Immigrants — Good or Bad? (Looks like Wednesday means John Stossel’s column)

A long long time ago, my parents took my brother, my sister, and me and emigrated to Canada. My grandmother and great aunt already lived there, teaching school in a farming community in southern Alberta. If I remember correctly, my parents had to be sponsored and one of them had to have a job on arrival. Thanks to my grandmother and great aunt, my mother was hired sight-unseen by another school in another farming community – Conquerville School, 22 miles from the closest town of Bow Island, Alberta. We lived there for 3 years. Dad got his degree from the University of Lethbridge during that time. I spent some time having tests run in the Children’s Hospital in Calgary (thyroid).

Technically, I guess I grew up in the ‘borderlands’ – we went back and forth over the border many many times, for shopping and visits. Canadian and American coins were interchangeable, except in the pop machines.

We left Canada, where we had lived less than a hundred miles from the U.S. border, and traveled south, taking up residence outside Gila, New Mexico – less than a hundred miles from the Mexican border. My brother Glenn will come along here shortly and give more specific distances – I don’t know if my memory is correct and I’m too whupped to spend the time to look it up. Again, borderlands. We weren’t there long, but a couple times a Mexican man would come to the property. He would be given a chore, a sandwich and drink, and he would leave.

John Stossel’s column at

I’m confused about immigration.

We libertarians believe in free trade. That includes trade in labor, too. New people bring us not just labor, but also good new ideas. Open immigration during America’s first hundred years helped make America rich.

Open immigration is dangerous today, however, because some immigrants want to murder us. And now that America is a welfare state, some want to come here just to freeload. That great champion of freedom Milton Friedman said Mexican immigration is a good thing — but only so long as it’s illegal. “Why? Because as long as it’s illegal for people to come, they don’t qualify for welfare and Social Security. So they migrate to jobs.”

But closing our eyes to illegal immigration cannot be good policy. So what should American do?

Stossel’s confused. Me, too.



  1. Gila, NM is less than one hundred miles from Mexico. Through a place on the old Southern Pacific, Lordsburg. Hobos from both sides catching a freight back then.
    Conquerville, Alberta. Doesn’t exist anymore. Went by there in 91 after our Dad passed. You can see the Sweet Grass Hills in NC Montana from there. Maybe 50 miles as the crow flies?!?!
    Borderlands, we lived in some of them for a large part of our child hood.

  2. They need to do what needs to be done for them to be here LEGALLY. Point blank. Sorry if Mexico sucks, but if you want it that bad, do it right. I’m sick of people (politicians) standing up for illegal immigrants…of ANY country.

  3. I’ll join you and Stossel in being confused.

    Not long ago I wrote about Arizona’s immigration policies (Driving While Dark), examining the motivation behind them from something other than a “they’re-all-a-bunch-of-bigots” point of view. Interestingly enough, there was a total absence of comments from my regular readers for over 24 hours. Eventually someone found the courage to comment, followed by another, and another. I also examined this phenomenon in The Silence of the Lambs.

    It’s a tricky subject made trickier by the fact that we are unable to talk about it openly in a sensible manner.

    1. I read Driving While Dark over at your place, Frank. Thank you for writing it! I tend to be careful who I discuss my opinions with, or in front of. Not as careful as some would prefer, obviously, because at least one branch of the family has disowned me and mine. Lucky we don’t live in the same neighborhood, I suppose. As soon as the other person speaking throws out one or more of the Terms Which Define, I’ve been told not just who they are, but also what they think of me and anyone who agrees with me. Sad.

      I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting. I hope to make reading your blog a more regular part of my week…if for nothing else than the NAME! See, that’s what the name of this one would be like if I were more honest myself. And, of course, I just couldn’t think of anything witty when I started the thing!

      Anyway, thanks again, you are welcome here any time.

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