A Query for Conservatives

If a few gun crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of gun owners are not a compelling justification for gun control (a proposition with which I agree), then why are a few crimes by  a tiny, fractional percentage of immigrants a compelling justification for immigration control?


  1. Wilson:

    We all know why this is.

  2. Tom:

    I will assume you mean illegal immigrants, not legal. Thus a few crimes by illegal immigrants is only one of the many compelling reasons for justifying illegal immigration. As a citizen, I have responsibilities. For example, if I want a handgun permit, I must meet certain requirements to include showing that I am a citizen. If I present a credit card or check, I'm usually asked to provide proof of identity. If I want to vote I have to show my place of residence to include my state issued ID.

    The main issue is not immigration in general. It is illegal immigration and our right to control our borders.

  3. NJConservative:

    Because the constitution guarantees our rights to keep and bear arms, but doesn't say anything about the rights of anyone in the world to come to our country. And...we have passed laws making it illegal to enter the country without going through certain checks. If you don't like the law, which clearly you don't, then work to change it. My guess is that in spite of your disgust with many of the silly laws and regulations that govern your business, you do your best to obey them. That's all many supporters of a strong immigration policy ask!

    The issue for many people is not that we are letting people in, but that we are letting the wrong people in. No utility? Don't bother trying. Marketable skills? Absolutely!

    How about automatic entrance for a five year test period for anyone with a degree in a science or engineering?

  4. rsm:

    Great, you're putting Mexicans with Engineering degrees in the Cali berry fields. Awesome resource use there, or were you planning to pick berries yourself.

  5. Dr. T:

    Warren Meyer presents another straw man argument. The main reason most people wish to end illegal immigration is not because many illegal immigrants commit crimes against persons and properties, it is because the entire underground system associated with illegal immigration causes economic damage and creates an atmosphere that promotes widespread lawlessness.

    Economic damage: Our illogical laws require public schools to educate the children of illegal immigrants and hospitals to care for illegal immigrants without compensation. Most illegal immigrants pay no local property taxes and rent living space "off the books" (with laws being broken by the "landlords").

    Widespread lawlessness: Illegal immigrants are criminals just by being here, and because of that they must stay below the radar. They fail to report crimes against them or that they witness against others. They work under the table and thus pay no payroll taxes (breaking more laws). Their large numbers make it possible for thousands of employers to break laws by hiring them on the cheap. These employers, to minimize their risks of being audited or investigated, must break more laws and cook their books.

    Another reason for objecting to illegal immigration is that the presence of millions of illegal immigrants prevents us from increasing the numbers of legal immigrants admitted each year.

  6. Frederick Davies:

    Maybe because gun ownership is a constitutionally protected right, while being an illegal immigrant is not.

    Some people do sometimes ask the most obvious questions...

  7. astonerii:

    Because something you do not understand, and your biggest failure to see is that American Citizens own the Continental United States of America as well as Hawaii. As owners, we have absolute right to the benefits of ownership. Just as a house or land owner has absolute rights to their property. Having uninvited persons trespassing on your property killing your grass, shooting your game deer, chopping down your trees, or otherwise using or abusing what you own is a crime against the owners, something for which if you yourself, your children or others you invite in is not considered a crime. Just like if someone enters your home and makes phone calls, sits in your sofa watching your tv without invitation is a crime, but for which those you invite to do so are not committing a crime. Any single tiny infraction by an intruder should be dealt with using the utmost use of force and power that is available to those who have ownership. With respect to a persons land or property, I am sure you realize that intruders can be dealt with using deadly force, particularly being shot. We are extremely gracious to those who invade our land and use our resources, and quite frankly, I think we are far too gracious. The penalties should be far more severe and the enforcement far more frequent.

    You see The United States of America as a piece of land that no one owns. You are wrong. Those parts not owned by individuals are owned by the states, to be kept safe and available for our future needs and used for our public needs. The states have given the power and the responsibility to the federal government in order to effect this protection through military and political power. You are a minority, and not just any minority, you are a tiny fraction of the population that feels as you do, I quite frankly find your views to be anti American with respect to our borders.

    Your arguments are straw men and childish and completely uninformed with respect to this issue. As you have said about intelligence in other posts, everyone has strong points and everyone has weak points, (talking about IQ) and this is by far your weakest point as far as intelligence is concerned. It makes believing anything you say in the rest of your blog more difficult and lowers your credibility. Most people are intelligent enough to know their weak points and just not pursue a life filled with work in those weak points. Short people do not spend a lifetime trying to be NBA all stars. You should not try to be a purveyor of wisdom on immigration issues, no matter how strongly you feel about it, because it lowers you value as a trusted source for wisdom. Fortunately for you, people like me look at information based on its value, and not just who said it. I could care less if a truth comes from a pedophile, a Nobel laureate, a family member, an expert in the field or my doctor. I review the evidence and I find out what the truth is, and in many areas, you have wisdom worth sharing, just on this topic, this is not the case.

  8. Bearster:

    Fred: the Founders (and today, Libertarians) do not believe that people are born rightless, and only granted rights by the Constitution or government.

    Dr. T: I don't think there is a single reason why most people want stronger immigration controls. I think there are four reasons, promoted by three different groups:
    1) Economic illiterates: jobs are zero-sum, so when an illegal comes here to work, he takes a job from an American
    2) Racists: we don't need any more brown people, they're dirty, they smell, they are ignorant, etc.
    3) Conservatives: illegals are more likely to commit crimes than Americans
    4) Pragmatists: well, since we have a welfare state (and there's no way to oppose it) let's only pay for lazy good-for-nothing Americans and not extend transfer payments to immigrants
    5) National Security: regardless of how permissive it is or isn't, we need a process to apply for a residency visa, and we need to ensure that all would-be immigrants go through it so we can see if they are criminals or terrorists or hard-working people who want to come here for a job, and we shouldn't have them sneaking across the border in the middle of the night

    I've sorted this list in order from no validity (zero-sum and racism), to minimal validity (the crime angle) to some validity (draining the taxpayers), to something I think is a legitemate point (a uniform and fair process for residency visas).

    The welfare angle is interesting. I always wonder if pragmatists, when they get a flat tire, choose not to fix the root cause, and just let the air out of the other three tires so at least the car is level.


    Regardless of how open it should be, I do think we need a process for residency visa, and everyone who wants to come here to live should go through it. If it's properly designed, it would keep out criminals and terrorists, and let in anyone who wants to come here to work hard.

    But then there would be a huge schism among conservatives because there would be no consensus without the racists and the zero-economic-literatis!

  9. Bob Smith:

    Let's call illegal immigrants what they are: invaders. If you can't or won't repel invaders, you do not have a country. If you will not demand fidelity to your laws, customs, and culture you do not have a country. Never forget that invaders would happily replace your laws, customs, and culture with theirs, if they could.

    To use an analogy, you wouldn't tolerate uninvited visitors to your home, so why would you tolerate uninvited visitors to your country?

  10. Me:

    All by itself, it doesn't. However, you are forgetting that not only are some of the crimes committed by illegals, but that the presence of illegals often makes the crimes harder to solve. Also, the victims are often illegals, who have not contributed to the social network for dealing with them as indigent. For every crime identified as committed by an illegal, I see three illegals sentenced by the court who are not officially recognized as such. The overall drain on the social services taking care of the families of illegals is easily ten times what is shown by your, "tiny, fractional percentage" actually commiting the crime. Last, Those people legally exercising their rights to self-defense in their own country are using tools, that have no ability to commit crimes on their own.
    You are essentially comparing some fictional group of people (who may use guns illegally) to people who are already ignoring the laws and then committing additional crimes.

  11. chembot:

    To expand om Me's point, those using arguments to the effect of "If you have ever broke speed limit, littered, or jaywalked, it's hypocritical to speak of strictly enforcing immigration policy" is ludicrous. The difference is of course that if we get caught speeding and the cops stop us, we pay the price of breaking the law. I don't really understand why illegal immigrants should be allowed to get an automatic exemption from paying the price for undermining our laws (as ill-conceived as many of them may be). And note: this is coming from someone who would like to see our immigration laws liberalized to allow more people in legally. Although I can't really get behind the idea of open borders as coyote sees it, I have no problem with allowing skilled workers in that add value to our society and who don't pose a public health concern or national security risk from trying to make a life here. (Note to those prone to hyperbolic venom: this is not some bit of racist jingoism nor a strident call to defending ourselves from "dirty brown people".)

    @ bearster: I think you are giving short shrift to those who site economic concerns as a reason against open borders. The labor market might not exactly be zero sum, but it is still governed by such things as supply and demand. Flooding the labor supply with low wage (and relatively lower skilled) illegal immigrants serves to depress the labor market in terms of wages and benefits. "Americans" in general may benefit from this low cost labor, but it is almost certain that some segments of the labor market (i.e. teenagers, low skilled laborers, entry level folk, etc.) are likely to have a harder time obtaining employment because of the resulting labor glut. The real question is how big this effect is. As far as I know it is a question that no one can answer in any really quantitative way.

  12. astonerii:


    You are absolutely wrong on every one of your arguments.

    1) Illegal Aliens taking jobs in America not only replace American Workers they drive the value of the jobs down and it is a progressive regression that moves all the way through the whole market in the low wage arena. It is worse than a zero sum game, it is a pure negative sum game. Does it lower prices? Marginally yes, overall no, as most companies actually follow the laws and only some industries use the illegal workers. Do you really think that the companies that use illegal workers pass on the savings to the customer?

    2) You call them racists, and there may actually be a few people who really do not like people with other color skin. I have noticed that almost everything that is considered racist is really something much less sinister and it is called cultural differences. Being forced to press 1 to get English is a cultural clash that is going to antagonize people. There are any number of other clashes that will happen and not a single bit has anything to do with skin color and racism. America's culture is very good and complex, but what it is not is a third world country with a third world culture.

    3) Conservatives only have one issue with illegal aliens? How about the rule of law? How about the fair and equitable environment that gives all citizens an equal chance at success. The changes of our culture towards non conservative values. The list of reasons conservatives have is far longer than your one reason.

    4) Welfare state. It is not just welfare, it also the school system degradation that goes along with third world children inundating the system speaking English as a second language, if that. Culturally changing neighborhoods.

    5) Well, I was wrong, not all your reasons are wrong or completely lacking depth, this is certainly a good enough reason all by itself. An orderly controlled immigration that emphasizes assimilation instead of multiculturalism. Is based on actual employer needs.

    In short. Yes, jobs are a zero sum and in this case negative sum issue. It is not racism to not want large numbers of culturally different people from changing the social weave of your own culture. Conservatives do believe in the rule of law and limited immigration would fit well within the founders principles. The welfare state is a good reason, but does not cover any where near enough of problems caused on a societal scale by large numbers of immigrants that never assimilate. National security is extremely important when a dedicated group of people who have no regrets when they kill civilians in mass murder attacks and would like nothing better than to have the opportunity to do it over and over again until our nation crumbles.

    In order of importance, I would put every last reason on my list as the single best reason to limit immigration. Americans deserve a fair playing field in business and jobs. We need to have a culturally centered base in this country that binds us as one nation. We need a country that remains true to the founding principles of a nation of law and order in order to continue to allow personal freedoms. As a nation we need to safeguard the quality and costs of our national and local public infrastructures. As a nation we must protect our borders and our citizens from enemies. Every last one is a critical cornerstone which creates the foundation of our nation.

  13. Gil:

    As it has been said: the proportion of illegal immigrants who are also criminals is 100% - they committed a crime by entering the country the way they did. Some might like to think they are less likely to commit further crimes because they don't want to get noticed however if their proverbial backs are against the wall then they may feel they have nothing to lose either.

  14. me:

    Spot on. Well, you can't blame the ultra-right wing for trying, this style of argument worked extremely well against the jews before WWII. :(

  15. allan:

    Are you somehow making money by employing cheap illegal immigrants? I assume you want completely open borders - but why? At least tell us where you are coming from - and why. This little one liner on gun control uses bad logic. Its the criminal behind the guns that create the problems. Criminals behind guns come in white, black, brown, red, etc. Illegal immigrants come in those same colors.

  16. dmon:

    How about because the children of illegal immigrants suck up far more in social services than the first generation could possibly pay for by reduced lettuce prices? As I'm sure you're aware, subsequent generations of hispanics do not tend to become neurosurgeons. Here in California, the percent of hispanics who do not finish high school is slightly over 30%. Tell me again exactly how adding millions of high school dropouts is going to grow the economy? Keep blaming racism, folks. When you are old, defenseless, a numerical minority, and second class citizens in your own country (yes - Hispanics do qualify for affirmative action), we'll see how benevolent and respectful of human dignity the 4th generation welfare recipients (who have been told all their lives that you are the one oppressing them) are to you. I'm sure they will jump to change your diaper the instant you wake up from your medication-induced stupor and push the buzzer 30 or 40 times.

  17. John Moore:

    I continue to be amazed by Warren's pressing of his immigration views, in spite of the many, many well reasoned arguments against them.

    Warren, you're a great guy and a smart guy. But you are dead wrong on immigration, and you also seem to be bolstering your beliefs by making incorrect assumptions about the motives and reasoning of your opponents. Please take a close look at the responses you have gotten, before you post yet another ill reasoned, illogical argument like the one implied in your question. You're too practical to keep flogging this nonsense.

    As for smart - you're real smart, but we have seen that real smart often equals really dumb (cf: Obama and his wizards). But you're only really dumb on this single point, which hopefully you will recognize.

  18. Jersey Jim:

    re: me's comment June 18, 2010, 11:46 pm

    Those damn Jews, flooding into Germany in the 1930's, sneaking across the Rhine in the night, refusing to assimilate, demanding, a La Raza, that they get their land back, and change the language back to Yiddish.

    No good argument to support your opinion? Don't worry about the facts, just call those who disagree Nazis!

    Way to advance your views. You call me (half a Jew, btw) a Nazi, and the scales have fallen from my eyes, and I suddenly see the merits of your views.

    Very well played, lad......

  19. Jersey Jim:

    And it appears that "me" is trying to confuse the argument further by appropriating the handle of someone ("Me", with a capital "M") with whom he disagrees.

    Quite the gentleman, this small "m" "me"

  20. Unix-Jedi:

    Wow. I usually read this site to get _away_ from logical fallacies.

    First, you really need to define what you mean by "gun owner", "gun crime", "gun control" and "immigrant".

    But rather than argue with those glaring fallacies, I'll attempt to answer it, with the understanding that those failed definitions will hinder a true answer.

    "If a few gun crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of gun owners"

    Legal gun ownership is not a given, despite it's hallowed status.

    Furthermore, _consistent_ gun "crimes" (or annoyances) always result in stepped up control and regulation.
    Try and set up a range for your rifle inside just about any incorporated area, and get back to me. Hell, most _unincorporated areas_ have strict regulations on _how_ and _where_ and _when_ you can shoot your gun.

    "are not a compelling justification for gun control (a proposition with which I agree)"

    OK, I can't not deal with the failed definition of "Control" here. There are gobs of gun "control" on the Federal, State, and Local levels. Buying a new gun, carrying concealed - which often requires re-registration in the state you're visiting - and at all points, Law Enforcement works together, and if the local cops catch you breaking Federal Gun Laws, not only do they assist, the Feds insist that they do, and insist that they refer you to their jurisdiction.

    "then why are a few crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of immigrants a compelling justification for immigration control?"

    Immigrants? Or Illegal immigrants? There's a significant distinction there.
    If you want to talk about "legal gun ownership" and your basis is a "alcohol distributor" named Al Capone, that rather changes the field.

    As far as I know, no one is trying to stop, or change the current (huge) set of immigration "Controls" based on what those who are going through the system, legally, are doing.

    There's a huge amount of effort to stop those who are ignoring the current set of laws, breaking the law in multiple places, along with the cultural and ethical breakdown that results in. To deal with those servicing those criminals, who have no respect for the rule of law and especially no respect for property rights. Why should they? They're criminals.

    There are two ways their status as criminals can change.
    1) Change their attitudes. They have a change of heart, and decide to not break the law.
    2) Legalize their behavior.

    If they're currently utterly disrespectful of property rights, the law, hell, up to and including the sanctity of human life, do you realistically think 2) is going to lead to a better society? Nothing changed, other than you've given them a pass on their activity, with no downside.

    You do your argument no favors by ignoring the current status (of firearms "control", if nothing else), misrepresenting the situation, and conflating accepted behavior with behavior that isn't accepted in polite society.

  21. Henry Bowman:


    Immigrating to another country is not a natural right: you don't own any part of the other country, hence it's not yours to do with as you please. You need permission.

    Self-defense is a natural right; hence, gun ownership (or other weapons) is preserved as a right.

  22. dhlii:

    I am appalled when the left insists that logic and the laws of nature can be sacrificed to accomplish the good ends they seek. One would think that the right would not constantly make the same mistake. Whether a nation should or can limit immigration is a legitimate debate. Regardless there is no such thing as illegal immigration. A mexican standing outside our borders is not subject to our laws until he has actually entered the country. He may be here against our wishes and we may chose to remove him, possibly we can argue that it is illegal for him to remain. This is a small point - in a march larger system of deception. The right to control the property we own is not supposed to be dependent on precisely which nation that land is contained by. Further of the billions of people on this planet few chose the country and circumstances of their birth. I am a white male US citizen by virtue of some genetics and my birth on US Soil. There is no natural law that entitles me to some special privilege, Even our forefathers came here and drove out the former occupants. If there is some right of sovereignity beyond force of arms, indians should compell us all to return to europe - those before the indians should insist that they return to asian. Most mexicans crossing our borders today are no different from our forefathers. The are seeking opportunity for themselves and their family. One of the most important facets that separates us from the other nations of the world is that we are a self selecting collection of people looking to get ahead. What is wrong is not that others wish to come here. It is that we have become complacent. Immigration is inconsistent with the wealfare state. But the problem is that presumption of entitlement. Economics is not zero sum. The standard of living of US citizens is dependent on our ability to produce. There is no fixed upper limit to production. So long as the US is more productive than the rest of the world - and contrary to the liberal malaise, we are not only more productive, but even as the rest of the world improves still we improve more, then our standard of living will be higher. The invasion of immigrants from Mexico, China, India, wherever, skill or unskilled, is an influx of an important human resource - ambitious labor. The only thing we have to fear from immigrants is that they are coming to sponge off our dole. And even if they are, they atleast had to work hard to become parasites. Immigration is not problem free, but there is no god given right to the benefits of US Citizenship. The right to bear arms is atleast derived from a natural right to self defense. Protect your own property as you wish, but if we are going to deport people let us chose those who are after a free ride rather than those seeking opportunity and willing to work for it.

  23. dhlii:

    Can we please kill of these ludicrous zero sum or negative sum arguments ? Since atleast the time of Adam Smith it has been understood that the Wealth of Nations (and individuals) is what they produce. It is irrelevant whether the production occurs in china or Mexico or the US. Picking grapes and preparing chicken nuggets is only worth so much. if the cost - including the cost of labor exceeds what consumers will pay consumption declines. Artificial efforts to inflate prices - whether through minimum wages laws, tariffs or any other forms of protectionism or the creation of artificial scarcity have at best only short term positive benefits. In the long run they always destroy far more than they save. Unless you intend that the US should be a hermetically sealed and self sufficient pod, you are stuck with the fact that jobs and production are going to go where the benefits are greatest. The US supports high labor costs because: We have among the lowest energy costs in the world, we have abundant energy, we have abundant natural resources, we have abundant highly skilled labor, we are enormously productive, we are one of the worlds largest markets, we have the best transportation network in the world. An influx of labor changes very little of that. Additional cheap labor allows us to continue to produce in industries that are threatened by foreign competition. The rest of the world will always be seeking and succeeding in improving its ability to compete. But there is no upper limit on what can be produced. If it actually makes economic sense to make our cars in asia (and the presence of asian manufacturers in the US seems to indicate that it does not) so be it. We must produce more goods of higher value if we wish to retain our standard of living. Further that is more an individual mandate than a national one. If the job you chose does not produce something others think is of great worth you should not be surprised if you are getting paid the same as immigrants.

  24. txjim:

    Guns can't vote. Especially 6 times like in some places.

    Until the welfare state and it's magistrates have been vanquished, they gotta wait. Unless they plan on coming here to help with vanquishing Leviathan, which if the case, please hurry. :)

  25. JBurns:

    One point on the crime statistics. It appears there is potential that your argument about no link between illegal immigration and crime rates may have some weaknesses.


    I don't know Arizona well enough to have a sense as to whether this is valid, but interesting argument.

  26. John Moore:

    JBurns - I read that article earlier today and it is quite interesting. Per the article, crime rose dramatically except in MSA's, and almost all of the MSA population is in the Phoenix metro area. In other words, rural Arizona crime rate is rising at an astonishing rate, while in the city it is dropping a bit. This is entirely consistent with crime cause by immigration - at least in the southern rural areas.

    Of course, if the crime was kidnapping, then the Phoenix area has the huge numbers, and nobody can argue that Phoenix having the second highest kidnapping rate in the world is cause by anything other than illegal immigration. Let's see Warren answer that one!

  27. Henry Bowman:

    An update on crime in Arizona. It's certainly true that the overall violent crime rate in Arizona has declined, even as the number of illegal immigrants has apparently increased. However, according to this fellow, using FBI stats, crime on non-Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) of Arizona is up sharply. This is a long-winded way of stating that the rural crime rate has increased sharply in the past 8 years. What this means is not immediately clear; it may have little to do with illegal immigrants or, it might have a lot to do with illegals. Be nice to see a map of the distribution of the crimes, though it might be that, due to low numbers, rather noisy.

  28. tomw:

    If we don't have borders, then the people who are in control in Tijuana will waltz across the border into El Paso and inform the current residents of their new El Jefe. Pesos and dollars will be contributed by all to the new regime. Bullets will become the law of the land along with baksheesh. You won't get your sidewalk repaired or your school HVAC fixed until you grease the palms of the el Jefe in charge.
    This is what is called a "Sea Change". If the new 'residents' do not wish to conform to the societal standards espoused by the current residents, they can and will, by force of numbers, change the way things are done. If the borders are opened, won't there be a flood or tide of seekers trying to evade the battles occurring in the border towns, where mayor and police chiefs may number their incumbency in days rather than years. Open borders invites hordes to escape their 'duly elected government', and bring with them the things that allowed that government to flourish. Non-reporting of crimes, payoffs to the cop on the beat, bribes to get the best spot to sell sopapillas and tacos at the county fair.
    We have a respect for the law. Those who come here without prior approval do NOT respect the law. Why should they? They won. They got the prize of being here, while those that do respect the law await their turn.
    If the number of illegal immigrants was subtracted every year from the number of LEGAL immigrants waiting in line approved for entry, then there would be some incentive for those still in the mother country to patrol whatever borders may exist. I don't know of any incentive in the case of our southern neighbor as there is a lot of remit payments that keep the current regime afloat.
    Perhaps those waiting in line could do a little policing of those that are taking 'cuts'. What do I know? Hah

  29. David:

    I think immigration controls (i.e. that there be a documented process which must be followed to immigrate to the country, and that the answer can be "no") are necessary for every country with a government which is more than an anarchy or despotism. I do not know whether illegal immigrants commit more crime than anyone else, but that has no bearing on whether or not there should be laws about immigration process.

  30. Doug:

    Then why are a few crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of Joe Arpaio's deputies a compelling justification for Arpaio control?

  31. caseyboy:

    "If a few gun crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of gun owners are not a compelling justification for gun control (a proposition with which I agree), then why are a few crimes by a tiny, fractional percentage of immigrants a compelling justification for immigration control?"

    Very faulty logic on this one. When it comes to immigrants I'm in favor of locking them up if they commit a crime. And if they are not here legally, well guess what, they have committed a crime. You miss the whole issue, it is against our laws to come here without proper documentation. You want open borders, fine make the argument. But please don't gloss over the fact that there are a lot of people who are here ILLEGALLY.

  32. Jay Hafemeister:

    Setting the Constitutional question aside, guns in the hands of law abiding citizens stop countless crimes every day. Are illegal aliens thwarting more crimes than they are commiting like some sore of illegal alien version of the Guardian Angels?

    Further, the only way to stop an armed violent criminal actor is with similar or more effective arms (force). Should we counter illegal alien drug smuggling gangs with decent (otherwise) law abiding gangs of illegal aliens?