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Old 09-18-2019, 07:29 AM
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America opens the Borders. Then what?


Pick your fantasy:

Donald Trump, waking up one morning with a sudden, deeply-held belief in the power of "opposite day", decides that he wants to ban borders and allow the free movement of peoples to and from the US of A, excepting terrorists and other bad guys and girls.

The GOP, of course, loves the idea because it came from Trump and we since now live in a world where a man can openly lie to Congress and open his Senate campaign on the same day so what the fuck does the law matter, and so all ICE and border agents are reassigned to guard America's burgeoning marijuana fields or process the new incomers and outgoers and give them "Have a Nice Day!" stickers or something.


... or...

A Democrat gets elected and decides to outdo Donald Trump and become a caricature of a Left-Wing villain. Her first idea? Open borders, excepting terrorists and other bad guys and girls.

The Dems, of course, fall in love with the idea because they all hate America and wish that all white people would die, and so all ICE and border agents are reassigned to guard America's burgeoning marijuana fields or process the new incomers and outgoers and give them "Have a Nice Day!" stickers or something.


So... what happens? We're still trading under the same rules - customs, taxes, drug and smuggling laws, all that still applies to goods and materials. But people? Nah, they can just come and go as they please.

I assume we'll probably still have to have entry points to staunch the smuggling of drugs, guns, etc... and, of course, Mexico and Canada won't be thrilled with the idea of the US saying "want to go to leave? We're not gonna stop you..."

Anyway, don't want to lay too many conditions on this, so, here it is, the question:

For whatever you think is meant by "open borders", what do you think will happen if the USA instituted an open borders policy for the free movement of people?

Last edited by JohnT; 09-18-2019 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:03 AM
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Crime -- especially the assault rate -- shoots through the roof. Not because the immigrants commit crimes, but because there's a certain demographic that would love to take immigration enforcement into their own hands.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:20 AM
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The biggest problem with open boarders is the social safety net. People can come into the area covered by the net to receive "free" services while working and living outside the net so as not to have to pay for it. This is the prime reason that single payer health care can't work on a state level people will move out to avoid taxes and move in to take advantage of the service until they need the service and move back.

"Luckily" the US doesn't have huge safety nets so this is less of a problem here. There would have to be enforcement of section 8 housing, schools and other forms of assistance so that non citizens wouldn't be able to use them but that should be able to be covered by the current funding on emigration enforcement. If single payer health car or UBI were established we would have to create more robust ways on ensuring citizenship to keep the free loaders out or to earn their way into the system but today that isn't much of an issue.

Also I would expect homelessness to raise and wages to be decreased starting at the bottom of the payscale but eventually lower wages would effect the professional class too. There would probably be a construction boom and large swell in the economy once those changes were digested though. We would also have an increase in the prisoj population since more people will cause more crime. Long term it would be a boon for the country.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:23 AM
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Crime -- especially the assault rate -- shoots through the roof. Not because the immigrants commit crimes, but because there's a certain demographic that would love to take immigration enforcement into their own hands.


What would these vigilantes be enforcing? In the OP's scenario, the borders are officially open; swimming across the Rio Grande (or Lake of the Woods) is completely legal.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:24 AM
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There would be a continuous stream of millions of poor people around the world flying into the US.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:44 AM
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Is it only US, or is it reciprocal? If it’s the later the short term the US has a huge influx of immigrants. Medium term, a substantial amount more back to their own countries after a spell and there is significant movement of US citizens immigrating to the “shit hole” countries. So probably balances out long term.
The EU experience suggests that.
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Old 09-18-2019, 10:47 AM
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Lots and lots of shantytowns.
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:01 AM
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Given that the US had open borders for most of its existence (until the KKK lobbied to end it), I doubt there would be any big problems. All you'd have to do is set up something like they had at Ellis Island to weed out those who might need social services. Also, restrict public assistance to citizens.

It worked for my grandparents, so there's no reason it won't work now.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:52 PM
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There would be a continuous stream of millions of poor people around the world flying into the US.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:29 PM
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An analogous question would be: What if the only wealthy man in a town full of poor folks flung all the doors to his mansion wide open one day, and left them that way. The results would be about the same.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:36 PM
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But would it? It was that way for the first 100 years. Did we get robbed?
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:37 PM
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Why so dubious? You doubt it? How many poor 3rd-world nation citizens do you think can get a visa to visit the US today?
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:39 PM
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I think the juxtaposition of a $4/day earning "3rd-world" farmer buying a plane ticket is what earned the

Me, I thought you were joking.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:46 PM
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An analogous question would be: What if the only wealthy man in a town full of poor folks flung all the doors to his mansion wide open one day, and left them that way. The results would be about the same.
Houses are at best poor analogies for countries.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:47 PM
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Crime -- especially the assault rate -- shoots through the roof. Not because the immigrants commit crimes, but because there's a certain demographic that would love to take immigration enforcement into their own hands.
Right....

So why don't we have tremendous amounts of that now?

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Given that the US had open borders for most of its existence (until the KKK lobbied to end it), I doubt there would be any big problems. All you'd have to do is set up something like they had at Ellis Island to weed out those who might need social services. Also, restrict public assistance to citizens.

It worked for my grandparents, so there's no reason it won't work now.
The world in your grandparents' time was vastly different than the world today. For one the world didn't have almost 8 billion people. Two, the US didn't have the social service we have today. Three, the US didn't have the judiciary that wouldn't care about whether or not a occupant of the nation was a citizen or not.

You know, the OP does ask an interesting hypothetical and it would actually be a good idea to test it for a decade and see if the left actually was happy with the de-facto open border stance. Sometimes, it does make sense to give people what they ask for.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:50 PM
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But would it? It was that way for the first 100 years. Did we get robbed?
Ask the Indians.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:04 PM
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I think the juxtaposition of a $4/day earning "3rd-world" farmer buying a plane ticket is what earned the

Me, I thought you were joking.
Right. How much do coyotes charge the poor people coming up from the south? A lot more than a plane ticket costs. You know why they don't just fly here? Can't get on the plane, because they don't have a visa.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:09 PM
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Answering the OP in the mode of a question asked with legitimate intentions...

a) People begin flocking to the US for the same reason that they were flocking here when the restrictions existed -- a better life in one or another sense of the word

b-1) Equilibrium is achieved by the US, realizing that it would be better to improve the world as a whole than to be inundated by zillions of immigrants, finally using its powers for good. Instead of propping up dictatorships who are favored by elements in the US for their cooperation in exploiting resources and workers, the US begins propping up genuinely democratic movements. Instead of using the UN as an enforcement mechanism for perpetuating the status quo, the US begins changing it to become a worldwide representative democracy. The US ceases to offer a spectacularly better set of rights and freedoms, safeties, and opportunities than are available elsewhere as a consequence of this, and immigration slows to a balanced trickle going in multiple directions.

OR

b-2) Equilibrium is instead achieved by the thinning of resources in the US and the struggles over increasingly scarce commodities, plus the increased violence exported here by frustrated people elsewhere, where things continue to be unfair unequal and short on opportunities. Eventually the level of misery evens out and people have less and less reason to view the US as a haven from the things they're trying to get away from.


Any questions?
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:37 PM
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Right. How much do coyotes charge the poor people coming up from the south?
I don't know. How much?
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:47 PM
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I really like this thought experiment.

I suppose the first reaction would be a mass migration of people to the US. I wonder how documentation would be handled? Assuming that anyone is allowed in that can demonstrate their identity and are then given American citizenship and the documents associated with that, you get an influx of people - mostly consisting of the poor who are fleeing poverty/persecution/whatever.

This would likely lead to a series of of humanitarian crises as social services attempt to catch up to the influx. You'd see homelessness, criminality, poverty, etc. climb.

But, given that everyone becomes a legal citizen and pays income taxes, I would expect the economy to grow. You'd need more housing, you'd have more customers for everything and you should see tax revenue rise as you have more taxpayers. You'd also likely need some sort of 'New Deal' style infrastructure movement to accept millions of new people across the nation. You'd also see minorities skyrocket as I assume most of the immigrants would come from minority groups. I wonder how the 'melting pot' notion would survive if you had millions of folks from different cultures come the US.

There would be significant upheaval and I don't think the 'new' US would resemble the old one.

If I had to guess, I think it'd be more like India or China than, say, Norway. Lots of different cultures mashed together with a significant number of folks near the poverty level, but with a population so large that you'd have hundreds of millions of middle-class people and plenty of billionaires. I think the US could manage the influx, but it would be a very different country.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:49 PM
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The outcome is so dependent on actual implementation. Does "open border" mean anyone who wants to come can get temporary visas? Permanent residency? Citizenship? If they are allowed to work, I think that would be a huge boost to the economy.

Or will they be able to physically enter the country, but not have any rights of a legal resident? In that case, we'd end up with a huge oppressed population of undocumented immigrants.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:04 PM
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The economy of the US improves due to the surge in workers and consumers.

There's a spike in ethnic violence from the right as they start attacking anyone brown in revenge.

Treatment of brown workers improves since they can't be threatened with deportation, or deported before being paid.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:11 PM
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The economy of the US improves due to the surge in workers and consumers.

There's a spike in ethnic violence from the right as they start attacking anyone brown in revenge.

Treatment of brown workers improves since they can't be threatened with deportation, or deported before being paid.
Why is it positive to deprive another nation of their workers and consumers, crippling their economy, in order to enrich ourselves?
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:18 PM
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Treatment of brown workers improves since they can't be threatened with deportation, or deported before being paid.
With a surplus of workers, they can be paid peanuts and threatened with firing.

If we're going to keep out the criminals, then we need the same kinds of screening and border protection we have now. We would just let in more people who are not criminals. The walls and guards would not cease to exist.

Of course with lots more poor people coming in, this will be a boon for various businesses who want to exploit cheap labor pools. Kind of like it is now with ICE busting illegals but not their employers.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:25 PM
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What would these vigilantes be enforcing? In the OP's scenario, the borders are officially open; swimming across the Rio Grande (or Lake of the Woods) is completely legal.
They would be enforcing their own vision of who belongs in "their" country.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:35 PM
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A couple of thoughts from the OP...

1. The question is asked with "legitimate intentions", inasmuch as that can be defined as "wanting to know others opinions".
2. It's also up to the respondent to define open borders and the implementation of such. Obviously I focused on the day the border disappears, but if you want to consider real-world transitions to such a state from the current situation of today, that's great.
3. If you want to give pithy one-liners, that's great too.

All right, that's more than a couple, kill me now.

Danke.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:37 PM
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Why is it positive to deprive another nation of their workers and consumers, crippling their economy, in order to enrich ourselves?
Adam Smith's Invisible Hand applies to labor markets as well.
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Old 09-18-2019, 04:56 PM
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I think that an open borders policy means that people can move freely back and forth, and (what the hell) work freely as well. It doesn't make people citizens, it doesn't mean we can't flag specific people for expulsion, and it doesn't mean we can't arrest them if they try coming back in after that. It does mean that once a non-expelled person is in the states, we don't care that they are as long as they don't break the law.

If we instituted open borders, the 'coyote' industry would suffer a huge blow, and american farmers and other industries that love cheap low-skill labor would benefit massively, hiring people to cheaply work the jobs the rednecks don't want. We wouldn't see much difference in gun and drug smuggling, since the OP says enforcement of that is OK. (We'd probably reassign a lot of ICE to just processing the massive flow of people going in and out.) We probably also wouldn't see a lot of criminals coming here - why would they? It's not like they can grab the silver and run. We're still checking for smugglers and all.

The republican rank and file would freak out and start murdering non-whites, alien and citizen alike. The republican politicians, on the other hand, would try very hard to make a some changes to the law. (Presuming they can't just reverse the open borders directly):
- end birthright citizenship. (This one's hard.)
- kill minimum wage for aliens working in the rural farmy regions.
- strictly limit welfare to citizens.

Last edited by begbert2; 09-18-2019 at 04:57 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:20 PM
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But would it? It was that way for the first 100 years. Did we get robbed?
We weren't "the richest guy in town" for the first 100 years. It also wasn't cheap and easy to get across large tracts of land in those days.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:22 PM
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Adam Smith's Invisible Hand applies to labor markets as well.
I know that. One reason China is about to overtake our economy is that we have apparently forgotten that.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:38 PM
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We weren't "the richest guy in town" for the first 100 years. It also wasn't cheap and easy to get across large tracts of land in those days.
I would argue that both of these statements are dubious assertion of facts which are not in evidence. de Tocqueville (sp?) noted the underappreciated fact of American wealth and power in the 1820s, even Adam Smith argued for the inevitability of moving the seat of Empire to America given its potential and already high state of cultural and economic development in Philadelphia and Boston.

America and Americans were rich from the very start, it's part and parcel of our national mythology... and fact. Hell, in meat consumption alone, according to conservative historian Paul Johnson, the American colonies had the third highest standard of living in the world by 1776.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:39 PM
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I don't know. How much?
A relatively quick search shows $1500 - $2500.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:40 PM
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I know that. One reason China is about to overtake our economy is that we have apparently forgotten that.
This can't possibly be true with all the economy-crippling tariffs we have levied on China.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:45 PM
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Probably something like this, though more ubiquitous:

https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=Cqmcc_1567925054
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:55 PM
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This can't possibly be true with all the economy-crippling tariffs we have levied on China.
Considering what Trump has done to our soybean farmers, can't wait to see what has happened to Chinese soybean farmers!
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:02 PM
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Considering what Trump has done to our soybean farmers, can't wait to see what has happened to Chinese soybean farmers!
The great thing is for every American farmer who commits suicide due to poor economic decisions, TWO Chinese farmers commit suicide. So we are winning!
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:16 AM
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The economy of the US improves due to the surge in workers and consumers.
If open borders is such a boon to a nation's economy, why haven't any or many other Western nations done so already? It would be an economic no-brainer, no?
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:23 AM
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If open borders is such a boon to a nation's economy, why haven't any or many other Western nations done so already? It would be an economic no-brainer, no?
Isn't that what the Right is telling us Europe is doing?

What about the EU itself?
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:25 AM
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The great thing is for every American farmer who commits suicide due to poor economic decisions, TWO Chinese farmers commit suicide. So we are winning!
But, here's the thing. For every American farmer who commits suicide, his farm can now go to Monsanto, who... using their Trump-given tax breaks... can now turn it into a truly profitable enterprise, enriching the 1% even further at the cost of, what, 1 dead farmer who wasn't going to make it without government support in the first place?

#Winning
#MAGA
#Trump2020

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Old 09-19-2019, 10:57 AM
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Then I have another option besides Barnes and Noble.
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:17 AM
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Why is it positive to deprive another nation of their workers and consumers, crippling their economy, in order to enrich ourselves?


If they had decent jobs at home, why would they be coming to the US to pick lettuce and wash toilets?
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Old 09-19-2019, 11:51 AM
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But, here's the thing. For every American farmer who commits suicide, his farm can now go to Monsanto, who... using their Trump-given tax breaks... can now turn it into a truly profitable enterprise, enriching the 1% even further at the cost of, what, 1 dead farmer who wasn't going to make it without government support in the first place?

#Winning
#MAGA
#Trump2020
Nice.

'Merica!
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:07 PM
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[Picture of Flounder flashes across the screen, largely to hoots of derision. Then, from somewhere in the back: "We need the dues, man."]
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:31 PM
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coming to the US to pick lettuce and wash toilets?
Not just menial labor.
If as the OP suggest, the borders were completely open to everybody, there would also be an influx of doctors and engineers and all other professions. There are currently about 1.5 million such foreign citizens in the US,who had to apply for visas to enter the country for a temporary stay.

( 420,000 people working on H1b visas which expire after 3 or 6 years
and over a million university students using F-1 visas which expire after graduation.
If there were no border controls and no visas, there would be many more, and the invisible hand would affect other labor markets,too.

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Old 09-20-2019, 02:00 PM
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Both your scenarios mention keeping out the terrorists and bad guys. How do we vet all the immigrants if they can come into the country at will? Would we just wait and see if they commit crimes, and deport them if they do? How do we keep them out if they are deported?

Would immigrants be eligible for SSI after they have been in the country for a month?

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:07 PM
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Your scenario, your call. Really, ignore the prologue and answer the question at the end of the OP based upon what you think Open Borders means.

Last edited by JohnT; 09-20-2019 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:20 PM
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Would immigrants be eligible for SSI after they have been in the country for a month?

Regards,
Shodan
Have you considered there might be a difference between "Able to come to America visa free" and "Able to collect government benefits"?
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:05 PM
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First thing is that we would have to eliminate the minimum wage in order to combat growing unemployment.
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:11 PM
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Gotta tell you, these predictions are a lot less apocalyptic than the current hubub about immigration implies. Get rid of the minimum wage? I may be incorrect, Omar, but isn't that something you would support?

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Old 09-20-2019, 05:12 PM
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First thing is that we would have to eliminate the minimum wage in order to combat growing unemployment.
Eliminate it? I can think of no better way eradicate the lower middle class. And the upper lower class. It would cause the market to settle at the price that the least demanding people will pay, for any and every unskilled and low-skilled position. Those people, for the most part, won't be white.

And seriously, you can't combat unemployment that way - it won't cause *that* many more jobs to open up, since no matter how cheap it to hire them is you don't need fifty servants/slaves unless you run a farm/plantation. Which means that you won't reduce unemployment; you'll just change who's hired, and whether they can afford housing.
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