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Forget the Wall Already, It's Time for the U.S. to Have Open Borders

July 31, 2018 in Economics

By Jeffrey Miron

Jeffrey Miron

President Donald Trump’s recent tweets against open borders come
as no surprise. Indeed, even fervent immigration advocates worry
that open borders would lower the wages of low-skilled natives,
erode national security, and overburden the social safety net.
Trump doubled down, tweeting that he would be “willing to
‘shut
down’ government
” unless Congress approves funding for a border
wall with Mexico.

Trump, however, has it exactly backwards: The solution to
America’s immigration problems is open borders, under which the
United States imposes no immigration restrictions at all. If the
U.S. adopts this policy, the benefits will far outweigh the
costs.

Legalize ALL immigration

Illegal immigration will disappear, by definition. Much
commentary on immigration — Trump and fellow travelers aside
— suggests that legal immigration is good and that illegal
immigration is bad. So, legalize all immigration.

America has nothing to
fear, and much to gain, from open borders.

Government will then have no need to define or interpret rules
about asylum, economic hardship, family reunification, family
separation, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and so
on. When all immigration is legal, these issues are irrelevant.

he question of fairness about who enters first — those who
waited in line or those who entered illegally — disappears.
Amnesty for existing illegal immigrants also becomes a non-issue.
Or an open borders policy could require anyone who entered
illegally to exit the country — for exactly five minutes
— and then re-enter legally.

Think about the money we could save and
make

Expenditure on immigration enforcement would shrink to nothing,
because open borders means no walls, fences, screening at airports,
ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), deportations, detention
centers or immigration courts. A
2013 report
estimated that immigration enforcement cost more
than $18 billion annually, and standard indicators suggest costs
have grown further since then.

Last year, U.S. employers filed over 336,000 petitions for H1-B
visas for highly skilled foreign workers, but
only 197,129 were approved
. Complicated visa rules – for
tourists versus job-seekers, STEM (science, technology, engineering
and math) workers versus agricultural laborers, and students versus
non-students – would all vanish. This would save resources and give
employers new access to talented human capital.

The time people waste re-entering the country will evaporate.
How often do you face long delays when entering Oklahoma from
Texas? Never. But how often do you experience delays when you leave
other countries for the United States? Almost always. One study
pegs the cost of wait times at the U.S.-Mexico border alone to be

more than $12 billion a year
.

Economic efficiency will increase both in the USA and in
immigrant-sending countries, because different kinds of labor will
be better …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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