Digital Cabinet

Polevaulter Donkeyman's rants, raves musings and flame wars

Illegal Immigrants = Giving a Drug Addict a Job = Buying a house in a red light district?

with 6 comments

This started with a tweet by Shashi Tharoor

This is one of the commonest straw men used by “illegal” immigration restrictionists: If one is in favour of freedom of movement of people then one must also be OK with people (“illegal” immigrants) encroaching on one’s personal property.

Now let’s be clear. I am against encroachment of private property. Nobody should be allowed to take possession of a property without the prior permission of the owner of the property. But what act of these “illegal” immigrants is illegal? Are they encroaching on someone’s private property? If so, then surely such an act is illegal. But such an act is illegal irrespective of the nationality/citizenship/immigration status of the encroacher. Now if they are not encroaching on someone’s private property, then what use such analogy?

That would make sense if the Government of India had a shall-issue policy, i.e. enumerate certain criteria to exclude undesirables (such as criminals, those with contagious diseases) and then issue an entry permit to anyone else whether they want to study, work or just travel. Unfortunately that is not the case. The Indian govt reserves the right to deny a visa to an applicant without being obliged to give any reason.

Again, the “illegal” immigrant is encroaching on whose property exactly?

If being an Indian, makes one the owner of all of India (which is the only way one can make sense of @TRISH00L’s argument, that an “illegal” immigrant crossing the border into India is the same as an encroachment on private property) then does that mean I’m (assuming I am Indian) also the owner of all of @TRISH00L’s properties in India?

I am also of the mind that @TRISH00L was feeling pretty smart at positing that I would be ticked off if the “illegal” immigrants were squatting in the public road in front of, say, my house.

Hmmm. No answer to whether @TRISH00L would object to Indians squatting on the road in front of his house. If he thinks an Indian owns all the property in India (which is why he keeps bringing up the tired old encroachment on private property analogy) then surely he would not object to Indian citizens squatting on the road in front of his house (or on any road for that matter; long live Chakka Jams!!)

@TRISH00L dropped the tax argument after this. “Illegal” immigrants everywhere pay taxes such as sales taxes. In the US such immigrants also pay payroll taxes (social security, medicare) but are barred by law to avail themselves of those benefits.[1] As for contributing to the Gross State Domestic Product, “illegal” immigrants also contribute by participating in the local economy, by exchanging their labour for income and by using that income to buy products and service [2]

This tweet of @TRISH00L is in response to my tweet about why I would need the govt’s permission to hire anyone I see fit.

This is the first indication that @TRISH00L is finding it difficult to answer a few easy questions.

Undoubtedly, answering “elementary” questions is very taxing.

“Childish” question? Then why is @TRISH00L unable to answer them?

After this there were no more replies by @TRISH00L.

But it did set me thinking, why are red light areas undesirable residential neighbours?

  • They are busy with lots of customers coming and going. But that is true for any business. If that is the reason, then one would not want to live near a restaurant, or a supermarket or any commercial establishment (and not just a brothel)
  • They are dangerous, encourage criminality.
    • But why is this so? It is primarily because such activities are criminalised that only criminals have the incentive to engage in them. This was seen in 1920s prohibition in the US which led to a massive increase in organised crime.[3]
    • @TRISH00L and others like him, if you want to make prostitution less dangerous, you need to legalise it.
      • Amsterdam is a far safer city than cities in the US despite legalising prostitution.[4]

In summary:

  • “Illegal” immigration restrictionists do not understand what is and is not private property
  • They are unable to answer (or even engage with) simple questions, preferring to make non-sequiturs such as “childish” and “elementary”


P.S. There were some snide comments made later:

Note the continued concealment by @TRISH00L of his inability in even attempting to answer simple questions by calling them “childish” and “repetitive”

I replied to @khurafatKA_adda

Note two things

  1. It seems “fluncked eco. student” is a term of endearment for @khurafatKA_adda. I am also unclear as to what is meant by “survey agent”. Anyone enlighten me?
  2. “why do u want answers always” — This speaks volumes of @khurafatKA_adda’s intellectual curiosity and capability.

Update August 2, 2012


Later on July 31, 2012, in response to the above:

As has been the norm @TRISH00L made no effort to engage substantively. His (her?) motivations for doing so may be speculated upon; I suggest the perusal of his previous tweets would be illuminating

Unsurprisingly as of this update, no response from him.


Footnotes


[1] Illegal Immigrants Are Bolstering Social Security With Billions.

[2] Though one wonders if one of the reasons for the anger of the sons of the (night)soil is this participation of “illegal” immigrants in the local economy and consequent contribution to the GSDP?

[3] Enforcement and Impact of the Volstead Act

[4] Gilderbloom J.I., et al., Amsterdam: Planning and Policy for the Ideal City?

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Written by Polevaulter Donkeyman

July 31, 2012 at 00:25

6 Responses

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  1. illegal immigrants (immigrants without valid visa) are a problem for 2 reasons:

    – more likely to be poor and more likely to encroach on public/govt property (which does belong to all indians)
    – they also use up govt. provided benefits

    ofcourse, the right solution is clear and easy immigration rules, small government (less public property and less govt. doles) and efficient govt. (proper targeting of govt benefits and protection of public property).

    However, since (and until) we do not have these elements, the issue of illegal immigrants will continue to cause angst and there will be demand and need for better prevention of illegal immigration and removal of existing illegal immigrants

    Shailesh Saraf

    July 31, 2012 at 04:43

    • 1. If public/govt property belongs to all Indians, can then Indians encroach on them? Would you try to encroach on Rashtrapati Bhawan, 7 Race Course Road or 10 Janpath?

      2. Using up govt provided benefits — Here I agree with you. Typically they are given ration cards and dispensary cards to access food and health. India cannot afford to give away even more benefits since it is already unable to provide for its own poor. The solution however has to be better monitoring of access to such public benefits not a blanket ban on immigration (which even if stopgap will morph into the status quo with vested interests keeping it in place)

      2a. However I hope you do understand the asymmetry here. “Illegal” immigrants also participate in the local economy, they also pay taxes (in the form of sales taxes, VAT) which go into the govt coffers allowing the govt to sustain the benefits it provides.

      The following is a digression. Feel free to ignore.

      3. The angst, if I am correct, flows from extending the franchise to “illegal” immigrants. Given the majoritarianism inherent in the governments of India, it does give rise to votebank politics where demographic sections try to arrogate to themselves greater benefits at the expense of a weaker demographic group giving rise to the resentment among the indigenous that they are being taken advantage of by outsiders. Note that this is not just limited to Bodo-“illegal” BD immigrants. but also between Bodo and Santhal, the anti-bhaiyya and bihari agitation by the MNS.

      3a. The solution to this problem is to lessen the power of the governments (as you have pointed out) to award the spoils of office to its supporters. When the voters see that the extraction of rents is made more difficult, it would lessen the influence of votebank politics (whether your votebank is Dalit, Muslim, Brahmins, Thakurs. “illegal” BD immigrants etc)

      3b. Given that you are a member of Team Anna, I would advance the following proposition to you: Jan Lok Pal will not lead to any reduction in corruption in India. That is primarily because govt and the elected offices that comprise it are so powerful that there are massive incentives to dole out the spoils to favoured constituencies (e.g. businesses) and such incentives will not be dimiinished by the Jan Lok Pal. Moreover quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

      3c. Does Team Anna have any coherent plans in lessening the power of government?

      Polevaulter Donkeyman

      July 31, 2012 at 17:49

      • 1. Owning public property obviously doesn’t entitle members of public to encroach it to the detriment of other co-owners. Where is the confusion? A corporate shareholder doesn’t have the right to use company property but he should be aggrieved by outsiders encroaching on that property. I agree he should be equally aggrieved by other shareholders encroaching. I am just saying that illegal migrants are MORE LIKELY to encroach vs. existing residents (since most illegal migrants are poor and do not have existing assets in India). If you do not check illegal migration, you also suffer the consequences of other nations’ bad policies (in addition to suffering our own bad policies).

        2a. I do understand. Again, if my presumption that illegal migrants are overwhelmingly poor is correct, then their net contribution to India is probably negative given our socialist doles and the adverse effects of votebank politics (this is subjective and you may disagree).

        3. and 3a. agree

        3b. Janlokpal is a step in the right direction. Even when you have a small govt. (and we do not), ‘rule of law’ is essential. Rule of law includes ‘investigation independent of the alleged offenders’. Which of the following assertions you disagree with?

        – India has ‘big’ govt.
        – Corruption is a (lesser) threat even if govt. is small
        – Corruption should be a punishable offence/crime
        – All laws (including the anti-corruption law) should be enforced by the country’s justice system / rule of law
        – Rule of law needs investigation independent of the alleged offender and parties likely to be interested in protecting him
        – CBI’s anti-corruption wing (that deals with corruption by public officials) is not independent of the govt. officials that it seeks to investigate
        – The key goal /essence of Janlokpal is to make CBI’s anti-corruption machinery independent, give it necessary resources to do its job and call it Lokpal (yes, CBI will NOT come under the Lokpal…CBI will BE the lokpal with some change in structure)
        – The JLPB has room for improvement but it is vastly better than the govt’s versions.

        Who will guard the guards?
        – Even though its impossible/impractical to guard every guard, we still need guards…and should continuosly seek the right process/incentives to ensure good guards. We do not close down police stations just because police personnel are human and capable of committing crimes.
        – Similarly, Lokpal is not immune to corruption but simple rules that make its appointment and functioning transparent, keep it independent of the alleged offenders and hold it accountable to Supreme Court, Independent complaints authority and various audit committees should help us reduce corruption.

        Public officials in India are corrupt because corruption is rewarding and risk-free. Janlokpal may not reduce the rewards but will introduce a risk element.

        (The other significant benefit of the Anna movement is the strengthening of democracy).

        3c. Team Anna is primarily against too corporate-politician nexus but I don’t think they get the big picture that socialism / big govt is not the solution to but the cause of crony capitalism. So, their plans are more towards making the govt. transparent/accountable/efficient rather than making it small. But they rightly advocate rules based govt. power rather than discretionary power.

        Crucially, they are massively for more democracy and decentralization of power. In my view, that’s the way to go since the goal of individual liberty will be achieved (albeit slowly) through democracy, decentralizaton and healthy competition among smaller power centers….not through some good people (like those from Loksatta, FTI or even IAC) fighting elections, suddenly coming to power in Delhi and changing the system at one go..

        (Some things about Team Anna’s recent conduct has depressed me…hence, my support is less enthusiastic)

        Shailesh Saraf

        August 1, 2012 at 04:28

        • 1. Again the corporate shareholder analogy doesn’t really work. The corporate shareholder has the ability to alienate his “ownership” by selliing his shares. In that way he is far more an owner than a citizen. How do you claim that the ownership of a corporation by its shareholder is analogous to the ownership of a nation by its citizens?

          1a.

          I am just saying that illegal migrants are MORE LIKELY to encroach vs. existing residents (since most illegal migrants are poor and do not have existing assets in India)

          How would you compare the quantum of encroachment by poor Indians to that of “illegal” bangladeshi immigrants? How would you treat non-marathis who encroach in Maharashtra?

          1b.

          If you do not check illegal migration, you also suffer the consequences of other nations’ bad policies

          The question is, how does one increase the good consequences and reduce the bad consequences?

          Bad consequences:

          i. Clashes between natives and immigrants (Bodo vs “illegal” bangladeshi immigrants; Bodo vs Santhal; Marathi Manoos vs Biharis and Bhaiyyas)

          Good consequences:

          i. Immigrants are typically hardworking — they are after all coming to a new place to seek a better life. History has many such examples: immigration to the US of Irish, Italians etc (the US has benefited hugely by other nations’ bad policies by allowing immigration) — thus they make useful contributions to society and economy,

          This is useful reading on why immigration (illegal or not) is good for the national economy

          2a. As for “illegal” immigrants being a drain on the welfare state, it would be nice if there was an empirical study to quantify how much they are are draining the welfare state vs their contributions to the economy. For an example see this.

          I agree with you on the effect of votebank politics. I do sympathise with claims that “illegal” immigrants are able to vote in elections. But I think votebank politics is bad in and of itself (it does not become especially bad if it is done in favour of “illegal” immigrants; nor does it become better when practised in favour of groups of citizens) — and the only way to reduce it would be reduce the size, scope and power of government and thereby reduce the ability of the elected officials to dole out favours (and thus to use such promises to get elected in the first place)

          3b. One thing I have accepted is that there is always going to be some level of “corruption” in any government however small it may be. However the incentives, methods and benefits of corruption increase vastly with increase in the size of the government.

          The key goal /essence of Janlokpal is to make CBI’s anti-corruption machinery independent, give it necessary resources to do its job and call it Lokpal (yes, CBI will NOT come under the Lokpal…CBI will BE the lokpal with some change in structure)

          I am not so sure if this will really be that helpful. E.g. the FBI director is a political appointee, appointed by the US President (confirmed by the Senate) and works at the pleasure of the President. There are benefits to such political accountability (since ultimately this system is accountable to the public). There are also dangers to removing such political accountability e.g. J Edgar Hoover where the FBI became a law unto itself. My issue with Jan Lok Pal is this dismissal of public accountability, something which feeds into the middle-class Indian’s disdain for democracy (it is an interesting phenomenon in itself, worthy of deep investigation)

          The Jan Lok Pal is basically a Rube Goldberg-esque edifice with guards who watch on guards who watch on guards who ….

          Until the incentives and opportunities for corruption are minimized the Jan Lok Pal will be an ad hoc solution. The problem with such as hoc solutions is that they distract people from actual solutions.

          4.

          Crucially, they are massively for more democracy and decentralization of power. In my view, that’s the way to go since the goal of individual liberty will be achieved (albeit slowly) through democracy, decentralizaton and healthy competition among smaller power centers….not through some good people (like those from Loksatta, FTI or even IAC) fighting elections, suddenly coming to power in Delhi and changing the system at one go..

          But the point is that the change has to come from within. You are right that decentralization and more federalism is the best way to increase individual liberty but no Parliament is going to give up its powers without people inside it wanting to do so. In that way I applaud groups such as FTI who realise that for reform they need to go through the electoral process.

          I haven’t kept tabs on Team Anna for a while. What about their recent conduct has disappointed you?

          Polevaulter Donkeyman

          August 1, 2012 at 20:07

          • you are using Edgar Hoover’s criminal acts to argue against Lokpal? He headed FBI unchallenged/probably unchecked for 48 years. Lokpal instead is proposed to be a 9 or 11 member panel headed by a chairman….eligible for only 1 term of 4 or 5 years…with numerous provisions/possibilities for transparency, audit and judicial checks. Moreover, Hoover was probably a political appointee (directly/indirectly). Lokpal’s proposed selection process is so transparent with elected representatives also having a say.

            Shailesh Saraf

            August 3, 2012 at 01:15

  2. […] Top Posts & PagesIllegal Immigrants = Giving a Drug Addict a Job = Buying a house in a red light district? […]


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