The Democratic case for restricting immigration

By Leith van Onselen

Left-leaning magazine, Vanity Fair, has published a well-argued article laying the Democratic (left) case for restricting immigration into the United States:

With stricter border enforcement, employers would immediately start to feel a reduction of available labor, as is already happening…

With the share of low-skill workers becoming smaller, many sorts of employment would start to pay better: home care, security work, massage therapy, dishwashing, gardening, housekeeping, cleaning, construction, gardening, manufacturing. Out in the fields, agricultural wages would likewise start to rise little by little. Union drives would go better, as employers stopped being able to threaten workers with deportation. We’d see more productivity innovations as labor costs forced businesses to make better use of their human resources or to mechanize, as in Japan.

Environmental conservation would become easier for the simple reason that fewer people would be making demands on our natural resources. Our persistent droughts out west would become less severe with a slowly growing population than with a rapidly growing population, for the simple reason that there would be more water to go around. Americans would continue to consume too much fuel and electricity per person, but lower numbers would mean less strain on our resources. Air pollution would be curbed. Traffic increases would be slower. National parks would become only slightly, not drastically, more crowded each year…

We’d see a stronger social safety net and more money freed up to support those who need it, rather than having it constantly subdivided among an ever-growing population of impoverished Americans.

… most of these developments would merely restore some of what Americans took for granted 50 years ago, when the wealthier among us accepted a more modest lifestyle in order to pay a living wage to the rest…

The hope of people like me is that the party that has traditionally favored market interventions to boost social egalitarianism—that would be Democrats—would remember that most of its social goals are jeopardized by laissez-faire immigration. (Denmark’s Social Democrats seem to have learned this.) Most problems that the left hopes to solve—poverty, bad schools, stagnant wages, homelessness, climate change—would instead be alleviated by more modest levels of immigration.

Can you imagine Australia’s left-leaning commentators at The Guardian and Fairfax ever writing such sense? Me neither. To them, maintaining mass immigration and ‘open borders’ is virtuous, regardless of the costs to ordinary Australians.

It’s a shame because mass immigration is a class war more than anything else. The elite owners of land and capital privatise the gains in the form of asset appreciation and more consumers feeding profits, whereas the costs of population growth are borne by the broader community (think infrastructure, congestion, housing affordability and the environment), reducing their living standards.

If only the ‘fake’ left would learn and stand up for ordinary workers and the environment.

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  1. I work in the Sydney CBD. In the past few days, I have twice purchased lunch from places which were once exclusively staffed by south east Asian employees and been served by young, university aged Australians. I don’t know if this is a trite observation, or an indication of something deeper but it sure grabbed my attention.

    • the_bystanderMEMBER

      Yep, you see it all the time in Sydney and Melbourne – local Australians (usually attractive) as servers in restaurants, cafes and pubs, with mostly SE Asian or Indian kitchen staff actually making the food. I’m sure the whole lot of the latter are not being paid at the award rate they’re meant to be, hence why businesses looove the idea of mass immigration.

      Why pay legal wages when you’ve got a few billion foreigners who’ll do the same job for next to nothing? If they complain, you can always threaten to dob them into immigration for working more hours than their visa allows, so there’s little to lose for most business owners

  2. sydboy007MEMBER

    But but the people we allow in are better off so it’s all good even if the net impact is negative.

    I’ve given up on trying to have a rational talk with those on the left. Feelings and emotions over the cold hard facts.

    • Yep. I suspect this is why the right wing keeps winning elections. A psychopath understands our weaknesses and insecurities. So Howard invented the great immigration bait and switch.

      The left wing thinks that allowing men into female toilets is the way to go!

      When did transgender toilet use become an “issue”?

      What did Milne do for the homeless (gay and straight)? Nothing!

  3. Bernie Sanders has rebuked open borders for similar reasons. Bernie has also gone out of his way to explain to his supporters that many Trump supporters are suffering from wealth inequality, and demanded that his supporters do not drive Trump supporters further to the right by accusing them of being racist. Compare Bernie’s behaviour to the Australian’s socialists.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      Oz’s chardonnay drinking fake left? They’re mostly friggin two-faced lawyers and their clueless do-gooder associates looking to score jobs professionally helping the down trodden. Wankers.

    • the_bystanderMEMBER

      I have to admit that while I was highly critical of Sanders during the primaries he has a lot of decent ideas that I’d like to see introduced in the US and here. Unlike a lot of his ostensible leftist allies, he at least attempts to talk about everyday issues that affect the vulnerable and downtrodden, rather than simply virtue signalling and harping on about identity politics (as if exploited working class voters give a damn about what pronouns should be used or whether a Google employee’s critique of his company policies is offensive to women and minorities)…

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      Bernie is not a full blown Socialist!,…if you think he is, then you are suffering from Fox news induced brain damage!

      His congressional voting record, is Eisenhower Republican!

      This is an example of how far most of us have been indoctrinated and propagandised,.. towards the Economic Right over the last 30-40 years,’s been eased into our arses,… ever so slowly,… inch by inch,… so that most dont even know they are being F#cked!

  4. Vanity Fair couches lower immigration in the comfortable terms of better wages for low income earners (low wages on which a decent percentage of the US economy relies), reduced environmental pressures, the usual happy pill stuff. This will be countered by those who demand the renowned values of forefathers and inscribed on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

    Or will the US settle for only the “right” kind immigrants.

    ICE’s hope is that this privately developed software will help go far beyond matters of legality to matters of the heart. The system must “determine and evaluate an applicant’s probability of becoming a positively contributing member of society, as well as their ability to contribute to national interests” and predict “whether an applicant intends to commit criminal or terrorist acts after entering the United States.” Using software to this end is certainly in line with Trump’s campaign rhetoric — during a rally in Phoenix, he described how “extreme vetting” would make sure the U.S. only accepts “the right people,” using “ideological certification to make sure that those we are admitting to our country share our values and love our people.”

    • migtronixMEMBER

      Maybe they’ll go back to slavery too 🙄🙄🙄

      Still talking like a 50 yld not 28 yld

      • I bet that’s the only context in which she uses the word couches. Her and her mates only sit on chesterfields.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Since when does this “inequality is over done” attitude meld seamlessly with “poor yearning to breathe free”? Since 3d spun it.

    • Migtronix, your obsesssion borders on the manic. Perhaps you have a history of OCD or other mental health issue. In that case, I commiserate with you. Fortunately, you are in the perfect workplace to seek help. Please do.

      Your extrapolations are do not make any sense. Perhaps spend your time adding a thought of your own to these articles.

  5. Would a simpler rationale work?

    Australia is a commons. If we want to maintain any sort of rule set for the commons, we need to acknowledge it and authorize same. As a commons, Oz was a colonial backwater in the early 90’s – and was bleeding young people. Oz was pro immigration, because average people understood and appreciated what skilled migration would mean for the economy and (way the f^*k more importantly) what it would mean for quality of life for the inhabitants of the Australian commons.

    That necessity has been filled (probably since 2008?) and is now not required anymore (people do not support this anymore). Hence, change it. A cursory glance at history will show that migrations tends to be more like a step function, than a highly controllable faucet.

    Not sure any of that was racist as far as I can tell.

  6. We simply need a new elite. These past few decades are proof that the people should have no say on immigration what so ever. It’s too easy to get your moral superiority from importing immigrants, that way you don’t have to get any skill, and it’s too easy to get rich by just sitting on land, little to no skill there either.

  7. I have to laugh at the greens wanting to bring people here for whatever do good reason.

    First thing they do when they come here is increase their carbon footprint to match ours.
    We should be sending Aussies to the 3rd world to make the world a greener place.

    Being an asshole on immigration is the greenest choice.
    That’s just logic.

    • By raising the population and reducing living standards here, we’ll also reduce our carbon footprint per capita! It’s ingenious. Suddenly the Green’s platform makes all kinds of sense.