Republicans are usually quick to point out that the bureaucracy and legislature in Washington cannot possibly regulate the price and quantity of things like health care or education with any degree of economic effectiveness. Why shouldn’t this reasoning apply to the price and quantity of immigrant labor? Arguably one of the greatest driving forces behind the explosion of economic productivity in the United States during its first two centuries of existence was an unprecedented level of freedom in the flow of ideas, capital, and labor across its borders. Borders do not have to be barriers. They can and should delineate the sovereign territory in which a nation’s laws will be enforced, but that doesn’t require preventing or slowing people, goods, and information from entering and enriching that sovereign territory.
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