Tag Archives: Immigration

CEI Podcast for March 29, 2012: The History of American Immigration in Six Minutes


Have a listen here.

America’s first immigration law passed in 1790. A more-or-less open borders policy lasted until the 1920s, when immigration was severely restricted. Since then, policies have become more open in some ways, and more closed in others. Immigration Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh talks about the reasons behind the major historical shifts, and suggests reforms that would make today’s immigration system fairer and less cumbersome.

Advertisements

CEI Podcast for February 9, 2012: The Immigration Tariff

Have a listen here.

Immigration law is second in complexity only to the income tax. In a new CEI paper, Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh proposes scrapping the whole thing and replacing it with a tariff. This is a much more humane approach to immigration, and in many cases will be less expensive for immigrants than the lawyers and fees they currently have to pay while they live in legal limbo. A tariff would also reduce illegal immigration by eliminating black markets. Money that currently goes to illegal smugglers and human traffickers could instead go to the U.S. Treasury. The idea can appeal to both the left and the right.

Why Is Immigration Illegal Anyway?

Art Carden and Ben Powell ask that fundamental question, and answer it brilliantly:

American immigration restrictions have a long history, but they have never been a good idea. Economist Thomas Leonard documents how even some Progressive Era economists supported immigration restrictions and minimum wages because they wanted to shut members of what they called “low-wage races” out of the American labor market…

Fears that immigrants will wreck our economy are probably the biggest reason substantial barriers to legal immigration remain on the books. But immigrants don’t take our jobs, lower our wages or depress the American economy.

Virtually all economists who study immigration find that it provides a small but positive impact on the economy. It should be obvious that immigrants don’t steal jobs from the native-born. Since 1950, the labor force has more than doubled but long-run unemployment is essentially unchanged. As we’ve added more workers, we’ve added more jobs.

Read the whole thing here.

CEI Podcast for October 27, 2011: How Much Do Undocumented Immigrants Cost?

Have a listen here.

A widely cited study from the Federation for American Immigration Reform claims that undocumented immigrants cost taxpayers $113 billion per year. Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh, author of the new CEI Web Memo “A FAIR Criticism: A Critique of the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s ‘The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers.'” finds that the study counts costs but ignores benefits, uses shoddy data, and is harmful to the ongoing immigration debate.

The Simpsons and Immigration

Art Carden has an excellent column about immigration, and not just because the first third is about The Simpsons. One key point:

Also, making something illegal isn’t the same thing as stopping it. The formal barriers to legal immigration are so onerous and the opportunities in the United States are so great that there is a thriving underground market in smuggling people across the border. I fear that the institutional steps that would be required to completely stop illegal immigration would make the current excesses of the Transportation Security Administration look like child’s play. Even if we grant the assumptions of immigration opponents about the costs of immigration, it is by no means clear that Fortress USA would bear any resemblance to a “land of the free.”

Read the whole thing. My colleague Alex Nowrasteh and I made a similar point last year.

CEI Podcast for September 22, 2011: E-Verify

Have a listen here.

E-Verify is a program that checks the immigration status of new hires. The House is expected to vote on legislation that would make E-Verify mandatory nationwide. Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh thinks E-Verify should be scrapped altogether. Not only does it make it more expensive for companies to hire people, it misses over half of the undocumented immigrants it is supposed to identify.

CEI Podcast for July 28, 2011: Immigration Reform

Have a listen here.

President Obama made a speech on immigration reform this week. He is looking for a dance partner in Congress to ease restrictions on the immigrant-dependent high-tech sector. Policy Analyst Alex Nowrasteh points out that there are several bills already in Congress that would do just that, including the STAPLE Act and the DREAM Act.