English proficiency highest among migrants’ children

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Obviously we in Australia are doing something right despite our official Multiculturalism policy:

Teenage children of migrants have better language skills than their classmates, while students who have spoken English for less than four years have higher literacy rates than Aboriginal students, according to statewide test results.

The English Language and Literacy Assessment (ELLA) results of year7 and year8 students also suggest that boys are catching up with girls in reading, writing and language skills.

The most notable results are from children of non-English-speaking backgrounds, who performed above the mean in language skills.

Dr Maureen Walsh, a senior lecturer in literacy education at the Australian Catholic University, said children who spoke another language at home had a cognitive advantage with literacy skills.

“Whether it’s Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean or Arabic, they have concept development in their first language and that transfers to the second,” she said

24 Comments

  1. As does Canada.

  2. Well, I lived in Spain when I was 12 and I learned proper Castilian (not the peasant Spanish taught in American high schools) and I can testify that learning Spanish expanded my mind and my perspective. But, yes, one must consider the raw materials here. I am hyperverbal and pretty bright. A dumber child might become a competent practitioner, but it probably wouldn’t be a born-again type intellectual epiphany.

  3. The same effect is seen in the US. The honor roll on my son’s H.S. (and in my son’s elite musical group) seemed to be disproportionately foreign-born, including students from countries like Bulgaria, Serbia, or Peru which you don’t think of as academic powerhouses.

    There are different immigration patterns. Middle-class immigration produces the pattern we see here. Most immigration from the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America is cheap-labor immigration. Legally or illegally, these come to do low-paid jobs (janitor, food service, landscaping, farm labor, casual / temp light industrial labor). You don’t usually have PhD’s working those jobs, and even if the workers were educated, they’d have trouble getting good education for their kids.

    In any society the people doing the lowpaid, insecure, migratory labor are, guess what, uneducated and often disproportionately criminal. This is true regardless of race or immigration status; that’s where the term “white trash” comes from.

    Anyone who has a tiny bit of sympathy with my point of view ought to read Lind’s “Made in Texas”. It shows the connections between Pres. Bush and his team and the old southern planter culture. The New Deal paradigm was a large middle class and a self-respecting working class with hopes for its kids. The southern planter paradigm (not too different than the third-world model) was a miserable, low-paid, uneducated, servile working class. The US is being moved in the latter direction. Low-paid immigrants are part of the story, but they’re not the movers and shakers. The real story is the various changes in labor law and the structure of the labor market which make it unlikely that this group of immigrants will ever have the successes that most earlier groups had.

  4. PS. It wasn’t Australia’s geographical good luck. Their nearest neighbor is Indonesia. (Except for New Zealand. And a New Zealander told me once that Australia’s organized crime is dominated by New Zealanders.)

  5. zizka you sound like the VDARE crowd! the company you keep man….

    (i personally agree we should skew toward higher socioeconomic immigration because as godless would say the negative externalities of low-paid immigration are high)

  6. R., you really know how to hurt a guy.

    Well, one of my points is that the low wage immigrants from Mexico etc. should have the same chances as earlier immigrants. And that they should not be used as a weapon to threaten native-born labor with. I’m pretty sure that VDARE, like Pat Buchanan, is opportunisticly pro-labor for noise purposes, but really anti-labor. (By my guess, most on this site really don’t have much use for blue-collar schlumps with middling IQs.)

    Most of what’s being said about Mexicans now was said about Italians and Poles 80 years ago, and Irish 120 years ago.

    I visited VDARE and they had a nasty article up about the Hispanics (and a Native American) killed in Iraq.

  7. You have to look at the positive effects of cheap labor — cheap food, cheap help, cheap restaurants, cheap old-folks homes, cheap warehousing, etc. Who benefits from this? What would happen if these people had secure, well-paying jobs with benefits? In the long run the externalities would be less, the kids would be assimilated, but lots of costs would be higher.

    Low-skill immigrants aren’t allowed in casually or thoughtlessly. They’re here to fill a need. There are many businesses which depend on them. It’s not the multiculturalists who are making this happen.

  8. >>PS. It wasn’t Australia’s geographical good luck. Their nearest neighbor is Indonesia.

    Zizka, not too many Indonesian Malays migrate to Australia. Any Indonesians who come here are mostly, guess what, middle class Chinese families sick of the anti-Chinese pogroms which flare up time and again everytime there’s political instability. So in a sense, leaving open the biology/culture issue, both you and godless are right.

  9. Back in 1984 in Taiwan I knew a Chinese Australian. (At that time, as I recall, the doors hadn’t really been opened yet.) She was tall, athletic, jolly, hearty, and Australian — with very big feet (still very bad for a Chinese girl). The Chinese didn’t know what to make of her.

  10. >>>She was tall, athletic, jolly, hearty, and Australian — with very big feet (still very bad for a Chinese girl).

    Yup, they would also be surprised by the many Chinese here with very broad country-Strine accents (though I only came here when I was 15 so not long enough to develop one).

    Aren’t there lots of Hakkas in Taiwan? My father’s line is Hakka and they never got into all that perverted feet-binding shit.

  11. Basically, if you want business to pay the true cost per worker then you encourage unionization, encourage secure fulltime rather than part-time or temp jobs, encourage jobs with benefits rather than without. Standard liberal stuff. But not only business but consumers would pay a price (worth it, in my opinion). This kind of issue has been in play regarding agricultural labor for 50 years or more.

  12. Incidentally I don’t agree with Godless’ presumption that the poor and uneducated of Mexico necessarily have lower natural human capital. What you’ve got in S. America is still very much feudalism. Feudalism isn’t as good at sorting human capital into the appropriare hierarchies as even the non-liberal, less rule-of-law driven capitalism of developing Asian countries. There are probably lots of extremely bright landless peasants in Mexico. Heck, I’m Hakka so I’m not far removed from a line of landless peasants myself.

  13. minor point-me & godless have gotten into it over H1-B’s for this reason. i don’t mind high IQ immigration-but the H1-B’s are constricted in their negotiating power in comparison to natives so they skew the playing field in the united states. lots of low-level programming jobs are going overseas anyhoo of course, and i’m kewl with that, many tech ppl whine now, but i guess they know how blue-collar workers felt back in the 70s…. on the other hand, i don’t think it’s right that illegals undercut native labor, and so i have issues with H1-B’s having to play by different rules.

    i guess i’m saying that i am OK with free trade and pluralism of systems on the world-wide scale, but i am pretty firmly on the side of universal law & values within the US borders.

  14. Zizka

    You can’t have everything. The market tends to pay people what they can be expected to contribute to the bottom line. Note I’m not saying that people who earn more are more morally worthy or meritorious than people who earn less. Clearly Britney Spears isn’t more worthy in my books than, say, Steven Pinker. However if in the absence of all these government regulations to increase their wages which you propose, low wage immigrant workers are getting what they’re getting, there is the presumption that employers would not want to hire them at a higher price. ergo they would not be hired. ergo they would come here and be unemployed. so liberals like you have to face up to this fundamental tradeoff – within bounds it is possible for an economy to sustain high minimum wages, a generous welfare state, etc without causing much damage to itself either in terms of bloated taxes to pay for higher welfare bills or high unemployment. but this doesn’t necessarily coexist very well with more generous immigration numbers. immigration numbers have to be rationed in some way whether through quantity regulations (as now) or price signals (anyone can come in if they pay some entrance fee, think of a health club). if you want to go down the high and generous immigration route then you either have to put up with low wage workers (who will bid down the wages of native born workers – as an economist this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, welfare should be weighted equally in an objective economist’s perspective and the low wage means lower cost which means cheaper goods and services for everyone else) or you can have your generous immigration plus generous working conditions and a large pool of unemployed immigrants. This tradeoff arises again and again. It is not a well acknowledged fact that Australia many decades ago excluded colored immigration (read Asian immigration) because they were afraid that these Asians would come in and compete and bid down wages of native born whites. This policy had the full support of the trade union movement for decades and the only party which opposed it was the small Free Trade party which eventually disappeared. Good things don’t always go together.

  15. If you want to have a lot of low-paid no-security no-benefit housekeepers, landscapers, casual laborers, agricultural workers, etc. etc., in dead-end jobs you’re going to have the externalities regardless of where you recruit. If government forces employers to pick up the costs, prices will go up and the externalities will go down. I am aware of what free-market dogma says about this, but I’m not a free-marketer that way.

    What’s in question here is the social externalities, not the employer-worker contract.

    Incidentally, I was incensed when so many Clinton appointees turned out to have hired under-the-table no-benefit help. Don’t ever think that I’m a Clinton loyalist, except on the phony blowjob/ Whitewater issues. Liberals have very, very mixed feelings about Clinton.

    During the period when low-wage immigration has been increasing, the job structure has moved strongly toward no-benefit no-security low-paid temp jobs (“flexibility”). More but worse jobs, with social externalities which were not confined to immigrants. Low-wage immigrants were brought into this deteriorated job structure which made serious assimilation difficult. Something like this would have happened wherever the immigrants came from — i.e. if you brought in a million Chinese, Russians, or Punjabis selected the way the Mexican immigrants have been selected (desperation, mostly).

    Check out what people said about immigrants ca. 1900. Many of the same problems with crime, squalor, and low-skill illiteracy. The problems were not imaginary then or now. If there’s a difference, it’s that we’re now going into a two-tier work force based on a permanent underclass.

    I’m not completely sure what we’re arguing about by now. I’m not an advocate of unrestricted immigration. I’m mostly arguing that the problem isn’t that we’re letting the wrong people in, but that we’ve restructured our economy on the basis of a permanent labor underclass and people are coming in to join that underclass. If there had been immigration from Mexico into the old-style benefit-security-living-wage types jobs, the immigrants would certainly have assimilated, and in fact I know a fair number of Hispanics here in Portland who did just that a generation or two ago.

  16. P.S. Southeast Asian immigrants fleeing the outcome of the Vietnam War received a lot of special benefits, as refugees and former allies, which were never received by Mexican immigrants. The situations were not comparable. Other Asian immigrants in recent decades have been mostly middle class (special visas, family reunification).

  17. zizka – I’m not sure we are arguing. what i’m pointing out is that if you at least favour current levels of immigration in your country or are against cutting current levels, then your proposal to improve wages and conditions by government regulation tends to undermine your position because the result will be to make some of current immigrants unemployable. put this another way – the US has historically been more welcoming of migrants than Europe and is probably less xenophobic (there are European countries with pissy levels of immigration who are complaining about what they already have). one reason they can afford to is that they have laxer labour laws which means more migrants are gainfully employed – and which also leads to less of the social problems Europe seems to have with its migrants being angry and frustrated and unemployed and potential recruits for al qaeda. put simply the agenda of the euro-weeny socialists and the vdare crowd belong together in many ways. (in fact i would regard most of the arguments made in vdare as socialist)

  18. Well, I lived in Spain when I was 12 and I learned proper Castilian (not the peasant Spanish taught in American high schools) and I can testify that learning Spanish expanded my mind and my perspective. But, yes, one must consider the raw materials here. I am hyperverbal and pretty bright. A dumber child might become a competent practitioner, but it probably wouldn’t be a born-again type intellectual epiphany.

    Posted by duende at April 30, 2003 09:07 AM
    ———————————
    I wonder what you mean by “peasant spanish” .
    I assume that americans are taught spanish as it’s spoken in mexico and other south-american countries, instead of castellano . The reason for this is obvious : Americans are much more likely to interact with western hemisphere spanish speakers than with spaniards.
    If i had to learn portuguese, i’d learn the brazilian variety.
    If one wishes to live here in quebec, it’s useful to be familiar with french *as it’s spoken here* and not necessarily as it’s spoken in paris. It’s of course better to know both .

  19. Jason — we may be fairly close. I’m not against immigration, but not immigration into a two-tier job structure. I actually don’t follow immigration law or policy closely. Some say that given the wealth threshold at the Rio Grande, immigration cannot be stopped. I tend to think, though, that there’s been a deliberate benign neglect of employer malfeasance (under the table jobs) which has helped drive immigration.

    I’ve known at least two white Americans who were deported from Canada for illegally applying for jobs. It seems that laws are possible to enforce.

  20. Zizka,

    >>You have to look at the positive effects of cheap labor — cheap food, cheap help, cheap restaurants, cheap old-folks homes, cheap warehousing, etc. Who benefits from this? What would happen if these people had secure, well-paying jobs with benefits? In the long run the externalities would be less, the kids would be assimilated, but lots of costs would be higher.

    How would the externalities be less. Every action results in an externality? When you buy a candy bar you reduce the supply, the reduced supply is the externality. It is possible that crime would go down if these people were all surgeons but the point is they are not smart enough to become surgeons. This can be reasonably concluded through IQ measurement. We are now looking at a wholly different class of mass immigrant than before in terms of genetic potential. And look at the problems that still exist with certain white ethnicities after decades. How will the new problem arrivals be any better or equal?

    >>Low-skill immigrants aren’t allowed in casually or thoughtlessly. They’re here to fill a need. There are many businesses which depend on them. It’s not the multiculturalists who are making this happen.

    We don’t casually allow illegal immigrants into this nation? If allowing them to traverse or borders or to fly in by aircraft, and to then allow them to stay for as long as they like isn’t casual then I don’t know what is.

    As to the fact that its not the multiculturalists letting this happen, then who is it? The arch-conservatives like Pat Buchanan? Massive immigration is nothing more than the product of white guilt. It serves no purpose except to placate white minds that there culture is not superior to that of the Mexicans.

    As for business need, what need? The need a manger claims in order to produce at his level of talent? It is a managers responsibility to balance the factors of production to make a profit. When he must rely non-market help (illegal immigration) his problem is that he is either not a good enough manager or his business model is not good enough to survive – a cruel fact of life. Everyone acts as if businesses have the right to exist. Hogwash.

    Massive immigration into the USA is a disaster for the simple reason is that it has no check. Americans cannot invade other countries and receive a government paycheck upon their arrival. This is skewing the labor market and creating a clearly untenable economic situation. It is so simple, every action needs to have a balancing factor in order for it to work in a free-market, but immigration into the USA doesn’t. That is why it is a huge problem.

    You claim these people were brought here for a reason and that businesses need them. I hope that you are simply unaware of the fact that business can invest in either mechanization or labor (or some measure of both) and that your analysis suffers only from this. It is laughable, albeit painfully so, when people comment on immigration and act as if there is no alternative to human labor. Machines have changed the world over, yet people such as you act is if such advancement has reached its peak. The simple fact is that if illegal immigration were wiped out and if legal immigration were ratcheted down, business would quickly invest in mechanized tools that would supplant human labor. Until such time as immigration is reduced, however, there is little incentive for businesses to make these investments because labor is cheap. In the meantime we can enjoy watching our culture destroyed, our roads clogged and celebrating Mexican holidays.

    Justin

  21. >>The Neocons have achieve this level of power through years of deception, deceit, lying, and bullying. The only way we’re going to get back on an even footing with them is to start doing the same. Dirty and unpleasant, yes, but it is the only language these evil people understand

    I’ve criticised on my blog too, and yes, they are Jewish, as are a disproportionately high number of other public intellectuals. However I’ve criticised them on what I think are quite plausible grounds – they probably sincerely believe that what they’re doing is in the long run interests of preserving US security, as do Cheney et al who are not jewish neocons. However let me now distance myself from all the neocon bashing which is going on in the Left and the Buchananite Right which seems to be based on some conspiracy theory that the neocons have somehow tricked cheney, condi et al into serving the interests of Israel and that this is all about using the US army to finish off Israel’s enemies. this sort of conspiracy theory stuff is frightening in its idiocy, but it’s also frightening in its similarities with how Germans viewed the Jews post weimar i.e. some Jewish cabal allegedly driving Germany into wars.

  22. There’s a lot to answer here. People should know that I am one of the worst of the worst on Atrios. I come here because there are a lot of non-political things of interest here and the site is not monolithically right wing.

    Demonization has been going on for a decade or more and it’s mostly one way. Newt Gingrich (not an obscure figure) declared before the 1992 election that when a mother in S.C. killed her kids, it showed how bad the Democrats were. It turned out (after the election) that the mother was the stepdaughter of a state Republican committeeman who had sexually abused her for years. Once the news came out the press suddenly became all decent and the new story got little publicity. Newt never apologized or retracted.

    That’s the most vivid example. I could deliver tons of them. I personally think Democrats should draw the line at inaccuracy but should not shrink from personal attacks. Being the nice, thoughtful, civilized guy hasn’t worked. (Incidentally, I am not especially proposing a far left message. MWO and Bartcop in particular are centrist Dems, just angry ones)

    There really is a polarization going on. Probably most but not all of you here know which side you’ll end up on. I’m mostly talking to those of you who aren’t sure yet. I really think many of you underestimate the right wing and overestimate the degree which you’ll be part of the dialogue once they are firmly in control.

    Immigration, briefly: most refugees from SE Asia were supported by the government for a considerable period after arrival. They received FAR more than affirmative action, bilingual education, and Spanish street signs.

    Back to my point. First came the decision to change to a low-wage low-security no-benefit job structure, thus producing a large semi-employed desperate and impoverished class. Next came the immigration to fill these jobs. Regardless of who filled these jobs, the problems we’re talking about would have come from it.

    Putting labor strictly on the free market has its externalities and costs. The European attempt has been to use state intervention to prevent immiserization. (sp?) There are costs to that, but by and large Europe has avoided the social problems we’re talking about (restricting immigration was part of the mix). Subsidizing the unemployed was also part of their solution.

    I really think it’s fantasy to think that the problems could have been avoided by letting some other category of smarter, more law-abiding immigrant in to do the shit jobs. (The most crime comes from the first American generation, as I understand). It really is a structural problem.

    Old fashioned anti-democratic conservatives talked about “the dangerous classes”, one of which was propertyless laborers (regardless of national origin). There was a consensus that they should be watched carefully, repressed as necessary, and never allowed any influence in government. In the XIX-XX c. there was an fairly successful attempt to get away from this structure. With the globalization of the labor market (either by immigration or by job export) we’re returning to that structure.

    I think that that’s the weakness of the libertarian program. A pure free-market labor market would produce, from time to time if not always, desperate classes, and would require heavy and efficient repression.

  23. Zizka,

    You say you play the nice guy, so I am going to respond in kind. To be honest is doesn’t sound as if you know very much about economics. I am no professor myself, but you are running around in circles, confusing free-market effects (externalities) with those created by interventionism. The two simple are world’s apart in their origin and are in fact completely are different. When the free-market produces corruption or something negative then we can assume the costs of righting the corruption are greater than the costs of the corruption itself. However, when government creates the problem there is no basis of knowing of what the true costs of that corruption are, becuase people are not able to respond to it without jumping through hoops.

    I would recommend that you read Mises.com, anything by Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell’s column.

    As for your comments:
    “Immigration, briefly: most refugees from SE Asia were supported by the government for a considerable period after arrival. They received FAR more than affirmative action, bilingual education, and Spanish street signs.”

    What did they receive that can be gauged as FAR more than affirmative action? From what I gather it is far more difficult to bring a family member from Vietnam than from Mexico. This is simple axiomatic. All a Mexican has to do is to illegally cross the border and then wait for a period of time before he is granted residency. How can it be easier for any SE Asian? Also, what specifically did SE Asian’s get that Mexicans’ havent? Most of us are forced to suffer through Cinco da Mayo today, and act as if it is anything but a painful reminder of how terrible a nation Mexico really is.

    >>Back to my point. First came the decision to change to a low-wage low-security no-benefit job structure, thus producing a large semi-employed desperate and impoverished class. Next came the immigration to fill these jobs. Regardless of who filled these jobs, the problems we’re talking about would have come from it.

    Zizka, who made this decision that you claim was made? Your time frame is always way off. You are saying that jobs were reduced in pay and that many people were made poor by being more or less forced to take these jobs. Then you say immigration came to fill these jobs. But I thought they were filled by the desperate class? Simple truth is that immigration is what has driven the wage rate down and is a major factor in destroying the edcuational classroom. You also have no data to suggest that the moving of manufacturing type jobs overseas wouldn’t have been supplanted by equally lucrative service oriented jobs had immigration been kept in check. This is simply not possible to know, although we can guess that wage rates for those jobs would be much much higher than if immigration hadn’t been so voluminous.

    >>Putting labor strictly on the free market has its externalities and costs.

    This is what I mean by you seem to be confused about what an externality is. Every action creates an externality.

    >>The European attempt has been to use state intervention to prevent immiserization. (sp?) There are costs to that, but by and large Europe has avoided the social problems we’re talking about (restricting immigration was part of the mix). Subsidizing the unemployed was also part of their solution.

    France’s economy has shrunk. European brillance is going down the tube. This is do to socialism pure and simple. Europe has huge social problems from immigrants as well. Look at France, and the attacks on Jewish marks. Also, you cannot take money from one person and give it to another person indefinitely. Eventually, the first person will stop working. This is the problem Europe faces. They are in deep trouble.

    >>I really think it’s fantasy to think that the problems could have been avoided by letting some other category of smarter, more law-abiding immigrant in to do the shit jobs. (The most crime comes from the first American generation, as I understand). It really is a structural problem.

    Like many people who choose to comment on immigration you refuse to focus on the key points. The shit jobs are not necessarily shit. It depends on the wage rate. Who wouldn’t sweep floors for $1,000/day? As Steve Sailer has pointed out those jobs still get done in cities such as Pittsburg where there are few immigrants. The fact is many jobs you decry as shit, would be welcome by many unemployed Americans today. Of course, if they are lucky enough to get one they probably pay less than $10/hour becuase of the massive competition from immigrants. The whole point is that the massive immigration has artificially inflated the labor market, allowing management to become rich while depriving the lower earners.

    As for crime from immigrants, I am not sure about the statistics but with Mexicans I think there might be more crime from subsequent generations rather than the border crossers. I am not sure though.

    >>Old fashioned anti-democratic conservatives talked about “the dangerous classes”, one of which was propertyless laborers (regardless of national origin). There was a consensus that they should be watched carefully, repressed as necessary, and never allowed any influence in government. In the XIX-XX c. there was an fairly successful attempt to get away from this structure. With the globalization of the labor market (either by immigration or by job export) we’re returning to that structure.

    I don’t know this to be true, but don’t they have a point? A bunch of idiots running around voting and determining policy, ruining a nation built on independence, and instead voting for socialism, that sounds horrible to me.

    >>I think that that’s the weakness of the libertarian program. A pure free-market labor market would produce, from time to time if not always, desperate classes, and would require heavy and efficient repression.

    Okay many libertarians are for unrestricted immigration, but living legend Milton Friedman has pointed out that you cannot have unrestricted immigration into a welfare state for the obvious reason people are coming not to work but to laze around! But let’s say there was no welfare and people of the world could live whereever they may choose, how do you know there would be huge problems from time to time? You simply don’t know how the societies would be structured. My guess is you would see eugenics on a massive scale.

    Justin

  24. Justin:

    I’m being nice according to my own standards here. I have reasons for wanting to stay and am not going to flame anyone. I am not, in truth, nice.

    You seem to think that your question is rhetorical, but it isn’t. Most refugees from Vietnam were supported by the government (= on welfare) for a considerable period of time when they came over ~1980. Perhaps some still are. People coming from Mexico get jobs working 80 hours a week at 5$ an hour, or they stand on streetcorners and hope to get odd jobs, but they aren’t taken care of.

    The assault on unions and American labor began in 1980 with Reagan and has been continuous ever since, with a slight lag under Clinton. A flood of immigration occurred during the same period. I am not on top of the mechanics of it, but my guess is that there is a nudge-nudge wink-wink enforcement policy against employers of illegal immigrants, interspersed with highly publicized busts intended to make people feel something was being done. Sort of like drugs or prostitution. white-collar crime isn’t taken too seriously in this country.

    “Externality”: I was responding to Razib’s use of the word, not trying to sound like an economist. Employers of low-wage labor manage to export some of their costs onto the public; their employees and ex-employees use welfare hospitals, commit crimes when unemployed, beg, live on the streets, depend on food banks and churches, get food stamps, and so on. Regardless of national origin.

    I have a shit job myself, but I’m not completely dependent on it and don’t have kids. A shit job is, as you could have seen in context, an insecure, low-paid job with no benefits which makes it hard to raise kids.

    If you’re arguing that immigration should have been restricted to keep American wages higher, well, I’m tending that way, as is much of the labor movement and Pat Buchanan. However, doing this is NOT free-market or libertarian; it’s like a labor tariff. Gung-ho free-marketers LOVE immigration.

    Pittsburg is a union town, I think, and maybe the janitor jobs haven’t been contracted out yet. I know janitors and have seen how their jobs have been made worse over the decades.

    The major points I’ve been trying to make are:

    1. Thinking that the problem we have is that the racially wrong people are coming into the country is delusory.

    2. Restriction of immigration is not Libertarian.

    3. The social costs of a law-of-the-jungle labor market are severe, and probably cannot be met without an un-Libertarian degree of repression.

    4. Welfare state type programs greatly reduce the social costs, basically by protecting labor from the unrestricted market. The cost is borne, obviously, by people who don’t need that protection.

    5. I’m aware of Europe’s financial and immigration problems and don’t take Europe as a panacea. Whether these problems are as bad as people say, or Europe’s future as dim, I don’t know. Many of the anti-Europe anti-France anti-Canada slurs I see are inaccurate to the point of imbecility, though. (That the average Swede is worse off than the average black Missisippian, for example — not too long ago on Instapundit.)

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