L-C

Immigration and the welfare state

45 posts in this topic

Mercury pointed out that the opponents of free immigration are themselves *not* opposed to statism. And that when they use the argument that many immigrants - "come here in order to take advantage of our generous welfare state" - those opponents of free immigration do *not* themselves want the welfare state to go away. Those xenophobes (I do think that at least most of the men who rail against the immigrants -"who want to take advantage of our generous welfare state" are xenophobes - since, for one thing, they are making *collectivistic* generalizations about the immigrants) want to reduce immigration in order to *preserve* the welfare state! By saving money for the welfare state (there will supposedly be a larger share of the "national cake" available for each individual citizen, if less immigration leads to there being fewer individual citizens in the country who are to share that "national cake").

Mercury reported that the people in Canada he has spoken with are not opposed to the welfare state. It does not follow that all or most opponents of the current situation with illegal immigrants overrunning the welfare system in the US at our expense are "statists". "Open borders are necessarily connected to the welfare state" because that is a fact imposed by government. That is what is making it "necessary" and is what rational egoists oppose. Henrik's sweeping accusations that our opposition to the free for all immigration under such circumstances is "racism", "collectivism" and "xenophobia" are gratuitous smears that have been rebutted many times here on the Forum. His insistence that we put up with the injustice instead of defending ourselves is itself statist and collectivist.

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Mercury, my (and I would guess Brianna's, though I don't speak for her) opposition against open immigration to welfare state has nothing to do with "societal" gain or loss. For me, it's a matter of self defense and buying enough time to get out. The interests of free, rational men are not set against each other, but those aren't the men we are getting. And our state enables their hostile "interests" to run amok here through its immigration policies and refusal to uphold individual rights.

We are not trampling the rights of immigrants any more than the US military did of the rights of German or Japanese civilians. The state enables and outright invites Middle East immigrants to come here and claim tax money and cause violence. Honest immigrants that are denied entry are victims of this, but so are we and we don't owe them self-sacrifice because our government is illegitimate.

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There are a lot of misconceptions about my arguments in the last few posts, so I want to address those. I'd start a new thread, but I don't want to lose continuity. If Betsy could move the immigration-related posts into their own thread, I'd really appreciate it because we have indeed diverged off topic.

Those who are in opposition to my position are basically arguing that two wrongs do not make a right, i.e. that just because we have an immoral welfare state, that does not also mean we should have an immoral immigration policy. And I agree that in a society with no welfare state, a restrictive immigration policy would be both immoral and undesirable. However, the fact remains that we live in a mixed society, and because of this are sometimes forced to adopt policies which, in a free society, would be immoral and undesirable. A welfare state creates problems with both domestic and imported citizens through the creation of a static underclass whom are given the option of separating themselves from society through the ability to obtain an income in such a way that they do not have to function within the society they live in. The problems this causes within the domestic underclass is unavoidable. The problems it causes with an imported underclass can be at least partially circumvented through immigration controls, and so I believe they should be. Not because immigration controls would be moral in a free society, but because in a mixed society the practical results of having them are better than the practical results of not having them.

The other accusation I have seen is that I am falling for the idea that the world is static and unchanging. This accusation has been made in two respects, one in the sense that populations are static and unchanging, and the other in the respect that wealth is static and unchanging.

First, let me concentrate on the Frozen Demographic fallacy, and the accusations that I have fallen for it. These accusations are false. I do not argue that demographies are naturally frozen; rather what I argue is that when given an incentive to remain frozen, demographic groups will move more slowly than they would otherwise. The greater the incentive, the greater the ability to live without assimilating, the lower the rate of assimilation. If people can survive with a minimum of assimilation, they will be more likely to do the minimum; if they can survive without assimilating at all, they will be more likely to do so. These facts have ample evidence to support them on both sides of the pond, with both immigrant and domestic underclasses.

The other fallacy I have been accused of succumbing to is the idea that wealth is a static pie to be seized, rather than a growing pie which all can take part in. Here, the misconception is that I was referring to the wealth created in a free economy, rather than the wealth seized by the welfare state. It is obviously true that wealth created in the free economy is not a static pie, and that there are many productive immigrants who contribute to this wealth. I do not begrudge those immigrants their good fortune, nor complain that their wealth was somehow stolen from the citizenry, nor argue that they should not be allowed to remit a portion of that wealth abroad because they deprive the native country of that wealth by doing so. However, this only applies to wealth generated through productive work in a free (or to be more accurate, semi-free) economy. The wealth of the welfare state, on the other hand, is a static quantity which was seized by force from the producers. It does have to be divided amongst a finite amount of people. The only way to make the pie of the welfare state grow is to make the pie from which it is confiscated (the productive economy) grow, thus increasing the amount that can be looted. Obviously in an ideal world, there would be no welfare at all, and of course it is as immoral for a citizen to seize the unearned wealth of their fellow citizens as it is for a foreigner to do it. However, given that the welfare state exists, I can't do much about citizens. I can however, do something about foreigners through immigration controls.

I do not think our (the United States's) current immigration controls are very good. Nor do I think immigrants should be screened on the basis of pre-existing wealth. Rather, I think the best system would be one that allowed immigrants in, but did not allow them to draw on welfare resources on pain of deportation. My only argument is that given the existence of the welfare state, some sort of immigration controls are necessary in order to prevent the addition of an immigrant underclass to the inevitable result of the creation of a domestic one.

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Here is an interesting fact about Australian immigration, and I know something about it since I am an immigrant here: I am not eligible for any kind of welfare BEFORE I'm a permanent resident. There are a number of different types of temporary visas of varying lengths and purposes, but all share that trait. Obviously I don't agree with welfare at all, but at least here you don't automatically live off the state UNTIL you make the effort to become a permanent resident.

Another thing that I hear is fairly recent: to get your PR, you MUST pass an English test. In America both of these things would be controversial, but here they are completely commonplace. It is expected that to become a permanent part of Australian society you have to prove your value. I won't comment on what's not great about immigration policy here, but those are a few points where I think they get it right.

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Is the problem open immigration as such, or is it multiculturalism and a pacifist foreign policy?

Without multiculturalism, pacifism and statism, open immigration wouldn't be a problem. But those things are given here, and so open immigration is a problem. As a matter of self-defense, if I can't get rid of welfare - and that's impossible in Sweden - I'll oppose open immigration. I believe Leonard Peikoff talked about this is one of his casts.

The fact that open immigration doesn't need to be a problem is of no use to me so long as I'm stuck in a country where the condition needed to make it beneficial will never come true.

Well then, L-C. If - "without multiculturalism, pacifism and statism, open immigration wouldn´t be a problem." - isn´t the obvious conclusion that we should all concentrate on fighting multiculturalism, pacifism and statism - and not fritter away our precious time and energy on fighting against open immigration? And not squander our precious moral capital by fighting for something which is immoral. Because we would be squandering our precious moral capital if we argued - "Sure, restrictions on immigration are not the moral ideal - but this is an emergency, so we must compromise!"

I understand how you feel. The conservatives here in Sweden are fond of the aphorism - "We should not let the best become the enemy of the good." The conservatives use that aphorism to justify compromise. Those conservatives say - "Fighting the welfare state is too hard. The welfare state is so popular that there is no chance in h-l that we can replace it with full capitalism. So we should settle for second best.That way we can at least achieve *something*. We should just attempt to make the welfare state a little less extreme."

But remember what Ayn Rand said (I do not recall where she said it) - she was asked if it was not sometimes a good idea to settle for the less-than-ideal. And she replied that she would always fight for whatever was the best possible, and she would never settle for the "almost-but-not-quite" ideal. And Ayn Rand wrote an entire play on this theme - "Ideal". This play is available in "Three Plays by Ayn Rand" and in "The Early Ayn Rand", L-C, if you have not already read it.

I think that we should eschew the attitude expressed by the conservatives in the aphorism above. And instead embrace Ayn Rand´s attitude. Even in the difficult issue of open immigration.

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Mercury pointed out that the opponents of free immigration are themselves *not* opposed to statism. And that when they use the argument that many immigrants - "come here in order to take advantage of our generous welfare state" - those opponents of free immigration do *not* themselves want the welfare state to go away. Those xenophobes (I do think that at least most of the men who rail against the immigrants -"who want to take advantage of our generous welfare state" are xenophobes - since, for one thing, they are making *collectivistic* generalizations about the immigrants) want to reduce immigration in order to *preserve* the welfare state! By saving money for the welfare state (there will supposedly be a larger share of the "national cake" available for each individual citizen, if less immigration leads to there being fewer individual citizens in the country who are to share that "national cake").

Mercury reported that the people in Canada he has spoken with are not opposed to the welfare state. It does not follow that all or most opponents of the current situation with illegal immigrants overrunning the welfare system in the US at our expense are "statists". "Open borders are necessarily connected to the welfare state" because that is a fact imposed by government. That is what is making it "necessary" and is what rational egoists oppose. Henrik's sweeping accusations that our opposition to the free for all immigration under such circumstances is "racism", "collectivism" and "xenophobia" are gratuitous smears that have been rebutted many times here on the Forum. His insistence that we put up with the injustice instead of defending ourselves is itself statist and collectivist.

I have answered your claim, ewv, that I made "sweeping accusations" and "gratuitous smears" - but Betsy chose to not publish my post, unless I rewrote it. Well, I am not going to let Betsy decide what the content of my posts is going to be. If I did that I would be sacrificing my integrity. But if anyone here is wondering what reasons I have for believing that opposition to free immigration is *always* an expression of xenophobia (and I do hold that view, and I do have reasons for it) you will have to contact me privately, and I will tell you.

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Self-defense isn't compromise. There is an emergency, and to take focus off of it while trying to accomplish something that will take hundreds of years to do, if it'll happen at all, is self-sacrifice. There is no valor in throwing yourself before the juggernaut. Those who wish to do so are welcome, but I'll pursue a better life this side of the grave, on the better side of the pond.

The fight is in America, not in Sweden. One can stay here and fight but that will only lead to aging and dying - perhaps only the latter - in a Marxist country steadily progressing toward ever more complete dhimmitude.

You'll also notice that Ayn Rand moved to the US and lived and did her work there.

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Well then, L-C. If - "without multiculturalism, pacifism and statism, open immigration wouldn´t be a problem." - isn´t the obvious conclusion that we should all concentrate on fighting multiculturalism, pacifism and statism - and not fritter away our precious time and energy on fighting against open immigration?

I don't think we should concentrate solely on the root causes, though of course that is the most important thing we should concentrate on. Rather, I think the important thing is to work for practicable goals while making our position clear. For example, Objectivists may believe there should be no tax at all, but at the current time that is simply not a politically feasible goal. Does this then mean that we should focus all our efforts on this goal, while ignoring the much more popular and politically feasible efforts to put in a flat income tax or the Fair Tax? I don't think so. Rather, I think the best thing to do is work for a flat tax on income or sales (one or the other, not both), while making clear that our ideal is a system with no compulsory taxation at all. Similarly I think the best thing to do in the case of immigration and the welfare state is to say that while our ideal is a repeal of both immigration controls and the welfare state, we must regretfully endorse a certain amout of control over immigration so long as the welfare state remains in place.

And I like Jason's points about the Australian immigration policy. An English test (or if you don't live in an Anglophone country, a test in the local language) and restrictions on welfare use are basic measures to ensure that someone who wants to live in your country will be a productive citizen and will assimilate to your country's values. If the immigrant doesn't want to do those basic things, then why did he want to come to your country in the first place?

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Mercury, my (and I would guess Brianna's, though I don't speak for her) opposition against open immigration to welfare state has nothing to do with "societal" gain or loss. For me, it's a matter of self defense and buying enough time to get out. The interests of free, rational men are not set against each other, but those aren't the men we are getting. And our state enables their hostile "interests" to run amok here through its immigration policies and refusal to uphold individual rights.

L-C, I'm not as familiar with Sweden as I am with North America, but my post was written to show that advocating (or joining those who advocate) a kind of blanket ban on open immigration is not in your interests. When the "conservatives" (and yes, you will be grouped with them, like it or not) - even in Europe - advocate these things, they package-deal legitimate opposition to Islamist invasion with illegitimate anti-globalization, anti-employer, anti-immigrant xenophobia. Because the Left control the media for the most part, they are able to ensure that the package-deal never gets unpacked. This way, the fine points of your view will never reach the people. The conservatives are thus easily caricatured as anti-freedom "racists," which ensures the victory of the Left at the polls.

Having said that, as far as I know and please correct me if I'm wrong, Sweden does not have a Mexico-to-U.S. immigration thread running alongside a Muslim-to-U.S. immigration thread, so maybe the principle doesn't apply in quite the same way.

Whatever the case, I would just get out of Europe. The conservatives - or any other group - there cannot buy anyone any time for anything.

We are not trampling the rights of immigrants any more than the US military did of the rights of German or Japanese civilians. The state enables and outright invites Middle East immigrants to come here and claim tax money and cause violence. Honest immigrants that are denied entry are victims of this, but so are we and we don't owe them self-sacrifice because our government is illegitimate.

Regarding German or Japanese civilians, I assume you mean those residing in Japan and Germany during World War II.

The U.S. military did not trample upon the civilians' rights, the U.S. freed them from slavery: both countries were dictatorships. The civilians who died during the war did not have their rights violated; during war -- an emergency situation as I noted in my post -- rights are suspended. After the war, however, rights are to be respected, even those of the conquered. Man's rights are inalienable, everywhere, always, so long as there isn't an emergency:

Dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today, has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen. Whether a free nation chooses to do so or not is a matter of its own self-interest, not of respect for the nonexistent "rights" of gang rulers. It is not a free nation's duty to liberate other nations at the price of self-sacrifice, but a free nation has the right to do it, when and if it so chooses.

This right, however, is conditional. Just as the suppression of crimes does not give a policeman the right to engage in criminal activities, so the invasion and destruction of a dictatorship does not give the invader the right to establish another variant of a slave society in the conquered country.

A slave country has no national rights, but the individual rights of its citizens remain valid, even if unrecognized, and the conqueror has no right to violate them. Therefore, the invasion of an enslaved country is morally justified only when and if the conquerors establish a free social system, that is, a system based on the recognition of individual rights.

Now, as I wrote in my post, if we say Sweden is facing an emergency, then the solution would be to advocate the solutions which would end the emergency or which the emergency necessitates, e.g., ban Muslim immigration. If advocating this is too dangerous or would fall on deaf ears, then you are already in some kind of dictatorship and it's time to skip town. However, do not harbor the illusion that the conservatives are "buying you time." They are not.** They are compounding the confusion in this immigration/welfare-state respect. This does not mean not voting for conservatives -- it means carefully pointing out to them what precisely they are doing wrong and thus strengthening their hand. As Objectivists, we are the only ones who can lead the West further into the light. If we abandon leadership to the conservatives, we have failed.

**As I demonstrated in my previous post, it is those "honest immigrants" who can save you. They are not mere statistics in some kind of abstract sociological analysis but real individuals.

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There are a lot of misconceptions about my arguments in the last few posts, so I want to address those. I'd start a new thread, but I don't want to lose continuity. If Betsy could move the immigration-related posts into their own thread, I'd really appreciate it because we have indeed diverged off topic.

Those who are in opposition to my position are basically arguing that two wrongs do not make a right, i.e. that just because we have an immoral welfare state, that does not also mean we should have an immoral immigration policy. And I agree that in a society with no welfare state, a restrictive immigration policy would be both immoral and undesirable. However, the fact remains that we live in a mixed society, and because of this are sometimes forced to adopt policies which, in a free society, would be immoral and undesirable. A welfare state creates problems with both domestic and imported citizens through the creation of a static underclass whom are given the option of separating themselves from society through the ability to obtain an income in such a way that they do not have to function within the society they live in. The problems this causes within the domestic underclass is unavoidable. The problems it causes with an imported underclass can be at least partially circumvented through immigration controls, and so I believe they should be. Not because immigration controls would be moral in a free society, but because in a mixed society the practical results of having them are better than the practical results of not having them.

The other accusation I have seen is that I am falling for the idea that the world is static and unchanging. This accusation has been made in two respects, one in the sense that populations are static and unchanging, and the other in the respect that wealth is static and unchanging.

First, let me concentrate on the Frozen Demographic fallacy, and the accusations that I have fallen for it. These accusations are false. I do not argue that demographies are naturally frozen; rather what I argue is that when given an incentive to remain frozen, demographic groups will move more slowly than they would otherwise. The greater the incentive, the greater the ability to live without assimilating, the lower the rate of assimilation. If people can survive with a minimum of assimilation, they will be more likely to do the minimum; if they can survive without assimilating at all, they will be more likely to do so. These facts have ample evidence to support them on both sides of the pond, with both immigrant and domestic underclasses.

The other fallacy I have been accused of succumbing to is the idea that wealth is a static pie to be seized, rather than a growing pie which all can take part in. Here, the misconception is that I was referring to the wealth created in a free economy, rather than the wealth seized by the welfare state. It is obviously true that wealth created in the free economy is not a static pie, and that there are many productive immigrants who contribute to this wealth. I do not begrudge those immigrants their good fortune, nor complain that their wealth was somehow stolen from the citizenry, nor argue that they should not be allowed to remit a portion of that wealth abroad because they deprive the native country of that wealth by doing so. However, this only applies to wealth generated through productive work in a free (or to be more accurate, semi-free) economy. The wealth of the welfare state, on the other hand, is a static quantity which was seized by force from the producers. It does have to be divided amongst a finite amount of people. The only way to make the pie of the welfare state grow is to make the pie from which it is confiscated (the productive economy) grow, thus increasing the amount that can be looted. Obviously in an ideal world, there would be no welfare at all, and of course it is as immoral for a citizen to seize the unearned wealth of their fellow citizens as it is for a foreigner to do it. However, given that the welfare state exists, I can't do much about citizens. I can however, do something about foreigners through immigration controls.

I do not think our (the United States's) current immigration controls are very good. Nor do I think immigrants should be screened on the basis of pre-existing wealth. Rather, I think the best system would be one that allowed immigrants in, but did not allow them to draw on welfare resources on pain of deportation. My only argument is that given the existence of the welfare state, some sort of immigration controls are necessary in order to prevent the addition of an immigrant underclass to the inevitable result of the creation of a domestic one.

The first thing to say is that my post was not directed at Brianna as a person, so the term "accusation" is a misidentification. But, I can see how she may have arrived at this, since, in my response to her, I sought to answer all the other immigration-related posts and arguments I have read and heard over the past three years. My response must have seemed disproportionate to her briefly expressed position, so one could surmise that my remarks were directed solely or mainly at her.

I will try to find time to respond to Brianna's points, but I cannot promise anything. There isn't enough time these days for most of these kinds of exchanges.

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We are not trampling the rights of immigrants any more than the US military did of the rights of German or Japanese civilians. The state enables and outright invites Middle East immigrants to come here and claim tax money and cause violence. Honest immigrants that are denied entry are victims of this, but so are we and we don't owe them self-sacrifice because our government is illegitimate.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly, or if they knew it - willingly or unwillingly, the citizens of Japan and Germany were responsible for their governments being the way they were (i.e. dictatorships) and the US was not responsible for any civilian casualties it may have caused in a defense of the rights of its own citizens (e.g. PoWs) or in avenging the deaths of its innocent citizens (e.g. those who died at Pearl Harbour).

I really don't see how you're applying that example to immigrants even if they are from states that sponsor or engage in terrorism. This is not about the US (or Sweden) protecting themselves from a concerted attack by one or more enemy states but about individuals who do not *represent* any state unless their explicit convictions put them in league with those enemies.

Should the US have denied entry to Albert Einstein because he was from Germany, which was a dictatorship and a terrorist state? Or maybe to Ayn Rand because Russia was a dictatorship and a sponsor of terrorism? I can understand not allowing Muslims to enter because of their anti-life philosophy but a blanket control on immigration seems very unjust to me.

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Since we are discussing immigration controls, we should only be talking only about legal immigrants. Stopping illegal immigrants from entering the US is a matter of upholding the law and should have nothing to do with immigration controls (except that these controls should not be relaxed for those who are illegal regardless of the amount of time they have spent in the US or the difficulty of relocating if they were asked to leave). Having said that, why in the world would anyone want to spend thousands of dollars coming to the US legally only to come and live on welfare? That's a very cynical attitude towards immigrants in the Land of Immigrants.

We should also consider *individual* immigrants and how they can affect the US instead of immigrants as a whole because they can be of wholly different motivations.

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Whatever the case, I would just get out of Europe. The conservatives - or any other group - there cannot buy anyone any time for anything.

I *have* tried to "get out of Europe". Just a year ago, my employer (an American industrial company) shut down its factory here in Sweden. But the company told me that I could work for them in their factory in Fairport (a suburb of Rochester, New York) if I wanted to. I told them that I would be happy to work for them in the U.S.A. Moving to America would be like "coming home" for me, since I lived in America when I was a child.

But I was not able to move to America, despite the fact that I did have a job arranged (and my employer had promised that it would help me find a place to live in in Rochester). It was the *American government´s restrictions on immigration* prevented me from moving to America! I could not get a green card. My work skills were not judged to be "valuable enough" to the American economy (collectivism, anyone?).

So you see, I have some pretty good *personal* reasons for opposing restrictions on immigration, over and above my "philosphical" reasons. Another personal reason I oppose restrictions on immigration is the suffering which Sweden´s restrictions on immigration have caused my wife, who comes from Vietnam.

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Since we are discussing immigration controls, we should only be talking only about legal immigrants. Stopping illegal immigrants from entering the US is a matter of upholding the law and should have nothing to do with immigration controls (except that these controls should not be relaxed for those who are illegal regardless of the amount of time they have spent in the US or the difficulty of relocating if they were asked to leave). Having said that, why in the world would anyone want to spend thousands of dollars coming to the US legally only to come and live on welfare? That's a very cynical attitude towards immigrants in the Land of Immigrants.

We should also consider *individual* immigrants and how they can affect the US instead of immigrants as a whole because they can be of wholly different motivations.

The "illegal" immigrants are only breaking laws which are not legitimate to begin with. So we should not do anything which would hurt illegal immigrants (such as sending them back to the pestholes which they had the decency to attempt to escape).

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The "illegal" immigrants are only breaking laws which are not legitimate to begin with. So we should not do anything which would hurt illegal immigrants (such as sending them back to the pestholes which they had the decency to attempt to escape).

But if we do not respect the law (and try to change unjust laws at the same time) then what are we?

I'm having loads of fun trying to get a work visa for the US. Thousands of company dollars later I'm still trying to prove I'm a "specialized" worker with a significant chance of getting my visa denied despite having several years of experience and enough "specialized" knowledge. I was so looking forward to spending all those welfare dollars :)

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The "illegal" immigrants are only breaking laws which are not legitimate to begin with. So we should not do anything which would hurt illegal immigrants (such as sending them back to the pestholes which they had the decency to attempt to escape).

But if we do not respect the law (and try to change unjust laws at the same time) then what are we?

I'm having loads of fun trying to get a work visa for the US. Thousands of company dollars later I'm still trying to prove I'm a "specialized" worker with a significant chance of getting my visa denied despite having several years of experience and enough "specialized" knowledge. I was so looking forward to spending all those welfare dollars :)

Let us say that you lived in Nazi Germany. And the laws which were on the books stipulated that you *must* report any Jews whom you know are hiding somewhere to the government - so that the authorities can "deal with them". Well, I would say that any German citizen who disobeyed such a law would not only not be immoral -, he *would* be a *hero*.

Well, I see the issue of illegal immigrants the same way. In my mind´s eye, any illegal immigrant (unless he or she is a real criminal) who is hiding somewhere in Sweden, in order to avoid being "sent back" - is in the same category as a Jew who is hiding in Nazi Germany (although there is, of course, a big difference in degree - I am not saying that the opponents of free immigration are in the *same* moral category as Nazis). So I would never dream of reporting any illegal immigrants to the authorities here in Sweden. It would be moral treason.

In fact, I once loved an immigrant who was hiding from the Swedish authorities (this was before I met my wife Thi). She came home to me a few times and I slept with me, but then she stopped seeing me because she was afraid of the risk that seeing me might lead to her being exposed and sent back to the country in the Third World, which she came from. This woman was a real heroine. She had seven children who were living in her home country. And she was supporting them by working in Sweden and sending money to pay for their expenses (such as schooling). Since she was an illegal immigrant, she had to work "black". So she did not have the security (such as disabilty insurance and unemployment insurance) which Swedish workers have. She would go home to people she know and clean their homes. She did not pay any taxes of course. But her "employers" knew that, so they probably did not pay her much. This woman lived and struggled in relative poverty in Sweden for years, because she was so loyal to her seven children. And the Swedish restrictions on immigration made this heroine´s life *so* hard on her.

But if life in Sweden as an illigal immgrant was so hard on her - then why did she not return to her home country of her own free will? Well, she told me that there was no way that one woman alone would be able to support *seven* children on the wages which she would have any chance of earning in her home country. Remember, she came from a country in the Third World. The money she earned cleaning people´s homes "on the sly" here in Sweden was paltry - but it was still much better than the money she would have been able to earn in her home country (this woman was uneducated, although she was moral and intelligent, so she would not have been able to get a really "good" job in her home country).

This woman´s husband was a real a-hole who had abandoned her for a younger woman, and had stolen her savings to boot (they had shared a bank account and he absconded with her money). And he refused to help her with the support of their seven children. This guy was worthless. But she was nevertheless unable to divorce him, because the country she came from was Catholic, so that country had very restrictive divorce laws. I wanted to marry that woman desperately, but I couldn´t, because she was already married. And she could not move in and live with me without being married to me either, because then the Swedish government would learned that she was living with me and it would immediately have "sent her back". I *really* wanted to marry that woman, since she was a heroine in my eyes - but the Swedish restrictions on immigration made that impossible.

So you see, restrictions on immigration have all sorts of bad consequences. *All* non-objective laws do. And restrictions on immigration are one species of non-objective law.

And now you know more about some of the reasons why I have those harsh and "extreme" views which I gave expression to in my essay here - http://henrik-unne.blogspot.com/2011/02/su...xenophobia.html .

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The "illegal" immigrants are only breaking laws which are not legitimate to begin with. So we should not do anything which would hurt illegal immigrants (such as sending them back to the pestholes which they had the decency to attempt to escape).

But if we do not respect the law (and try to change unjust laws at the same time) then what are we?

I'm having loads of fun trying to get a work visa for the US. Thousands of company dollars later I'm still trying to prove I'm a "specialized" worker with a significant chance of getting my visa denied despite having several years of experience and enough "specialized" knowledge. I was so looking forward to spending all those welfare dollars :)

Let us say that you lived in Nazi Germany...

The context of the above discussion is obviously sufficiently free nations, and not totalitarian dictatorships like Nazi Germany. In most cases rational person observes laws, even laws he doesn't like, to the extent that he prefers a law-abiding nation over the chaos of anarchy.

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I agree with Carlos, Henrik, although it is very sad that people have to go through the things you've mentioned and very appreciable that people choose to be productive so much more often than immigration lawmakers and officers think.

FYI, my visa got denied - I did not have enough "specialized knowledge" (yes, in scare quotes), even though I was the only person available in my project for what I was going.

I do have another way in (a marriage-based green card) but I wanted to rely on my own skills to reach the US instead of on my wife's citizenship. However, after having seen firsthand USCIS applying their criteria for "specialized knowledge" in such a concrete-bound, disconnected-from-the-facts-of-case way that I have lost faith that my abilities could ever overcome their objections if I chose to apply for a non-immigrant visa again. I'm just glad they haven't canceled my business visa as well (they've done that for a couple of my teammates) so that I can at least go and visit family.

Another FYI, green card applicants need to file an affidavit of support to prove that they will not become "wards of the state" once they acquire residence in the US. For all the people who are concerned about immigrants becoming welfare seekers, let me assure you that all *legal* immigrants to the US will only be allowed in if they can tangibly prove that they will not seek out welfare once they arrive.

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