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Posner, you write: "...the idea that they are moochers, who have crossed the border to take advantage of our social welfare policies, seems wrong because they have far fewer entitlements to social welfare than lawful residents of the United States have." A better point of comparison would be: are the welfare entitlements they receive in the U.S. better than the welfare entitlements they would otherwise receive in Mexico? That would be a more reasonable motivating factor. Whether or not they receive the same entitlements as lawful citizens is likely irrelevant.
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Terry Bennett, I agree that nations have a right and an imperative to regulate the rate of immigration. But your "plan" violates the most basic principles on which the United States was founded. Perhaps rather than focusing on immigration, we should focus on revoking citizenship and deporting people who lack a basic understanding of what the United States stands for. Terry, you would be among the first to go.
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Buying legal status for $50,000 is certainly an interesting idea. But it seems like a particularly poor gauge of youth, skill, and ambition, the very traits suggests it screens for. One issue is that $50,000 represents a wildly different barrier to entry for someone born in, say, Ireland to someone born in Sierra Leone. The main effect of this policy would be to pre-select immigrants from wealthier countries. In wealthy countries, $50k represents a much lower barrier to entry, so any correlation between $50k and skill would probably be reduced. This brings up a second issue: the very questionable notion that $50k even correlates with skill. Throughout most of the world (including the U.S.), the majority of rich people were born rich. Are rich children more skilled than non-rich children? We can think of many counter examples (Hilton, Kardashian, etc.). The correlation becomes even more questionable when you factor youth into the mix. A young man or woman who has gained expertise through extensive schooling is more likely to be quite poor, rather than have $50k on hand. The price tag would seemingly select for immigrants who are well into adulthood (or, again, from rich families). You suggest we impose some sort of scholarship system, which would allow in some of high-quality applicants from poorer countries. If the real goal is high-quality immigrants, why not just implement the scholarship system across the board?
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Apr 23, 2013