Richard Posner compares immigrant amnesty to tax amesty. His excellent point is that amnesty is a conventional policy tool and should not be despised.
However, Posner is not nearly cynical enough about the motives of thosse who complain that amnesty “rewards criminals.”
The Americans who for one reason or another are most concerned about illegal immigration are not much or maybe at all concerned about legal immigration, and so converting illegal to legal immigrants should be regarded by them as a highly beneficial step.
Hardly. Today’s most “concerned” are just as fond of citing IQ studies and “national culture” as the racialists who shut down legal immigration a century ago. They are the ones in need of amnesty.
Posner’s final paragraph is also excellent:
The solution is for Mexico and the other poor countries from which illegal immigrants come to become rich. As soon as per capita income in a country reaches about a third of the American level, immigration from that country dries up. Emigration is very costly emotionally as well as financially, given language and other barriers to a smooth transition to a new country, and so is frequent only when there are enormous wealth disparities between one’s homeland and a rich country like the United States. The more one worries about illegal immigrants, the more one should favor policies designed to bring about greater global income equality.