Alex Nowrasteh joins Adam Camac to discuss immigration reform, immigration-related controversies, such as DACA, the DREAMers, a potential border wall, and Trump’s travel ban, and arguments in favor of a more open immigration system.

About the Guest

Mr. Nowrasteh is an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. His work has appeared in most major US publications, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The Washington Post. He is a co-author of Open Immigration: Yea & Nay.

You can follow his work via the Cato Institute’s website, and you can find him on Twitter.

Biographical information is from

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Book Mentioned
1. Open Immigration: Yea & Nay by Alex Nowrasteh and Mark Krikorian

Related Video
1. Alex Nowrasteh, from the CATO Institute, Debates Tucker Carlson on Illegal Immigration (February 21, 2017)

Related Article
1. Don’t End DACA: The Immigration Program Trump Must Save by Alex Nowrasteh (August 31, 2017)

Resources Mentioned
1. Cato Institute
2. Alex Nowrasteh’s Cato Institute Scholar Page
3. Cato Institute’s Immigration Topic Page
4. Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

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  • I’d like to get people’s thoughts on my short blog regarding the social contract and immigration: <span style=”font-size: medium;”></span>

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  • How many of you in here support FairTax ( I feel like FairTax coupled with amnesty and an easy naturalization process would be a recipe for economic growth. Just a theory. What do you guys think?

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  • Donald Trump knows that raising the minimum wage puts people out of work, and he wants to use it for exactly that purpose. In a position paper (yes, Trump actually has position papers), he proposes raising the minimum wage for H-1B workers so that fewer of them will get jobs: Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program. This is part of Trump’s hostility toward all foreigners; in the same paper, he repeats his intention to build a wall along the Mexican border and implies that immigrant workers are terrorists. The point here, though, is that he has enough business experience to recognize that a legal minimum wage which is higher than the market value of work doesn’t help people who are looking for jobs, but puts them out of work. He agrees with the “left” in wanting to raise minimum wages, but he not only admits but intends that it will put people out of work.

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  • Open Borders Are an Assault on Private Property Thoughts?

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  • “We’re a small country. We can’t let them all in. There aren’t enough houses for them, schools are over-subscribed, and the hospitals are too crowded. So they should all go back to where they came from, and if they don’t want to go back then we should make them; if the authorities won’t make them go back then we should do whatever it takes, including force if necessary. They are not English. They shouldn’t be here. I have a right to protect my family. This is my country and I’m proud of it. Patriotism isn’t a crime.” This is how this easy argument usually goes for those who oppose immigration; I used to roll my eyes in annoyance at this argument but now I’m quite nervous of it. The only counter arguments I can put forward to this “We are full” claim is that it’s not ‘literally’ true that the country is ‘so full’ that you cannot move or that we have no more empty green fields, because we actually can move about and we actually do have empty green fields… plenty of them. Another counter argument to this claim, from a libertarian perspective (the NAP), is even if the country is full, why should the property rights of one or many (immigrants) be violated in order to make room for everybody else… who just happen to be English? After all, there are only two ways in which space can be made: the first is peacefully, an individual leaves voluntarily (without violence or the threat of violence being used against him/her); the second is forcefully, an individual leaves on the basis that violence or the threat of violence has been used against him/her either by an individual or a group of individuals. This argument from individuals who oppose immigration who say that there aren’t enough houses for immigrants, that schools are over-subscribed and that hospitals are too crowded seems to me to be claim not about immigration but an argument about the inability of the state to respond to the demand for housing, schools, and hospitals—all three sectors which are distorted by economic ‘policy’ (state interference in economic life). As for the “they are not English”, well my simple response is basically “so what”. And the “they shouldn’t be here”, well my simple response is “who are you to decide who should and shouldn’t be here?” And as for the consensus patriotism rubbish (or the “I love my country” rubbish), well my simple response is to ask him/her to remind me when was patriotism about hating foreigners or supporting everything the government wants? In fact I believe most people who say they love their country and want it back seem to love a country that they don’t live in anymore or it doesn’t exist anymore or it didn’t ever exist. To me patriotism is about defending liberty, or that quality that permits us in a free society to criticise/defy government when it’s wrong, or loving some sort of history of tolerance and openness and liberalism (in the classical European sense). Are there better arguments to the ones I have given?

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