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.
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.