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Levin on Milton Friedman: 'One Thing to Have Free Immigration to Jobs, Another for Welfare'

Michael Morris
By Michael Morris | January 16, 2015 | 5:12 PM EST

During his show on January 15, 2015, Nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin recalled the famed economist Milton Friedman and explored an important reason why open immigration, despite what many now think, is not in the best interest of the United States and its citizenry.

“I want to talk about what’s about to happen,” said Levin, “and it’s going to upset you and disappoint you. I have no control over that.”

You aren’t going to be happy about it, Levin suggests.

Levin continued:

“I want to remind you of something – what Milton Friedman said many years ago about what he called free immigration to jobs and welfare. I played this some time ago, as well as many other clips, and we’ve dug deeply into this subject. You know more about the issue of immigration and illegal immigration and amnesty than the average political hack voter.”

I want to remind you about what Milton Friedman said about all of this, “because this whole notion that you can have open borders or you can pretend you are going to secure the border, and then, immediately after passing that bill, you’re passing a wide range of other bills, which all add up to so-called comprehensive immigration reform,” says Levin. “There’s nothing reformist about it.”

Milton Friedman had the following to say about immigration:

“I have always been amused by kind of a paradox. Suppose you go around and ask people: ‘The United States, as you know, before 1914 had completely free immigration. Anybody could get on a boat and come to these shores. If you landed on Ellis Island, it was an immigrant. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?’ You will find hardly a soul who will say it was a bad thing. Almost everybody will say it was a good thing.

“But then, suppose I say to the same people: ‘But now, what about today? Do you think we should have free immigration?’

“’Oh no,’ they’ll say. ‘We couldn’t possibly have free immigration today. Boy that would, uhh, that would flood us with immigrants from India and God knows where. We’d be driven down to a bare subsistence level.’

“What’s the difference? How can people be so inconsistent? Why is it that free immigration was a good thing before 1914 and free immigration is a bad thing today?

“Well, there is a sense in which that answer is right. There is a sense in which free immigration, in the same sense in which we had it before 1914, is not possible today.

“Why not? Because it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare.”

“It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs, which is what the radical amnesty crowd argues for, including many in the Republican Party, and another thing to have free amnesty or free immigration to welfare,” repeated Levin.

“And look how Obama is handling this issue, in addition to his lawlessness,” remarked Levin.

“He’s immediately trying to sign people up for social security, many of whom haven’t paid a penny into it. He’s immediately trying to sign people up to Medicaid, for all kinds of benefits.

“And this is, really, one of the key issues,” said Levin. It’s ignored by many. It is argued that it will benefit the U.S. economically; it is said that the people coming here do so because they love this country; and these people reject Milton Friedman’s words.

“You have a massive welfare state. We have too many American citizens, who are dipping into our welfare system and are encouraged to do it,” said Levin.

Mark Levin then finished with this query, followed by Milton Friedman’s answer:

“What do you think dirt poor people from overseas, aliens, are going to do when they come into this country – when they’re encouraged to do this by our own government and politicians?

“So it’s one thing to come to America, it’s one thing to immigrate for jobs, it’s another for welfare.”


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