Thursday, October 25, 2007

If you read only 1 article this week... (Legrain on immigration)

Courtesy of the Freakonomics blog is an insightful and broad appeal for open immigration by Philipe Legrain (link above).

It's hard to believe that a nation made great by open immigration now has such restrictive immigration policies - and the potential for even more restrictive policies. As Legrain outlines, though, these policies are in spite of overwhelming economic evidence in support of more open immigration here in the USA, and driven by irrational fear and xenophobia.

Thanks, Philippe, for outlining the benefits of more open immigration, and counterpoints to the typical arguments against easier immigration. (Amazingly, he does this without really relying on the practical argument about today's USA immigrants ("how you gonna send 20M people home?", nor does he really promote the macroeconomic need of the USA for immigrant labor.)

One conclusion that hit me after reading the Legrain article: instead of trying to justify more immigration, the conversation should be turned on it's hear, with the xenophobes compelled to justify why the current restrictive immigration policies make sense. I have a feeling that the xenophobic answer is limited to "Because!" and nothing more.

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