Steev Hise's Reviews > Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders

Let Them In by Jason L. Riley
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's review
Apr 29, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: border
Recommended for: immigration activists

First of all I should note that the author is a Wall Street Journal reporter and editorialist.

Riley starts out talking about how many weird alliances have formed amongst the anti-immigrant crowd, but it seems to me after starting this book that there's equally weird alliances on the other side. I myself am pro-immigration on a humanitarian basis. Riley's position comes from an economic basis, as one would expect from the WSJ. Everything is seen through the lens of benefit or harm to the free-market economy, with a "free market" assumed as a given to be an innate good.

The first chapter is about population and the environment, and he spends a lot of time mentioning statistics that seem to show that environmentally, the world has been getting better in the last 40 years or so, especially the U.S., even as its population has been shooting up. However, his main source of statistics is a study by the Pacific Research Institute, which is in bed and funded by people like oil companies, tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc, and their director writes and speaks prolifically about how bad single-payer healthcare is and would be.

Later chapters discuss other common arguments around immigration, including national security, labor, "non-assimilation", politics, etc. Like in the above-mentioned first chapter, if you're a progressive humanitarian like myself, you'll find lots of things to question or even disagree with outright regarding the back-handed complaints he makes about liberals and the motivations for the author's entire project. Nevertheless, the book is chock-full of great statistics and cited studies as well as a historical perspective, all of which will be very useful ammunition in discussions with nativists and xenophobes and other ignorant types that you might happen across.

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