Since I was away on vacation, I missed some of the details about these local protests (rallies?) against this latest immigration bill. I suppose the big issue is the provision to make it a felony act to be in the country without the proper paperwork. And I have to agree with the protesters: It is ridiculous to consider hard-working “Americans-in-spirit” as felons… And I’m more scared than anybody else when it comes to the idea of putting up a Berlin Wall between the US and Mexico. I’ve always been a supporter of open immigration, but thanks to Harry Binswanger, there’s now a good paper in defense of open immigration covering all of the important points. For example, on the claim that open immigration would cause overcrowding:
Take an extreme example. Suppose a tidal wave of immigrants came here. Suppose that half of the people on the planet moved here. That would mean an unthinkable eleven-fold increase in our population–from 300 million to 3.3 billion people. That would make America almost as “densely” populated as today’s England (360 people/sq. km. vs. 384 people/sq. km.). In fact, it would make us less densely populated than the state of New Jersey (453 per sq. km.). And these calculations exclude Alaska, Hawaii, and counts only land area.
And contrary to widespread beliefs, high population density is a value not a disvalue. High population density intensifies the division of labor, which makes possible a wider variety of jobs and specialized consumer products. For instance, in Manhattan, there is a “doll hospital”–a store specializing in the repair of children’s dolls. Such a store and the many specialized, niche businesses require a high population density to have a market. Try finding a doll hospital in Poughkeepsie. In Manhattan, one can find a job as a Pilates Method teacher or as a “Secret Shopper” (2 jobs actually listed on Craig’s List). Not in Paducah.
I know that I, for one, would love to be able to afford to move into an even denser part of downtown Dallas than where I currently live… But more importantly, I welcome hard-working, freedom-loving individuals of any nationality (regardless of their paperwork status) to live in my neighborhood.