Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Simple Answer to the Furore over Trump’s Muslim Ban

Just have a 40 year moratorium on *all* Third World mass immigration of people who want to permanently live in the US. It’s that simple.

Of course, you don’t need to ban vetted students or tourists, or people who might be temporarily employed for some job that can’t be done by a US citizen. Nor do you need to ban immigration involving cultural exchanges, scientific research, or limited and reasonable asylum for people who are culturally compatible and genuinely fleeing persecution, especially if the asylum is only temporary.

But a straightforward ban on all Third World mass immigration would end the hysteria about singling out one religion and would, quite probably, turn out to be popular too. America had such a moratorium on mass immigration from 1924 to 1965.

A moratorium means more jobs for American citizens, tight labour markets, and rising real wages. Working and middle class people will love that.

The absurd Liberal and cultural leftist cry that such a policy would be contrary to the spirit or history of American immigration policy only shows how ignorant, stupid or just completely dishonest these people are, as I demonstrated here.

Severe restriction of Third World mass immigration is as American as apple pie.

Here is just a sample of some of the legislation from US history restricting immigration up until the 1920s:
(1) Page Act of 1875
This act excluded Asian and Chinese forced labourers, Asian woman engaging in prostitution, and all people who were convicted criminals in their own country. It was driven by working class hostility to Chinese coolie labour.

(2) the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
This immigration act prohibited all immigration of Chinese labourers, and like the act of 1875 was driven by socialist, trade unions and working class opposition to Asian immigration. This was extended and even made more onerous by the Geary Act of 5 May, 1892.

(3) the 1885 Alien Contract Labor Law
This law was a pro-working class measure designed “to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the United States.”

(4) Immigration Act of 1903 (the Anarchist Exclusion Act)
This immigration act law excluded anarchists, people with epilepsy, beggars, and importers of prostitutes.

(5) Naturalization Act of 1906
This immigration law made the US federal government the policy maker of national immigration and naturalization policy, and stated “That no alien shall hereafter be naturalized or admitted as a citizen of the United States who can not speak the English language.”

(6) Immigration Act of 1907
This immigration act excluded a vast swathe of people:
“All idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons, and persons who have been insane within five years previous; persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously; paupers; persons likely to become a public charge; professional beggars; persons afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease; persons not comprehended within any of the foregoing excluded classes who are found to be and are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such mental or physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such alien to earn a living.”
(7) Immigration Act of 1917
This immigration act excluded a vast group of people from an “Asiatic Barred Zone” including much of Asia and the Pacific Islands.

(8) (a) Immigration Act of 1924 and (b) National Origins Formula
These set strict limits on immigration and essentially limited immigration to southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans; it excluded Africans, Arabs and Asians. At the same time, from the date of June 30, 1927 it made “total immigration from all countries … limited to 150,000, with allocations by country based upon national origins of inhabitants according to the census of 1920.” This was designed to preserve the “ethnic distribution of the population” of the US. This was the foundation of the American system of immigration from 1924 to 1965.
The driving force for much of this restriction came from the working class, trade unions and socialist movements.

And why is that?

Because working class people have *nearly always* loved mass immigration restriction, and you can see this in nation after nation.

At the famous Socialist Congress that occurred in Chicago in 1910, American socialists, trade unions, Marxists and Labour activists adopted the following resolution:
“The Socialist party of the United States favors all legislative measures tending to prevent the immigration of strike breakers and contract laborers, and the mass importation of workers from foreign countries, brought about by the employing classes for the purpose of weakening the organization of American labor and of lowering the standard of life of the American workers.” (Carlton 1911: 352).
Yep, that was “socialism” in America in 1910.

As I said, severe restriction of Third World mass immigration is not only as American as apple pie, but also a long-standing and venerable socialist tradition too.

Carlton, Frank Tracy. 1911. The History and Problems of Organized Labor. D.C. Heath, Boston.


  1. This proposal certainly makes more sense than combating terrorism by banning Iranians but allowing Saudis and Qataris access to America.

  2. Severe restriction of Third World mass immigration is as American as apple pie

    So is slavery, if you're going to go that route.

  3. *YAWN*

    Cherry-pick, cherry pick, cherry pick ;-)

  4. I hope you are retired or tenured LK.

    This could be a fun thread.

  5. I saw an ironic thing. A Trump critic lamenting that the flow of smart and talented immigrants will end. So must then a corresponding outflow. When I was growing up in Canada we called that a "brain drain" and the left worried about it.

  6. The absurd aspect of his ban is applying it to people with Green Cards. These are some of the most vetted people in the nation--the number of hoops you have to go through to get a green card is enormous. You have to prove you are willing to integrate into US culture, that you are not possessed by any radical ideology or associated with people who are, and that you have can productive relationships with American citizens.

    To unilaterally ban these people from re-entry into the country after they have undergone this kind of vetting is asinine. Refugees are another story, but Trump isn't making a distinction.

    1. It was a drafting error, now embarrassingly corrected.

    2. Actually it was quite obviously rescinded due to political pressure. Otherwise the DHS wouldn't have confirmed it, and it wouldn't have been in the press briefing later that day. It was only after it was obvious there was legal and PR pushback coming that they changed it.

      A big display of incompetence either way.

  7. LK, curious to hear your thoughts on this.

    What is costlier to a First World country?

    Outflows in terms of a foreign aid to developing countries?

    Or immigration from developing countries?

    I ask, because I was toying with the thought whether restricting the latter could end up boosting the former...

    1. More likely to be the other way around.

      If you take away the human resources from an area, then you will end up having to export items to it, and give them the money to buy the excess output you produced with the people you stole.

      Export led growth steals money from an importer and immigration led growth steals people from an importer. It's the same process really.

    2. Interesting Neil, thanks for that insight.


  9. Brenad O'Neill:
    “This is the surreal and painful truth: if Hillary had won there’s a very good chance she’d be bombing Syrians and Yemenis, rather than simply denying them visas, and no one would have protested.”

    1. Trump is not merely denying them visas, he is barring existing holders of Visas from reentering the country. These are law-abiding workers, teachers and students who have already gone through the proper legal channels to immigrate here, and all of their work to do so and adhere to US law is being unilaterally ignored at the whim of the executive.

      Why bother, at this point, to even try to get into the US legally? Might as well try to enter illegally--you're going to be detained and deported either way.

      Regardless, talking about Hillary at this point is just a way of trying to divert scrutiny away from the person who won the election and now bears the crown and all the responsibility that comes with it.

  10. I believe you meant to say that

    (8) (a) Immigration Act of 1924 and (b) National Origins Formula
    These set strict limits on immigration and essentially limited immigration FROM [not "to"] southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans; ..."

    The 1924 act pushed the base on which the quotas were calculated from 1920 to 1890, when there was a much smaller proportion of the population originating in Southern European (for which read Italians) and Eastern Europeans (for which read Slavs and Jews).

    Western Europe and Scandinavia immigrants had nearly than 8 times as many slots as did Southern and Eastern Europeans. The law is said to have been designed for the specific purpose of sharply reducing immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe. See the table from the Statistical Abstract and a brief discussion at

    The author of the analysis notes that immigration from Italy had been running at 200,000 per year in the early 20th C. but was limited by the National Origins Formula to ~4,000 per year.

  11. Hello everyone,

    I have a genuine question : does someone know of econometric studies a) showing what link there are (if any) between immigration on the one hand and employment, inequality and overall well-being of the population ?
    b) testing the costs / returns of different immigration policies under some reasonnable sets of economics hypothesis (a litte more, a little less wellfare state, economic stimulation etc.) ?

    I know only one study by Rowthorne with bad but not dramatic results.

    1. Do you mean in an American context? Or for anywhere?

      There are some studies in Australia that show that mass immigration is effective in creating 'growth' - a bigger economy - but that the benefits of this growth for the working people already in Australia are negligible at best.

      Other studies show that the much vaunted effects of mass immigration in countering the ageing population are also very limited.

      None of this stops the mass immigration cheerleaders from using both arguments to defend immigration into the future, despite the obvious and multiple social, environmental and economic costs associated with it.