The Immigration Debate Summarized

Conservatives want immigrants to work, but not vote.

Liberals want immigrants to vote, but not work.


  1. Nate:

    Is there no difference any more between legal immigrants and illegal? I don't believe conservatives have any problem at all with legal immigrants earning the right to vote, they never have before, we do have a problem with illegal ones doing it, why is this difference always ignored?

  2. Michael:

    I think Bush's attempt at amnesty was to get illegals in the GOP camp. That's a big potential voting block and both parties want it.

  3. esteban:

    Great summary...

  4. astonerii:

    And all civilization loving Americans want immigration to be done in an ordered, law abiding and sustainable level that is done in such a way as that all immigrants actually cannot congregate in such numbers as to be immune from learning our culture and assimilating into it.

    We do not want unauthorized illegal border crossings, we have the right to know who is here.
    We do not want unauthorized workers, we need to know who and how many immigrant workers we have so we can decide which other immigrants we would need such that those getting working visas will not be taking jobs Americans would be filling otherwise.
    We do not really like culturally foreign enclaves in our midst, even if we tolerate them, they are not beneficial to the nation and in fact severe allegiances.
    We do not want a single predominate group from a single country or group of similar countries immigrating and becoming a culturally destructive voting block.

  5. artemis:

    Actually liberals have not advocated illegals voting. They have just advocated illegals being counted for representation. As illegals they still wouldn't be allowed to vote, but this would significantly increase the effective representation of California, a Democrat stronghold.

  6. S. R. McQueen:

    I can't speak for all conservatives, but THIS conservative wants immigrants to abide by the law and become Americans.

  7. allan:

    Your immigration dispatches are starting to worry me. I don't know of a single conservative that would propose to deny voting rights to those who have the LEGAL right to vote. ILLEGAL immigrants do not have the LEGAL right to vote.

  8. Kevin Kellogg:

    Another Immigration Post... Another Smear... Nice Work :D

    I think a better summary would be:
    Conservatives want immigrants to migrate here leagally, but not claim welfare.

    Liberals want any group that votes democratic overall including foreigners to vote, but not become US citizens.

    I still haven't heard you articulate an immigration policy which has a deportation policy.

    I personally think the US should have better control over immigration than once you're here your a citizen.

  9. morganovich:


    that would be a more persuasive argument is so many liberals had not been actively trying to prevent requirements to show ID at the voting booth.

    arguments that having to get a diver's license, state ID card, or passport is too onerous a burden for a voter are ridiculous. it's just a smokescreen for "illegals vote for us, so we want to let them".

  10. skh.pcola:

    And here we see Warren again trying to justify his facile views on illegal immigration by barfing up banalities. He has a persistent inability to hear/read concerns about open borders. This is one reason why the Libertarians will never gain a toe-hold in politics...idiotic and childish fixations on theoretical bullshit which ignore time-tested reality.

  11. Patrick:

    The REAL immigration debate:
    1) Control-the-system supporters want some legal immigration and zero illegal immigration.
    The 'some' dial is turned lower for immigration restrictionists and higher for "pro-legal immigration, anti-illegal immigration" folks. I am in the latter camp, as I see the legitimate
    need for employment-based immigration, want to reduce 'chain migration' to balance it, but don't see
    a real problem with the relatively high level of legal immigration we have today (1 million / year); OTOH, the additional illegal immigration is unnecessary and wrong and could easily be ended if
    we simply had the courage to follow Arizona's lead and started to enforce the law in every community.

    2) Open Borders supporters want to bust the dial. They are allergic to the word "illegal" and never want an honest debate that draws the correct distinction between a working immigration system where all who come are legal, and a dysfunctional system where it is easier to 'game' the system than live under it honestly.

    "I can’t speak for all conservatives, but THIS conservative wants immigrants to abide by the law and become Americans."

    Hear Hear! This is the Teddy Roosevelt position - accept immigration but make sure they assimilate to become Americans. If polls on "English only" and other parts of the immigration debate are to be trusted, the majority of Americans are in this camp. Immigrants arent disfavored, but changing the culture and breaking the law are.

    The only 'conservatives' for the 'work not vote' category are the 'cheap-labor lobby' who insist on ever-more 'guest worker permits' and fight any and all enforcement and generally give in on amnesty. Calling that position 'conservative' is an insult to conservatives; its simply a profit-uber-alles approach.

  12. Robin:

    I always enjoy talking to people who believe in government provision of e.g. health care, generous welfare etc. because "it's a human right!", and then turn out to be against open immigration. They're sometimes so scared of sounding racist they get tricked into admitting that they don't really think there's a magical right to force other people to pay for things for you!

    On the other hand, people who believe in a government with plenty of coercive power so that democratic majorities can have their way with everyone else, but are scared that the introduction of a "culturally destructive" voting block might lead to the wrong sorts of majorities just make me sad.

  13. Methinks:

    The conservatives don't mind immigrants voting, so long as they don't vote for the liberal agenda.

    I think that's understandable, given that you summarized the liberal agenda pretty well.

  14. Anna:

    I'm a conservative and an immigrant, so this summary befuddles me. I know of many others who are conservatives or legal immigrants or both, and we all agree it's the illegal immigrants' use and abuse of our welfare system and lack of respect for the law that grates the most.

    Legal immigration takes many years and thousands of dollars to get through, jumping through the USCIS hoops. We were always in fear of deportation (like the long-time legal resident, i.e. green card holder, who was not admitted back into the country after visiting Norway because of a decades-old marijuana charge), and even while going through the process, we were careful about crossing the t's and dotting the i's properly because anything could be used to deny us our application for a green card or citizenship.

    Then we see illegals who have been deported numerous times and coming back with impunity, flouting the laws, and living off taxpayers.

    And you still see this in the simplistic way you do. I know you are not a conservative, but would it be so difficult for you to actually talk to some and get an accurate gauge of their opinions before making these things up?

    I personally have nothing against legal immigration, especially in light of the fact that I benefitted from it. Illegal immigration is a whole different story.

  15. Fred from Canuckistan:

    Speaking as an "outsider", so ignore at will it appears the crux of the problem isn't immigration, it is that you have lost control of your border and your political leadership is unwilling to re-gain control of your border.

    Nations that can't control their borders are on a very slippery slope and the direction isn't up.

    Good luck.

  16. Jim B:

    I am a conservative.

    I want immigration to be legal....period. I want them to be afforded the same opportunity as I have been given. I also want them to pay taxes as I do. I don't care if they vote, but I would encourage it.

    If they are taking advantage of what this country has to offer, then they need to be contributing like everyone who lives here. Don't give me that lame argument that they are contributing by picking the lettuce no one else will pick.

    If they come to this country shouting Viva La Raza! Then they should march their asses right back to Mexico. If you desire to live here but do not desire to embrace the country, to become an American, then you shouldn't be here in the first place.

  17. Ron H.:

    Astonerii said -

    "And all civilization loving Americans want immigration to be done in an ordered, law abiding and sustainable level that is done in such a way as that all immigrants actually cannot congregate in such numbers as to be immune from learning our culture and assimilating into it."

    Are you having a problem with the First Amendment right to assemble?

  18. astonerii:

    Nope, no problem at all. But the right to assemble does not mean that we should allow every last one of the 1.3B Chinese that are not in this country today to move to all the China Towns in the country. Or the 106M remaining Mexicans to move to the United States so then can make the whole country into Tijuana. They can group together all they want, but one way to make their groups less destructive to the nations culture and get them melting into the pot is to limit the total number of immigrants from any particular culture set, which would force those enclaves to not be close to self sustaining isolation camps where the residents never have to learn English and every other part of the American culture.

    Just like a libtardarian or libtard to take something completely innocent and turn it into some nefarious evil idea.

  19. MJ:


    Explain to me what the "American culture" is.

  20. Mark:

    The way to "solve" the immigration problem is to create enough work visas as there is a need for jobs in the United States. They come into the country to work, and as long as they are needed economically they will cross the border.

    Politicians will not solve this problem because every solution is politically unpopular.

    But, until these "illegal" immigrants are documented and "classified" we will never be able to solve the problem.

    Here is a very easy solution.

    1. We will require everyone in the United States illegally to go to a local office and get a work visa. They will be able to acquire this visa on demand. They will be fingerprinted, dna'd, and photographed and this information will be kept in a database. They will also be charged a fee, lets say $500 for this visa.

    2. Other potential immigrants will be able to get similar work visas from their native lands for a similar fee and providing the same documentation.

    3. Now that we have these people classified we can determine their "rights" in the United States. With these people being "illegal" it is impossible to have this discussion because on the surface of the argument "illegal" immigrants have no rights in the United States, but yet, receive public assistance and other issues.

    4. Although it is completely open for discussion, two aspects of the work visa of this level I strongly advocate.
    a. a person with this type of work visa will not be eligible for citizenship. They can acquire other visas to enter the United States in the usual, established manner and from there go on to citizenship.
    b. children born of individuals in this country on a work visa will not be United States citizens. The work visa is a declaration that these individuals are subject to the jurisdiction of another country, not the United States.
    c. all other public services are open to debate though. Education and health being the most important. I personally would support the education of the children of these workers, but I think it might need to be done in an entity separate from the public schools.
    5. Enterence to the United States to work can be controlled by limiting these visas, but the total supply of them should be generous to meet the labor needs of the economy. Since these visas have limited political rights we should feel less threatened by allowing even millions of workers into the economy. We did all through the boom years and it had little impact on levels of employment.

    6. Individuals caught breaking the law under the new regime will be dealt with harshly. Foreign guest workers would be punished to the maximum extent of the law and once the sentence for the crime has been completed they will be immediately deported and not eligible for further work visas.

  21. Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas:

    Best summary I have read on any issue in a long time.

  22. mesaeconoguy:

    Again, I would recommend a mandamus proceeding.

    The federal government cannot simultaneously refuse any state self-defense while prohibiting or deliberately ignoring national defense.

    The rest will (perhaps) follow…

  23. mesaeconoguy:

    Just in case Eric Holder is reading this, let me repeat:

    The federal government cannot simultaneously refuse any state self-defense while prohibiting or deliberately ignoring national defense.

    Good luck legally challenging that.

  24. DrTorch:

    Don't let facts like these get in the way

    of intellectually immature libertarian principles.

    Don't get me wrong, this isn't the only reason to have the gov't protect borders...there are many. But, this is a particularly telling one.

  25. Tom:

    Overly simplistic by far, and demonstrably untrue. I have come to expect better dialogue here than this drivel. Lazy thinking.

  26. Gil:

    The open borders folk have two objectives:

    1. A flood of illegal immigrants who will break the welfare state and bring about a truly free market system.

    2. Dirt-cheap labour on home soil without any employment restrictions.

  27. Mark:

    I really don't want them to do either. The work they provide nowhere near makes up for the social services they get. And of course voting means they vote for more of those "free" goodies.

    Really cheap shot.

  28. Ted Rado:

    We should either enforce the law or change it. This ignoring the law opens the door to all sorts of nonsensical concepts. If a person robs a bank to feed their kids, is it inhumane to put them in jail?

    The argument that Mexico is a poor country and we should be compassionate and let them sneak in doesn't hold water. Over four billion people have a lower standard of living than Mexico. Maybe we should deport the illegal mexicans and allow people from those poorer countries to replace them.

    What is needed is to seal the border and then institute a guest worker program to fill the need for labor. Amnesty simply encourages the next swarm of illegals who will have reason to believe that they in turn will be given amnesty.

  29. Patrick:

    "Explain to me what the “American culture” is."

    Read DeToqueville's "Democracy in America" and move forward from there.

  30. John Moore:


    You're a smart guy and have a great blog, so it mystifies me why you continually post these idiotic immigration rants. By now, you must know that the issue is not as your frame it, yet you continue to emit straw-man arguments and nonsense.

    So why don't you come out and address the many commenters who have pointed this out? Why don't you tell us if you believe in national sovereignty, or what the United States really is?

    I, for one, love this blog, but am really tired of the remarkably wrong-headed, repeated silly posts on immigration.