1. Ryan Murphy muses on the implication of French cultural protection arguments for the way some Americans oppose immigration. I actually don't think subsidizing cultural activities like the French film industry is the most awful idea in the world, but on the immigration side it's a pretty distorted sense of American (I'm sorry - Murican) culture that writes out immigrants. Immigrants are like our cultural blood transfusions. I'm sure there's also an asymmetry on this point. Most Americans that rail against Mexican immigration probably have a fairly positive view of Ellis Island. We don't have very many people still going around saying how awful that was. And yes, some of them are George Borjas types that have a somewhat more sophisticated argument for that distinction, but not the vast majority.
2. Anu Bradford proposes immigration bonds to assuage fears of immigrants. Basically immigrants would post bonds and if they became unemployed or went on welfare it would be financed with the bond. If they committed a crime it would pay for deportation costs. I'm not sure what I think of this. Some of it sounds a little odd. Part of me doesn't think there should be an extra cost to living here if we want them to come here. We're basically saying our system ought to be progressive unless you're new here, then it'll be much more regressive. We're also once again saying that low skill immigrants are not the "desirables" and high skill immigrants are, because this quite intentionally raises the cost of immigration for low skill immigrants. Yes I know low skill immigrants impose a higher cost on society than high skill immigrants, but guess what - low skill natives impose a higher cost on society than high skill natives. We want this progressive system and it seems to me if we're welcoming these people as new Americans it shouldn't be selectively applied. Some of it is strange though - unemployment insurance, for example, is only paid to workers if they've paid sufficient payroll taxes in a defined base period. So immigrants would only get that if they have already contributed what we have determined is sufficient for receiving unemployment insurance. It's an interesting idea - and as the author says its much better than government committees picking out desirable traits - but it still makes me uneasy.
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