Ilana Mercer, July 2, 2003

In making their case for a free-for-all immigration policy, open-border libertarians usually confine themselves to insipid sentimental arguments. This manipulative fare is easy to dismiss. After all, saying that immigrants are only seeking “a better way of life” in our country or that immigration is an American tradition hardly constitutes a valid justification for laws that are manifestly antithetical to the welfare and rights of Americans.


Immigration lawyer Gregory Siskind is one such specimen. Siskind, who claims his work is inspired by his libertarian beliefs and Jewish faith, to boot, traffics in H-1B visas. These are temporary work permits, which are also a route to acquiring legal permanent resident status. The out-of-control H-1B visa program has become an example of crony capitalism in action—it’s tantamount to a taxpayer subsidy for hi-tech corporations.


Siskind claims his work benefits the economy. As his immigration muse, he touts the man who monkeys with our money, Alan Greenspan. Predictably, Greenspan is as hip about immigration as he is about inflating the money supply. That Siskind credits the Fed chairman with “ensuring that America thrives” ought to cast doubts on any judgment he makes about the value to the economy of his H-1B work, much less on his libertarian bona fides.


Far worse is Jim Rogers’ paean to open borders published by the Future of Freedom Foundation, an organization that generally doesn’t countenance falsehoods. In support for his open-border position, Rogers claims falsely that the United States has huge shortages of computer specialists, software and other engineers. Our Mr. Siskind, for his part, hazards that advocates of limited immigration or a moratorium on work visas wish to “shut down the country’s borders to protect the economic well-being of the few.”


As few as 172,000? That’s the official number of unemployed high-tech professionals who are, if we are to believe Siskind, acting as spoilsports. Computer software engineers lead the way with 62,000 unemployed! Indeed, these figures, available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor, put paid to the untruths spread by immigration fetishists. Unemployment among electrical and electronics engineers reached seven percent in the first quarter of 2003!


Yet the current cap of H-1B visas stands at 195,000, and immigration lawyers like Siskind are lobbying Congress to keep the new arrivals coming. In 1992, the allowable number of H-1B visas was 65,000, but due to pressure, Congress increased the number of incomers first to 115,000 and then to its current level. “Since the H-1B cap was raised to 195,000 visas a year in 2000,” reports the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-United States of America (IEEE-USA), unemployment among American engineers and computer scientists has jumped from 65,000 to 114,000 in 2001 to 166,000 in 2002 to its current unequalled high.


Yes, correlation is not causation. But you have to admit the correlation is a strong one. And it is further strengthened by the fact that during the same time span, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, cheered on by the likes of Siskind and the congressional cockroaches, had approved a total of “529,000 new and renewal H-1B visa petitions from U.S. employers.” Talk about treason! American governments are unique in their efforts to displace their own population, while at the same time training it in the art of silent suffering—the locals are guaranteed to go quietly into the night, mouthing mad mantras about immigration’s blessings.


The sheer volume of unemployed, highly skilled people in the fields of science and engineering must give pause. This “may not be a short-term cyclical phenomenon,” ventures Dr. Ronil Hira of the IEEE-USA, but a result of much more fundamental changes in the U.S. economy. Even theoreticians who refuse to adapt abstracted economic models to reality must concede that America’s best and brightest young people will be unlikely to pursue careers in science and engineering anytime soon, not if they want to eat.


Professionals like electrical engineers and computer scientists have an added problem. Most of these fellows make their living via the economic means. The political class and its sycophants—immigration lawyers and activists—utilize the political means to earn their keep. As libertarian economist Murray Rothbard reminded, these “are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth”—the economic means is honest and productive, the political means is dishonest and predatory…but oh so very effective. 



July 2, 2003

CATEGORIES: Economy, Immigration, Libertarianism, Outsourcing