Tag Archives: attitudes to immigration

US Republicans should not give up on immigrants

Bryan Caplan at EconLog recently pondered why it is that Asians in the US lean Democratic. I suggested in the comments of Bryan’s post that his view — that Asians don’t feel Republicans respect them — seems right, at least to me. I met Bryan for lunch recently, where the topic came up again, and co-blogger Vipul has urged me to elaborate on the subject here.

The important question here, from an open borders standpoint, is how far do immigrants holding undesirable political opinions justify restrictions on their liberty. Secondarily, whether or not undesirable opinions justify immigration restrictions, how much of an actual concern is this for natives, such as political activists hoping to win the votes of immigrants? Specifically, in the US context, is it worthwhile for Republicans to become more “immigrant-friendly”?

We’ve addressed the first question — do undesirable opinions justify immigration restrictions — a fair bit on this site, and we’ll return to it in the future. But for the second, with regard to the US context, my answer is: if Republicans toned down their rhetoric on immigration, and more generally, embraced a less fundamentally white vision of America, they would be much more competitive than they are now.

Bryan’s question about Asian-Americans particularly is interesting because the Republicans quite concretely favour more Asian (high-skilled) immigration, and back policies, such as extension of the H1-B visa, that promote Asian immigration. One hypothesis is that Asian immigrants, who are very well-educated on average, disdain the Republican party’s seeming anti-intellectual/anti-science bent. This seem plausible to me, but I think it’s overlooking the even simpler explanation that Asians feel Republicans don’t fundamentally see them as part of America.

At this point Republicans are up in arms, protesting that they’re not racist. I agree, most Republicans aren’t. I think even Republicans who say insensitive things probably don’t actually harbour much, if any, meaningful prejudice towards the people they’ve insulted (unintentionally in some cases). But the difference between Republicans and Democrats, I think, is not that one group is necessarily less prejudiced than the other. You can be perfectly unprejudiced towards somebody and still see that person as outside your fundamental community or constituency. That, I daresay, is the Republicans’ problem.

It’s difficult to vote for someone whom you believe doesn’t see you as part of their constituency or community. Even if you understand they don’t dislike you on a personal level, that’s a far cry from embracing you and your community as someone to serve, as someone whose interests they care about. In the comments on Bryan’s post, I referred others to this fantastic piece by Muslim baseball blogger Rany Jazyerli, one that starts:

Almost before I knew that I was an American, and almost before I knew that I was a Muslim, I knew that I was a Republican.

It ends:

I look forward to the day, hopefully in the near future, when I once again vote for a Republican candidate… But first, the Republicans have to stop insinuating that I’m alien to this nation. They have to stop implying that I support terrorists. They have to stop accusing me of being anti-American. And they need to denounce anyone in their ranks who does those things. That, I’m afraid, is not negotiable.

Read the whole thing. Rany’s story may be specific to the Muslim community, but to me personally, I think it’s also the story of why Asian and Latino support for the GOP is at pretty much an all-time low. The Asian vote flipped from 48% for Bob Dole in 1996 (versus 43% for Bill Clinton) to 73% for Barack Obama in 2012. Rany cites research by CAIR (a Muslim activist group) which found that Muslim support flipped from 70% for George W. Bush in 2000 to 4% for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Over lunch, Bryan Caplan mentioned that his father’s vision of America includes people like me — people who, as Bryan put it, “dress normally, don’t wear ethnic dress, work at a bank, fit into white society”. The senior Caplan’s vision strikes me as the vision of the Republican party as well. If that’s how you see the US, then of course it’s fine to be suspicious of Muslims’ and other minorities’ loyalties to the US. Of course it’s fine to suspect the sincerity of Barack Obama’s or Nikki Haley’s religious beliefs, and of course it’s fine to joke about them being “ragheads”. Of course it’s fine to make fun of the names these weird people give their children, just as former Virginia governor George “Macaca, or whatever his name is” Allen did.

Republicans at this point rightly retort that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden make their fair share of racial gaffes too. But I have a hard time believing that a poorly-timed joke about Gandhi segueing directly into lofty praise for the man is at all comparable to calling someone a raghead, or making fun of someone’s culture or name. If the best defence Republicans can muster is that “Democrats are racist too,” that hardly debunks the case that Republicans should be doing more to reach out to immigrant ethnic groups. If anything, it means Republicans could easily stop making insensitive comments and clearly differentiate themselves from Democrats in this regard.

Just compare and contrast the entrenched “give no ground; show no quarter” approach to dealing with Latino-Americans and other immigrants that a current strand of Republican thinking espouses with the approach George W. Bush promoted when he ran for governor of Texas:

Bush has pointedly refused to sign on to his party’s immigrant-bashing agenda. He opposed Wilson over Proposition 187, which withdrew health and public education benefits from illegal immigrants and their children in California.

He’s a strong supporter of Mexico, and he says his warm relations with that country’s leaders have helped him with Hispanic voters. “I’ve talked to a lot of friends who’ll go down to Mexico and they’ll come back and say, ‘God, Bush, you’re really popular in Mexico City,’ ” he says.

Bush gives qualified support to bilingual education, which Wilson and Republican conservatives in Congress have attempted to outlaw. Bilingual education is fine, Bush says, as long as students can pass the state tests he is promoting.

Bush is a vocal opponent of conservative Republican efforts to make English the official language, calling that “a powerful negative message” that repels Hispanic voters.

The natural retort is “And fat lot of good that did George W.” But according to the Pew Research Center, Bush in 2000 cut the Democratic advantage with Latinos from 51 percentage points in 1996 to 27%. In 2004, he reduced it further to 18%. Simply by aggressively building a friendly image with Latinos, George W. Bush reduced the Republican vote deficit among Latinos by 2/3rds. For various reasons, Hispanics may never be a natural stronghold for Republicans, but that doesn’t mean Barack Obama’s mind-blowing 71% of the Hispanic vote in 2012 is the historical norm.

I am not sure if Republicans should hope to return to the halcyon days when they were winning 70% of the Asian or Muslim vote. Certainly I don’t dare claim they can be extremely competitive in the race for the Hispanic vote. There are far too many other confounding issues, such as fundamental policy preferences. But at the same time, it’s difficult to say how competitive the Republicans can be with these ethnic groups when, honestly, George W. Bush aside, they haven’t even been trying.

Secure the US-Mexico border: open it

The Associated Press has a great story out on what a “secure” US-Mexico border would look like. It covers perspectives from various stakeholders on border security, with opinions running the gamut from “The border is as secure as it can ever be” to “It’s obviously incredibly unsafe.” I am not sure if the AP is fairly representing opinions on the border issue, but the reporting of how life on the border has evolved over time is fascinating.

One thing that strikes me in this reporting is how casually drug smugglers/slave traffickers and good-faith immigrants are easily-conflated. Is a secure border one where people who want to move contraband goods or human slaves illegally cannot easily enter? Or is it one where well-meaning people can be indefinitely kept at bay for an arbitrary accident of birth? This passage juxtaposes the two quite different situations:

And nearly all of more than 70 drug smuggling tunnels found along the border since October 2008 have been discovered in the clay-like soil of San Diego and Tijuana, some complete with hydraulic lifts and rail cars. They’ve produced some of the largest marijuana seizures in U.S. history.

Still, few attempt to cross what was once the nation’s busiest corridor for illegal immigration. As he waited for breakfast at a Tijuana migrant shelter, Jose de Jesus Scott nodded toward a roommate who did. He was caught within seconds and badly injured his legs jumping the fence.

Scott, who crossed the border with relative ease until 2006, said he and a cousin tried a three-day mountain trek to San Diego in January and were caught twice. Scott, 31, was tempted to return to his wife and two young daughters near Guadalajara. But, with deep roots in suburban Los Angeles and cooking jobs that pay up to $1,200 a week, he will likely try the same route a third time.

The main thing that strikes me about the previously “unsecure” border near San Diego is that border patrol agents were overwhelmed by a mass of people until more staff and walls were brought to bear. But these masses of people almost certainly were comprised in large part, if not near-entirely, of good-faith immigrants. Smugglers and traffickers merely take advantage of the confusion to sneak in with the immigrants. If the immigrants had a legal path to entry, if they did not have to cross the border unlawfully, the traffickers would be naked without human crowds to hide in. If border security advocates just want to reduce illegal trafficking, demanding “border security” before loosening immigration controls may well be putting the cart before the horse.

Even so, as I’ve said before, the physical reality of a long border means that human movement across it can never be fully controlled. Demanding totalitarian control as “true border security” is about as unrealistic as, if not even more so than an open borders advocate demanding the abolition of the nation-state.

The AP covers some damning stories of peaceful Americans murdered by drug traffickers in the same breath as it covers someone trying to get to a job in suburban LA. Even if one insists that murdering smugglers and restaurant cooks should be treated identically on account of being born Mexican, it is difficult to see how one can demand that the US border patrol prioritise detaining them both equally. Yet as long as US visa policy makes it near-impossible for most good-faith Mexicans who can find work in the US to do so, the reality of the border means that thousands of Mexicans just looking to work will risk their lives crossing the border, alongside smugglers and murderers.

The more reasonable policy has to be one that will allow US border patrol to focus on catching the most egregious criminals. That means giving the good-faith immigrants a legal channel to enter the US on a reasonable timeframe, reducing the flow of unlawful border crossings. This is not just my opinion, but that of even a former (Republican) US Ambassador to Mexico (emphasis added):

Tony Garza remembers watching the flow of pedestrian traffic between Brownsville and Matamoros from his father’s filling station just steps from the international bridge. He recalls migrant workers crossing the fairway on the 11th hole of a golf course – northbound in the morning, southbound in the afternoon. And during an annual celebration between the sister cities, no one was asked for their papers at the bridge. People were just expected to go home.

Garza, a Republican who served as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2002 to 2009, said it’s easy to become nostalgic for those times, but he reminds himself that he grew up in a border town of fewer than 50,000 people that has grown into a city of more than 200,000.

The border here is more secure for the massive investment in recent years but feels less safe because the crime has changed, he said. Some of that has to do with transnational criminal organizations in Mexico and some of it is just the crime of a larger city.

Reform, he said, “would allow you to focus your resources on those activities that truly make the border less safe today.”

It’s the view of those sheriffs who places themselves in harm’s way to fight those murderers and smugglers (emphasis added):

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino points out that drug, gun and human smuggling is nothing new to the border. The difference is the attention that the drug-related violence in Mexico has drawn to the region in recent years.

He insists his county, which includes McAllen, is safe. The crime rate is falling, and illegal immigrants account for small numbers in his jail. But asked if the border is “secure,” Trevino doesn’t hesitate. “Absolutely not.”

“When you’re busting human trafficking stash houses with 60 to 100 people that are stashed in a two, three-bedroom home for weeks at a time, how can you say you’ve secured the border?” he said.

Trevino’s view, however, is that those people might not be there if they had a legal path to work in the U.S.

Immigration reform is the first thing we have to accomplish before we can say that we have secured the border,” he said.

In Nogales, Sheriff Tony Estrada has a unique perspective on both border security and more comprehensive immigration reform. Born in Nogales, Mexico, Estrada grew up in Nogales, Ariz., after migrating to the U.S. with his parents. He has served as a lawman in the community since 1966.

He blames border security issues not only on the cartels but on the American demand for drugs. Until that wanes, he said, nothing will change. And securing the border, he added, must be a constant, ever-changing effort that blends security and political support – because the effort will never end.

“The drugs are going to keep coming. The people are going to keep coming. The only thing you can do is contain it as much as possible.

I say the border is as safe and secure as it can be, but I think people are asking for us to seal the border, and that’s unrealistic,” he said.

Asked why, he said simply: “That’s the nature of the border.”

Simply put, if you want a secure US-Mexico border, one where law enforcement can focus on rooting out murderers and smugglers, you need open borders. You need a visa regime that lets those looking to feed their families and looking for a better life to enter legally, with a minimum of muss and fuss. When only those who cross the border unlawfully are those who have no good business being in the US, then you can have a secure border.

The image featured in the header of this post depicts the Puente Viejo bridge connecting Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Via the University of Texas at Brownsville.

Barry Goldwater’s vision of open borders

Goldwater is a name synonymous with the rebirth of American conservative, right-wing politics. But it is also a name that should be synonymous with open borders. In 1962, Barry Goldwater jotted down some thoughts on where his beloved Arizona would be in 50 years. On immigration and Mexico, he said:

Our ties with Mexico will be much more firmly established in 2012 because, sometime within the next 50 years, the Mexican border will become as the Canadian border, a free one, with the formalities and red tape of ingress and egress cut to a minimum so that the residents of both countries can travel back and forth across the line as if it were not there.

To a certain degree, his vision came true ahead of time. Stories of lively cross-border interactions pre-9/11 abound. After the post-9/11 crackdown on border movement, it became much harder to cross the Mexican border with the US without enduring much lengthier delays than existed before. Goldwater’s vision plainly does not exist today.

Of course, to some degree, one can argue that Goldwater wasn’t really arguing for true open borders (though I find it interesting that Goldwater pointedly refers to the “residents of both countries,” as opposed to just citizens). Canadians themselves face a fair number of immigration restrictions in the US. The popular television show How I Met Your Mother has made fun of this by depicting a Canadian character’s issues with her work visa forcing her to consider a sham marriage with a friend. This theme is fairly popular in the media, actually; Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock starred in The Proposal, a film based on a very similar storyline, also about a Canadian woman forced into a sham marriage to hold down her job in the US.

These pop media depictions have a basis in reality. My current employer used to hire non-US residents frequently. It stopped doing this a few years ago not just because of the cost, but because of the immense uncertainty about whether a work visa would actually come through. It’s no use hiring someone only to have to bid goodbye to your tens of thousands of investment in that person’s training thanks to immigration enforcement. Canadians at my firm were no exception to this; I met someone who transferred to my office from our Toronto office very shortly before we stopped sponsoring work visas; he told me he actually decided to work for us in Toronto because he wanted to work in the US in the first place.

So no open borders for Canadians. But looking at Goldwater’s statement, I don’t think he would have expected the kinds of restrictions my Canadian colleagues put up with. One can hardly describe a convoluted work visa process as an immigration law that cuts the formalities of ingress and egress to a minimum. One can hardly say that Canadians can cross the US border as if it were not there! Maybe Goldwater was only imagining open borders for tourists, but that doesn’t sound like the sort of thing someone dreaming about the next 50 years of progress would be focused on.

Modern US conservatives would do well to hark back to Goldwater (and Ronald Reagan, for that matter, considering his willingness to embrace “amnesty”). The nature of North American trade and physical borders means closed North American borders are legislating against economic and geographic reality. Instead of trying to build an expensive and unrealistic wall, the sensible thing to do is to allow those acting in good faith to come and go — and monitor these legal movements carefully to filter out those with ill intent. In fact, this is a lesson from another famous US conservative’s Operation Wetback. Reflecting on Dwight Eisenhower’s policy, Alex Nowrasteh writes:

By the early 1950s many unauthorized migrants were entering alongside Braceros to work, mainly in Texas. The government responded with the now infamous Operation Wetback that removed almost 2 million unauthorized Mexicans in 1953 and 1954. Unlike today’s removals and deportations, the migrants were only required to step over the border into Mexico and could then step back in and lawfully sign up for the Bracero program. As a result, the number of removals in 1955 was barely 3 percent of the previous year’s numbers and those who previously would have entered unlawfully instead signed up to become Braceros, which was the intended purpose of Operate Wetback. The government did not tolerate unlawful entry but made it very easy for migrants to get a guest worker visa and used Border Patrol to funnel unauthorized migrants and potential unauthorized migrants into the legal system.

US immigration policy consciously makes it difficult for Canadian white-collar professionals to work in the US, and essentially impossible for Mexican blue-collar professionals to work. Is it any surprise that the white-collar professionals of the world would rather go elsewhere, while the blue-collar professionals sneak in to work?

Restrictionists and those critical of open borders contend that Operation Wetback “succeeded” in the sense that it deported millions of people, and most of them did not come back. Calls for Operation Wetback II or variants of it are not uncommon; they appear on FOX News and on stage at presidential debates. But US law then, unlike now, was not prejudiced against previous deportation victims. You could still re-enter as a Bracero legally right after you were deported; the whole point of deportation was to encourage you to re-enter legally, not to erect further barriers to your entry. After all, if you were able to get in unlawfully before, you could certainly try again!

Conservatives need to recognise physical and economic realities, and use the legal system to work within them, instead of trying to pretend there’s some perfect form of “border security” that doesn’t involve doing battle with the fundamental realities of the North American map. Modern border enforcement proposals take for granted that it’s possible to control in totalitarian fashion large swathes of border territory. That may be so, but only if the state assumes a totalitarian form itself. As the American Civil Liberties Union would put it, to enforce the border, you’d need to erect a Constitution-free zone.

The photograph featured in the header of this post is of Americans and Mexicans playing volleyball over the border, circa 1979. Via RealClear.

Should we call them “undocumented immigrants”?

We’ve given some thought to nomenclature for illegal immigrants on this site, but there are some salient points which ought to be made from an open borders advocacy standpoint. Personally, I don’t have a problem with most terms normally used for illegal immigrants, other than simply calling them “illegals” or “criminals” (which for I hope obvious reasons seems dehumanising; the term “criminal”, at least under US law, is actually completely erroneous, though it may be technically accurate elsewhere). But on reflection, I do think there are reasons to prefer a term like “undocumented immigrant” and to shy away from “illegal immigrant” — not necessarily from a standpoint of morality or dignity, but more from simply taking the right and fair rhetorical approach. Many immigrant rights activists have a questionable stance on open borders. But in using the term “undocumented immigrant”, they are not overly favouring their side, but rather adopting a term that most law and order-abiding folks, regardless of their stance on illegal immigration, should be fine using.

This is an area where I think open borders and immigrant rights groups should be able to share common ground. Indeed, I would say that given the way immigrant rights groups interpret this term, it’s incredibly pro-open borders of them, because they don’t buy into the common narrative that the problem with “illegal immigration” is entirely with the immigrant, instead of the legal system sharing some blame. From an immigrant rights or open borders standpoint, the issue at stake is that the immigrant did not properly document their arrival with the authorities. Even if you don’t go through the standard legal channels, your breaking the law need not define you any more than a speeding driver’s breaking the law ought to define them; what defines you is that you consequently don’t have the legal documentation or approval you might want or need to go about your business.

At the same time, “undocumented immigrant” does not preclude the possibility of blame attaching to the immigrant himself. Especially in the US, but in many other countries too, immigration is a matter of administrative law, not criminal or civil law. If you don’t pay your taxes, you are not an illegal earner; you are a tax evader. It may seem overly pleasant to refer to an undocumented immigrant as such, when they have no doubt broken the law. But to do otherwise strikes me as equivalent to going out of one’s way to find the most vicious term possible to describe someone driving without  insurance or a valid licence. We describe such drivers as unlicensed or uninsured, not as illegals. Moreover, the typical undocumented immigrant poses less of a threat to life and property than the typical unlicensed or uninsured driver!

The adjective “undocumented” is fairer to both the cases for and against more immigration by keeping the possibility open that the legal system shares some fault for what has happened. This language declares that what’s wrong is not that someone chose to immigrate — it’s that someone chose to immigrate, but couldn’t or didn’t obtain the appropriate papers to do so. “Illegal driver” would after all imply that driving by itself can be an illegal act — but it is not the act of driving that is illegal any more than the act of immigrating is. It is the act of doing so without the proper papers that is the problem — and this can be the fault of the person who breaks the law, or the fault of the law for making it impractical to comply. “Undocumented immigrant” is significantly more agnostic about the legal process for immigration than the term “illegal immigrant” — and rightly so, I dare say.

After all, the legal processes for immigration in most countries mean that most people around the world, no matter how much they may be acting in good faith, have near zero legal chance of immigrating via lawful channels to the country of their choice. In many cases, they have almost just as little chance of even visiting or studying in the countries they would like to. The workings of the legal processes for immigration in many countries are opaque, arbitrary, and absurd; it’s not hard to find examples of contradictory instructions from immigration bureaucracies, or “obvious” good-faith immigrants (like a white girl from the UK who grew up in the US) facing deportation proceedings. One recent change in US immigration law allows certain people who are already entitled to a US visa to apply for it without leaving the country — prior to this change, roughly half of those who left and applied for it got it quickly, while the other half faced waits measured in years.

For this reason, to focus on the term “illegal” when discussing such immigrants is to I think prevent the attachment of any blame or fault to the legal system, even though a very reasonable case may exist for such blame. Even a good deal of people who complain about illegal immigration focus on the fact that undocumented immigrants immigrated unlawfully — it’s not the act of immigration by itself that they take issue with. But the term “illegal immigrant” favours the presumption that this is mostly or entirely that immigrant’s fault for not “waiting their turn” or what have you. It implicitly assumes there is no chance the legal system could share some blame, for failing to offer such immigrants practicable legal avenues to cross the border. The term “undocumented immigrant” is more agnostic about who might get the blame.

Because it is agnostic, “undocumented immigrant” is a more favourable rhetorical term for open borders advocates. After all, “illegal immigrant” favours a presumption that there is (and perhaps ought to be) no legal right for such immigrant to be here, and that any authorisation such immigrant receives is a gift at the behest of the natives or authorities. “Undocumented immigrant” does not militate against any such presumption that a right to migrate might exist. “Undocumented immigrant” reminds us that the focus ought to be on the immigrant’s entry not being appropriately documented by the authorities as required by law — and that how we apportion blame for this between the immigrant and the legal system is a subjective question.

I don’t object to the term “illegal immigrant” on grounds of morality or dignity, but I do think it has a tendency to lower the societal status of undocumented immigrants relative to how society actually views them. Thomas Sowell approves of the view that “undocumented immigrant” is about as appropriate a term as “unlicensed pharmacist” would be for a drug dealer. This neat analogy is not nearly so neat as it first appears — something I plan to briefly discuss in a future post. But for now, open borders advocates and those looking for a less-charged term to discuss illegal immigration might remember that undocumented immigrant is no less an appropriate — and actually, I would contend, a far more appropriate — term than illegal immigrant.

Open borders in Scandinavia: a brief case study

Now here is an interesting account of migrant workers who live in overcrowded quarters and work for relatively magnificent wages doing menial work which natives don’t deign to do. The twist, of course, is that the migrants are Swedes working in Norway. It’s fascinating, and it illustrates, I think, to a large degree that the social problems presented by migrants will never go away completely.

After all, Sweden and Norway are both relatively rich countries with a shared culture and history. If ever there were two countries better suited for open borders, it’s hard to imagine, and so it is of course unsurprising that their borders are in fact open to each other. Yet none of this has made all the common stereotypes about migrant workers go away: Swedes are seen as living in filthy, overcrowded lodging, doing menial work and being uncouth, uncultured. Employers simultaneously prize them for their work ethic and willingness to accept lower wages than the natives.

All this of course overstates the tensions that exist between the two: clearly, Norway is not on the brink of social collapse because of a horde of unwashed Swedish masses. The natives and migrant workers may coexist uneasily, but I do not think anyone would suggest that Norway’s taking in Swedes has harmed Norway, or Sweden for that matter.

The lessons of this tale are many, and can really be marshalled to support any stance you like on open borders. What I would focus on is of course the optimism — that even if we can’t make inherent anti-foreign bias or mistrust of foreigners go away, there’s no reason to expect your society to break down just because you admit most any foreigner to work and live in your country. What a pessimist would focus on is how Norwegian issues with migrants might be magnified if Norway opened its borders to most anyone — since, after all, plenty of us around the world would be willing to take on Norwegian summer jobs that pay 30 or 40 US dollars an hour!

At the same time, one must be careful to nuance the picture: 13% of all Norwegian residents are already immigrants, with the top 3 source countries being Poland, Sweden, and Pakistan in that order. Poland and Pakistan are clearly no Sweden, and yet there is no evidence either that immigration is threatening Norway. The author of the Swedish migrant worker account asserts (without citation) that “Over the past ten years, Norway has taken in more foreign labor than any other European country.”

One might cite Norway’s immense mineral wealth as a factor in its resiliency to the harms of immigration here — it’s interesting to note that policies in natural resource-rich countries in general seem more accepting of migrants — think Canada, Australia, Malaysia, the UAE, and I suppose, Norway. But I am not sure if that is the whole story, as I can’t think of an obvious prima facie reason why mineral wealth, as opposed to wealth in other forms such as industrial or human capital, should substantially matter here. If we are talking about wealth redistribution to immigrants, that’s one thing — but a lot of these countries have limited if not zero redistributive policies for many if not most migrants. Good luck trying to take advantage of the UAE or Malaysian welfare states — and it’s not like Canada or Australia are giving away the farm to most people who come over either.

Overall, I think the Norwegian case supports revising upwards our prior probabilities of the potential success of open borders. At the very least, it supports that relatively uncontroversial (I hope) notion that more liberal immigration policies in some countries would be a good idea. It certainly does little, I think, for the common supposition that rich countries generally either don’t benefit much from immigration, or are actively and substantially harmed by immigration.