More on Immigration; Discussion

Chaos Manor View, Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for the West as it commits suicide.

James Burnham

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.



The immigration discussion continues.

It should be understood, I am attempting a rational discussion of the immigration question. That means, among other things, that I am not considering outrageous policies likely to provoke civil war, such as mass murder or mass sterilization, nor physically or financially impossible measures such as instant deportation of eleven million persons. Even were we all agreed that the eleven million illegals already present must all go – and certainly that is not universally agreed – we could not do it. Even if all eleven million decided they wanted to go back to their former homes, it would take considerable time for them to get there.

It is unlikely that all of them will ever leave or be deported whatever we do, just as it is unlikely that we will ever build an impenetrable Wall along the southern border. Some – many – may want that, but the cost will be high and even then some will slip through. After all, people do get out of Cuba, and North Korea; they did escape the former Soviet Union; and I doubt we will ever enforce our border controls as vigorously as the Soviet Union once did and North Korea still does.

To berate Mr. Trump as flip=flopping when he says he will not deport them all in his first year, or even his first term, is meaningless; he can’t do it, he knows he can’t do it, he knew he couldn’t do it when he said he wanted to (if he ever explicitly said that); and he knew his listeners knew he couldn’t do it. You knew he couldn’t do it. He said he wanted to do it, perhaps, but a political promise obviously impossible of fulfillment is not real, it is said for its emotional effects. We all know that, so let us act like adults in these matters.

Previously I have said it is reasonable to deport any illegal alien convicted of a felony upon completion of his sentence. No new trial is needed. It is reasonable to require all state officials to inform the Federal authorities when any illegal alien is convicted of a felony, and to require that they detain him until he – or she – is in the custody of a suitable Federal officer. We may haggle over details, but surely the principle is agreed to?

It is reasonable to make strenuous efforts to regain control of the borders, and devote new efforts to that purpose.

This enough to allow a clear distinction between the candidates and parties. There is a candidate who would find all these propositions reasonable and would devote efferent to fulfilling them. There is another who doesn’t even find them worth discussing, and when they do come up rejects them.


Dear Dr. Pournelle,
It seems the last few lines of your September 6, 2016 View regarding the enforcement of laws against hiring illegal immigrants point to a much simpler and more cost effective strategy.
A primary impetus for most of the immigration to the US is economic. Which means employers who illegally hire these non-citizens are should be at least one focus of a solution, if not the primary focus. The President could easily and lawfully direct the IRS to use greater scrutiny to businesses in trades where illegal labor is customarily employed (construction, landscaping, etc.).
The IRS regulations already have a “duck test” rule, meaning that if something walks like a taxable duck and talks like a taxable duck they can tax it as a duck. It is often used for determining the difference between independent contractors and employees which allows the IRS to assess payroll taxes for persons claimed as contractors who are actually employees. This could be very easily and quite legally be applied to companies whose tax returns tend to strongly indicate the use of off-book illegal labor. For example, a landscaping company that generates $500K per year but claims only 2 employees is almost certainly using unreported illegal labor. The IRS can then estimate the amount of legal labor required to do the work and present a tax bill at that amount based on American wage scales and minimum wages.
Since it appears that the main advantages of using illegal labor are avoidance of payroll taxes, minimum wage and other labor laws, more serious enforcement of taxation would eliminate many of these advantages. And to the extent violation of labor standards and minimum wage laws incentivize the use of illegal labor the IRS can easily pass along notifications to local authorities where they suspect these issues. Even very liberal local governments are likely to frown upon violation of labor protection laws, and they certainly support minimum wage laws.
And to the extent the IRS needs any additional funding to enforce these employment tax laws, it does seem that the increased tax revenue from opening the previously blind eye given to employers of illegal aliens would cover the cost. In fact, it might prove to be a short term revenue source and help budgetary matters a little.
And since the enforcement mechanism is using existing IRS laws and regulations, protections for persons falsely accused are already in place. The appeal of tax bills in the tax court is a standard procedure with legal protections for the appellant are already built in.
I admit this is an off the cuff idea rather than a detailed policy and procedure proposal, however it does seem that for all the talk of immigration issues being related to jobs, nobody really wants to talk about the jobs side much less the significant tax revenue lost to this grey economy.
Thank you for your time, and please know I greatly appreciate your thought provoking web journal.
Chris Reichman

Any discussion of immigration beyond my two points above is likely to be off the cuff and subject to wild debate; but surely we can do something immediately without endless talk?



You make an excellent case for easy does it on the deportations / illegals problem.

But consider the following scenario which is actually lower cost than our existing legal costs for illegals.

First: Declare a state of emergency because of an existing invasion and plot to overthrow the existing government of the various states. ( what else would you call the various Reconquista movements in the Southwest. They openly declare their aim is to restore California, Arizona, New Mexico, and  Texas to Mexico .)

Second: Deploy the Army along the border with the Rules of Engagement specifying shoot to kill anyone crossing at an non designated Point of Entry.

Third: Kill Sanctuary Cities by having Federal Grand Juries indict the Mayor, City Councilmen, Police Chiefs, and Sheriffs of communities that harbour illegals for any subsequent crimes committed by a criminal illegal alien under various laws regarding Deprivation of Civil Rights. Hauling them off in chains to another community to stand trials for aiding and abetting in the further depravations of the criminals is the proper reward for their actions. Acts have Consequences. In most states being convicted of a felony will end any political careers.

Third: Announce a very short, Run for the Border immunity in which illegals can keep their assets and reapply for legal entry based on date they departed. Basically on 21 January make the announcement with final date of 15 March (Beware the Ides of March).

Fourth: After that date Illegal aliens found in the United States who have not committed any other criminal act would be tried and on conviction deported (with permanent bar to re-entry)  with all their (meagre) assets confiscated through Criminal Forfeiture.

Fifth: (and this is the wild part!!) Following the example of FDR during ww2 turn criminal aliens over to the Army for drum head court and execution on charges if sabotaging the American economy. German saboteurs were landed on Long Island during the war. They subsequently turned themselves in to the FBI which in turn turned them over to the Army which held courts and ordered the imprisonment of US citizens and  execution of Germans. The interesting aspect of this procedure is that it has already been reviewed and found constitutional by the US Supreme Court. In this case a criminal alien is one who has committed any other crime beyond mere illegal entry such as identity theft, use of false ID papers, welfare fraud, as well as the normal rape, murder, ad pillaging.

Because of the reduced legal costs we would actually spend less money than we are currently using for law enforcement. And the prospect of execution would serve to incentivize all criminals to flee.

Net cost of removing 11 –30 million illegals beyond what we are already spending  – ZERO

Yes, the Liberals would howl and challenge this but since their hero ordered these procedures they have less room to stand. And would you as a criminal be willing to bet your life that the Supreme Court would be willing to overturn its own decision in a few years? Safer to just Run for the Border.


This is more like science fiction than a serious proposal, is it not? If we could get national agreement on doing that, we would have done some of it already. Perhaps I overestimate the difficulties and underestimate the rising sense of panic.

In any event, I have a more modest goal: to get started on doing things we can all agree on.

But it might make a great sf story.


Illegal Immigration

The answer is to dispense with the oppressive regulations companies are strangled with.

Once that is done the economy will take off and there will be jobs for everyone.

At that point anyone breathing can get a job and who cares if there are illegals mowing lawns and gardening.

Utterly sensible. Let’s do it.


Death for hiring legal foreigners?

Dear Doctor Pournelle,

When you agreed with correspondent “Mark” that Mark Zuckerberg should be treated, for hiring legal immigrant programmers, the same as the rich man in the passage from scripture quoted by Mark, you do realize that means executing mark Zuckerberg, as well as fining his estate six times the cost of Mr. Zuckerberg’s “crime”, such cost probably to be estimated by the same goons that kill him. I imagine they will be quite reasonable in their calculations. Perhaps they will leave Zickerberg’s widow and orphans a home and small stipend, once Marks goons have finished looting Mr. Zuckerberg’s corpse?

I will leave to your imagination where this policy would lead, and in short order at that.

I suppose this is no problem for correspondent ” Mark”, since Mr.Zuckerberg is not a member of Mark’s tribe, clan or faith.

It is for me. As with Zuckerberg, I am an American, and if you seek to harm one of MY tribe, I will take umbrage at that, and protect my tribe, the citizens of the United States of America.

I take it that you agreed with the notion of some punishment for those who profit from illegal immigrants, and not with the literal sense of “Mark’s” rant? As would I. However, I believe that Mark meant to be taken quite literally.


You take it that I agree with everything he said and all the implications that you draw from your reading? You give me more credit than I deserve in assuming I read it that closely, and considerable disservice in assuming that I would find that interpretation reasonable. So far as I know I have never agreed to punishment for all those profiting from the assistance of illegals.

Good luck on protecting all of the members of your tribe. While I might share that goal, I am unlikely to be of much use in achieving it at my age.

I do believe in Bill Buckley’s observation that one can successfully study and learn to be an American, in contrast to becoming a Swiss, or a German, or a Swede by intellectual effort. I suspect the Swedes are learning more about that proposition than they wanted to know. To that extent St Paul’s letters seem to be on firm ground. It is becoming more popular to reject the concept of the American Melting Pot than it was in my high school days when it was thought self=evident that the Melting Pot worked. We had assimilated Irish, Italian, Hungarian, English, Scots, Welsh, and other immigrants. Britain managed fusion of Britons, Angles, Saxons and Danes; they had merged with the Normans; yet Scotland and Wales and Ireland remained in a way that “Little Italy” did not.

Of course assimilation takes incentives, considerable adaptation and determination, and other factors we don’t have room to discuss here; but visibly it worked in America until there was a determined effort to prevent it. This is not the place for that discussion. I do repeat that migration without assimilation is invasion.



Labor VOTES. You can’t think of the 11 to 30 million Illegals as merely a present day economic issue. That’s short sided. We have a moral responsibility to think about future generations.
All those tens of millions of new immigrants – legal and illegal – are going to vote Leftist. That’s the whole reasons they’ve were brought here!
And please, don’t give us the old cop out about “assimilation” taking care of everything. There are poor Hispanics families living in New Mexico that go back 300 years!
The eight million square miles under Hispanic control isn’t exactly a paradise.
It shocks me that grown men can think of themselves as moral while stabbing their own children and grandchildren in the back by NOT kicking the illegals out.

Rob King

While your frustration is obvious, I do not see why an attempt at rational discussion is impossible. Incidentally, I reject the validity of “copout” as an unanswerable argument. There are poor families in many countries that go back 300 years. In the 21st Century it may be common to think of the permanent underclass as Hispanic in origin, but the people sterilized by the eugenicists on the grounds that three generations of morons is enough were more likely to be named Jeeter or Jukes or Kalikak than Sanchez. Then there are Faulkner’s Snopes boys…

I don’t recall proclaiming anyplace a paradise.


Reading Nero Wolfe
“I admit to doing a lot of funking out and reading old Nero Wolfe stories.”
I have them all packed onto my Kindle, and binge on them now and then. It’s intellectual comfort food. I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks, and right now I’m up to “Homicide Trinity.”
Terry Pratchett, Sherlock Holmes, Kipling, Heinlein, and several other authors fall into this category, too.

Tom Brosz

I find old quiet action novels I have already read a good distraction when I don’t seem to be writing anything but I have to do something I can stop instantly when I do get the right ideas. I tend to agree with your list. John D. Macdonald also qualifies.



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.



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