Q&A on Immigration and Welfare

I quote (with the authors’ permission) a great pair of comments on immigration policy from the LeftLibertarian2 list:

border crossing

Joshua Katz: If you think you can shoot people crossing an imaginary line because they might ask for welfare, why not deport people who already are on welfare? What the hell is the difference?

Scott Bieser: What it comes down to, to put it crudely, is that most Americans can imagine they themselves might someday wake up and find themselves financially destitute and in need of government welfare; but none of them can conceive of someday waking up and finding they have become Mexicans.


3 Responses to Q&A on Immigration and Welfare

  1. Roderick June 6, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    It’s also worth noting (though this is a quite different point) that Americans shouldn’t underestimate the possibility of (in effect) waking up Mexican.

  2. Kevin Carson June 6, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    One of the “benefits” of the official American ideology of Unlimited Opportunity is that most people white and middle class have difficulty imagining themselves in any kind of underdog position. Hence the people at Tea Party rallies, most of whom probably pay little or no income tax, loudly complaining about ACORN as some sort of conspiracy of people who don’t pay any income tax–or complaining that their income tax has been raised when it’s almost certainly been cut; the majority of people polled who consider themselves in the upper middle class; the working class people who oppose taxes and regulation not because they really benefit the super-rich, but because they seriously think they might be super-rich themselves someday after they hit the big-time; the people who automatically identify with the cops in cases of alleged police brutality, and imagine that that’s the kind of thing that only happens to “those other people,” the troublemakers; etc. When you seem to have no real weapon or recourse against the guy with the whip hand, it’s a lot more gratifying (and safer) to persuade yourself that you’re on his side and direct your resentment against the out-group.

  3. Kevin Carson June 6, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    P.S. It’s a psychological defense mechanism to believe that the stuff described in the link only happens to those who are careless or otherwise deserve it. The alternative is to believe that shit happens to innocent people all the time, because the whole system is a rigged game–and hence that it could happen to you at any time without any rhyme or reason. And that’s simply intolerable.

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