What’s wrong with migrating?

This is a response to Irfan Khawaja over at the Policy of Truth blog.

I am of Jewish descent. I am not a JewI was baptized a Catholic as a baby and have no plan to convert in the foreseeable future. I am nonetheless of Jewish descent. My paternal grandfather is a rabbi and my cousins from that side of the family are Jews.

My family patriarch migrated from Germany to Mexico during the turn of the 20th century. He migrated long before the Holocaust, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was motivated to migrate to escape prosecution in Europe.

I also have slaves in my family tree. My great grand mother (Or was it great great? I forget.) was a black Cuban and my parents thought I might be born with dark skin. Blacks, for those who are keeping score at home, are not native to Cuba. Slavery in Cuba did not end till 1886. My great grandmother migrated to Mexico to escape prosecution in Cuba.

I myself migrated to the United States at the age of two. I might have been born in Mexico, but I was a libertario at birth. I loved Mexican food but that was not sufficient reason to stay in a country with such a poor conception of personal liberty. So I kissed my mother good bye, packed my bags, and crossed the border. I ended up settling down in Los Angeles, where I could have Mexican food and liberty.

What I am getting at here is that there is nothing wrong with migrating.

Had I stayed in Mexico I would likely be dead now. If a cartel member asked me to pay protection tax I would have refused and instead given him a speech on why we should legalize drugs. My town of birth, Morelia, is one of the capitals of the drug trade so you can imagine how long I would have lasted.

Had my great grandmother stayed in Cuba she would have to live with left over discrimination against slaves and their descendants. Worse still her descendants would be living in Castro’s Cuba!

My family patriarch might have survived the Holocaust if he had stayed in Europe. Or he might have been baked.

I agree with Irfan Khawaja that one should be assured of their personal safety and liberty regardless of any incidents of birth. I also agree with him that Benjamin Netanyahu, current Israeli Prime Minister, is wrong to urge European Jews to migrate to Israel. Israel is hardly a safer country for Jews than Europe.

Where I disagree is that I see nothing with migrating or urging others to migrate in pursuit of safety or liberty. There are times when one should hold strong and defend themselves. There are also times when one should realize that your neighbors are bigots and they won’t stop being bigots during your lifetime. If you can improve your quality of life by migrating, why not do so?

For any European Jews who might be reading this: forget about Israel and come to the United States! Specifically come over to my hometown, the San Fernando Valley.  The San Fernando Valley is a lovely community within Los Angeles. The original Karate Kid series, and countless other films, take place in the Valley. The film industry is actually located in the Valley, not Los Angeles itself. Best of all, the valley is filled with Jews. My undergraduate university, Cal State Northridge, has one of the largest concentration of Jews in America. Did I mention that there is plenty of Mexican food to go around?

I’ll be honest, there are some drawbacks to the valley. We are ruled over by the incompetent authorities in Los Angeles city hall and attempts to form our own city have been thwarted over the years. Real estate prices are also high. Despite this though I love the valley and welcome others to migrate there if their current home is undesirable.

10 thoughts on “What’s wrong with migrating?

  1. A diverse and interesting personal history. Thanks for sharing. I could support mass immigration if only the Libertarians were let in. 🙂 Lived in San Diego for three years, loved the weather and surfing. Did not like the traffic, crowds, and high cost of living, so we migrated back to the Midwest. Still have fond memories of Cali and make return visits from time to time.

    • Yeah, California is great but it really suffers from bad government.

      Also small point of order, there is a difference between open borders and mass migration. It is unlikely that open borders would lead to mass migration in the short term as there would still be a cost to migration. Open borders might very well lead to mass emigration in certain cases – think of emigration away from the Soviet Union.

  2. “…I love the valley and welcome others to migrate there if their current home is undesirable.”

    I would go further and say that it’s sufficient to have a destination that is more desirable than your current home. I emigrated to Canada 16 years ago. Not because the US is undesirable but because my new job, new city, and new country were more desirable. My 3 kids will be in an enviable position; they are in the process of obtaining Canadian citizenship so they will be able to move freely across the border in pursuit of opportunity.

    Btw Michael, you would hate Toronto. It’s arguably the most diverse city in North America with outstanding restaurants of virtually every cuisine. Except Mexican. There are some great South American restaurants and Central American restaurants but good Mexican is very rare and hard to find.

    • Alas you’re all too right! The US census released an infographic awhile back on hispanic populations and found most Mexicans huddle only a few miles away from the Mexican border. Other Latin Americans seem to be much more mobile. The only other hispanic group similar to Mexicans are Cubans, who live primarily in Miami/southern Florida.

      http://www.census.gov/dataviz/visualizations/072/

  3. There is a deep fear among Jews that the world is always out to get us, which looking back at history, is not unwarranted. So we have this siege mentality, and Netanyahu’s government cynically exploits this to try and convince Jews to immigrate to the promised land. But, it seems that the most dangerous place to be a Jew is not Copenhagen, but jerusalem. More Jews die in wars against the Arabs and in terror attacks in Israel than in the West. The cultural differences between Western and Israeli Jews are just as stark as the oft-forgotten differences between West- and Ostjuden in the 19th and 20th centuries. And, there has never been any serious cultural or institutional anti-Semitism in the United States, despite a small hiccup during the civil war and at our elite universities.

    Uri Avnery has a good piece related to this on counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/20/the-fallacy-of-rising-anti-semitism/

  4. Fears of mass migration are overblown. Each person who migrates must cover certain costs – one must abandon one’s social network, often must abandon property, must fund transportation and the transition.

    For instance, when I crossed America from Pennsylvania to California, I had to pay for transportation expenses, the first month’s rent, a security deposit, and other expenses. Migration, whether within or between countries, tends to be self-limiting.

  5. I heard a viewpoint on Open Borders that I like quite a bit until someone convinces me otherwise. The view was that Open Borders would work just fine but only in a non-welfare State. You cannot simultaneously have a welfare state AND Open Borders. I agree with this until proven otherwise.

    My support rests on the fact that when we think of “classical” immigration in America, such as Ellis Island and all that, those huddled masses and the sick and the poor that came here understood that this was not a free ride. What it was, was opportunity. Make or break, your choice. And that was more attractive to them than where they came from, which I can empathize with.

    I came from a small town with very little opportunity. I could have stayed and cobbled something together, because I am smart and ambitious, but I moved 2,800 miles for opportunity…nothing more, nothing less.

    On the other hand, if you have a welfare State with massive amounts of subsidies and social programs, there is no understood contract between our nation and those that come here that the only offering is opportunity. Therefore, it could be said, that while not all people that would cross the border to come here are here for the welfare, all people seeking welfare will cross the border to come here. And I think that distinction makes all the difference.

Please keep it civil

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