Arizona's Real Immigration Issue: Californians

Some libertarians, who would normally be all for open immigration, have expressed concern about -- in the name of liberty -- allowing into the country people who will generally vote against it.  I have at times shared this concern but in the end find it wanting.

However, I have personally observed this happening in both of the recent states in which I have lived (Arizona and Colorado).  But the source of the problem has not been immigration from Mexico or any other country but from California.  Californians seem hell-bent to escape the mess they have made of their state.  They run to other states complaining of the disaster they are escaping.  And then they proceed to vote for the same taxation and regulatory policies that screwed up California.

Arizona state politicians are excited to get all that new income tax money.  While I am happy to see new wealth and talent flowing into our state, I fear that these new immigrants are plague carriers, bringing the virus of out-of-control state power to heretofore only mildly infected states.


  1. lelnet:

    What's the difference between cockroaches and Californians?

    When you discover you're being invaded by cockroaches, it's legal to kill them.

  2. Morlock Publishing:

    So it sounds like you AGREE with libertarians about the mechanism and the problem.

    On what do you disagree with them about?

    Specifically that Mexicans cause the problem? Or that it's moral to try to fight the problem? Or something else?

  3. pbft:

    We've seen the same transition over the last 50 years in Vermont, going from a state that embodied the ideals of self-sufficiency, fiscal conservatism, and a very minimal role for state government to a place now that is among the bluest of the blue states - proud home of Bernie Sanders. State government is now by far the largest employer, and taxes are very high and only going up. Businesses and wealthy individuals are routinely demonized, and not too surprisingly are leaving in droves. The driving factor appears to have been immigration from the 'flatlands' - Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York, perhaps starting with lots of communes in the sixties. I'm not sure there's a cure. It is illegal to transport firewood across state lines to prevent the spread of invasive parasites - perhaps that establishes a precedent that might be useful.

  4. Rick Caird:

    We see the same problem in South Florida where refugees from New York and New Jersey vote for the policies they escaped from. South Florida is the land of cognitive dissonance.

  5. David Neylon:

    This is what I started calling Californication back in 1996 when I lived in Colorado. Housing prices started rising dramatically when Californians found they could buy twice as much home in Colorado for what their home in California sold for.

  6. Pino:

    They run to other states complaining of the disaster they are escaping.
    And then they proceed to vote for the same taxation and regulatory
    policies that screwed up California.

    My mother-in-law rents an apartment in Brooklyn and we're friends with the land-lady. Every time we go up there she asks my wistfully what it's like living in relatively inexpensive North Carolina - to which I reply, "We vote very carefully to keep it that way. If you move, please remember why you are leaving New York to come to Raleigh and vote accordingly".

  7. Sami:

    My condolences on the state of your state.

    We have the situation in New Hamphire, as you are probably aware. All the Mass. folks come up to visit and rave about our low taxes and gorgeous state, and vow to retire here. They do, and we now call our state Blue Hampshire.

  8. STW:

    I've lived and worked in several states, Montana (twice), Nevada, California (twice), and Illinois. Now, safely in MT, I tend to highlight the winters when talking about the state. I don't mind folks and their money visiting but expect them to go back home when they are done. Luckily, the only people who retire here because it's warmer are from Alaska.

  9. Anon:

    It's long past time to enact, state by state, five year voting prohibitions for ANYONE moving from a blue state. Until you've paid 5 years of taxes in the "new" state you do not have the right to vote because you cannot be trusted to not be a carrier of the same virus that destroyed the state you left.

  10. Matthew Slyfield:

    "When you discover you're being invaded by cockroaches, it's legal to kill them."

    Are you sure? Have you asked the EPA for it's opinion on this?

  11. asdf:

    Yes, why are liberal out-of-state voters a "virus"if their point of origin is California but not if their point of origin is Mexico?

  12. Sam L.:

    Lefties: They either cannot learn, or refuse to. I think it's both.

  13. MingoV:

    The California - Arizona emigration problem was preceded by the Massachusetts - New Hampshire problem. The Massachusetts emigrants, who helped turn Massachusetts into a left-wing disaster, emigrated to avoid the high taxes they helped create. The Massholes (as many New Hampshirites call them) invaded southern NH, drove up house prices, and started turning the "Live Free or Die" state into a left-wing "Live Repressed and Cry" state.

  14. jimkimmons:

    It's already well in play in Colorado, as the new gun laws indicate. However, recall elections, the first in the state's history, are showing that there can be a backlash.

  15. mesaeconoguy:

    EPA rulemakings are irrelevant in AZ. They're on the hit list, too.

  16. NL7:

    If we're restricting the freedom to work and the freedom to travel in the name of protecting politics from anti-liberty impulses, then shouldn't we restrict the freedom to speak and the freedom to associate as well?

    People have the freedom to advocate against liberty with free speech and political associations. It is entirely legal to use first amendment protections to advocate against freedom. Yet some libertarians, most of whom would never advocate banning political parties or restricting the right to voice opinions, want to ban other basic freedoms (though freedoms not explicitly covered in full by the Bill of Rights) because some people might use those freedoms to slowly erode a political culture of freedom. It doesn't make sense to me. If freedom can ethically be restricted to prevent authoritarians from promoting tyranny, then the first amendment is the most logical freedom for the chopping block.

    I think it only makes sense if you assume that many such libertarians are committing present bias - the fallacy that the way things are today is more valid than the way things aren't. Since the status quo is strongly for protecting freedom of speech and strongly against any freedom of migration, people are more comfortable restricting the latter even when restricting the former makes way more sense from their own arguments.

    I don't think restricting freedom in the name of protecting a culture of freedom makes sense. It's just as plausible to say that an incredibly diverse and open society will have more trouble maintaining restrictive policies, and therefore open borders promotes freedom. If you want to protect a culture of freedom, focus on the power of government, not on who gets to wield a few votes every couple years.

  17. NL7:

    FYI this was found unconstitutional when a state made a one-year limit for new residents to vote, for discriminating against citizens moving between states and restricting their privileges or immunities. A logistical amount of time is fine, so like a month or two at most. So this might take a constitutional amendment to achieve. It's also very biased against young and mobile people and in favor of older and sedentary voters, which might skew the voter base very conservative (socially).

  18. JBishop:

    I found myself in the opposite position when I moved to Laguna Beach in CA. Over the decades they had voted themselves into an expensive but beautiful community surrounded by wilderness preserves purchased and kept undeveloped by the city. I chose the city because of these decisions, and so I found myself voting for the continuation of those policies locally, including the purchase of even more wilderness space, and voting for a ecologically minded liberal for mayor. This was very odd for an otherwise hard-core libertarian.

  19. mesocyclone:

    How you can see the California problem and not see the much worse non-citizen immigration problem amazes me. It is, somehow, typical of too many libertarians.

  20. jhertzli:

    The swing to the left in recent New Hampshire politics has been strongest at the north end. Obviously, we must blame Canadians.

  21. jhertzli:

    One possible reason for this pattern: Some of the refugees from "blue" states think they are fleeing crowds instead of fleeing government. Instead of voting for lower spending, they vote for growth controls.

  22. Capt. Grandpa:

    As a 69 year old Libertarian Californian, and the son and grandson of Californians, I can tell you that the invasion of liberals you see today in states like AZ is exactly what caused California to become the basket case it is today. The formerly golden state used to be the prosperous home of self-sufficient people who just wanted to be left alone to lead their lives as they saw fit. They came here and paved the streets, installed the infrastructure, and created a strong economy. Then, once the hard work was done and it was safe and easy, east coast liberals came here and brought their nanny state government. Heck, when I was a lad, even Hollywood was conservative. Be warned my friends liberals are like locust. They will swarm in, eat your harvest, and then move on when it is gone.

  23. random geek:

    One solution: Mandatory gun ownership. Buy one and demonstrate proficiency on a regular basis, or pay a significant tax ($1k-$3k / yr) in lieu of your personal contribution to the safety and security of the community.

    Watch the liberals scream and leave.

  24. roadgeek:

    Until recently I worked in a position where I sometimes spoke on the phone with recent arrivals to Texas. Over the last several years I noticed that I was spending more and more time doing this, and every time I welcomed them to the Lone Star state I would mutter a silent prayer, "But please don't register to vote..."

  25. marmico:

    Based on 2011 Census data, 49,635 Californians migrated to Arizona and 35,650 AZ migrated to CA. As a percentage of the state population, an AZ is 4 times more likely to emigrate to CA than vice-versa.
    Combining 2011 Census data with 2010 IRS SOI gross adjusted income data, $696 million left CA for AZ and $584 million left AZ for CA. The net effect is to increase CA per capita income by $2,300 and vice versa.

  26. Maximum Liberty:

    Dear Mexico:
    Texas will gladly accept ten of your citizens for every Californian you will take off our hands.

  27. Don:

    I'd vote for that!

  28. Don:

    Cyc, your root-cause analysis is faulty. The problem with various alien cultures in our midst is not (and never has been) the culture itself. There's nothing significantly different about Mexicans that wasn't true of Italians or Irish or Germans 100-150 years ago. The problem is the lack of assimilation, and the root cause for this is needless accommodation such as Spanish first education, Spanish documents from the government, etc. By removing these folks need to assimilate with the rest of the population, liberal policies have made them a permanent dependent class, separating them from the value system that makes the American Dream possible.

    So, the root of the problem you want to solve is exactly the same as the root Warren and others want to solve.

  29. cynthia curran:

    Well, stop picking on California, libertarians and conservatives coo coo over Texas but think of these stats in Houston which is more liberal for Texas already 52 percent of the kids are Hispanic and 52 percent per 1000 of Teenagers in Texas have a kid under 19 years old. I don't care if you have low regulations or Taxes having kids as a teenager leads to not finishing high school as much or finishing college or having a decent paying job. In California the liberal state in the ealry 1990's it was bad as Texas is today or worst, a lot of the problems of La or Orange or San Diego are not all taxation but Hispanics having kids as teenagers back in the early 1990's which usually makes them low skilled and low paying. Conservative libertarians never understand that minorities blacks and Hispanics have kids and are always going to abstain from having kids as teenagers. Today, California under the Liberals has brought the the average down to 31 percent per 1,000. Taxes and Regulation are not everything if they were then Mississippi would be roaring economy.