“When only two percent of immigrants from Japan to the United States go on welfare, while 46 percent of the immigrants from Laos do, there is no single pattern that applies to all immigrants. Everything depends on which immigrants you are taking about and which period of history.
One of the things about the immigration debate is they talk about immigrants in the abstract — and there are no immigrants in the abstract.
An additional problem is that we don’t know who those people are that are already here. They may all be PhD’s from the University of Chicago, in which case they should all stay. Or they may in fact be people who majored in sociology at Berkeley, in which case we should get them all out of here as soon as possible.
But we don’t know. And that’s one of the problems of our so-called ‘immigration policy’: we don’t have an immigration policy, unless we control the border. It doesn’t matter what our policy is; if anyone who wants to cross the border can cross, our policy is just a bunch of words on paper.
And especially when they talk about people in agriculture. This is a country that has had a chronic surplus of agricultural output for decades on end, costing the tax payer billions upon billions of dollars. […]
Any discussion of people in the abstract drives me crazy. Because there are no abstract people. One hundred years ago, people understood that. So when there was a debate about immigration, there was a multi-volume set of tomes about the characteristics of immigrants from various countries — how do their kids do in school, what is there crime rate, what is their disease rate. All those things. That matters.”
From Thomas Sowell’s interview with the Hoover Institute’s Peter Robinson last December.
In case I need to say it again, I don’t agree with some of the things I post on here. This is one of those things. Still, I love Sowell’s panache in this interview as well as the clarity of his seminal work Basic Economics, a primer on market economies that’s quoted in the opening paragraph above.