Pethokoukis

Rand Paul’s un-libertarian immigration reform

The key elements of Rand Paul’s immigration plan: a) securing the border, b) expanded high-skill, entrepreneur visas with total numbers determined by a bipartisan panel, c) no national ID card or mandatory E-Verify, and d) a route to legalization for illegal immigrants.

I guess that last point is particularly controversial because of Paul’s Tea Party support. But what really struck me is that aside from rejecting both the national ID card “forcing businesses to become policemen,” the Paul plan doesn’t seem to be very libertarian. While he wants more immigration, his path to legalization is more restrictionist than Marco Rubio’s path to citizenship for illegals. Plus it seems overly bureaucratic and political for a libertarian. Look at this elegant pro-market plan from economist Gary Becker which really reduces the role of government:

For many years I have argued that the best way to reform America’s (and other countries’) immigration policy would be to allow all immigrants to enter if they can pay a given monetary fee. For illustrative purposes I have used the figure of $50,000, but the actual fee would be set by the supply of immigrants and America’s willingness to accept immigrants.

Loan programs should and would be developed by companies, and also by the federal government, that would allow immigrants to borrow much of the money needed to pay the immigration admission fee. Immigrants would repay these “immigration loans” over time from the higher earnings here compared to their earnings in their countries of origin. There could be scholarships and discounts on the fees for particularly desirable immigrants, but the fee structure should not be made too complicated.

This approach of using immigration entrance fees would not only make overall immigration policy more sensible, but it would also go some way toward resolving the illegal immigration question. Immigrants who have been in the United States for a long time, and have done reasonably well and are raising families, hate living under the cloud and opprobrium of being here illegally. Many, probably most, of them would be eager to buy their right to citizenship by paying even sizable fees, especially if loans are available to help finance these fees.

Paul’s outspoken libertarian beliefs are really what make him interesting as a national political figure. His immigration plan seems like a missed opportunity to advance the argument.

20 thoughts on “Rand Paul’s un-libertarian immigration reform

  1. Republicans have been losing both the respect and votes of a group of people who already identify with our belief in family, faith, and conservative values. Hispanics should be a natural and sizable part of the Republican base“…

    Did Rand Paul suffer a recent head injury?

    • Juandos,

      Hoping he’s just checking the box so he can say he tried or whatever, and then do nothing other than secure the border. Every other libertarian and conservative issue becomes irrelevant once Latin America’s outsourced poverty becomes the complete responsibility of the United States taxpayer.

      • Hoping he’s just checking the box so he can say he tried or whatever, and then do nothing other than secure the border

        Maybe so paul but now I’m beginning to wonderjust how factually reported was that WSJ piece…

        Daily Caller: Sen. Paul defends (video clip)

        What would be more informative of course would be to look at what’s actually on paper so far…

  2. I’m all for “outreach” and all that crap as long as it’s purely posturing. Amnesty for 11-30 million future Democrat voters loaded up with Obamacare, EBT, and other freebies will destroy the GOP and then the country. Taxpayers have too many mouths to feed already.

    • Who are you to say that those “granted” (by our oh so wise and gracious leaders) “amnesty” (translate to: ending violence against a group of mostly innocent people) will become mouths to feed rather than taxpayers doing the feeding?

      • “(translate to: ending violence against a group of mostly innocent people)”

        Oh, gag. What violence? Hey, can i break into your house and sleep on your couch? Do you have a fenced in yard?

        “Who are you to say…”
        It’s not “me” saying it, the statistics are. About 60% of illegal immigrants do not even have a HS education. That’s pretty much a guaranteed life in poverty and a burden on the taxpayers.

        http://www.cis.org/immigrant-welfare-use-2011

        • They haven’t broken into “your house” by crossing an arbitrary border. The violence is having guns pointed at them and told they have to leave because they’re seeking a better life.

          So because they don’t have a HS they shouldn’t be allowed to come? You’re making an argument against the welfare state (valid), not against free immigration.

          • “They haven’t broken into “your house” by crossing an arbitrary border. ”

            It’s not arbitrary, it’s the freakin’ US border. You can’t just make things up. I could say your property line is arbitrary and would be just as much hogwash.

            “So because they don’t have a HS they shouldn’t be allowed to come? ”

            No, they shouldn’t be allowed to just traipse across the border because we as Americans should be allowed to decide who is allowed into our country.
            The fact that most of them are going to end up in the welfare wagon makes it an incredibly sh*tty deal for taxpayers.

            “You’re making an argument against the welfare state (valid), not against free immigration.”

            I’m happy to make the case against both.

          • and, oh yeah:

            “The violence is having guns pointed at them and told they have to leave because they’re seeking a better life.”

            They’re told they have to leave because they are here illegally. The reason they are here is irrelevant.
            Deal in truth, dude, not high-minded twaddle.

          • 1) It seems to me there is a clear difference between the US border and personal property. No one’s rights are violated by immigrants merely coming into the country. They are by violating someone’s personal property.

            2) Why should we be allowed to decide that? There are many things that we could vote on but I don’t think we should. I don’t think we should be able to vote on who is allowed to drink from the water fountains, for instance.

            3) If you’re going to make the case against free immigration, you have yet to do so convincingly. At least give this (or at a minimum the last section) a read: http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-journal/2012/1/cj32n1-2.pdf

            4) So if we all of a sudden we declared them all legal, every last one, you would no longer care that they were here? Like there is something magical about the US government labeling them illegal that they should be condemned to a worse life of poverty? What if there was a law that declared all people named Paul to be here illegally? Would it be any more or less immoral to point guns at you and tell you to get out?

          • oh.. and make sure all the Hispanics that vote here you also“…

            here‘?!?!

            here‘ where or what are you talking about?

          • RE: Hispanics who vote “here”, like the ones that did vote HERE but NOT for Romney…

            right?

            those same Hispanics will likely show up to vote in the future, right?

          • re: ” Those who are aiding and abetting illegal aliens?”

            sure… but the most important thing is that they do vote, they’re getting larger as a voter bloc and the GOP is toast if they don’t get their vote…..

          • but the most important thing is that they do vote, they’re getting larger as a voter bloc and the GOP is toast if they don’t get their vote“…

            Unbelievable!

            So if more people do it, it isn’t a crime?!?!

            What are you trying to say here?

            The GOP should be like the Democrats and go after the criminal vote?

          • “It seems to me there is a clear difference between the US border and personal property.”

            Well, one is a legally recognized border and one is a legally recognized personal property. Neither are “arbitrary.”

            “No one’s rights are violated by immigrants merely coming into the country.”

            You left off the illegal part of “immigrant.” We don’t live in an anarchy.

            Also:

            http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/29/illegal-immigrants-leave-tons-of-trash-in-arizona-desert-devastating-environment/

            ” They are by violating someone’s personal property.”

            Tell that to the ranchers on the Az border.

            “2) Why should we be allowed to decide that?”

            We have things called the Constitution and “rule of law.”
            This isn’t some libertarian fantasy land.

            “3) If you’re going to make the case against free immigration, you have yet to do so convincingly.”

            And you have yet to make any sort of case for allowing just any unskilled illiterate immigrant, drug mule, jihadi, etc. to just wander in here and sign up for an EBT card.

            “4) So if we all of a sudden we declared them all legal, every last one, you would no longer care that they were here?”

            I pray we don’t do that or all other your libertarian ideals will become irrelevant.

            ” Like there is something magical about the US government labeling them illegal that they should be condemned to a worse life of poverty?”

            Not magical, “legal.” People died to establish and protect our system of government. You would just throw it away with nary a thought.

            “that they should be condemned to a worse life of poverty?”

            And why do you think there is so much poverty in Latin America? Is it in the water? The topsoil? No, it’s the ideas about how to run a society. The character of the people. Let them flood across our borders and there’s no chance of assimiliation.

            “What if there was a law that declared all people named Paul to be here illegally?”

            See, that’s stupid because I’m an American citizen.

            Would it be any more or less immoral to point guns at you and tell you to get out?

            Yes. It would be a violation of my rights as an American citizen. A status I apparently hold in much higher regard than you do.

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