Ideal immigration policy

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Ideal immigration policy

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:04 pm UTC

With all the talk about immigration reform in American politics lately, I've begun to realize that I don't have a well-formed opinion on the matter. The most I've got is that I'm of a general feeling that people who are really vocally concerned about keeping immigrants out of the country / deporting ones here illegally / etc are so for racist reasons, and immigration reform is not high on my political priorities list. But when I get to thinking about what my ideal immigration policy would actually be if I could just wave a magic wand, I realize that I'm not able to evaluate whether any specific change proposed, divorced from motives and partisanship, is really of practical benefit or not, because I don't know even what direction I would really want things to change in.

So I thought we could maybe have a discussion here weighing the pros and cons of various broad directions of immigration policy to help me get my bearings.

My initial thoughts:

- In my long-term (i.e. distant future) utopian politics there would be no states at all and so no borders, so letting just anybody who wants to immigrate do so legally would seem initially ideal. Let anyone come here, and once they're here they have the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else already here.

- But in my short-term (i.e. progress possible in my lifetime) pragmatic politics, I advocate for a strong social safety net (such as a basic income), and with those kinds of benefits of citizenship, it seems like the poor who would be net benefactors would flood into the country while the rich who be net contributors would avoid it, dragging the standard for the whole country down. In which case, we should be extremely selective about who we let into the country, since we would all (including the poorest of us) end up paying for their presence here.

- That runs strongly afoul of my anti-statist, anti-nationalist, cosmopolitan tendencies though, so maybe let anyone come in, but be extremely selective of who gets to be a part of the social-safety-net club. Presumably, at this stage of reasoning, people not benefitting from the safety net are also not paying into it.

- But it seems like in that case wealthy immigrants would just choose not to be a part of the social safety net, since they're rich enough not to need its benefits and so would prefer not to pay its costs. That would leave you with only native-born people as social-safety-net participants, and all immigrants as a permanent... other-class, not necessarily underclass since the wealthier ones are self-selecting into that class.

- That might be alright I guess? But something I can't exactly place seems wrong about it, having a permanent divide between native-born people and immigrants that can never be crossed. So... maybe all immigrants (like all citizens) have to pay to fund the social safety net, but then... only some are ever allowed to benefit from it?

- That seems profoundly unfair, and would have the poorer immigrants who will never be admitted to the club essentially subsidizing the rich ones who do (and all of the native citizens too). An obviously dumb hackneyed workaround to that could be to force wealthy immigrants (the ones who would be part of the extremely selective admittance) to pay into the system and then to accept the benefits of it, while letting the ones who don't qualify go on not paying for benefits they'll never receive.

- But that seems kind of like you're enslaving immigrants who would be of benefit to the native citizens, and leaving those who would not be of benefit to the native citizens to flounder and die on their own in a permanent underclass, which seems obviously wrong on two different fronts. So maybe go back to the might-be-alright solution of having all immigrants initially in a different class that neither pays into nor benefits from the social safety net, but then gradually transition them (all of them, rich or poor) from that status to the "same rights and responsibilities" status of the very first solution? So the longer you're here, the higher your tax burden to fund the safety net, and the more benefit from it you qualify for. Maybe make that transition period the same as the age of majority, and apply the same transition to native-born citizens as well, so you really are just applying the same rules to everyone again: someone who's been here 18 years is treated the same as an 18 year old native-born citizen, because they've all been here 18 years.

- But that seems like it might just go back to the same problems as the initial solution, only on a delay now. The poor would have a stronger incentive to stay as their net benefits increase over time, and the rich would be chased away by their increasing burden, leading to an accumulation of poor people that would, in net, drag down all the native-born citizens with them, including the poorest of those natives who may be even poorer than many of the immigrants.

That's all I have so far. Thoughts?
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:21 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:...long-term (i.e. distant future) utopian politics there would be no states at all and so no borders...
...and thus no choices for under what rules one would like to live under. And yeah, there will always be rules of some sort, even if in a utopia they would never need to be enforced. So no, that's not a good direction to aspire to. Peace and tolerance (among nation states), yes, but not identical similarity.

Immigration can't really be considered in a vacuum, for reasons that include the issues you bring up further down the post. But I think you are missing a big point by focusing on the economic impact of citizenship. That's just a small piece of the puzzle.

A possible starting point would be to consider that immigration grants rights and obligations to people (the rights and obligations of citizenship).

Why is it that native born people are automatically granted these rights and obligations just by being born? What should it take to lose them? Consider the idea that if you marry a foreigner, instead of the spouse becoming a citizen, you lose your citizenship and get deported. Why might that be a good (or bad) idea? Suppose native-born children were not granted citizenship, but had to earn it over time (say, by age 18), if they so chose? And what if they chose not to?

So... I would start thinking about what should be the rights and obligations of citizenship, and why. And should the same ideas be applied at different scales (town, state, nation) or are there important differences to take into account?

No answers, but thoughts in any case.

Jose
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:49 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:...long-term (i.e. distant future) utopian politics there would be no states at all and so no borders...
...and thus no choices for under what rules one would like to live under.

I really don't want this thread to immediately devolve into the same argument you and I have had many times before, but two things: first, as a practical matter, enforcement of rules does not have to be geographically partitioned, c.f. FOCJ/panarchism/panarchy; and second, as an idealistic matter, ultimately what rules one is subject to should not be a choice per se, because if a law is a just law then everyone should be subject to it and if it's not then nobody should, and either way a world where the same (correct) rules apply equally to everyone is the ideal end-goal. C.f. why we don't leave it up to the states to decide whether or not to allow slavery.

As to the rest of it:
ucim wrote:I think you are missing a big point by focusing on the economic impact of citizenship. That's just a small piece of the puzzle.

A possible starting point would be to consider that immigration grants rights and obligations to people (the rights and obligations of citizenship).

I focus on the economic impact because that's the only part that seems nontrivial to me. Assuming we do have nation-states with geographic borders and not my distant utopia that will never be seen in this lifetime, people within the borders should be subject to their laws, and people subject to laws should have a say in deciding what those laws are. Besides paying taxes and receiving government benefits, that's about it for rights and responsibilities of citizens, and I don't have any kind of indecision about those matters. It's only when the taxes and benefits come in that it gets unclear to me.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:26 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I really don't want this thread to immediately devolve...
Agreed, but I will point out that it's entirely reasonable to decide what laws one wants to live under. States may not decide about slavery but they do decide about alcohol. It's not cut and dried, and I'll leave it at that.

More to the OP:
Pfhorrest wrote:I focus on the economic impact because that's the only part that seems nontrivial to me.
It's the everyday stuff, but it's not the fundamental stuff. Government's primary purpose is protection - from the outside and the inside. The US is not being invaded (yet), so as a practical matter the responsibility of citizens to join forces to defend against the enemy hasn't been a thing we've had to worry about for a while. And just noting that, I point out that the benefit of all this (that citizens have) is that they live in a state of (relative) peace. We don't have to deal with incoming ordnance on a daily basis. This is a big thing.

But when push comes to shove, citizens are going to be doing the pushing and shoving. That's what it means to be a citizen.

Pfhorrest wrote:It's only when the taxes and benefits come in that it gets unclear to me.
Consider the question without regard to immigration first.

Jose
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Ginger » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:33 am UTC

I believe and think a strong social safety net is a good idea. And no borders. Let anyone who wants to come in? And... don't make the test for citizenry too difficult. Just difficult enough that you know they truly want to live here. If rich peoples don't pay their dues? To social safety nets in particular? Then I see no problems broadly excluding them from: Social services, homeless services, financial assistance, mental healthcare... because they are not paying into social services and those things, or if they are then they're not paying fully, so they should be excluded. If only native born peoples pay up then only natives should get benefits it's really simplify to that for me, no borders, let anyone in with a slightly strict yet mostly fair citizenry test. Those are some of my emotions and ideas for immigration policies.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:23 am UTC

So Ginger are you saying that all poor immigrants who want to come in and enjoy our social services should be free to do so, but rich immigrants who don’t need social services and don’t want to pay for them should be let in and not made to pay so long as they’re okay with forgoing such services? If so, how do you as a (presumed) native feel about how that will result in immigration causing you, whatever your income level, to have to pay more for less service than you otherwise would? (Since only the immigrants who get more than they pay for would take the deal, increasing total costs without providing commensurate funding; and the rich immigrants who would otherwise counterbalance that aren’t required to participate).
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Ginger » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:41 am UTC

I do say that rich immigrants and poor immigrants alike should be allowed in and paying for of social services should be opt in/opt out as you need them. I don't even like most of the USA's mandatory taxes for stuffs yet... that be a different discussion. Anyways, without forcing rich immigrants to participate in my system, there Is No Way to counterbalance the costs. Someone is gonna lose out. Yet: By making it so that only those who need the services pay for them when they need them, I feel it is most fair, and I would feel slighted if I had to pay more for less services. Yes, I would. At the same time I feel that I must not enforce taxes on peoples for services they don't wanna either.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:57 am UTC

If you only pay for the services as you use them then they’re not really social services, you’ just buying things you need.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Ginger » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:05 am UTC

I thought the term "social services" had more to do with... helping people in bad social situations than what how you pay for them? I could be mistaken though.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:57 am UTC

It does mean helping people in bad social situations, but if the people being helped are also the ones paying in full for the help then they’re just helping themselves and the rest of us who don’t need and so aren’t paying for those services aren’t really helping them.

Like, if users of shelters have to pay to fund the shelters then it’s basically just a crappy hotel room and not a service for the needy given to them by someone else.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Ginger » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:04 am UTC

You are making some good points. A suggestion to fix my system: Don't make the peoples using shelters pay in full. Require some mandatory taxes from: The social workers that staffs the shelters, the administration of the shelters, the people that run the corporation that runs the entire program should also be mandatory payees into my new, fairer system beneath my new suggestions.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:27 am UTC

Interestingly, it's actually not clear if the children of illegal immigrants/residents are constitutionally citizens or not. Currently they are given citizenship, but the Supreme Court has never actually declared the children of people not legally in the US to automatically become citizens, though they did declare the children of legal residents to be citizens.


Personally, I'm toying around with the idea of adding another category to residency. Basically a "permanent residency minus" for illegal immigrants and anyone granted amnesty, i.e., DACA and Dreamers. Maybe refugees too, not sure. They are granted permanent residency of a sort, possibly retroactive, but the years spent as a "permanent resident minus" don't count towards the seven required to become a citizen. Otherwise, they have the same rights as permanent residents, basically everything but sitting on a jury and voting, and their children are automatically citizens. They themselves can apply for permanent residency, and eventually vote and sit on juries, but the process would be either just as restrictive as regular immigration or more restrictive, not sure which.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:22 pm UTC

Addressing Ginger's points, "social services" might better be called "societal services". They are not about helping people be friendly with one another, but rather, about helping people who have difficulty fitting in with (i.e. contributing towards and benefiting from) society on their own for various reasons, including poverty, illness, tragedy, and whatnot.

So I would ask - what is the motivation (for the country) for providing these services in the first place? What bad things would probably happen, and to whom, if these services were not provided? There's a domino effect which may point towards society itself (and everyone in it) benefiting when the least fortunate are helped by the larger population. But I don't see that the person actually providing the benefit gains in proportion to their efforts. So, that person needs to be compensated, no? From where?

CorruptUser wrote:Interestingly, it's actually not clear if the children of illegal immigrants/residents are constitutionally citizens or not.
Amendment 14 begins: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside...." So, whether your parents are legally here or not, if you were born here, you're a citizen. I suppose the Supreme Court could rule that persons born here are not "subject to the jurisdiction thereof", but that would be silly and probably a broken argument anyway.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:12 pm UTC

ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Interestingly, it's actually not clear if the children of illegal immigrants/residents are constitutionally citizens or not.
Amendment 14 begins: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside...." So, whether your parents are legally here or not, if you were born here, you're a citizen. I suppose the Supreme Court could rule that persons born here are not "subject to the jurisdiction thereof", but that would be silly and probably a broken argument anyway.

Jose


What the constitution says and what SCOTUS says the constitution says are not the same thing. Note the "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" clause; historically, this was interpreted to mean that resident aliens were NOT subject to the jurisdiction of the US but rather to their mother country, specifically China, because we used to hate Chinese people in spite of loving China and Chinese goods. The US vs Wong Kim Ark case decided that someone born to legal residents is subject to the jurisdiction of the US. The Supreme Court has not re-examined the issue with regards to someone born to people illegally in the US, but the state department has granted them citizenship anyway, because after all, laws are not some intrinsic truth but rather whatever the people enforcing or subject to them think those laws are.

Note that children of foreign dignitaries are NOT granted citizenship if they are born in the US, nor are the children of hostile forces, although I've never heard of a case where an enemy soldier gave birth in the US. It might come up in the near future, in the case of a terrorist cell slipping through immigration services and giving birth.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ucim » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:26 pm UTC

Hmmm... interesting. I did not know this. Such machinations!

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:15 pm UTC

'Wealthy' potential immigrants aren't going to choose whether or not to move to a country solely based on whether or not they're going to be required to pay into social programs they may not directly benefit from.
Other benefits (such as access to a healthy and educated workforce and consumer base provided by a robust social safety net) could outweigh the costs.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:07 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:Other benefits (such as access to a healthy and educated workforce and consumer base provided by a robust social safety net) could outweigh the costs.


So... basically Walmart and slumlords? Because that's where the money from foodstamps and housing assistance actually ends up.


I'm more of the philosophy that the government should hire people directly. If the guy is getting $20k in public assistance, and you instead pay him $25k and $10k in public assistance, it's really only costing you $15k to hire him...

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:47 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:Other benefits (such as access to a healthy and educated workforce and consumer base provided by a robust social safety net) could outweigh the costs.


So... basically Walmart and slumlords? Because that's where the money from foodstamps and housing assistance actually ends up.


I'm more of the philosophy that the government should hire people directly. If the guy is getting $20k in public assistance, and you instead pay him $25k and $10k in public assistance, it's really only costing you $15k to hire him...


I would not call the U.S. current social safety net 'robust'. It's not even much of a 'safety-net', more like a nigh-inescapable slough of despond.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby dg61 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:24 pm UTC

I think people are seriously underestimating how hard it is to relocate?

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:42 am UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:I would not call the U.S. current social safety net 'robust'. It's not even much of a 'safety-net', more like a nigh-inescapable slough of despond.


It's working more or less as our politicians intended.

dg61 wrote:I think people are seriously underestimating how hard it is to relocate?


To another country or to a different state? Between states, it's not financially or physically difficult, just emotionally. Between countries, well, that's much more difficult.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:20 am UTC

Moving anywhere at all outside commuting distance to your job is financially difficult for most people (at least if not more difficult than finding a new job, which is already difficult enough), and for plenty others even moving within the same work area can be pretty difficult still.

This would not be so if the place you are moving to offers large financial benefits compared to where you are moving from, which is the source of my only immigration concerns.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Ginger » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:38 am UTC

No one is saying that it's easy to move to a new place, nor was anyone saying that rich immigrants only wanna live here for social benefits, but social benefits are one reason why a rich immigrant might choose to live here. Other reasons include: Better educational opportunities, more jobs, more monies in your country's available funds, better, friendlier peoples than other areas, locales you think and believe are beautiful to look at... so. We all know there are multiple reasons why a rich immigrant might choose to live here? We were just brainstorming on one particular area. Anyways, I agree with Pfhorrest that places where you live, should incentivize you to live there in some ways--Whether that be from: Social programs, job opportunities, or just because you like the peoples and locales where you live?

Just my thoughts and feelings about why peoples choose countries to live in? Love them or leave them.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:27 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:I would not call the U.S. current social safety net 'robust'. It's not even much of a 'safety-net', more like a nigh-inescapable slough of despond.


It's working more or less as our politicians intended.



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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Ginger » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:30 am UTC

And what about poor immigrants who may have to come here illegally or may accidentally commit a crime while living here and never be able to return? And they go back to their home countries to be abused by their governments. And some presidents in some countries put you in jails for speaking out, rallying and protesting against them so? I can see why poor immigrants wanna come here too. Anyways, poor peoples need more helps in our society to get along, so they should be incentivized, whether monetarily or socially to live here too.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ucim » Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:40 pm UTC

Ginger wrote:Anyways, poor peoples need more helps in our society to get along, so they should be incentivized, whether monetarily or socially to live here too.
"People should be helped" == "You should help them". That's what taxes and social services are about.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:08 pm UTC

EdgarJPublius wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:I would not call the U.S. current social safety net 'robust'. It's not even much of a 'safety-net', more like a nigh-inescapable slough of despond.


It's working more or less as our politicians intended.



Spoiler:
Image


It's more than that.

Republicans survive off of masses of religious people and to a lesser extent private sector professionals and small business owners, democrats survive off of masses of disadvantaged minorities and public sector professionals and poor but not extremely religious people. Rather than try to steal away the other side's base, it's easier just to try to expand your own, thus the republican opposition to both birth control and welfare resulting in more desperate people that have to turn to the churches for support, and the democrat opposition to a welfare system that gets people off of welfare and encourages them to have more kids on welfare. Just as insidiously, minorities need to remain disadvantaged in order for them to remain under the democrats' protection. Republicans could in theory embrace minorities other than tokens, but they are just the less insidious form of complete assholes and would rather cater to the more xenophobic members of the party, which is currently pushing Asian Americans out of the party, ironically making the Democrats increasingly the party of small business owners.

As this relates to immigration, historically, the Democratic party used to import hundreds of thousands of people specifically so they would have more democratic votes, under boss Tweed and others like him. I can't complain too much, that was my family.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby natraj » Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:17 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:To another country or to a different state? Between states, it's not financially or physically difficult, just emotionally. Between countries, well, that's much more difficult.


the ability to make this statement at all is a marker of a level of financial privilege that the majority of this country does not actually have. moving literally next door would still be enormously financially difficult for me; moving somewhere else in the same city as many people often have to do when leases end and rents go up is enough to put a lot of incredibly difficult financial stress and near despair on me and many of my friends. in order to move into a new place you most often need some combination of first month rent, last month rent, and security deposit, which is more money than the majority of americans have in savings. if you have zero dollars, a hundred dollars, two hundred dollars of savings, moving -- ANY MOVE AT ALL no matter whether it is on your block or in your city or the next state over -- is a huge financial burden.

and i'm literally only counting the staggering up-front cost of moving in, not even figuring in the cost of figuring out how to physically transport all your stuff & furniture etc if you need to rent a van or something, or the cost of replacing stuff that inevitably gets lost or broken in the move because stuff is always going to get lost or broken. moving is expensive, and a difficult financial burden.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:35 pm UTC

In the context we are talking, that of immigration and so forth, moving is not prohibitively expensive, but it definitely is expensive. I've moved more times than I'd like, and while it hurt me more emotionally than financially, it wasn't painless financially. Yeah, I can feel sympathy for someone earning around minimum wage, that person really isn't going to be able to afford to move.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:14 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby EdgarJPublius » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:36 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:To another country or to a different state? Between states, it's not financially or physically difficult, just emotionally. Between countries, well, that's much more difficult.


the ability to make this statement at all is a marker of a level of financial privilege that the majority of this country does not actually have. moving literally next door would still be enormously financially difficult for me; moving somewhere else in the same city as many people often have to do when leases end and rents go up is enough to put a lot of incredibly difficult financial stress and near despair on me and many of my friends. in order to move into a new place you most often need some combination of first month rent, last month rent, and security deposit, which is more money than the majority of americans have in savings. if you have zero dollars, a hundred dollars, two hundred dollars of savings, moving -- ANY MOVE AT ALL no matter whether it is on your block or in your city or the next state over -- is a huge financial burden.

and i'm literally only counting the staggering up-front cost of moving in, not even figuring in the cost of figuring out how to physically transport all your stuff & furniture etc if you need to rent a van or something, or the cost of replacing stuff that inevitably gets lost or broken in the move because stuff is always going to get lost or broken. moving is expensive, and a difficult financial burden.


Contrariwise, the fact that moving would be problematically expensive is also a marker of a certain level of financial privilege. People living on the street or out of their car don't have that burden.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Pfhorrest » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:27 pm UTC

Two other not-unproblematic immigration policies occurred to me last night:

Let anyone join the social safety net, but meter the proportions of people of different income levels we let in to keep it balanced. E.g if a poor person who would be a net drain wants in, they a have to wait until a rich person who would counter that drain also wants in, then they both get in. Except it wouldn't really be 1:1 like that since one rich person could offset many poor people, and there is a whole spectrum of incomes between them, but you get the idea.

Or, have reciprocal arrangements with other countries such that we will accept immigrants from them so long as they also accept immigrants from us, and they have a social safety net at least comparable to ours, so that there isn't a net pressure for poor people to move from there to here and rich people vice versa, but just an equal free exchange of migrants.

Both of these ideas have obvious problems, and would not really solve outstanding issues in immigration policy today, but there's more food for thought.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Leovan » Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:46 pm UTC

I'm currently going through the process of trying to immigrate to the US from Switzerland. I'm married to an American. Seems like it should be just about the easiest case, but I filed my paperwork in 2016 and I finally got my interview at the embassy this March (after which I've got 6 months to move before the green Card expires... if I get it) If any of you have questions about how the process goes in a case like mine, I have anecdotes :D
The move itself is expensive, especially bringing all my stuff. 20' container is about 10k after everything is included, and half a container is not much cheaper. But buying everything new would probably cost me 30k, and you can't get much for used clothes, books, and IKEA furniture here. Luckily I have to liquidate my pension fund etc anyway because no bank in Switzerland wants anything to do with Green Card holders living in the US after the US cracked down on foreign banks hosting tax evaders (the US being one of two countries in the world taxing based on citizenship/Green Card instead of residency. the other is Eritrea I think). The Visa fees are doable, maybe 1k. The doctor's appointment is 600$. Funny thing about Visa fees is for some you need a US bank account to pay them and I can't get a US bank account until I live there :P Luckily my wife's parents are helping.
I also need to prove I can support myself, for which I (or my wife) need a job in the US, which I can't get until I live there or at least have the Green Card. Alternative is assets, which means I need 3 times the poverty level yearly income (20k for a two person household) in a US bank account (which I can't get) or 5 times the poverty level in a Swiss bank. Third alternative is an American Sponsor with an income who would be willing to take me in if I fell on hard times. Here my brother in law stepped in.
Actually, my parents also tried to immigrate to the US when I was 10, but had to leave again when I was 17. And my wife immigrated to Switzerland for a few years. The paperwork required was similar, the timing... Well Switzerland has a lot fewer immigration requests and she started as a student ;) Switzerland being small and having an immigrant population of about 30% (20% still non-citizens) I also have quite a few friends who have done their share of immigration proceedings, and I've discussed a few other countries' policies. Although the most often discussed is EU-Switzerland, which is vastly different from most others. My boss is actually living in Germany and working in Switzerland, which brings a whole other set of rules into play with taxation etc.
So much for my background.

I think the basic question is why do people immigrate/emigrate? My list:
  • Being with a loved one (marriage) - Unavoidable in this day and age that people fall in love across borders. Luckily most states are accepting and have an expedited process in this case. Expedited in the case of the US means that I'm not subject to a quota.
  • Economical improvements - Already have a job abroad, think you're more likely to find one, or just looking for more money for your work. Always a hot button issue, you're entering into competition with the local workforce that the local state has the moral obligation to protect. The local workforce doesn't want to have to move away because you want to move there... Most countries seem to recognize that there are specialists and people that are willing to do some jobs that the local population won't or can't do and support those, while trying to minimize immigration into fields where the market is already saturated.
  • Culture/Laws - Some people don't like the culture they live in, some like the culture somewhere else better without disliking their own. And some locals don't like the culture you're bringing with you. Should immigrants adapt to the local culture or should the locals have to adapt to the immigrants? Is it a good thing when immigrant groups band together and keep themselves separate from the locals? Adapting to the local culture is hard. As much as I think people should put in the effort to conform to a large part of local cultural norms, it can be really hard to always be the odd one out through simple ignorance, or through having a completely different way of looking at the world. Or always having to defend your own culture/country if it's being criticized a lot.
  • Geography/Climate - Probably one of the few reasons we'll have in the future with telecommuting and world government. Usually not a major factor today except for old retirees.
  • War - Conflict in their home country drives millions away from their home seeking refuge. The decision many of them face is whether to return home or to try and build a new life in their new location, often not of their choice. Refugees are often restricted in their freedoms because the states taking them in are doing their humanitarian duty, but don't actually want the refugees to integrate and stay. Refugee immigration is basically uncontrolled, which may place a large strain on the local populace if there is competition for jobs and homes, and especially when dealing with the often traumatized refugee populace that may have lived under a martial law "might makes right" environment.
Anything else? I think the reasons for immigrating are very important because then you can decide which kinds you want to encourage or discourage. Some kinds have to be handled very differently from others. Some you have to protect your populace from, others you'd be harming your populace if you didn't encourage; allowing everyone in and allowing nobody in are both not good options. The reasons can often also give you an indication on whether the immigrant will be a net positive on your country or a net negative (including the 'cultural enrichment through diversity'). Getting to know each individual and deciding whether they're a 'good guy' or a 'bad guy' is nigh impossible.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Ginger » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:01 am UTC

ucim wrote:
Ginger wrote:Anyways, poor peoples need more helps in our society to get along, so they should be incentivized, whether monetarily or socially to live here too.
"People should be helped" == "You should help them". That's what taxes and social services are about.

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Well, yeah, but then they want more and more taxes. More and more taxes let me add for stuffs I don't even use anymore. I don't go to school for example yet I might have to pay taxes to improve our schools. Anyways, I get that taxes--I am only contesting taxes because I agree social services actually help me and peoples in general--are for the net good of societies in theory. But... like, property taxes? I don't really get those you already bought the house why you need to pay additional monies to keep it? So, if I were a poor immigrant moving here, I'd want to know all about the fees peoples charges you just for living in a home in their country.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ucim » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:48 am UTC

Ginger wrote:Well, yeah, but then they want more and more taxes.
Exactly. It's either that, or force social workers to work for free. So yeah, social services cost money, and money comes from taxes. And taxes come from people like you and me. Which is why we (in theory, and indirectly) get to decide what we want to pay taxes for.

And it's part of what this (theoretical) discussion is all about.

Ginger wrote:I don't go to school for example yet I might have to pay taxes to improve our schools.
Yeah... and that's a Good Thing. Without improving our schools (whether or not you personally are in school), we get flat earth people out there, successfully convincing voting citizens that the world is flat, NASA is a hoax, and a dome covers the firmament.
Spoiler:
You might think the flat earth thing is a ruse or hoax, but it's not. People are actually getting convinced, and buying into it. My theory is that it's a way for them to "stick it to the man" without actually having to put their money where their mouth is, because by and large, most people's day to day decisions do not involve the shape of the earth. But it's still very dangerous to allow this anti-reason and anti-science to spread, and the way to stop it is education, and that has to be paid for. We all benefit when they are educated.
Ginger wrote:But... like, property taxes? I don't really get those you already bought the house...
Again, taxes come from us. Property taxes are a way to decide which ones of us pay how much. In theory, those who own property can probably afford it more than those who don't. But in any case, the same kind of argument ("I earned the money, why do I have to give it back?" can be made for income taxes, and really, any other way of apportioning taxes.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ThirdParty » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:59 am UTC

I don't think there's going to be a perfect solution, but here are some thoughts.

1. I'm not willing to accept a permanent underclass. That's the exact opposite of what America is meant to be. So anybody who's been here long enough, regardless of how they got here, should be able to become a full citizen. (This, of course, incentivizes illegal immigration, but it can't be helped.)

2. A person shouldn't be susceptible for deportation for sending her kids to school, going to the doctor to prevent or treat a contagious disease, or calling the police to report attempted extortion by organized crime. We want our residents, regardless of how they came to be residents, to do these things. So schools, doctors, and local police should not be involved in immigration enforcement. (This makes immigration enforcement harder, but, again, it can't be helped.)

3. It seems like we ought to be able to enforce our immigration laws more effectively than we do. I've never quite understood the Libertarian objection to issuing a photo ID to all citizens and legal residents and requiring them to keep it with them and display it on request. (Bonus: it would make it harder for unscrupulous Republicans to try to prevent urbanites from voting by linking voting rights to driver's licenses.) Add a RFID chip and you could very quickly catch anyone walking around without an ID.

Pfhorrest wrote:But in my short-term (i.e. progress possible in my lifetime) pragmatic politics, I advocate for a strong social safety net (such as a basic income), and with those kinds of benefits of citizenship, it seems like the poor who would be net benefactors would flood into the country while the rich who be net contributors would avoid it, dragging the standard for the whole country down.
Although I support the idea of a basic income, note that that's not the only form a social safety net might take. Another option, perhaps somewhat less prone to abuse, would be a job guarantee.

Or we could try to have the basic income be global so that people won't be incentivized to migrate in order to collect it. (Note that a global basic income wouldn't necessarily have to be funded by global taxes. Set up a global fund that owns assets, collects interest on the assets, and disburses that interest as a universal basic income. All we have to do is find a few trillion dollars for its initial endowment.)

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:07 am UTC

ThirdParty wrote:1. I'm not willing to accept a permanent underclass. That's the exact opposite of what America is meant to be. So anybody who's been here long enough, regardless of how they got here, should be able to become a full citizen. (This, of course, incentivizes illegal immigration, but it can't be helped.)


Well, the underclass disappears when they die off :P. My proposal does not have a permanent underclass; illegal immigrants become residents with difficult path to citizenship, but their kids are citizens.

3. It seems like we ought to be able to enforce our immigration laws more effectively than we do. I've never quite understood the Libertarian objection to issuing a photo ID to all citizens and legal residents and requiring them to keep it with them and display it on request. (Bonus: it would make it harder for unscrupulous Republicans to try to prevent urbanites from voting by linking voting rights to driver's licenses.) Add a RFID chip and you could very quickly catch anyone walking around without an ID.


Because you shouldn't be a criminal for not carrying your papers with you everywhere you go, and having your wallet stolen shouldn't also result in you being a criminal?

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby ThirdParty » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:33 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
ThirdParty wrote:It seems like we ought to be able to enforce our immigration laws more effectively than we do. I've never quite understood the Libertarian objection to issuing a photo ID to all citizens and legal residents and requiring them to keep it with them and display it on request. (Bonus: it would make it harder for unscrupulous Republicans to try to prevent urbanites from voting by linking voting rights to driver's licenses.) Add a RFID chip and you could very quickly catch anyone walking around without an ID.
Because you shouldn't be a criminal for not carrying your papers with you everywhere you go, and having your wallet stolen shouldn't also result in you being a criminal?
90% of us already have to carry our papers everywhere, and replace them immediately if they're lost or stolen, due to driving. Civilization hasn't collapsed. Would adding the last 10% really make that much of a difference?

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby natraj » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:27 pm UTC

yes. i and a large portion of people i know spent a good chunk of my life not having any ID and not having easy access to any, due to homelessness -- it is not impossible but extremely difficult to get id if you have no money and no address. we could just make it easier to obtain ids (but as a society we are moving toward making it harder, not easier, with REAL id laws) but regardless given the state of policing in america i don't think any good can come of adding reasons that people can be harassed & criminalized (and, inevitably, killed, because with how police are any additional criminalization WILL lead to death)

w/r/t immigration, all the talk of who will come in and take advantage of our social services thereby potentially causing economic catastrophe seems silly when america has next to nothing by way of actual social safety net. our actual citizens have only the scantest social services to take advantage of, immigrants are not going to bankrupt us by utilizing our nonexistant social services.

lately i have been seriously discussing the possibility of moving to taiwan (my fiance is from taiwan so it would be returning home for them) & over there, the policy is that anyone at all who is a resident of taiwan for five years can become a citizen. pretty simple and straightforward and seems fairly reasonable to me -- there is not a high bar to becoming a legal resident in the first place, and then if you stay for five years you probably have some level of tie/commitment to actually having a kind of life there so citizenship is allowed. even before you are a citizen you have access to a wide number of social services (and taiwan has a far more robust social safety net than we do).

the us has had more people leaving than coming in recent years anyway so all the constant panic about immigration is mostly just right-wing fearmongering. there isn't an unmanageable rush of people clamoring to get in, and if we reallocated even a tenth of our military budget to social services we could take care of citizens as well as people arriving and still have the biggest military budget on earth. this whole problem is only a problem because we don't care enough about taking care of people (citizens or otherwise) in the first place, and need to blame it on something so immigrants are a good scapegoat.
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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Leovan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:37 pm UTC

Talk of immigrants taking social support from Americans is further pointless because legal immigrants like me aren't eligible in the first place, hence needing years worth of poverty level income in assets before being allowed in. After 40 quarters of paying into the system (or when I become a citizen) I will be eligible. Becoming a citizen when married takes three years plus processing time. But the point stands that essentially only citizens and people who have contributed 10 years or more are eligible for welfare. I assume illegal immigrants aren't eligible either (I hope, otherwise no wonder immigrating illegally is popular)
But we're talking about the ideal immigration system, and that is of course coupled with the ideal social safety net, so we need to develop the ideal social security first? Or can we discuss immigration without social security?

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:52 pm UTC

It's not just welfare. It's social services like hospitals and schools, and depending on area those are available to illegal immigrants. And they are not cheap; the cost to educate a student varies from $6 to $20k per year, and most of the illegal immigrants go to the more expensive states like California and NY. EDIT: CA spends $10k/yr. The hospitals can't legally turn people away if they arent stable, so in the US the ER has become the PCP clinic, which is part of the reason for the skyrocketing costs even before factoring in illegal immigration.

Then there's the extra costs from sanitation, water, infrastructure, police and fire. Admittedly the police is tricky since if they were allowed legal residence most of that cost would disappear, but the fact is that even the guy who does nothing but twiddle their thumbs all day and never commits a crime STILL has a cost on society.

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Re: Ideal immigration policy

Postby Leovan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:30 pm UTC

So the social cost problem is exclusive to illegal immigrants, since legal immigrants will be paying taxes, which should be covering all the regular costs of existence.
So how do you stop people from immigrating illegally?
1. Make it faster. If it takes me 2 years to get through the paperwork then I imagine someone from Mexico, who will face much harsher questioning, will take longer. People under a quota take even longer... Last time I checked the date of non-spouse, non child family member applications from the Philippines that are being processed is October 2003.
2. More work visas. The number of H1B work visas issued are at about 1/3 the number of applicants. The application window is usually closed after about two weeks because of the deluge of applications. And this is for people the employer must prove that they could not find an American with the same qualifications. Americans complain because they are often used to undercut the market, especially IT (obviously it's hard to find a professional software engineer willing to work for half the usual pay, hence there is no qualified American applying). The system needs to be looked at closely. Weirdly enough I'm not sure if Trump's suggestion of picking applicants based on offered wage instead of lottery could be a good idea, but it's Trump so hard to believe.
3. Introduce a legal Visa for low paying work. H1Bs are for specialists. Most illegal immigrants don't qualify. Yet Americans rely on the work being done. Again, Republicans have actually made a suggestion that would address this. I haven't heard much analysis on the impact though.

Perhaps if you can undercut some of the illegal immigration, the infrastructure supporting them (smugglers, illegal social security numbers, etc) might disappear. I believe a large reason for illegal immigration is the lack of hope of ever being allowed to immigrate legally. If you can offer a legal way, this would be preferable to most, and they'd be paying taxes.
Same with DACA recipients. You need a way to become legal for them. Not to be nice, but because keeping people in limbo is the best way to assure some will get desperate and do something illegal.


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