July 4, 2012

Open Borders test case

For many years, the Wall Street Journal editorialized in favor of a five word Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "There shall be open borders." So, I've long been interested in trying to estimate just how many people would move to the U.S. if this highly respectable policy recommendation were ever actually implemented. 

George Borjas pointed out that about 1/4th of all Puerto Ricans moved to the U.S. mainland after open borders started. The flow was only slowed by granting immense tax breaks to American companies who set up shop in Puerto Rico.

Even without open borders, over one-fifth of all Mexicans in the world live in the U.S.

And, as I pointed out in VDARE in 2005, about five billion people live in countries with lower average per capita GDPs than Mexico. 

So, open borders advocates ought to at least provide us with an estimate of what fraction of that five billion they would expect to immigrate here (assuming, for the sake of argument, that the effects of open borders wouldn't diminish the appeal of the United States to immigrants, which it no doubt would).

An article in the New York Times provides another test case of how many people would leave even a far distant country to move to the U.S. under a system of open borders: the Marshall Islands of the Pacific:
... the number of Marshallese [in the U.S.] is likely to grow. The islands and the United States have been intertwined since World War II. The United States has detonated at least 67 nuclear bombs in its 750,000-square-mile territory. The radioactive fallout rendered some islands uninhabitable. And United States military operations there are powered by American processed food, beloved by locals but blamed for the explosion in diabetes. 
A 1986 compact gave the United States continued military access, while the Marshallese got the right to work and live in the United States indefinitely without visas. More than a third of the Marshallese — about 20,000 — have seized the opportunity. 


Anonymous said...

As a Southern boy who owns plenty of farm land all I can say is bring it on! Another 100 million of Americans - of whatever color - would make me a lot of money. Just remember Steve, never get between an Southern Boy and a dollar bill - you might get hurt.

So, Woo Hoo! Next to Slavery, immigration has been the greatest thing ever.

Anonymous said...

How about this? Open borders only for blue states.
This way, everyone wins. 'Racist' conservative states maintain their 'xenophobic' nationalism while states like NY and Minnesota enjoy vibrant diversity as they're filled up with tons of Africans, Muslims, Asians, and Latinos.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've heard the 1/4th of Puerto Rico lives on the mainland statistic quoted to, but no one ever asks: how many of them are actually Dominicans who bought fake PR birth certificates? (Of course, looking into that theory would require journalists to admit that PR might be, oh, a wee bit more corrupt than the other territories under the loving care of the feddle gummint).

Anonymous said...

One good source to check out is Pew's "Potential Net Migration Index", which says that the US population would increase by about 60% if borders were totally open. But fortunately, Saudi Arabia would get even more totally destroyed than the US, with a population increase of 180%. Top-ranked Singapore is the most amusing: most everyone actually living there right now would move out, only to be replaced with nearly three times as many Bangladeshis.

Anonymous said...

The WSJ/NYT dichotomy is quite "interesting"...

Anonymous said...

Well give the most tax breaks for companies to locate to Mexico. i know people here complain about outsourcing but in the us some manufactoring is mainly due by illegal immirgants like garment work and even some heavily industry is due by hispanics in Ca and Texas rather than whites. In the states encouraged automation so white and legal mexicans can due the machinists jobs that can't be shipped to america.

Ed said...

Before the numbers got that high, the population explosion would crash the economy and people would stop coming.

To a degree, this is already happening with the current immigration regime. The remittence flow between Mexico and the US reversed a few years ago, with more money sent from Mexicans to support their relatives in the US than the reverse. There is evidence that recent immigrants are returning to their original countries. If this happens, it won't be unprecedented, during the Great Depression there was net total emigration from the U.S., mainly recent immigrants returning.

Its somewhat heretical to say this here, but the immigration issue could resolve itself as U.S. wages and median income continue to collapse (though one of the reasons for the collapse has been tacit encouragement of illegal immigration).

Anonymous said...

Open borders is societal suicide according to Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

Anonymous said...

When Britain's god-awful New Labour regime instituted open borders with Poland, senior Labour Party apparatchiks strenuously claimed that 'only' 14,000 Poles would ever emigrate to Britain. They based this claim on the work of 'smart economists' at the LSE (Saif Gaddafi's old stomping ground). In the event millions of Poles arrived - yes millions, the biggest and swiftest influx into Britain since the Anglo-Saxon invasion of the 600s.
The moral is that ALL estimates made by professional 'economists' about such potential influxes are trash. If they haven't got a political axe to grind, then their estimates are bsed on nothing more scientific than pinning the tail on a donkey, despite their protestations to the contrary. The wisest course of action is to assume the worse an work on the assumption that anyone with a pulse will come - actual historical fact bars this out.
Another point is that Poland is a middling income nation with a modest population. You don't need me to lecture you on what an open borders policy with India, Bangladesh or Pakistan will entail.

John Mansfield said...

There are 200 million Indonesians in the world, only 82,000 of them in the United States, but almost a million of them in Saudi Arabia. Similar story with Banglaeshis: a couple million of them in Saudia Arabia and only 135,000 in the United States.

The Indonesians bring to mind where Barack Obama is on immigration. I don't think he wants more Indonesians in the Unites States. He throws everyone their bones like a good politician, but he's likely less enamoured with increasing immigration than a lot of Republicans.

peterike said...

Turn out the lights, the party's ooooohhhhhhvvvvveeeeeerrrrrrrr.

To re-phrase Cartman on SouthPark: "Race war! Race war! Whites lose! White lose!"

Anonymous said...

Southern Boy

Are you that sociopathic that would annihilate your own kind including the culture and the wonderfull music that comes with your kind for $$$$$? You must be a Ron-Rand Paul supporter.

The racial transformation of the US is inseparable from hyper-explosive population growth. All the wonderfull amenities will be all gone. Who here really believes that millions of White Americans are in favor of a billion "Americans" mostly nonwhite? I've asked quite a few White Americans the following question:Wouldn't it be wonderfull if there were a billion people mostly nonwhite living in America within the next few years? When I ask this question, the look at me as if I was insane. But we are heading-full steam ahead to one billion "Americans" mostly nonwhite very soon-as soon as a full-blown amnesty is implemented..which will create a massive voting block for unending population growth. So what we are dealing with here is an enormous failure to connect on the part of millions of White Americans..this is what psychologists call cognitive dissonance..isn't it?

So what do you all think? Will there be a shooting war between Mexifornia and the White Western States over the Western States' precious and scarce supply of water? Yo necessito agua..pronto... para mi familiar... muy joven y grande!

How many of you out there even know who Pat Holloran is?

The economic issues are obvious and trivial. Economy depends upon Ecology...much deeper insight

One last point. Don't fall John Casti's and Gerald Celente's mumbo jumbo. It is not that both of them are wrong. But both of them are selling their information to the parasitic psychopathic corporations and Hedge Funds. Casti builds mathemaical models to uncover weird correlations-plug these correlations into a giant random matrix..calculate the eigenvalues...for data mining models that he uses to beat the market. So go ahead and read Casti's new book Steve. Tell us what you think.

Anonymous said...

I suppose middling and modest are relative terms. There are around 38M Poles, of which at most 1M took off for the UK, despite UK prevailing wages being up to 4x Polish levels. It's also wrong to extrapolate from tiny islands like the Marshalls to large nations - the US labor market could absorb 1/3 the population of the Marshalls (a whole 20K people) without a blink but obviously there are self-limiting effects involved if 1/3 the population of India were to show up here.

Spike Gomes said...


Depends where they go. If the majority of the Marshallese move to one small space, they can wreck quite a bit of havoc, and that's what they and the Micronesians have been doing in urban Honolulu. Google it. I've known folks who've live in So Cal and in certain Honolulu neighborhoods, and they say Micronesians make Mexicans look like British Immigrants by comparison. For one, Mexicans immigrants tend not to defecate in parking lots or set rented houses on fire because they prefer candles to paying the electric bill.

It's actually quite interesting. The nice proper liberal folk who went to school with Obama and such love to make a show of social justice for the USA shitting up their islands, while all the Hawaiians and local Asians who have to deal with them in their neighborhood and pay for their dialysis and public housing get stuck with the shit end of the bargain.

Whiskey said...

Yes Obama doesn't want immigration, that's why he declared Amnesty for anyone under 31 years of age, has canceled any taking of illegals from Arizona, and told the Border Patrol to run away and hide from smugglers, at a last resort throw rocks.

Really, the fantasizing here in some of the comments is astonishing. Of course Obama wants massive open borders and mass immigration -- the better to erase Whites who he HATES HATES HATES, and build a non-White majority immediately. Which can get him re-elected.

Anonymous said...

In 1996 I had a brief conversation with David Asman, currently with Fox News, but then with the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and someone (as he noted in our conversation) involved with the "There shall be open borders" editorials.

I was one of the guests on a short lived and deeply stupid cable TV show Asman was hosting (Issues USA), and after the filming was done I took the opportunity to ask him about precisely your point: how many would come? He wasn't willing to spend much time talking about it (he was a busy man!), but what he did have to say was kind of..., um..., startling. He condescendingly informed me that people like me had nothing to worry about, because the number of people who would come to the U.S. under open immigration in fact wouldn't be many more than were already coming.

How did he know this? Well you see, the Journal had organized a trip down to a section of southwest border for some of its people. And when he was down there he saw with his own eyes that this stretch of border, despite being totally unprotected, was not being flooded by huge numbers of illegal Mexican immigrants rushing north, as the alarmists would have us believe. In fact he didn't see anybody! So why, he asked me -- given that nothing was stopping all of Mexico from coming here illegally right now if they wanted to -- did I think they'd suddenly all start coming if we made it legal?

Why indeed!

Mike Hunt said...

Also, PRs who live in PR don't pay Federal Income Tax.

beowulf said...

Paging Dr. Ha-Joon Chang...

“Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else, including any minimum wage legislation. How is the immigration maximum determined? Not by the ‘free’ labour market, which, if left alone, will end up replacing 80-90 per cent of native workers with cheaper, and often more productive, immigrants. Immigration is largely settled by politics. So, if you have any residual doubt about the massive role that the government plays in the economy’s free market, then pause to reflect that all our wages are, at root, politically determined…”

Anonymous said...

How about this? Open borders only for blue states.

Not sure what you mean. It isn't just that the U.S. is a de facto Schengen area (see 1865-) with no interstate proscriptions apart from booze, invasive wildlife, and selling health insurance, but openly flouting the rules via litigation clock management has been routinized and the anti-sovereignty policy of even a single member invariably trumps the rest and defines lawfulness down. e.g. since Olympia, Wash. issued him a new driver's license Time magazine's authentic illegal alien Jose Vargas rambles across the land, doing his journalistic performance art.

Alcalde Jaime Miguel Curleo said...

Its somewhat heretical to say this here, but the immigration issue could resolve itself as U.S. wages and median income continue to collapse

Is this Ed Gillespie?

ATBOTL said...

I think I have read that about 50% of ethnic Puerto Ricans live on the mainland. There are close around 2 million in and around NYC alone. Puerto Ricans are what people in the whole Northeast think of when we think of Hispanics. We had virtually no Mexicans until the end of the 90's. There are way more Ecuadorans and Peruvians than Mexicans here. They are much better behaved that most other Hispanic groups.

I would guess Andean Indians are higher on conscientiousness than than Central American and Caribbean Indians are/were. They tend to be quiet, hard working, entrepreneurial and generally don't do the gang thing. If America was forced to have Hispanic immigration, we would be a lot better off with Peruvians than Mexicans.

Anonymous said...

So what do you all think? Will there be a shooting war between Mexifornia and the White Western States over the Western States' precious and scarce supply of water? Yo necessito agua..pronto... para mi familiar... muy joven y grande!

You do know that the US gets water from Mexico, right? Also, there is the Rio Grande which both sides of the border have access to.

I am not for importing more people, far from it, but the water illustration doesn't hold... well... water.

Arizona/Mexico water discussion:

Anonymous said...


A week ago, I saw an expert from the Draugt Mitigation Center on History Channel 2...Mega Draughts. He stated unequivocably that a 7 year draught in the southwest could result-with high probability- in a shooting war between Mexico and the US. My question was specifically about a shooting war between MEXIFORNIA and and the White Western States over acess to the White Western States scarce water supply which is currently subsidizing the Mexican colonization of California. So obviously there would be a shooting war within the US.

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