In a recent blog post titled What I like about “Alien Nation”, I highlighted some points where I agreed with Peter Brimelow’s book Alien Nation, which features on the anti-open borders reading list. In this blog post, I want to consider in more detail an interesting and valid point raised by Brimelow about reciprocity in immigration law. I’d mentioned this as one of my points of agreement with Brimelow, but now it’s time to voice some disagreement.
Here’s a small excerpt of his argument (about Page 251):
If immigration is such a moral imperative, why don’t the Mexicans/Chinese/Indians/Koreans/ Japanese (fill in any of the other recent top-ten suppliers of immigrants to the United States) allow it?
Don’t say: “These countries already have enough people.” The United States already has more than all of them except mainland China and India.
And don’t say: “They’re too poor.” As we have seen, the whole economic theory of immigration, as developed by immigration enthusiasts, is that immigration does not displace workers: it complements them. Well, it should work both ways.
In my previous blog post, I expressed agreement with Brimelow’s fundamental point that the moral case for open borders applies to all countries, not just the United States or the developed world.
Later in the book, as part of his list of proposals to deal with the perceived problems of immigration, Brimelow suggests (about Page 262):
No immigration should be permitted from countries that do not allow reciprocal emigration from the United States.
The way Brimelow frames the argument, it seems he is saying that allowing immigrants from a country is akin to doing that country a favor, and hence, such a favor should be done only if there is a reciprocal favor from the other country. Continue reading Immigration, trade, and reciprocity