July 7, 2014

AMNESTY WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE GIPPER:

In Praise of Huddled Masses (Cont'd) : The increasingly free movement of ideas and capital needs to be matched by the free movement of people. (L. GORDON CROVITZ, July 6, 2014, WSJ)

How did the U.S. lose touch with its immigrant roots? Beyond today's partisan bickering, the larger problem is that politicians make the mistake of treating people seeking to build an American life as burdens instead of as benefits. This is not the first time.

Thirty years ago, on July 3, 1984, The Wall Street Journal published an editorial titled "In Praise of Huddled Masses." It said: "If Washington still wants to 'do something' about immigration, we propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders."

That was an ideal rather than an immediate prescription. "Perhaps this policy is overly ambitious in today's world, but the U.S. became the world's envy by trumpeting precisely this kind of heresy," the editorial said. "Our greatest heresy is that we believe in people as the greatest resource of our land."

The editorial was provocative, including to nativist conservatives; a writer for National Review called it the "high-water mark of loony libertarianism." There is a tradition of anonymity among editorial writers, but let's just say I had something to do with that editorial, which was approved by the late Robert Bartley, the Journal's longtime editor.

The editorial appeared during the debate about the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, which passed in 1986 and remains the last broad reform of immigration. That law gave asylum to three million people living here illegally.
Posted by at July 7, 2014 7:45 PM
  
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