- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Gotham (May 15, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592403492
- ISBN-13: 978-1592403493
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders Hardcover – May 15, 2008
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The argument that immigrants depress wages, displace workers, boost crime and disease, and pose a threat to the national security of the U.S. runs counter to political ideals of free trade and the views of conservative hero President Ronald Reagan, who supported amnesty for illegal immigrants and open borders, according to Riley, a conservative columnist. He briefly examines the long and sordid history of opposition to immigrants from Germany, Ireland, China, and, more recently, Latin America. Riley notes that immigration opponents are joined in their resistance to open borders by some environmentalists concerned about the impact on the earth of a burgeoning U.S. population. He challenges the notion that the current targets of immigrant ire—Hispanics—are somehow different from immigrants of the past. Riley also explores the compatibility between open immigration and free-market conservatism and homeland security. Because immigrants strengthen the economy through their labor and entrepreneurism, our policy on immigration should recognize economic realities and focus on providing legal ways for immigrants to enter the country through guest-worker programs, according to Riley. An illuminating look at immigration. --Vanessa Bush
The immigration debate seems to have been taken over by shrill anti-immigrant voices. Ace editorialist Jason Riley restores some balance with this calm, reasoned, highly compelling presentation of the case for immigration. His fact- laden polemic should make even the most die-hard xenophobe think twice. He shows why immigrants are a net plus, and why illegal immigration isnt the crisis it has been made out to be.
Max Boot, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations, author of War Made New and Savage Wars of Peace
Jason Riley puts today's fierce immigration debate into perspective, and he does so with crisp writing and thoughtful analysis. Let Them In is a welcome contribution to a national discussion that is too often dominated by fear-mongering and misinformation. Free-market adherents ought to embrace open- immigration policies, and this tightly drawn book explains why.
Arthur Laffer, Chairman of Laffer Associates
Jason Riley makes a very comprehensive argument for an Open Borders policy. People on all sides of this would do well to understand where he is coming from.
Lawrence Lindsey, former chief economic adviser to President George W. Bush --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
That said, Riley spends a lot of time taking pundits to task for promoting arguments to stop immigration that have no basis in historical fact, which is appropriate. Unfortunately, he proceeds to make multiple statements - for example, linking Charles Darwin to the Eugenics movement, and claiming that charter schools will fix education problems, without providing any historical basis for them (in the case of the former, there is none - Riley gamely tries to re-interpret the title of Darwin's book as such, which is silly). This makes the reader question the strength of the rest of his statements. Even worse, these statements are asides, which really have very little to do with the central argument, so they weaken the author's position without really adding to his argument. Riley also wears his political affiliation on his sleeve, which is, of course, his right, but again adds a certain amount of writing that doesn't really bear on immigration.
My advice to Mr. Riley for the 2nd edition, then, would be to remove everything that does not bear directly on his thesis. I think his arguments about immigration are generally spot-on, but there is a certain amount of irrelevant content in there, without which the book would be better. I would probably give 3-and-a-half if I could.
This book began the journey of my conversion, and after much consideration, I now realize that market-based solutions to immigration are best. Furthermore, it is clear to me that there is no economic or cultural "cost" greater than the benefits we receive (and have received for generations) from immigrants. Make legal immigration easy and accessible; the sky will not fall! The policy advocated in this book makes absolute sense when confronted with the Dobbs/Borjas/Rector/O'Reilly model.
Overall, the book was lacking in demagoguery but not in sound data and logic. It was easy enough to comprehend as well. It opened my eyes and was extremely thought-provoking. Buy this book if you will appreciate the side of the immigration debate less told. Abandon the shoddy anecdotal evidence for restrictionism and give this book a fair shake with an open mind.
In _Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders_, Jason R. Riley takes my argument and expands on it and makes a sound market-based argument for many of the same conclusions I draw from a left perspective: make legal immigration easier; create a guest-worker program; ease the already-here but illegal population out of the shadows. Here in this book is a kind of conceptual aphasia (eg. The minimum wage and unions are bad, G. W. Bush and Reagan have largely redemptive qualities) that takes the market-based approach and runs with it. I have trouble passing along a book whose entire line of reasoning I disagree with and at times find somewhat insulting, but I find it interesting that we can come from such different places and support the same overall solutions to a `problem' based on conflicting spoken and unspoken ideals.
To be fair, the book was completed just before the economy stepped off the ledge. There has been significant return to native countries. So far, the best check on illegal population has been recession, and I doubt that even the most hard-core nativist would argue for slowdown to keep people out of the country. Most likely this current downturn is temporary, so I think the larger argument holds up from both sides. In the end, no matter which path you take, we should let `them' in so that someday they will be us.