Absorbing Immigrants

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Roots of American Success

My friend Don Boudreaux has a great column on the issue of immigration, “Absorption Nation.” He addresses one narrow claim, viz. that the United States cannot “absorb” any more immigrants. Rubbish, as anyone who has ever flown across the United States and looked out the window ought to know.

4 Responses to “Absorbing Immigrants”

  1. Argue fair

    That’s a bit of a slight of hand there. Nobody is arguing that the US doesn’t have the geographical space to absorp immigrants. The argument is about cultural assimilation. Between the 1920s and the 1960s immigration had virtually come to a halt, allowing the previous big wave of newcomers to fully integrate.

  2. There can be plenty of arguments about an issue. One that is often raised about immigration is about cultural absorption. Another, which is quite common, is that the economy or the infrastructure cannot absorb immigrants; where will they all go, where will they live, where will they get medical care or education? (It’s not just about space, but about infrastructure.) Both are made. Boudreaux addressed one of them. It’s deeply unfair to call it “sleight of hand” because he did not address a different argument. “Argue fair” is hardly being fair.

  3. Dr. Bob Arnatt

    I have never ever heard the argument that America lacks the georgraphic space for more immigrants.

    I would not call arguing against a strawman “unfair” myself, more like “a waste of time.”

    You could, and I would, make the argument that there should not be more immigration because you do not want the per capita amount of land to decrease. This is a fine argument that Mr. Palmer does not address, nor does the article he links to.

    You could also make the argument that there is a decreasing amount of open space in major metropolitan areas, especially those favored by new immigrants. Seeing that Kansas is mostly empty does not change the fact that areas like eastern Long Island and Ann Arundel County that were pristine farmland are now becoming urbanized, in part because of higher housing prices in the city driven in part by high levels of immigration.

  4. Tom G. Palmer

    Dr. Arnatt evidently didn’t read Don Boudreaux’s essay. I think it would be a good idea, since he does address a number of objections to immigration based on the alleged difficulty of “absorbing” immigrants. Moreover, I like living in urban agglomerations. If Dr. Arnatt doesn’t, he could buy outside of urban cores and both escape all those dreadful immigrants and the high prices. (I should point out, however, that a lot of people object to the immigrants from Central America who have moved to small town America and are, in many ways, changing the flavor of small town life.)