That’s the Whole Point of Immigration

Marco Gutierrez, founder of Latinos for Trump, in describing the “dangers” of immigration, said the following (emphasis added):

“My culture is a very dominant culture.  And it is imposing, and it is causing problems. If you don’t do something about it you are going to have taco trucks on every corner.

Source

While Mr. Gutierrez was trying to make a point about the supposed costs of immigration, he actually demonstrated what a boon immigration is to the host nation and how immigrants must act when in a market economy (even one as limited as ours).  How does the Mexican culture “dominate” us?  By serving us tacos.  Or, to shorten it even more: To Serve Us.  Immigrants are an increase in the labor supply in a country.  Despite the slurs long hurled against them (and not just in the US.  Go back to the Book of Exodus to see Egyptian anti-immigrant attitude against the Israelites), immigrants add to the productive nature of an economy, not detract from it; as Julian Simon once said, the greatest resource are humans.  And immigrants are simply humans born on the opposite side of an invisible line.*

One final thought, if this is the “dominating culture” we need to worry about, I say bring it on.  There simply aren’t enough taco trucks in many areas (especially in the DC region).

*The shrewd reader will notice this is the exact same logic as with capital goods (that is, imports).  Generally speaking, increasing the capital stock in a nation increases the economic productivity, and imports are just capital that was created on the opposite side of an invisible line.

10 thoughts on “That’s the Whole Point of Immigration

  1. OK, I’ll admit that Mr. Gutierrez’s taco truck comment was impressively stupid and did indeed open the door to enable you to turn a socio-political statement into an economic one and mercilessly (and accurately) shoot it down. But have you ever considered immigration from a socio-political perspective instead of from an economic perspective? For example, as an extreme thought experiment, what if a large number of immigrants came who were all socialist and would all vote for socialist candidates and policies and would turn the United States into a socialist country? Would you still wholeheartedly support that immigration?

    I’m guessing that what Mr. Gutierrez is trying to say (but failed miserably) is that the governments of latin american countries are relatively socialist and corrupt (think Venezuela and Brazil, for example) and one of the reasons those countries are that way is because of the culture (the people of Venezuela actually elected Chavez, for example), and Mr. Gutierrez doesn’t want the United States to follow in the footsteps of those countries which he fears will be the case if the United States lets too much of that culture in.

    If that was what he was trying to say, what would your (non-economic) response be (if it’s even possible for a libertarian to think of anything in non-economic terms :-).

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    • Bret

      For example, as an extreme thought experiment, what if…

      Isn’t that the whole idea of representative government and majority rule?

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      • Ron H.,

        Sure, but by that same token, if the majority wishes to close the borders, then it can, regardless of reason and even whether or not the reason is rational, correct?

        But what I’m asking, is the reason potentially rational if there’s a substantial chance the political climate will turn unfavorable because of the arriving immigrants culture (according to the desires of the current voters)?

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        • bretwallach

          Sure, but by that same token, if the majority wishes to close the borders, then it can, regardless of reason and even whether or not the reason is rational, correct?

          If one accepts majority rule (mob rule) as legitimate, then sure. The question is whether the majority can legitimately and ethically force others, who don’t agree, to act contrary to their own interests, and whether we really respect private property and freedom of association.

          Then, it’s not clear what the majority position on this issue actually is. For as long as we have been hearing calls to close the borders it hasn’t happened. Perhaps it’s NOT the majority wish to close the border, or alternatively, maybe we don’t really live under a system of majority rule.

          I think what is “rational”, depends on the viewpoint of the individual or individuals taking the action. We only ever hold views or take actions that are rational from our own perspective. Others may disagree, but they can only say “In my view, that action is irrational”. There is no objective measure of rationality.

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    • Even given that situation, I would still support open borders. It is a two-way street. People can come and people can go. Besides, that can be fixed with some simple legislation: require that anyone wishing to become a citizen wait X number of years before doing so. Essentially the same position the US had prior to the 1920’s.

      In a larger POV, the idea that a person should be prevented from improving their way of life because of how they might vote is abhorant to me as a libertarian, a Christian, and as a human being.

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      • Jon,

        Thanks for the clear and specific answer (those are oh-so-rare on the Internet!). I don’t necessarily disagree with you either and it is, of course, always far more complicated and shades-of-gray than my simple and extreme example.

        I do think that it’s clear that Mr. Gutierrez disagrees with you, his silly taco truck argument notwithstanding. And I find myself having a hard time disagreeing with him either. There may be such a thing as “cultural suicide” which is essentially what Mr. G. is concerned about and that sort of suicide may not really be more admirable than suicide of the individual sort.

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  2. Thank you Bret Wallach.
    Well said.
    There are many examples of church congregations who were proud of their inclusivity for a sufficiently long enough time that the novelty of that tradition wore off and the old money of the church left. When this tradition was no longer something to be proud of even more people left. Eventually the now poorer and smaller church either went vacant or became the new breed’s church.
    One of the reasons churches organized at the higher levels, synods, was to have some control over that problem.
    Anybody want to buy a nice pipe organ?

    There is a tendency of the libertarian logic of inclusivity to become a tradition which is defended out of habit. When in reality this philosophy can only work in the absence of the state. Not the absence of the welfare state. As long as there’s centralized power, –I don’t care how benign– it can be seized.

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    • Walter

      What libertarian logic of inclusivity is that? My understanding of libertarian philosophy is better described as “exclusivity”. “Leave me alone to pursue my own peaceful interests and I will leave you alone” “Anything peaceful”. Perhaps the word you’re thinking of is “tolerance”.

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