Immigration criteria that don’t rig elections will protect freedom

Percent of youth under 18 in state who were children of immigrants as of 2008 helps show that immigration criteria favor big government

Percent of youth under 18 in state who were children of immigrants as of 2008 [1]

Immigration criteria bring in people who favor big government

…Pew researchers asked if respondents completely agreed, mostly agreed, mostly disagreed, or completely disagreed with the following statements:

  1. There need to be stricter laws and regulations to pro­tect the environment.
  2. It is the responsibility of the government to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves.
  3. The government should help more needy people even if it means going deeper in debt.
  4. Poor people have become too dependent on govern­ment assistance programs.

Responses to these four items form a single factor or scale score, higher values in this case indicating greater approval of increased regulation and redistribution, or opposition to limited government. What explains where respondents score on these questions once they are combined and scaled? Democrats are far more likely to favor an activist role for govern­ment than Republicans — and the difference is about a 42-point gap separating “Strong Democrats” from “Strong Republicans”.[2]

…there is a significant negative correlation between the growth in the immigrant share of the population and the Republican vote share in elections for the House.

Change in Republican vote share vs. change in immigrant population share shows that immigration criteria favor big government

Increasing the immigrant fraction by 1.00% increases the big-government vote fraction by 0.72% [3]

Immigration criteria favor big government for at least 2 generations

About eight-in-ten (83%) first-generation Hispanics say they would rather have a bigger government with more services than a smaller government with fewer services. While still a clear majority, the share opting for an activist government is lower (71%) among second-generation Hispanics.

Among Asian Americans, more of the first generation (57%) than the second generation (47%) prefer a bigger government that provides more services. Second-generation Asian Americans hold views more similar to those of the general public on this issue.

Hispanics and Asian Americans favor big government, showing that immigration criteria favor big government

Hispanics and Asian Americans favor big government [4]

The majority of both Muslim Americans… and the general public… favor increased federal government spending to help the needy (73 percent and 63 percent, respectively)…

American Muslims favor big government, showing that immigration criteria favor big government

American Muslims favor big government [5]

Immigration criteria threaten citizens’ freedom

Overall, the share of immigrants steadily increased over time. The nationwide average share of immigrants in the total population was 9.1 percent in 1994, rising to 17 percent in 2012.

Immigrant fraction per state in 1994 shows effect of immigration criteria

Immigrant fraction per state in 1994

Immigrant fraction per state in 2012 shows effect of immigration criteria

Immigrant fraction per state in 2012 [3]

Immigration criteria swing the vote, rigging elections

Demography is destiny
The past: California
The present: Florida, Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia
The future, near term: Arizona, North Carolina
The future, long term: Georgia, Texas [6]

Using standard statistical methods, this research has estimated the impact of the rising percentage of immigrants across U.S. counties on Republican presidential voting in the presidential elections from 1980 to 2012. Across all U.S. counties, including the many smaller counties, the estimated effect of immigration is to drop Republican vote share about two percentage points. Even in seemingly remote locations with negligible immigrant populations, the effect is sufficient to move a 51 percent county to a 49 percent county. Aggregated over the large number of counties and viewed through the template of the Electoral College’s winner-take-all system of elections, the impact of immigration is easily suf­ficient, by itself, to decide upcoming presidential elections.[2]


  1. Passel, Jeffrey S. “Demography of immigrant youth: Past, present, and future.” The Future of Children1 (2011): 19-41; 28.
  2. Gimpel, James G. Immigration’s Impact on Republican Political Prospects, 1980 to 2012.Center for Immigration Studies, 2014, pp. 4-5, 11.
  3. Mayda, Anna Maria, Giovanni Peri, and Walter Steingress. Immigration to the US: A problem for the Republicans or the Democrats? w21941. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016, pp. 12, 13, 46, 48.
  4. Second-Generation Americans. A portrait of the adult children of immigrants.Pew Research Center, 2013, p. 73.
  5. Read, Jen’nan Ghazal. “muslims in america.” Contexts4 (2008): 39-43; 41.
  6. Wolgin, Philip, and Ann Garcia. Immigration Is Changing the Political Landscape in Key States. Center for American Progress, 2013, p. 2.

Immigration surplus couldn’t be a world GDP increase of 60%, but could be 7%

Global gains from open borders shaded area shows immigration surplus

The immigration surplus made concrete, on paper:

  • North’s gain from Southern workers, trapezoid B, equals South’s loss, trapezoid C.
  • North’s total gain, trapezoid AB, is bigger than South’s loss, trapezoid C. The difference is the total immigration surplus: trapezoid AB‘s shaded portion, which is triangle A.
  • This is idealized with migration costless; and with poor Southern immigrants suddenly producing like rich Northern natives; and with migration continuing when Northern natives’ wages fall.

Immigration surplus has been called a world GDP increase of 60%

To get a better grasp of the issues at hand, it is best to begin with a description of the basic model.

As in the generic study in the literature, the removal of immigration restrictions (combined with the assumption of costless mobility) would lead to a huge increase in world GDP. Specifically… world GDP would increase by $40 trillion, almost a 60 percent increase. Moreover, these gains would accrue each year after the migration occurs, so that the present value of the gains nears one quadrillion dollars!

…if only countries would stop being countries.

Immigration surplus that big would take exodus of 95%, productivity leap, native wages down 40%

The simulation implies that 2.6 billion workers, or 95 percent of the workforce in the South, will move. If these workers bring along their families, the 95 percent mobility rate implies that nearly 5.6 billion persons would move from the South to the North.

For immigration to generate substantial global gains, it must be the case that billions of immigrants can move to the industrialized economies without importing the “bad” organizations, social models, and culture that led to poor economic conditions in the source countries in the first place.

The formation of social networks among migrants could substantially lower the costs of migration for the second or third billionth mover. But congestion costs in the receiving countries could also increase exponentially, making it harder to resettle that marginal migrant.

The earnings of the North’s native workforce fall by almost 40 percent, and the earnings of Southern workers increase by 143 percent.

A little humility about what we actually know would seem to be a prerequisite before anyone proposes a breathtaking rearrangement of the world order. …it seems likely that a particular [immigration] policy is chosen because that choice leads to the greatest benefits and/or smallest costs in that place and at that time.[1]

Immigration surplus could plausibly come from emigration of 12%, with productivity lag

In this paper, we quantify the effect of a complete liberalization of cross-border migration on the world GDP and its distribution across regions.

As for desired migration, we aggregate four waves of the Gallup World Poll survey… About 290,000 adults from 142 countries were questioned about their desired migration and preferred country of destination. These countries are representative of about 97 percent of the world population.

Data on potential migration reveal that the number of people in the world who have a desire to migrate is around 400 million. For the year 2000, we identify 274.5 million desiring migrants aged 25 and over. Adding them to the effective migrants gives a total stock of 386.1 million potential migrants (i.e., 12.1 percent of the population).

Most of these desiring migrants originate in poor countries and want to relocate to rich countries.

The main regions of origin are Asia (30 percent of the total, including China and India), sub-Saharan Africa (17 percent), Latin America (14 percent), and the Middle East and Northern Africa (8 percent).

In terms of destinations, a vast majority want to emigrate to an OECD, high-income country (27 percent to the United States, 26 percent to Europe, and 16 percent to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Other important destinations are Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

It is widely documented that many immigrants with higher education tend to find jobs in occupations typically staffed by less-educated natives… Highly educated immigrants trained in developing countries, in particular, are likely to be less productive in high-skill jobs than natives with similar educational degrees.

Plausible immigration surplus in the first generation could be world GDP increase of 7%

…when total factor productivity (TFP) is an increasing function of the proportion of college graduates in the country’s labor force… in the medium term… (i.e., over one generation)… liberalizing migration increases the world GDP by… in the range of 7.0 percent…[2]


  1. Borjas, George J. “Immigration and globalization: A review essay.” Journal of Economic Literature 53.4 (2015): 961-974.
  2. Docquier, Frédéric, Joël Machado, and Khalid Sekkat. “Efficiency gains from liberalizing labor mobility.” The Scandinavian journal of economics 117.2 (2015): 303-346.

Ellis Island mass immigration let in people who were ready to work, but still looking

The Immigrant's Track Through Ellis Island

The Immigrant’s Track Through Ellis Island
A. Immigrants landed from barges enter by these stairs.
B. Surgeon examines health tickets.
C. Surgeon examines head and body.
D. Surgeon examines eyes. Suspects go to left for further examination.
E. Female inspector looking for prostitutes.
F. Group enters and sits in pen corresponding to ticket letter or number.
G. Inspector examines on twenty-two questions.
H. Into special inquiry court.
I. Stamping railroad ticket orders.
J. Money exchange and telegraph office.
K. To railroad pen.
L. To New York pen.
M. To the ferry and New York.
N. Telegraph office.[1]

Armed, on the one hand, with the Public Charge Law of 1882, which excluded those who seemed like invalids or paupers and, on the other hand, with the Anti-Contract Labor Law of 1885, which excluded those who seemed like they came with a promise of work, federal administrators quickly assumed the task of erecting an elaborate inspection apparatus for individuals seeking to enter the United States.

These two contradictory laws, developed in different historical circumstances, operated with equal legal force on Ellis Island, as inspectors selectively admitted immigrants who seemed able-bodied and defenseless.

“To get the fullest grasp,” Brandenburg explained in his book, “we must become immigrants ourselves and re-enter our own country as strangers and aliens.” Disguised as “Italian,” then, this peculiarly self-reflexive journalist convincingly documented aspects of passing through Ellis Island.

Much of the legal work of Ellis Island occurred aboard the ships that took immigrants across the Atlantic. On board, Brandenburg recounted how federal law required ships’ manifests to match precisely the name of every immigrant who appeared before inspection or the United States authorities would “exact a fine of $200.”

Likewise, immigrants began rehearsing the federal inspection process on the ships. Not only did those who had already been to the United States tell stories about inspection to others on board, but prior to sailing some had prepared written rehearsals that they consulted in transit: “I saw more than one man with a little slip of notes in his hand carefully rehearsing his group in all that they were to say when they came up for examination.”‘

At first, inspectors thought the two “were dagoes all right,” but they grew suspicious at Brandenburg’s wife who, as one inspector claimed, was “the first woman I have ever seen in the steerage with such well-kept finger-nails.” Clean finger-nails drew attention, because they upset the inspector’s expectations of Italians as dirty people, and so her fingers suggested that she was perhaps trying to attract attention – the kind of attention allegedly sought by prostitutes.

On Ellis Island itself, the couple experienced little trouble passing through immigration controls: “Our papers were all straight, we were correctly entered on the manifest, and had abundant money, had been passed by the doctors, and were properly destined to New York, and so were passed in less than one minute.”

Brandenburg’s account reveals how inspection effectively encouraged each immigrant to appear meek, yet able-bodied in front of inspectors enforcing contradictory laws. In other words, inspection favored those who appeared defenseless and duty-minded.[2]


  1. Brandenburg, Broughton. Imported Americans: The Story of the Experiences of a Disguised American & His Wife Studying the Immigration Question. Stokes, 1904. pp. page facing 227, 227.
  2. Anthes, Louis. “The Island of Duty: The Practice of Immigration Law on Ellis Island.” New York University Review of Law & Social Change 24 (1998): 563-600.