The Logic Lifeline

A logical approach to sorting out world events. Where logic, opinion and speculation are combined to produce a reasoned, but entertaining reading experience. The unofficial hometown conservative blog of Woodridge, Il

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tim Cavanaugh wants free flow of people in North America

Mark has requested my comments on an article in the LA Times by Tim Cavenaugh. He thinks that the immigration problem can be resolved by:
But here's one good idea you won't hear about. Let's allow the North American Free Trade Agreement to live up to its promise and permit citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico to move and work freely among the three countries.
I don't know if this was ever a vision of NAFTA as he implies or if he wants to take NAFTA one step further. Cavenaugh dismisses other solutions like mass deportation, guest worker programs and the wall as "doozies". Two claims are made that seem to defy the senses when reading them:
1) "A policy of borders without visas would in fact be more restrictive and formal..."
2) " Free movement would be more secure than our current system..."

He also attempts to debunk common sense by addressing the two objections to open borders:
There are two objections to an open border policy: national security and economics. One is specious; the other is based on ignorance of the way free markets work and free people behave.
In a final bid, he even goes for the holy grail by referencing the Gipper:
In a 1979 speech, President Reagan proposed open travel throughout North America.
While it is true that opening the border would require identification, this would only apply at checkpoints. If we have laxity at the border today, imagine the laxness from the standpoint of dropping prevention of the flow of people. One might think that the example of Western Europe might hold here, where travel is very free between countries. In this case the overriding point is that we have a huge descrepancy of wealth between the US and Mexico (and even Canada). There would be huge chaos as there would be a flood from both the south and the north. If we have millions trying to come with some level of resistance, imagine the flood with no resistance.

The bottom line is that Cavanaugh is nuts.


  • At 7:59 AM, Blogger Mark said…

    I don't know about nuts, AICS. I think it's an approach to the problem that merits a look. Thanks for commenting with a new post. Gotta get to work but will get back to it this eve.

  • At 11:21 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    mark, if Mexico were not in the impoverished and corrupt position that it is in, having North American free movement would be a great idea.

    This underscores that Mexico needs to get its house in order, root out the corruption and build a stronger economic base and both their and our problems will solved in relation to the border.

  • At 6:37 PM, Blogger LASunsett said…

    Mexico needs to get its house in order

    That's so right, they have had years to develop and rise up and out of third world status. I was hoping thay Fox would help do that, at least get the ball rolling. But alas, it hasn't materialized.

    On a side note, there is a Mexican socialist candidate (his name escapes me) that has used this issue to his advantage. he is openly starting to campaign on the, if Fox would create opportunities in Mexico, there would be no need to go to America platform.

    I am no fan of socialism, but in this case, maybe this is what Mexico needs.

  • At 7:34 PM, Blogger Mark said…

    Two claims are made that seem to defy the senses when reading them.

    AICS, I think finishing the sentences or paragraphs regarding those ideas will give explanation. In the first he compares a present day free border with our historical southern border, which didn't have any sort of ID check. He's saying it would be more restrictive and formal than our historical southern border, not more restrictive than our present day border that leads to river swimming and fence jumping. As to the second sense defying point, Cavenaugh makes sense of it directly after saying it:

    Free movement would be more secure than our current system, removing Mexican workers' incentive to swim across the Rio Grande and allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection to track everybody who's entering the country legitimately, with 100% assurance that anybody who crosses the border in secret is up to no good.

    I can see Canadians coming to the U.S. to stay, but think Mexicans, more of a family-centric culture as a whole than u.s/canada, would come, make some cash, and head back home. Cavenaugh's point on this makes sense. They would go back and forth much much more if they knew that they could come back legally and safely. This might help even out the discrepancy in wealth between the two countries. I think chaos would not ensue. An initial rush, yes, but think of all the opportunities for american business to expand and grow with a "flood" of new workers.

    AICS, I think a free border with Mexico would greatly help that country get its house in order. Their citizens going back and forth would soon see the vast difference between the two countries, providing a strong incentive to get their own house in order. Plus the economic improvement with money from migrant workers would help the situation.

    The government doesn't create opportunities except by cutting taxes, cutting restrictive economic laws. and getting the heck out of the way. People create opportunities. A Mexican government that hobbles its people by aid and welfare under the guise of opportunity would only help maintain the present situation there.

  • At 6:59 AM, Blogger FKAB said…

    Sorry - completely off the topic. You left a comment on my blog, and I have replied. Sorry for the lateness.


  • At 9:55 AM, Blogger All_I_Can_Stands said…

    mark, although I disagree, I think you represent your idea well. Better than Cavanaugh did.

    I think the climate and reality of this issue has changed to a point we cannot make a valid comparison to the "historical southern border". To me it boils down to opening up the borders. I believe there will be an initial flood that will throw our economy topsy-turvy. The items that concern me:

    - the corruption of the Mexican government
    - the active role of the Mexican government in the flow of their citizens to the US
    - the very real sentiment among some Mexicans to take back land lost to the US (reconquista)
    - the very real concern of PC driven preferencial treatment for non-citizens with benefits that they do not qualify for (welfare, voting rights, social security, medicare)
    - the likely flooding of our jails. California jails already have a very high number of Mexican nationals in their jails
    - the fact that our security would be dependent on the security at Mexico's southern border and Canada's immigration / visa policies

    AICS, I think a free border with Mexico would greatly help that country get its house in order. Their citizens going back and forth would soon see the vast difference between the two countries, providing a strong incentive to get their own house in order.

    an analogy. good teenagers hanging around bad teenagers. which is the most likely scenario that the bad will improve or the good will get worse under the influence of the other. both can happen, but it is more likely the bad will drag the good down.

  • At 2:30 AM, Blogger Mark said…

    Due to loads at work, here's an extremely late follow up. Just Cavanaugh in his own words if I can get the link right. Radio interview with KMOX St. Louis - Paul Harris hosting. For what it's worth...

  • At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice idea with this site its better than most of the rubbish I come across.


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