The Cruelty of U.S. Immigration Policy

Michael Clemens in The Washington Post:

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, one of the principal ways its victims helped themselves was by leaving. Katrina prompted one of the biggest resettlements in American history. Who would have blocked Interstate 10 with armed guards, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to suffer in the disaster zone, no matter how much assistance was coming in from outside? We wouldn't have done that, because it would have made us collectively responsible for their continued suffering. Why then, in the thoughtful debate that has emerged over how best to aid Haiti and help its citizens help themselves, are Americans still quiet about this sinister face of our immigration policy? [...]

We must let more Haitians come here. In fact, it's time to consider an entire new class of immigration -- call it a "golden door" visa, to be issued in limited numbers to people from the poorest countries, such as Haiti. It could be permanent or temporary, but that's less important than its core purpose. Our immigration law has traditionally had three primary goals: reuniting families, supplying employers and protecting refugees. But part of America's greatness is that in letting people come, the nation has pursued a fourth, unwritten goal: extending opportunity to those born in places without it. A golden door visa would simply recognize in law what the United States has done since its founding. [...]

In research I conducted with economists Claudio Montenegro and Lant Pritchett, we compared how much Haitians earn in the United States vs. Haiti. A moderately educated adult male, born and schooled in Haiti, typically enjoys a standard of living more than six times greater in the United States than in his homeland. In other words, U.S. policy wipes out more than 80 percent of a Haitian's earning power when it keeps him from coming to the United States. This affects everything from the food he can buy to the construction materials he can afford. The difference has nothing to do with his ability or effort; it results purely from where he is.

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In other words, U.S. policy

In other words, U.S. policy wipes out more than 80 percent of a Haitian's earning power when it keeps him from coming to the United States.

And my policy makes Micha 20% poorer by preventing him from sharing my bedroom with me.

While I'm 100% for open borders...

..and sympathetic with the argument, it's not correct because it assumes Haiti and the U.S. are the only places he could work.

But the Hatian does have a right to work here for anyone who will pay him.

Your bedroom is your private

Your bedroom is your private property; All of the land the U.S. government claims jurisdiction over is not the property of the U.S. government, the voters, or any other collective organization.

That's a defensible

That's a defensible position, but the original quote is a laughably loaded way to phrase that statement.

Last thing we need is another million welfare recipients

Haiti should be another Hawaii. Instead, it is another Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico should be a Hawaii with tax advantages but it isn't. Why? Everyone knows but it isn't "Libertarian" or PC to say.

I'd be open to agreeing with

I'd be open to agreeing with that guys argument if the law could guarantee that these Haitians wouldn't be the recipients of a single penny of direct government welfare. and how is Haiti like Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is fairly prosperous, Haiti is a small basket case shithole.