With even more insouiciance than usual, the WSJ op/ed board treats immigration as an ecunemical good. Employing the standard non sequitur, the board uses the benefits of (extreme) merited immigration as an argument for universal open borders:
Europeans often express marked ambivalence, if not outright hostility, to immigrants in their countries, particularly from Arab and African states. Yet watching the World Cup these past few weeks, it's hard not to marvel at how quickly such feelings dissipate when the fortunes of the "national" squad are on the line. ...
At least in sports, where local or national glory is on the line, most countries seem to recognize that talent isn't always native-born and act accordingly. ...
So it's all the more amazing how often the same people who require no persuading about the benefits of a free and global market for athletic talent seem to think the same does not apply for other fields.
Many people do not like the free market in sports--the MLB's lack of a salary cap is part of the reason it is perpetually overshadowed by the always-competitive NFL. An international market for soccer players does not bode well for the prospects of teams from the third- and developing world. Although soccer is among the most simple and least cost-prohibitive sports in the world, making it ubiquitous in poor nations, the World Cup has been dominated and will continue to be dominated by a Brazilian powerhouse (pulling the best from Latin America) and developed Europe (at least until the US gets serious about the game). Athletic brain-drain is bad news for aspiring developing and underdeveloped countries.
But for the nations doing the draining, the (short-term at least) benefit is obvious. Yet that is only an argument for a specific, exacting merited immigration, not immigration in general. Obviously French fans will benefit less from receiving ten thousand Islamic youths with marginal soccer skills than they will in receiving a single Zidane, although in the end even the latter situation may prove deleterious if French natives forego soccer altogether.
So it goes with immigration. I will welcome as permanent residents Abrikosov, Hershko, and Paul Nurse. I will not, however, welcome legions of destitute Hispanics with enormous externalities that include everything from higher crime rates to less affordable housing. The WSJ seems incapable of separating the two statements. Yet it is through the institution of a merit immigration system that permits residency only to those of the utmost desirability to the US (increasing ppp, upping the national IQ, innovating, and bringing other positives while balancing the potential deflation of incentives for young natives through the restricting of the total number to no more than a couple hundred thousand per year) and the halting of net cost immigrant liabilities (decreasing the standard of living in a host of ways) that the US can best retain its position as the most desirable immigrant destination on earth.
Congratulations, by the way, to the ethnic Italian squad that overcame the French salmagundi in Monday's World Cup final.