Former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld announced today he is running for president against Donald Trump, hoping to secure the Republican nomination.
Josh Hughes | United States
With the pivotal midterm elections quickly approaching, a story that has circling news outlets recently is one that most Americans are all too familiar with: a caravan of immigrants from Guatemala and Honduras are heading towards the southern US border, intent on finding refuge in the land of opportunity. But what does this mean for the United States? According to a story from ABC and confirmed by the United Nations, the caravan, which is still in the southernmost tip of Mexico, has grown to a size of over 7,200 migrants.
Surely a group that large will have a negative effect on the country, right? Undoubtedly, the effects of that many people entering the country will be felt, but why is that? The truth is, the government probably has itself to blame for its many issues with illegal immigration. The reason droves of immigrants swarm to America is because of the many social programs offered at the expense of the taxpayer.
Many immigrants come to take advantage of government programs such as welfare and Medicaid, without having to pay taxes to contribute to the system since they’re undocumented. This is one of the many issues President Trump and his supporters have presented, but their fixes are nonsensical. The left and the right are offering “band-aid fixes” to very deep and complex issues without looking at the root of the problem. Both sides propose regulating immigration rather than fixing the welfare state that exists today. Rather than worry about who comes in, the way to solve the problem is to ensure that no one is entitled to benefits offered at the expense of others. There’s no legitimate reason to stop people from coming into the country that will benefit America and contribute to the economy, as the United States is renowned for being a melting pot of ideas and cultures.
Another issue many Republicans have is that a lot of these immigrants may somehow vote, and vote Democrat. The number of illegal immigrants that vote is very few, but it’s the principle that’s the issue. The fact of the matter is, neither party offers anything that will legitimately help the immigrants. The Democrats giving them free support and services is damaging to them and to the country, and the Republicans that elect to keep them out entirely also isn’t helping.
Rather, the best course of action is the libertarian way. End the social programs. Let them come in, and offer them the greatest gift a society can give: equal opportunity and freedom. The proposition of starting a new life in a free land where your possibilities are endless as long as you work hard is something most immigrants don’t have in their home countries. They are famously hard workers, and no doubt have many skills to offer to the labor force and the economy. The best course of action is to offer all people, regardless of nationality, gender, race, sexuality, or another deciding factor, should have an equal opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Immigration reform is severely needed.
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We’ve always been a mobile species. Religious beliefs, art, technology, and genes have for tens of thousands of years consistently overcome the physical, linguistic, and tribal barriers in their way.
The birth of the nation-state and the emergence of stronger notions of sovereignty have done nothing to change this. In fact, thanks to modern technology millions of people each and every day literally fly over the obstacles governments have erected to inhibit freedom of movement. The customs agents awaiting them at the airport are too outnumbered to prevent more than a handful of the masses passing through their checkpoints from entering. Once they’re in, it’s extremely difficult and costly to track down and remove an individual that’s not willing to leave.
The state’s ability to regulate the flow of ideas is even more limited. Most of us share at least a few thoughts each day on the World Wide Web, making them available to virtually anyone with a computer or cell phone that cares to look for them and read them. Short of denying access to the Internet altogether, there’s nothing any government can do to completely obstruct the flow of ideas. Guttenberg’s printing press is now practically as antiquated as the quill pen, and only slightly more relevant. Traditional books are valued more for qualitative than practical reasons these days. We could get by with our laptops and Kindles if we had to.
. . .
The other day I visited a museum located next to Salt Lake City’s main library. Among the several exhibits was one dedicated to the history of flight. Like most museums, this one strove to maximize the information it shared with visitors by covering its walls with displays and boldly painted paragraphs containing relevant facts. On a panel beneath the wing of an old World War II plane suspended overhead the curators communicated in large dark letters the fact that the Salt Lake City International Airport saw more than 24 million people fly in and out of it in 2017. It struck me as remarkable how unremarkable I found this bit of trivia.
I, like virtually all of us, have grown rather accustomed to living on a small planet. For two of the first three months of this year I worked at a convenience store not far from the Salt Lake City Airport. I estimate that at least 5 to 10 percent of those coming in for gas or to buy some coffee were foreigners. A hundred years ago a resident of this part of the world wouldn’t see as many visitors from out of state in a week as I did Australians, Mexicans, Canadians, Germans, English, Chinese, Indians, and citizens of various African countries each day.
. . .
In 2015 my wife and I became grandparents. We received word of our granddaughter’s birth while living in Victoria, British Columbia. The wonderful news flew at the speed of light through wires that crossed the United States, but it did not originate there. The announcement came from Mexico.
Though my wife and I are both native to the US, and our daughter was born and raised in Utah, we were living in Canada when our granddaughter arrived, and our daughter was residing near Mexico City. She had moved south to be with her boyfriend shortly before we moved north. There’s a good chance that within five to ten years my family will consist of citizens of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. We already have two of those three covered. We’re working diligently on the third.
As you can imagine, each member of my family has an opinion on immigration. We’ve each experienced the ups and downs that come with unintended errors on forms that immigration officers are trained to sniff out and punish with rejection. There have been trips to an embassy as well as anxious last minute rushes to acquire documents needed to renew a visa expiring at midnight that we thought we had dealt with.
None of the paperwork, fees, or other inconveniences we’ve encountered have deterred any of us. In fact, I’ve grown to rather like straddling two sides of the border while a good chunk of my heart lingers in Mexico. Feeling like a citizen of the world pales in comparison to actually living like one.
There are those who claim that what opponents of border walls and other tough immigration policies actually favor is open borders. I can’t speak for everyone that opposes hardline immigration proposals, but I can say without reservation that in my case the people making these statements are right. I remember being able to drive into Canada or Mexico with nothing more than a driver’s license, and I wouldn’t mind returning to those days again.
The war on immigration, like the war on drugs, has been an abysmal failure. It will continue to be a failure no matter how many walls are built or Border Patrol agents are hired. Donald Trump could send the entire United States Marine Corps to the Mexican border without it having much of an impact. People would continue to do exactly what most of them are doing now: fly over the international boundary without even noticing there’s a wall and approximately 17,000 agents 30,000 feet below whose job it is to stop them from entering the country. Open borders aren’t a liberal wet dream. They are, for all practical purposes, already a reality.
Consider the Salt Lake International Airport again. It’s no JFK or LAX. It is a Delta Airlines hub, but even so, it’s still just an average airport serving a mid-size inland metropolitan area located on the south end of a dead sea. Of the 24 million passengers that came and went from Salt Lake’s airport in 2017, nearly 1 million of them were arriving or departing international passengers.Probably at least two or three million more were either boarding or disembarking domestic flights to or from a larger airport that got the honor of listing them in its international passenger statistics.
It’s safe to say that about 1 in 5 of these passengers, if not more, were actually citizens of a foreign country as opposed to Americans travelling overseas. That’s nearly 200,000 foreigners a year with a direct flight into the Salt Lake City area, along with probably at least another 500,000 or so arriving in Utah via a domestic connection. Multiply these numbers many times over for airports in states like California and New York, then multiply many times over again for the rest of the country. At the end of all your multiplication you’ll have some idea how many foreigners enter the US every year just through its airports. That customs and immigration officials fail to catch more than a small fraction of those likely to overstay their visas for one reason or another is quite understandable once one begins to wrap their arms around the shear magnitude of human movement now taking place on a daily basis throughout the United States and around the planet.
. . .
In 2013 the US Census Bureau issued a press release. In it they reported that one in five US marriages included at least one partner that wan’t native to the United States. Most of these partners (61%) had acquired US citizenship.
I’m not sure how many marriages in Mexico involve at least one partner that’s originally from another country, though I’ve already mentioned one case with which I’m personally familiar. According to one recent CNN story, “roughly 1 million US citizens live in Mexico.” A new US News article mentions a 2013 study prepared by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography that found “a stunning 91.2 percent of Americans in the country don’t have their papers in order.” It seems the US isn’t the only nation with an illegal immigration problem.
In spite of all the data regarding a global population increasingly on the move — often without much regard for national immigration laws — there will still be those that insist open borders are impractical. To be sure, the bureaucratic and physical barriers currently separating many nations will not come down all at once. It would be foolish to suggest they should. As is the case within the European Union, open borders will initially be a fact of life only between nations that share a common border or region with one another.
With that concession to incrementalism out of the way, the trends clearly show that it’s those opposed to open borders that are likely to end up on the wrong side of history. Technology is enabling humanity to fulfill its lust for travel like never before. For more and more of us the capacity to easily visit other countries is already being taken to the next level. More than 9 million Americans are currently living abroad, approximately 4 million more than in 1999. Millions of students around the world now routinely incorporate at least some time at a foreign school into their higher education. For tens of millions of couples, to say nothing of their children and immediate relatives, multinational families are a fact of life. Governments will ultimately have little choice but to accommodate these realities.
I don’t know if the border wall between the US and Mexico will be torn down like its Berlin predecessor was, or will simply comply with the second law of thermodynamics and rust slowly away into the desert soil like an old broken down car abandoned along some forgotten dirt road. Regardless, I’m confident one of these or some similar fate eventually awaits it. Because technology facilitates it and people want it, freedom of movement is here to stay. Though media coverage often makes it appear as though xenophobia is on the march, the data reveal just the opposite to be the case. The nation-state may not be going quietly into that good night, but it’s still going.
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President Trump has signed the budget into law, ending all talks of a government shutdown tomorrow at 12:01AM.
The bill arrived at the White House around 11:30AM EST on Friday, to which President Trump signed a little while later. The budget appropriates funding for Trump’s wall, boosts funding for the military, and had bipartisan support in Congress. Despite Trump’s tweets earlier this morning, he has decided against a veto, and the government will not be shutting down. Congress will now be entering a two-week recess.
By Will Arthur | USA
One element of libertarianism that separates its ideology from other groups like conservatives or liberals is the consistency between ideas. Libertarians consistently believe that the correct steps to gain freedom is by limiting government involvement whether in the political or economic realm. Milton Friedman sums up why libertarians view the need for both political and economic freedom by saying “Economic freedom is an essential requisite for political freedom. By enabling people to cooperate with one another without coercion or central direction it reduces the area over which political power is exercised”. If you look at the ideology of a democrat/liberal it is much different than the libertarian approach of consistent belief. Liberals often say they promote political freedom but believe the government should have a great deal of control over the economy. This government economic control often is summed up in the idea of socialism.
Today socialism is often characterized as an economic structure that transfers wealth from private individuals/groups to the public/state. The idea behind this transfer of wealth is done so that the state can distribute it back out to the citizens more evenly and “fairly”. The distribution can be seen to be done in many techniques: healthcare, welfare, corporate bailouts, and subsidized housing to name a few examples. typically these techniques of wealth distribution are put in place with the support of the left/liberal side.
Libertarians speak and act strongly against government handouts and socialism because we believe the government should not be able to take from people who earn a living and pick and choose who receives these free handouts. Instead, people should have individual responsibility and freedom to provide for themselves in the manner that they choose through the free market.
Libertarians are not the only political group that speaks out strongly against socialism, however. The conservative/right side often speaks out against handouts like universal healthcare and welfare and says they are against socialism. But after speaking against universal health care and welfare they believe they should receive handouts (paid for by the tax dollars of citizens) of their own. A good example of the handouts conservatives want would be a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Conservatives may deny that the building of a border wall between Mexico and the United States is socialism, but Frederic Bastiat would claim differently. In his book The Law, Frederic Bastiat talks about how there are two types of plunder: legal and illegal. Legal plunder being especially dangerous because it protects the beneficiaries and criminalizes the victims who oppose the plunder. Bastiat goes onto to say that “[all plans of legal plunder] constitute socialism”. Today and throughout most of American history, the most obvious example of legal plunder would be taxation, since taxation is the forceful taking of wealth from the people by the government. According to Bastiat if taxation is legal plunder then taxation would also be socialism, and anything supported by taxation would also be a form of socialism.
With taxation being an avenue of socialism and a border wall being funded through taxation, conservatives and Republicans are very ironic. To say you support capitalism and oppose socialism until you need something funded through socialistic means is extremely hypocritical. Especially when there are more peaceful and capitalistic ways to lower the immigration of bad/unproductive immigrants that a border wall would supposedly lower.
A study by the Center for Immigration Studies tells us that “An estimated 49 percent of households headed by legal immigrants used one or more welfare programs in 2012…” and that those illegal immigrants often benefit from the welfare programs their legal immigrant children receive. These statistics prove that if conservatives truly want to limit the immigration of bad or unproductive immigrants they should instead start with abolishing socialist programs such as SNAP, TNAF, Social Security, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and all other welfare programs.
If the immigration of needy or “bad” immigrants that the right side strongly despises does become a serious problem for the United States, the decision the Republicans and conservatives make will tell a lot about them. Will they only vocally oppose socialism while accepting handouts of their own like a border wall, or will they live up to their claims of opposing socialism and put an effort to eliminate the welfare programs many immigrants live off of?