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Krikorian On Haiti And National Origins Quotas
January 22, 2010,
Elliott Abrams has a piece in today's Washington Post calling on the United States to substantially increase Haitian immigration, so as to reduce the population of Haiti and increase the amount of remittances sent there from abroad. It's so wrong-headed I'm not sure where to start.
To begin with, the only salutary development in immigration law over the past 50 years has been the move away from national-origins quotas. The whole point of the 1965 law was to standardize the selection of immigrants, rather than favoring Irish and Germans at the expense of Italians and Poles. Likewise with the 1980 Refugee Act. A "More Haitian Immigration Act of 2010" would be a step backward.
Secondly, why just Haiti? Poor as it is, there are many countries poorer and more screwed-up than Haiti. Afghanistan has a per capita GDP 40 percent lower than Haiti's, and it's obviously a troubled place â€” should we admit hundreds of thousands of additional people from there, too? Somalia's per capita GDP is less than half that of Haiti, so we need more of them, too, right? Or how about Congo, which is much, much poorer than Haiti and in even more turmoil and has been for years. When you get past gauzy sentimentalism, you see that immigration to the United States can never make even the smallest dent in the world's misery, where 5 billion people are poorer than the average Mexican.[More(links added by me)]
Unlike Mark, I don't think that there's anything wrong with "National Origins " quotas as such, but he's right that what Abrams wants is, in effect, a National Origins quota favoring Haiti, which is absolutely insane. If the US did have a National Origins quota, it would favor Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Canada, and (my own suggestion) the Swedish Bikini Team long before it got to a country like Haiti.