More than 55,000 immigrants are living in California with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) — a form of humanitarian relief for those whose home countries
Tagged with “immigration” (13)
The Costs Behind A Migrant Crisis: Tracking US Influence On Mexico’s Southern Border Plan | Fronteras Desk
Part 2: Since the child migrant crisis unfolded two years ago, the United States has assisted Mexico on its southern border. The result has been rising deportations from Mexico amid a rise in allegations of corruption against its immigration agents.
The federal government is issuing weekly reports that name sheriffs it says aren’t cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement. Many sheriffs say what they’re being asked to do is illegal.
Lawyers and judges in some parts of the country say that for the first time Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents are coming inside courthouses to question people about their immigration status.
Traffic operations designed to catch unlicensed drivers are provoking allegations of racial profiling across the Delaware Valley. The concerns stem from ICE officers working hand in hand with…
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DUBNER: I’d like to hear your thumbnail views on a broad spectrum of issues. Charles, what are your views on immigration?
KOCH: My views on immigration are the same as they are on any imports of goods and services, not just people. I would let anybody in who will make the country better and no one who will make that worse. That would be the same thing of people who are here illegally. If you’re here, gainfully employed, and adding value in society then you ought to stay. If you’re not contributing — and particularly if you’re creating trouble, making people’s lives worse — you need to be sent out of the country.
DUBNER: Now, to say that you’ve let in anybody who will make the country better, that could be construed — I would argue, pretty easily — as essentially a vote for open borders. Do you go that far?
KOCH: No, there needs to be screening, particularly with a giant welfare state that we have. You don’t want people [to] come here, just go on welfare and drain resources. You want people who’re going to come here, get a job, work, obey the law, be good citizens and contribute. There needs to be screening for that. Exactly how to do that and what’s effective, I haven’t gotten in the detail enough to know. Then on imports, I would let in every import except those that are dangerous like poison gas, bombs, atomic bombs and stuff. Keep all that stuff out. But all the goods and services that are cheaper, better quality that Americans want to buy, I’d let them in because it makes Americans better off and it increases innovation, just as the Japanese imports caused our auto companies to come into the 20th century.
DUBNER: Now, a lot of people who hear that argument — that essentially unfettered free trade argument — we want goods and services to move freely without friction and let the market set the lowest price so that more people can enjoy stuff. That argument felt a lot better to a lot of people 10 years ago. But now there’s a lot of backlash against globalization generally for depressing employment and wages here. Have you not lost any enthusiasm for globalization?
KOCH: As I say, I’m against special interest, corporate welfare and import tariffs. Blocking imports are corporate welfare. You’re saying to the American people, “You don’t have the right to buy a better product, higher quality, more advanced or cheaper because it’s made in Japan.” As opposed to, “It’s made in Montana because we [have] got to protect it.” It’s like the sugar growers. We got, what, a few hundred sugar growers? And we subsidize them and protect them from foreign competition. It raises the costs of foodstuff for everybody. That isn’t going to affect my life. But that hurts some people who don’t have very much.
DUBNER: Charles, what is your thumbnail view on drug decriminalization and/or the war on drugs?
KOCH: As I forget who said, “We fought the war on drugs and we’ve lost.” People say, “God, look at people doing these drugs. It’s terrible. We’ve got to stop them.” Well, part of the terrible part is because we’ve tried to stop them. It’s just like prohibition. They tried that and what [it] did that put gangs and criminals in charge of alcohol and created a crime wave. Well, the same thing is true here. I’m not an advocate of drugs. I don’t do drugs. Never have. I’m not in favor of people doing drugs. On the other hand, this extreme criminalization hasn’t worked. Matter of fact, it’s ruined a lot of lives by turning people who really didn’t do much wrong into lifelong criminals.
DUBNER: Talk a minute about criminal-justice reform or what you would even call reform within the realm of criminal justice.
KOCH: Like everything else, we need a legal system that is just, where the punishment fits the crime. And we also need a system that, if people make a mistake, learn from their mistake. They need to have a second chance rather than ruin their lives.
DUBNER: Let me ask you about climate change — causes and consequences.
KOCH: There are natural causes and then there are causes due to increase in greenhouse gases, such as CO2, being the biggest one. Not the most potent one, but the biggest one. So far, unlike the projections, it has not created catastrophes. But obviously, if the temperature continues to go up, at some point it can be harmful or even very harmful. But the question is, “What do we do about it, about whatever risk there is?” And to me, the answer is innovation. These policies that the U.S. government has, others have proposed or promulgated have been just symbolic. They have made essentially no difference. The EPA has said this. We oppose all of these because they end up being cronyism. They end up helping certain wealthy people to the disadvantaged of the less fortunate.
DUBNER: What would you propose instead, if you were setting that policy?
KOCH: I would go to permission-less innovation. This is part of this whole theory of liberation [that] allows everybody to become rich. We need to liberate innovation, entrepreneurship, and productivity. We see that a lot of progress has been made in solar. There are also huge improvements in energy efficiency and in natural gas replacing coal due to innovations. You look at all the progress in having less greenhouse gases and it’s due to innovation, not regulation. As a matter of fact, [when] they blocked the Keystone pipeline. I was going to send them a thank you letter because that was saving us $750,000 dollars a day in crude costs. Maybe that’s not a lot of money. It’s a lot of money to us.
DUBNER: Wait, I don’t understand. How is that saving you that money?
KOCH: Because we have a refinery in Minnesota that runs on Canadian crude. Now, the marginal buyer’s on the Gulf Coast and it’s railed down there. If they build a pipeline, it will be shipped down there three dollars a barrel cheaper.
DUBNER: So the pipeline is, would be bad for your business. What was your public position on that or the Koch Industries …
KOCH: We were in favor of the pipeline.
DUBNER: Because why? Explain.
KOCH: We have a luxury of being a private company and can act on principle. No one, or a lot of people don’t agree with our principles. But what we believe [in] are principles that will make people’s lives better and that’s the way we evaluate everything. Every position is to get rid of cronyism, corporate welfare and to liberate the people.
DUBNER: Now the public line on you, however, is that, “Everything that Charles Koch or the Koch brothers advocate societally or politically is just an effort to protect or extend their business interests.” You’re giving an example right now that runs purely contra to that argument. Make your best case how and why that’s not so.
KOCH: Okay. We opposed extenders, the tax bill, which are our tax exemptions, cronyist things that have been passed at the end of every year. They do it year to year so it doesn’t count in their longer-term deficits. And we make a lot of money from those, because they benefit us tremendously. But we’ve opposed those. We oppose all import tariffs. We opposed this border adjustment fee in Congress’s tax bill that would make us over a billion dollars a year. There are roughly a trillion and a half special exemptions in the tax code. We benefit tremendously from them. We’d get rid of all of them.
KOCH: So to get rid of these special deals for special interests … It’s a cancer on our society. Supposedly all the cronyism is — different estimates — out of a $15 trillion economy is costing the economy, making it less efficient by four to five trillion. 30 to 40 percent. You just think what growth and productivity we would have. Plus then you would open it up for entrepreneurs, new competition, new ideas, new innovations. Another huge contributor to this problem is this occupational licensure. It’s not just big business. Locales and states require all of this testing, schooling, fees and stuff for people who start with nothing. They say it’s safety. Oh yeah, that’s right. Hair braiding. You need fifteen hundred hours of schooling. This is absurd.
DUBNER: Now, I think a lot of people listening to you talk, especially on certain issues — immigration, even the way you talked about climate change, drug decriminalization, criminal-justice reform — even a lot of Democrats, even progressives hearing that, a lot of what you’re saying would sound pretty palatable to them on the topics, on the issues. And yet, if you were to ask most Democrats or progressives to name their number-one enemy, it’s probably you and your brother David. In your mind, why is that? You plainly feel as if you’re sending a series of messages and acting on a series of beliefs that you feel are really valuable. And yet even to those who, in your mind, would benefit greatly from them — which is to say everybody, I guess, the way you describe it — you’re cast as …
KOCH: Well, not everybody. The special interests would be less able to exploit everybody else.
DUBNER: Well, that said…
KOCH: But we find people, Democrats from all over who will work with us. We worked with the Obama administration, particularly on criminal-justice reform, also on occupational licensure. We work with a number of Democratic governors on occupational licensure. But, I’ll tell you these special interests are so strong.
DUBNER: Are you suggesting that it’s the special interests, then, who drive the Democratic, progressive and even journalistic agendas — like Jane Mayer at The New Yorker — to paint your endeavors as evil? Or is this something that’s arrived at more organically?
KOCH: Well, it’s both. It all starts with the belief that virtually everybody is capable of learning, contributing and leading a successful life if they’re given the freedom and opportunity to do so. I would reform the education system, communities, business and government to better enable that to come about. Now, if you believe, as, for example, Hillary does, that those in power are so much smarter and have better information than those of us great unwashed out here have, that we’re either too evil or too stupid to run our own lives and those in power are much better — have what Hayek called the fatal conceit and William Easterly called the tyranny of experts — that they can run it for us.
And when Hillary was pushing Hillarycare, she said as much — that if people are left to decide their own healthcare, they won’t spend enough and so the government needs to do it. Besides, the government will do it better. That is a great divide.
DUBNER: When we talk about the reforms that you would propose, I’m curious: isn’t it a little hubristic to assume that you do know what’s best for society? Persuade me of your level of confidence that if you could reform things as you see fit, that — I’m not saying work 100 percent, nothing’s 100 percent — but it truly would work.
KOCH: Well. I mean, I don’t know, as I said. You asked me about how to do immigration, exactly. No. There’s a principle here. There are basic principles and, as I said, quoting Newton, “If I see further, it’s because I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.” What has worked through history? What, starting in the 17th and 18th century, caused the standard of living — for the first time in history — to explode? Caused the U.S. to be 30 times the per capita income in the whole world, ten times? What, just since 1990, has caused the number of people in extreme poverty to drop from 2 billion to less than 800 million? When you go back through history, it’s through liberation. It’s by applying the principles in the Declaration of Independence — that is, everybody is born equal with certain inalienable rights. Governments are instituted to secure those rights.
If you look at our history as a country, we became the most successful country in the world because we followed those to some extent. Where we violated them have come all of our tragedies and injustices, whether that’s slavery, whether that’s exterminating Native Americans, whether that’s denial of women’s rights, denial of rights to immigrants, particularly groups like the Chinese and the Irish and civil rights. Now, when you say… God, policy. I do not know what detailed policies. But I know enough principles to know what works because they’ve worked universally through history. For example, division of labor by comparative advantage, creative destruction, the rule of law, the benefits of trade. These principles we know, and we know from psychology, that people are not happy when you just give them stuff.
There’s this concept of earned success, what Aristotle called ‘eudemonia.’ That is, you have human flourishing when people fully develop their abilities and use them to do good. It’s what my father called the glorious feeling of accomplishment. There are all these principles that have that have proven true throughout history. You have the same objective, you debate it and you learn from each other. That’s how innovation comes about. That’s part of it, is to not get sucked into hubris. “I got all the answers. I’ve got eternal wisdom and know the exact path for all time.” No. I’m out here experimenting, fumbling around, trial and error to try to find a better way.
The debate over comprehensive immigration reform has many sticking points, one of which is how to handle undocumented immigrants with criminal histories. While some immigration advocates think the language put forth in the Senate bill is overly punitive to people who have committed minor crimes, others argue that the legislation provides safe haven to criminals who could be dangerous to our country. Robert Siegel meets several undocumented immigrants who have criminal records that have already led to immigration consequences.
A congressional directive requires U.S. detention centers to fill 34,000 beds per night. Supporters say it ensures that the nation’s immigration laws are being enforced. But critics say housing a fixed number of immigrants at any given time is inhumane, inefficient and too expensive.
Seventy five years ago the American author John Steinbeck published what was to become his most-celebrated novel: The Grapes of Wrath. At the centre of the book is the story of the Joad Family whose farmland in Oklahoma, in America’s mid-west, has turned to dust and whose farm has been repossessed. Faced with destitution they make the epic journey from Oklahoma to California in search of work and a better life. Along the way they are victims of prejudice and face exploitation at the hands of unscrupulous employers.
The book was an overnight success and for many became the parable of America’s experience of the Great Depression. But it was also controversial with its critics seeing it as little more than thinly disguised left-wing propaganda.
The BBC’s North America Editor, Mark Mardell has retraced the Joads’ journey to explore the relevance of the book’s themes in today’s America.
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