a one-time cost of about $1000 provides a permanent solution.
2. Economic Opportunity increases immigration
A person need not be nearly as desperate as a refugee to find America an economically attractive alternative. Mexico is relatively well-off compared to many other countries, thanks in part to their oil revenues. There are refugees from Central America entering the US, but none from Mexico are counted among the 60 million refugees in the world. Yet as many as one-quarter of the citizens of Mexico may now live in the United States. [3. http://conservativetribune.com...] That's despite the hazards of illegal border crossing and the theoretical threat of deportation.
3. Immigration Costs are unsustainable
All residents of the US receive free health care from hospital emergency rooms. Hospitals are required by law to provide the service, the cost of which is borne by the paying patients. New immigrants must be screened for contagious diseases and cured of chronic illnesses. All resident children are given free education in public schools. The average cost of primary and secondary education in the US is about $11,000 per year, but immigrants have special needs. They usually do not speak English, so schools will have to be equipped to teach in Arabic, Farsi, and many other languages. The major refugee populations are Palestinians, Afghans, Iraqis, Somalis, Congolese, Myanmarese, Colombians, and Sudanese. 41% are children. [4.http://www.un.org...] Many refugee will not have received a fundamental education, so there will be many teenagers who must be taught reading and math nearly from scratch.
Pro proposes that all open-border immigrants be given work permits and resident status. That makes them eligible for unemployment insurance [5. http://www.nelp.org...] and for a variety of welfare benefits. Full welfare benefits are available to residents after five years or immediately upon citizenship. [6. http://www.nolo.com...] Pro says citizenship could be achieved in “a few years.” The average of welfare benefits to poor families varies by state. “The state with the highest total value of welfare benefits was Hawaii, at $49,175. The lowest was Mississippi, at $16,984.” This is above education and emergency room medical care. The median welfare package is $28,800. [7. http://www.washingtonpost.com...]
By comparison, the median yearly household income in Palestine is about $2000, [8. http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu...], Mexico $11,736. http://gain.fas.usda.gov..., and Afghanistan $426. [9 http://www.atimes.com...] There are few countries on earth that offer livings better than being on welfare in the United States.
Under an open borders policy, the best estimate based upon worldwide polling data is that 1.1 billion people would move to the US.[10. http://www.gallup.com...]
Currently, each illegal immigrant pays an average of about $1035 per year in state and local taxes. [11. http://www.thefiscaltimes.com...] Illegals pay about another $1000 per year in Social Security taxes to bogus accounts that they do not recover. [12. https://news.vice.com...]. Once legalized, per Pro's plan, they would receive Social Security benefits costing more than their cumulative contributions.
The median salary for the unskilled work characteristic of unrestricted immigration is below the level at which income taxes are paid. The bottom 50% of wage earners, those earning less than $36,000, pay 2.78% of income taxes. [12. http://www.ntu.org...], A family with two children earning less than $49,186 is eligible to receive and earned income credit of $5460. [13. http://www.irs.gov...] That's a welfare benefit paid without regard to deductions made or citizenship.
4.1 Currently, the US benefits strongly from legal immigration. Legal immigration comprises the high tech H1-B visa program that admits skilled professionals. The median salary of H1-B visa workers is $61,984. less than the average of about $82,000 in the IT profession, which is logical since H1-B is specifically for entry level workers. They'll mature to reach the median and exceed it. The trick is to suppose that open borders immigration will produce the same economic benefits as carefully selected legal immigration.
4.2 Another way to fake the numbers is to do a theoretical study that supposes that people only emigrate to fill open jobs, and once the available jobs are filled, immigration stops. Immigration from into Mexico from the United States has slowed may have slowed since the economy of Mexico has improved and the economy of the US has gotten worse. However, illegal border crossing is still expensive and dangerous. Coyotes must be paid, and many illegal immigrants are subject to violence. [14. http://immigrationpolicy.org...]
Roy argues that, without immigration restrictions or natural borders, we will be swamped with immigrants and there will simply be too many people for our economy to handle. This argument has many flaws.
a) In some ways, this would be a good thing. As it is difficult to build an enormous amount of housing, property prices would skyrocket. This would be extremely beneficial to anyone who owns property. This would have another beneficial effect: higher consumption.
Consumption would increase, which would dramatically increase economic growth. John Y. Campbell and João F. Cocco have found that for every 10% increase in housing prices, consumption increases 17% [1. http://tinyurl.com...]. The reason for this is because people’s wealth increases as the price of their homes increase, which translates into higher consumption. Matteo Iacoviello has confirmed the strong connection between housing prices and consumption [2. http://tinyurl.com...].
Thus, being swamped may not be as bad as Roy claims it is.
b) In fact, Roy is borderline arguing for central planning. In just the same way the Soviet Union was unable to perfectly plan economic policy because planners lacked proper economic knowledge, this would inevitably happen if we restrict immigration. Who would decide the optimal number of immigrants? The government. It is impossible for the government to have the microeconomic knowledge to make that decision properly. Market forces would inevitably naturally regulate the number of immigrants that enter this country under an open borders system through job openings and housing prices. If millions of immigrants came overnight, housing prices would skyrocket and the labor market would struggle to adjust. If a huge amount of immigrants arrive, the opportunity for them to get jobs would be diminished, so the incentives for them to stay would simply disappear. If the economy cannot handle an influx of immigrants, people cease coming here because their opportunities will diminish if there are more immigrants than the optimal amount. Economist Bryan Powell argues, “Absent a market process, there is no way to centrally plan the optimal number and mix of immigrants,” and he also argues that the market would be able to determine the “optimal number” better than the government could. [3. http://tinyurl.com...]. Roy’s plan--which would require arbitrarily capping the flow of immigrants into this country--would never be able to capture the optimal number of immigrants because it relies upon the same flawed central planning logic that the Soviets believed in. Market forces would best determine the number of immigrants entering this country, not an arbitrary government cap.
c) Roy cites a gallup poll claiming that 1.1 billion people would migrate to the US. This is untrue and I urge readers to read his source [4. http://tinyurl.com...]. It argues that 1.1 billion people total want to move out of their country, but not all of that 1 billion want to come to the US. The number of people who would actually come would be a lot lower. Another Gallup Survey puts the number of immigrants who would permanently reside in the US if they could at 165 million [5. http://tinyurl.com...]. Remember, even this estimate is high. Even without immigration barriers, many would still be too poor to afford a move. 165 million people want to move to the US, but it is unlikely that they can move to the US.
d) Roy worries about assimilation, especially in regards to Muslim immigrants. However, modern immigrants tend to become more assimilated than they did a decade ago, and Muslim immigrants assimilate in the US more than they do in other countries; in fact, Muslims are “more assimilated than the rest of the foreign-born population” in the US. Evidence suggests that the US has been successful in creating a “successful multiethnic society.” [6. http://tinyurl.com...].
e) It should also be noted that the resolution does not force us to open borders overnight. Economist John Keenan supports open borders, but would prefer them to be done gradually in order to prevent swamping [7. http://tinyurl.com...].
R: Welfare + Unsustainability
Roy’s claim that low-skilled immigrants would take up our welfare system is false.
a) He claims that incomes for many people in Palestine are extremely low. This is because of the price premium effect. We proved this last round. If they move to the US, their incomes would be much higher because, even with their low skills, they would have access to better technology and education. As their incomes would rise upon arrival, it is unfair to assume that their wages would be the same as it was in their home country.
b) Roy focuses on the negatives of immigration--he assumes the economic pie is static. Dynamic estimates take into account the growth impacts of immigrants as well as the positive revenue effects. Roy argues that these revenue effects are small, but he has to remember that not only would illegal immigrants begin to receive services, but as they would also pay more into the system. The conservative CATO institute has reviewed the literature, taking into account revenue and growth effects. They also take into account long-term growth and revenue trends. CATO’s review found that the “studies reveal a very small net fiscal impact clustered around zero,” and that “even dramatic changes in the level of immigration have small effects on government budgets and deficits.” [8. http://tinyurl.com...] If you take into account the entire picture, it is not as black and white as Roy claims. The fiscal impacts could vary significantly, though the evidence suggests that the effect is close to zero in either direction.
c) Whether or not an immigrant is a net positive or negative effect on our country’s finances depends a lot on when an immigrant arrives in this country. Roy seems to argue that many immigrants come here then they are extremely young. However, the average age of immigrants who have arrived after the year 2000 are 31 years old [9. http://tinyurl.com...]. This means that the majority of immigrants who would arrive would likely quickly enter the workforce, and the number of child immigrants would probably be lower than adult immigrants. The following image graphs the fiscal impacts of an immigrant based on their educational status and age upon arrival.
For families, immigrants who stay here for their entire life, and educated immigrants, the fiscal impacts are generally positive. For those older than age 16 and under age 65, you are almost always a net-positive on this country’s pocketbooks. The effect to public finances that Roy is espousing is greatly exaggerated.
d) Roy argues that legalization would increase harm to programs like social security and increase education costs. Roy uses illegal immigrants being legalized as an example. However, the CBO has already noted that amnesty would increase revenues and reduce the deficit, not increase it [10. http://tinyurl.com...]. According to the CATO institute, educating children at a young age means that there is upward mobility and that the increased productivity from their education translates into higher wages and a net fiscal benefit over time. Further, more immigrants would benefit programs like social security. Social security requires more people giving to the system than taking from it if the system is to function properly. Immigrants, who arrive here at young ages tend to work for many years. As immigration increases the amount of workers compared to benefit receivers at any given time, increased migration prolongs solvency and helps pay for the system [11. http://tinyurl.com...].
e) Evidence suggests that immigrants are more interested in work than in receiving welfare. In many cases, they move out of states with generous welfare benefits if there is a better job market elsewhere [12. http://tinyurl.com...]. This means that immigrants, as they are seeking work, will consume as little welfare as possible while producing as much as possible, leading to a net-benefit for our nation’s pocketbook.
R: Opportunity Increases Immigration
We agree. People have a right to live a life of opportunity. If anything, this is an argument in favor of open borders. Opportunity begets immigration, and immigration begets opportunity.
The Mexico argument is silly. Living in the US would help immigrants much more than living in Mexico--there is a reason they travel through Mexico in order to get here now!
R: Legal Immigration is good--fudging numbers?
We agree. Legal immigration is good. All immigration is good.
a) The claim that GDP growth through increased spending is a bad thing has no effect on our arguments. The reason open borders increases GDP is not through government spending, but rather through ending price premiums. Simply living in the US means you will make more in your lifetime than if the same person lived in another country. Open borders would allow workers who come to the US to have a dramatic increase in productivity, as they have access to more technology and can produce more, which boosts world GDP [13. http://tinyurl.com...]. There are a plethora of other benefits--which we posted last round--which explain why GDP would increase with open borders. None of the reasons include Keynesian spending.
b) Roy claims we are redistributing America’s wealth. Nowhere did we say this. The evidence suggests that immigration increases our wealth. The economy isn’t a static pie, and more people arriving does not mean everyone has a smaller slice. It causes the pie to expand and everyone is better off.
d) I don’t see how illegal immigration being dangerous is related to this debate. As legalization would ruin the underground immigrant trafficking economy, Coyotes would be out of business and violence would decrease.
The US cannot sustain a flood of unskilled immigrants
Immigration policies vary by country in Europe and the UK has more strict controls than the EU in general. “It found that migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) made a negative contribution to the public purse of £117.9 billion because they consumed more in public expenditure – including NHS costs, welfare hand-outs and education – than they contributed in taxes." [18. http://www.telegraph.co.uk...] However, skilled immigrants entering the UK, mostly from Eastern Europe, made a net positive contribution.
1) Roy drops the long-term policy implications and the effects on structural GDP growth, including mitigating the risk of future financial crises. The effect is huge and outweighs almost everything presented in the debate.
2) Roy drops the argument that immigrants would benefit under an open border policy. Just because you live in a foreign country does not mean you are worth less than American citizens. This point is extremely important from a utilitarian standpoint.
3) Roy drops the argument on economic freedom and growth.
Because we won’t have a chance to respond, do not allow Roy to respond to these arguments in the last round.
a) We would not receive 60 million immigrants overnight. The costs of emigrating from one’s home country is very high, so the majority of those who wish to come to the US can’t. The market would self-regulate the number of immigrants that enter this country. There would be a large influx of workers, but we have already shown that his estimates are too high.
b) The assumption that every worker who wishes to move to another country will move to the US is questionable. Saudi Arabia is one of the top immigrant destinations, with Egypt, South Africa, and Spain also worth mentioning [1. http://tinyurl.com...]. These countries are radically different from our own, both socially and economically. I doubt that immigrants yearning for a home in Saudi Arabia would ever move to the US. The assumption that every person who wants to move will move, and that they will all flock to the US if we have an open border policy, is questionable.
c) The resolution does not require us to open the borders immediately. Doing it in a slow, circumscribed manner, with the end results being open borders, is still considered an open border policy. This is considered a moderate open borders policy [2. http://tinyurl.com...].
d) Roy claims that the market wouldn’t adjust for immigrants because their lives--even unemployed--are better in the US than in third world countries. If this were true, then immigrants would never self deport, but they already have. The number of illegal immigrants in the US has fallen in recent years due to poor economic performance [3. http://tinyurl.com...]. They are doing it already. Another way to test whether or not immigrants will self-deport is to analyze the efficacy of laws that reduce immigrant employment. Mark Krikoran, who vehemently opposes immigration, has argued that laws reducing immigrant employment would “cause a 40 percent drop in the existing illegal population over a period of 5 years.” [4. Mark Krikorian. The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal, 218]. When the market is unable to house immigrants by giving them work, they will self deport. It should also be noted that these migrants may self-deport to Canada instead of staying here, where the borders are still fairly porous with the US and the immigrants would still receive a significant pay-raise.
e) Immigrants may not be able to afford housing. This is an integral part of how the market would restrict the level of immigration under open borders. Roy drops the benefits that higher housing prices would have on the economy at large. This would increase taxable income and mitigate the budgetary problems that Roy has presented.
Legal Immigration and Open Borders
a) Roy responds only to the arguments relating to legal immigration, but ignores the evidence we present on other topics.
b) Roy claims that our research builds upon the model of legal immigration. This is untrue. We directly cited research demonstrating how open borders would double GDP, without using data from legal immigration [5.http://tinyurl.com...].
c) The CATO studies argue that both skilled and unskilled immigrants benefit economic growth. It is logical that a combination leads to growth. But as both skilled and unskilled migration leads to a net benefit, undoing the screening process and allowing an unlimited amount of all types of immigrants would only serve to increase the benefits of migration. Using similar data that we have cited, Jason Riley argues that “restricting the movement of labor and goods can only retard economic growth.” [6. Jason L. Riley. Let Them in: The Case for Open Borders, 71].
e) Roy focuses on our employment graph, ignoring the other evidence of mass migration which is comparable to the situation at hand. Roy does not contest the results of the graph, only the context. But the evidence we provided shows that immigration--no matter the context--has negligible negative effects. The research cited in R2 by David Card on the mass migration to Miami in the 1980s and the influx of Russian jews into Israel in the 1990s both prove our point: mass migration has no negative effects on employment. And the impact of our graph--that immigration does not reduce employment--applies in both a controlled and unrestricted setting.
f) Roy argues that legal immigration is superior to low-skilled immigration, but this isn’t necessarily true. Indeed, as a shrinking portion of our population are considered ‘low-skilled,’ there is a shortage of labor in low-skilled industries. If we don’t allow low-skilled labor to come into this country, we will end up with high-skilled workers doing low-skilled jobs. The issue with this is that is misallocates resources; educated people shouldn’t do menial work. That reduces the productivity of the economy. As we noted in R2, low-skilled immigrants--just like their selected counterparts--grease the wheel of the labor market and make everyone better off.
g) We never argued that immigration reduces border-security costs, but Roy’s claim that his plan would somehow reduce our fiscal burden is utopian. His plan would eliminate the low-skilled immigrant population in this country, or at least stem the flow of immigrants. The issue with this is that it would shrink economy. Roy continues to view this issue through a static lense, when you must remember that fiscal impacts are dynamic; you have to take into account the macroeconomic benefits of migrants in our economy, as we have clearly proven. Even assuming that our plan would increase control costs and that his would reduce them, our plan allows for more people to enter the economy. This means more consumers, more income, and a growing economy. Roy’s economy would shrink dramatically. Removing all 11 million unauthorized workers would shrink our GDP by $1.6 trillion [7. http://tinyurl.com...]. Roy’s plan, even if it does lower costs, would be detrimental to society as a whole, and with the economy shrinking, any savings would be offset by a reduction in revenue.
h) Roy claims that immigrants only create jobs if they don’t have access to welfare. But they don’t want welfare. Last round we showed that immigrants leave states with high welfare benefits if the employment environment is favorable elsewhere. Roy’s welfare magnet hypothesis is utterly untrue. And, using Roy’s argument, we might as well prevent blacks from having children because they are a fiscal burden. That is not reasonable at all.
i) Roy’s claim on progressive taxes does not affect our argument. Using his logic, we should remove all of those in the lower income quintiles simply because they are a fiscal drain. But that does not mean that society would be better off if we did. In fact, our economy would be much smaller and worse. Even assuming immigrants are a fiscal drain, that doesn’t mean they harm our society as a whole. A UNC study found that, even though immigrants were a (very small) fiscal drain on the state, society as a whole was better off because of their economic contributions . Any argument that does not take into account the impact of immigration on the economy is incomplete, rendering Roy’s case inadequate.
a) Letting Syrians in is the right thing to do. Just because someone is born in Syria does not make their life worth less than any of our’s. If open borders help millions of refugees--at the cost of a few bucks--from a utilitarian perspective, we must open our borders. In fact, letting refugees into the US would “carry little in the way of short-term financial costs, and that would likely provide a powerful boost to the US economy.” [8. http://tinyurl.com...] The long-term effect of immigration is always positive because even if their parents are a net drain, their children and grandchildren become more assimilated and positivley affect their communities . Roy focuses on the short term detriment but ignores the massive long-term benefits.
b) Roy’s argument about Africans flooding to the EU has no impact on the US. Africans can flee into the EU because they are close to it. Very few Africans would have the resources required to move to the US. Even with open borders, it would be easier to go to Europe than to cross the Atlantic ocean. Also, the number Roy cited--250,000 immigrants--is extremely low. The US has averages 4.2 million Mexican newcomers each year since 1990 . 250,000 immigrants is nothing compared to the number of people flooding here each year. And, as we have noted, the effect is predominantly positive.
c) Roy claims that Muslim immigrants are causing crime in Europe. This is a weak argument, as he only uses anecdotal evidence. Actual evidence from Europe suggests that the influx of muslim immigrants since 2000 has had no effect on crime rates [9. http://tinyurl.com...].
d) Roy claims that immigration increases fiscal costs in Europe. Even if this is true, the economic benefits far outweigh any fiscal costs--especially the long-term benefits that Roy dropped. The example should also be ignored because the EU has a much more generous welfare system than we do; the US spends 30% of its budget on welfare, whereas the UK that Roy cites spends closer to 40% [10. http://tinyurl.com...]. You cannot extrapolate fiscal costs from the EU when their welfare systems are vastly different than ours.
Long term policy implications, including freedom and growth, weigh against open borders
Pro claims I did not respond to his claims that open borders would produce long term growth and reduce the risk of financial crisis. My response was in three parts, and the response were apparent in the arguments previously presented:
1. Pro never established that open borders would bring about the claim benefits. All his real-world evidence was from countries that has policies that greatly restricted immigration. We all agree that controlled immigration is a good thing, and that countries benefit from having new people with needed skills. Pro's arguments for long term growth under open borders depend entirely under theories in which absurdly unrealistic assumptions. For this debate, the ground rules state that the US policies related to welfare and government benefits are unchanged, and immigration policies of other countries do not change. That's not what the studies assume.
2. The reasonable assumption is that if there are no obstacles to immigration, people will move from where they are worse off to where they are better of off. Pro denied that, saying that the dominate consideration was solely whether the immigrant could find a job, otherwise they would return to there home country, no matter if they they were destitute refugees, jobless in their place of origin, or suffering from political persecution. If my reasonable claim is true, then open immigration will continue until the economic and security advantage of the US is diminished to being equal to the poor condition of the home countries. The long term outlook is therefore to render the US as poor and insecure as the poorest and least insecure parts of the world. In that status, the US has no better long term prospect than the least promising places on earth.
3. A premise of the debate is that the US adopts an open borders policy while the rest of the world does not. That means that in the long term, every society except the US will be a more hospitable environment for immigrants with valuable skills who seek a modern culture. It also implies that, countries with a sector having extreme poverty or a violent subculture can inexpensively solve their local problem by sending them to the US. That's not a favorable long term outlook.
Immigrants benefit from open borders
I grant the argument that immigrants benefit from open borders. In fact, I reasonably assume that people will move from anyplace that's worse to enjoy the immediate benefits of the public education, emergency room health care, charity, and some welfare benefits. A full $28,500 welfare package is, according to the challenge, only a few years away. Immigration remains beneficial until the US reaches an equilibrium state of impoverishment with the poorest people in the world. I think the context of the debate is clearly the well-being of the people of the United States, and not a deal to sacrifice the US for the short term benefit of others. Once impoverished, the benefits from the US end, so it's only short term.
Cost is not a present-day obstacle to immigration
I pointed out that a plane ticket costing a thousand dollars would transport an immigrant to the United States. Even if the immigrant himself has no money, whoever is paying for the refugee camps, for example Jordan or the United Nations, would lower their costs by paying the fare to the US. I cited the numbers and Pro did not dispute any of them, not the cost of the fare, the cost advantage of moving the refugees, or the governments and organizations who would pay. The same applies to dissident or impoverished groups within a country, only more will be able to scrape up the relatively small sum for a plane ticket. They'll be helped by relatives or by the government making small investment to solve a local problem.
Pro replied using Bellman logic; "Anything I say three times is true." He offered no more than repeated assertions that it was too expensive. America's isolation by expensive or dangerous sea voyage is over.
Pro argues that not every one of the 1.1 billion people who seeks to relocate would want to come to the U.S. I granted that. The issue is what fraction of the total would seek to relocate in the US, given that other countries maintain controls and the US does not. Pro gives the example of Saudi Arabia, apparently supposing the main reason people move to Saudi Arabia is cultural. No, it's because Saudi Arabia is a rich country that needs workers. "The Saudi economy has ... remained dependent on Westerners for expertise in specialised industries and on the Asian workforce for the construction industry as well as for menial and unskilled tasks." When the Saudis think they have too many foreign workers, they expel them. [18. https://en.wikipedia.org...] Similarly, so long as there is a financial benefit to relocate to relocating to the US, immigrants will pour in. The difference is that with open borders, there is no stopping immigration until the US offers no financial advantage. Pro put a floor on the number at around 265 million permanent immigrants, with the implication of about an equal number desiring temporary employment. I argued there would be more once the welfare and infrastructure benefits become well known.
Pro argues that one meaning of open borders is actually a quota system that ultimately leads to open borders. There was no such definition provided in the debate challenge that equated open borders with quotas. The implications of "citizenship within a few years" is that the borders are genuinely open, not open to waiting for a turn to enter.
Experience from Latin America and Europe
I presented evidence and arguments that immigration from Latin America, the basis for most of Pros studies, in not typical of what open immigration is likely to produce. Pro did not contest that Latin America, Mexico in particular, is in far better shape economically and in terms of political stability than the horrendous war torn regions of Africa and the Middle East.
Pro cites data that because illegal Mexican immigrants will move from state-to-state to find jobs, that we should expect refugees from Syria or Somalia will want to return to refugee camps if the cannot find jobs. In fact, beyond refugees, the safe assumption is that there are many poor countries in the world where being unemployed in the US is a far better living than unemployment in the home country. Perhaps they will roam looking for work, but they are not going to leave if they cannot find it. Pro argues that as the US becomes impoverished, new immigrants will move to Canada and Mexico. That presumes impoverishment of the US, not a good outcome, and that Canada and Mexico will not control their borders. Mexico and Canada both have tight security against illegal entry, and can readily adopt more security.
Pro repeats that some immigration is needed to fill low-skilled jobs, but its not plausible that there would be so many as to sustain the influx from open borders. I pointed out that by world standards Mexico is a relatively prosperous country, but that we nonetheless may have as many as a quarter of the population of Mexico in the US.
The DDO site rules require that the debate be limited to the specified number for the debate. I did not agree to waive those rules, therefore all of the reference links posted outside the debate must be ignored. Not that specific references would be acceptable, but Pro's source spamming when beyond merely citing narrow evidence. He was giving a reading list for every argument made in support of open borders and inviting readers to find the arguments.
I also object to Pro's personalizing attacks by referencing me by name rather than using "Con" or "my opponent."
Thanks to Pro for a good debate, and that readers get something out of it. Remember, it's about whether controlled immigration is better than open borders.
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