“Skilled immigration”

Mangan argues that it’s unreactionary to support skilled immigration:

Meanwhile meanwhile, Walter Russell Mead says we’ve got to have more skilled immigrants. I’ve heard it said that Mead is actually a potential reactionary, but his immigration pronouncement shows that he’s just your typical neocon.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle on this issue.

In brief, I support immigrants who will employ less-productive members of society, uphold our cultural norms and contribute more broadly to upholding what’s left of civilization. As long as you take some reasonable steps to maintain social stability, you can’t have too many highly-productive and civilized people.

The mainstream debate on skilled immigrants is mis-characterized (surprise, surprise). The US turns out lots of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduates, the problem is that we (I’m in the E category) can generally make more money in other fields. Increasing the supply of such people will make this problem worse.

If you look at the immigration laws of lots of other countries, they may a lot of sense. They favor skilled workers, but not just any skilled worker. If you’ve got an idea for a business that will employ lots of unskilled laborers and you’ve got the ability to get it going, more power to you. If you just graduated from a third-rate school with a CS degree, not so much.

Countries like Singapore and Switzerland seem to have strengthened themselves by skimming off the best people from neighboring countries. They set up pretty high hurdles for immigration too (for example, Germans emigrating to Switzerland have to learn Swiss German, which is apparently quite a pain). If you had IQ requirements, you charged for citizenship, you had long residency requirements, and you made people learn English and other aspects of the American way of life, I don’t get the objection to that sort of immigration.


14 Responses to “Skilled immigration”

  1. Jehu says:

    HIgh IQ immigrants can and often do present a greater threat to your social institutions than do immigrants who are more inclined to low-level criminality. There’s also no major source of reactionary high-IQ immigrants within the Anglo tradition, which are the only kind I’d actually favor admitting into the US right now.

  2. Federico says:

    An immigration tax would be beneficently non-invasive. The price to enter the States could be adjusted until the natural flow of immigrants matches a desired quota, i.e. so that the quota in itself barely needs to be enforced.

    Apart from revenue, this means that the quality of immigrant is determined by economic efficiency rather than bureaucracy.

  3. asdf says:

    A big question is where ones loyalty lies. When people first move here they tend to favor their own people. They take over a particular company or sector of the economy. They show a lot of ethnic nepotism. While this doesn’t necessarily go away completely, eventually most of the old immigrants came to see themselves as American and mixed race mutt white.

    I’m not sure the new immigrants will ever see themselves as American. As people who can use America as a way to advance themselves? Sure. However, that’s the kind of relationship that ends the second things come to a head.

    When I was younger I went to a school that was 50% Korean. They were very smart Koreans (the average SAT score was 1410/1600 for the school, maybe higher for the Koreans). There were Korean parts of the school you couldn’t go too or you’ld get the crap kicked out of you. There was a fight between the white kids and the korean kids at a dance. That’s reality, even among high IQ creme of the crop.

    At many jobs since I’ve graduated the white managers have no problem hiring people of all races. However, once you get a manager from one race every single new hire in that department will be the same race. It’s an especially normal thing with Indians in CS.

    So I’m not sure they are creating jobs. Creating jobs for other immigrant mainly, but they keep it all in the family. And unlike the older white immigrants I don’t think their identity is going to get all melting pot. I think its here to stay.

    In the hundreds of years of Rome’s decline the empire had lots of mechanisms for allowing barbarians to settle in the empire and join the army. They even got made officers and generals eventually. Every time this happened there was a good reason. XXX was threatening the empire. Roman’s weren’t having enough kids and the ones they had didn’t want to join the army. So we need these barbarians assistance. There were rules to settlement to try and break them up and Romanize them. And it sort of worked for awhile. However, eventually people woke up one day and the entire empire was run by barbarians. They attacked the Roman citizens as often as they protected them. Barbarian “roman” generals refused to attack barbarian armies pillaging rome.

    The barbarians were loyal only when it profited them, and no more. Current immigrants to the US are loyal only insofar as it profits them, and no more. If we got in a war with China do you think the Chinese immigrants would fight for America? I don’t. I haven’t since high school, and every single experience in my life has only reinforced that. They are not citizens, they are opportunists. Loyalty is measure by what you do when it isn’t in your personal interest.

    If there is some particular genuis that is going to kick start some massive new industry or innovation, ok. However, I see no reason why we need more mediocore computer janitors staffing our IT firms.

  4. Lenior says:

    The problem is that we have had 40’s years of high immigration w/o regard to the language, skills, or education of our immigrants. If this was 1965, and we proposed a small number of highly skilled ones, it would have been a rational policy. Now, what some are proposing is to increase highly skilled immigration on top of the massive low skilled immigration.

  5. rightsaidfred says:

    There is a gap between theory and practice. Even if the theory of letting in high achieving immigrants pencils out, the practice of the mendacious bureaucracy will eventually classify every Salvadoran peasant et al as highly skilled.

  6. Thank you, your services will no longer be required. Cash.Out.

    Even if trouble wasn’t brewing and America was working as designed [assimilation] the queues would be quite full now.

    Mead has many interesting ideas and he’s honest about the State’s fault. When he moves into prescription – dreams.

  7. Dan says:

    It seems that higher skilled immigration is potentially a bigger problem than lower skilled immigration, if you are afraid of being replaced.

  8. Dan says:

    Most recent immigrants do not vote to uphold American values and this is a serious problem.

    Asians went harder to the left in 2012 than Jews and that is saying quite a lot.

    Right to bear arms? Free speech? Don’t-Tread-On-Me independence? If only…

  9. Dan says:

    Consider how sex-selective abortion is the norm among the model-minority East Asians, even here.

    This practice is so utterly barbaric that it is unknown in modern western civilization.

  10. anonymous says:

    If you had IQ requirements, you charged for citizenship, you had long residency requirements, and you made people learn English and other aspects of the American way of life, I don’t get the objection to that sort of immigration.

    So basically, you support skilled immigration in theory, under certain conditions which will never exist. In other words, you’re not one of –those– people.

    But actually I spoke too soon. They do make immigrants learn the New american way of life.


    • Foseti says:

      I don’t think the “impossible” argument is very persuasive. It’s not like my suggestions are less likely than totally shutting down immigration.

      • anonymous says:

        Well I’m not really making an argument, I’m just bitching. It seems like your post says little (if anything) besides “see look I’m not an icky bad xenophobic, because i think under the right circumstances immigrants and diversity are just fine”. Well duh.

        However as other commenters have pointed out, letting in only “high skilled” immigrants is not good enough because you have to guard against those skilled immigrants using their skills to take over native institutions and fuck over all us little people without permanent government jobs on a mass scale.

      • Foseti says:

        That’s a fair criticism.

        I’m really trying to make the point that we need a certain type of person in society to maintain a working class that actually works. I’ll take those people from where ever they’re from.

        Also, I’m enough of a believer in HBD to believe that the truly skilled may not be all that diverse.

      • Federico says:

        Anon, presumably Foseti doesn’t want more highly skilled Marxist agitators and Chinese spies.

        Paul Graham says:

        It is by no means a lost cause to try to create a silicon valley in another country. There’s room not merely to equal Silicon Valley, but to surpass it. But if you want to do that, you have to understand the advantages startups get from being in America.

        #1 For example, I doubt it would be possible to reproduce Silicon Valley in Japan, because one of Silicon Valley’s most distinctive features is immigration. Half the people there speak with accents. And the Japanese don’t like immigration. When they think about how to make a Japanese silicon valley, I suspect they unconsciously frame it as how to make one consisting only of Japanese people. This way of framing the question probably guarantees failure.

        A silicon valley has to be a mecca for the smart and the ambitious, and you can’t have a mecca if you don’t let people into it.

        Of course, it’s not saying much that America is more open to immigration than Japan. Immigration policy is one area where a competitor could do better.

        It is, ironically, quite difficult for the most talented and civilised foreigners to settle in America.

        I don’t think that Silicon Valley start-up founders are planning to take over native institutions or screw the little man. They are creating lots of jobs for Americans, which trickle down to service stations and supermarkets.

        There is much difference between this type of immigration and Reconquista.

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