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October 13, 2006
A Chat About Immigration

Nick Gillespie of Reason's Hit and Run and Judd Legum of Think Progress joined me in another chat-room debate hosted by the Associated Press' ASAP, moderated by Otis Hart. Last week the topic was ethics, and this week we took on immigration -- and it got pretty lively. In fact, Otis had to pare down a few of the exchanges in order to stay on topic and to stay within his word-count limitations, and he did a fine job.

Here's a taste of the exchange:

asap: Do you think there should be a border fence dividing the U.S. and Mexico?

Nick Gillespie: absolutely not. one of the great moments of the 20th century was when the berlin wall fell... one of the most disturbing of the current century -- a century of globalization and increasing integration of the world -- is a fixation on keeping mexicans out of america.

Nick Gillespie: if we're concerned about folks sneaking across the southern border, legalize immigration in a big way; it's easier to regulate business that's in the open rather than in the shadows.

Edward Morrissey:I do. If we want to enforce our immigration law, obviously we need to stop the easy access to border violations and that requires a barrier or a deployment of many thousands of border guards.... and let's remember that the Berlin Wall intended to keep people penned up in a police state. It's not comparable at all.

Nick Gillespie: the east germans, who put the wall up, said it was to keep people out, not keep people in.

Edward Morrissey: Nick, come on, you believe that?

Nick Gillespie: if we're willing to tolerate the free flow of goods from mexico, we should be willing to tolerate the free flow of people. on this, the European Union is doing things right.

Judd Legum: I really think the wall issue is a way for people to avoid tackling the real question. Which is how do we deal with the undocumented immigrants ... building a wall will do very little to keep new people from coming in and nothing with the 12 million people or so who are already here.

Otis keeps this in the original chat format (I compressed the excerpt), which makes it much more conversational. Nick and Judd both impressed me in both of the chats we have conducted as thoughtful and operating from a fixed set of principles. In this exchange, you will see Nick especially adhering to his open-market libertarian philosophy that he supports so well at Reason, and on which I often agree -- but not on immigration. Judd had a more moderate position on immigration and made a number of good points. For myself, I'm not as hardline as some CQ readers, but on securing the border, I'm very conservative.

The three of us will be meeting each week for more chats on different topics before next month's election, and I'm looking forward to debating Nick and Judd again.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 13, 2006 5:23 AM

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Tracked on October 13, 2006 6:01 AM


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