Current Events

Chuck ’em out! The politicians who proposed the RAISE Act are INELIGIBLE to live in the United States!

I wonder if the politicians who proposed the RAISE (Really Asinine Idea to Stimulate Emigration) Act would be allowed into the United States?
Let’s see….

Tom Cotton: Age 40, US JD law degree, salary $39,400, good English (given how the Act is written he is disbarred from being “excellent” or “fluent”), no Nobel Prize, no Olympic medal, no foreign currency to invest.
Points: 6+0+0+10+0+0+0=16
(NB: Given how the Act is written an applicant who answers the education questions truthfully receives zero points for education if they have a degree higher than a BA outside a STEM field.)
David Perdue: Age 67, US MA degree in management field, salary in business unknown (likely high), good English (see above), no Nobel Prize, no Olympic medal, no foreign currency to invest.
Points: 0+0+10+13+0+0+0=23
These bad hombres shouldn’t be allowed to stay. Chuck ’em out and Make America Great Again!
  • Jason Brennan

    I’m in with a score of 37.

  • Rob Gressis

    I was under the impression that the act was a proposal for whom to admit, not for whom to allow to stay. If it’s the former, then I don’t see the relevance of this post.

    I’m going to take a guess as to where you’re going, though. Is the idea that there is no moral difference between citizens and non-citizens? Consequently, if you impose a policy on non-citizens, then you are forced by pain of consistency to impose it on citizens as well? If that’s your view, then let me ask you two questions:

    1. Would you admit people with violent criminal records? If not, then aren’t you forced, by parity of reasoning, to exile all native-born violent criminals?

    2. If you’re in favor of a universal basic income for people who live in the country, then shouldn’t you also supply that income to every single person who lives in the world? If not, why not?

    • Loh

      Or maybe he’s pointing out that the criterion is possibly a bit too high.

      • Rob Gressis

        Oh, that’s the only point? Like, he’d be in favor of it if were just less demanding?

        • King Goat

          A person can be against any minimum wage but find the Seattle minimum wage to be *really* ludicrous.

          • Rob Gressis

            Fair enough.

          • James Taylor


    • Sean II

      Even if that argument is not quite being made here, it is an old chestnut of open borders: “no difference between citizens and non-citizens, therefore you must be willing to deport anyone you wouldn’t be willing to admit”.

      Overlooks an obvious consequentialist reply: deporting settled people is far more violent than discouraging unsettled newcomers.

      Every act of deportation involves a gruesome and direct application of force.

      But a reasonably well guarded border mostly deters people instead of putting hands on them, and after a while you aren’t using much force. You’re merely threatenting it. Which is not the same thing at all.

      No belief in the (admittedly dubious) concept of citizenism is required to believe the second is morally different from the first.

      • I think part of what’s going on here is a failing of authenticity. Here’s what I mean.

        A lot of people who oppose immigration aren’t authentic enough (for various reasons) to simply state their plane belief that they do not like foreigners and do not want them in the country. These people often adopt positions that achieve this result, but which look more palatable. A points system, for these people, is just a proxy for “I don’t like foreigners.” I hasten to add that this is not true of all people who prefer points systems and other immigration rules.

        Meanwhile, a lot of people in the open borders crowd want to convince people that foreigners aren’t scary, bad, lazy, smelly, whatever. If they wanted to be authentic, they’d simply make this point. But instead, they make arguments like the above, in which they want to say, “Look, there are people you don’t consider scary, bad, lazy, smelly, whatever, who live all around you and you don’t bat an eye. So, why bat an eye when it comes to similarly positioned immigrants? Maybe you should just get over your fear of foreigners and let the poor bastards immigrate.” But, alas, they never follow through and say all that. Instead, they stop at, “Look, most people would fail the points system, so… nyah nyah nyah!!!

        In both cases, the arguments that are being made are stand-ins for other, unstated arguments. They’re trying to have the unstated arguments they want to have, but they’re doing it with a proxy argument about what immigration rules imply about natives.

        • Cassiodorus

          I think supporters of “open borders” are much more likely to expressly state what you consider their unstated argument.

          • Oh, I agree that they are more likely to do so. That doesn’t mean that they always do. It would be helpful if they did so.

            It would be nice if there were two kinds of blog posts advocating for open borders. One day, someone might write a post that went something like this: “In the following post, I will make the case for why I think we all stand to gain from hanging around with Latvians a lot more…” And then, on a later date, someone might write a second post that ran like this: “Considering all the potential benefits of hanging around Latvians more often, I think we ought to increase immigration quotas for Latvians. Not only did I make a human case for the benefits in this previous post (link), here are a bunch of economic arguments for doing so…”

            That’s discursive authenticity in action. This would also improve the comments section, where opponents would be forced to either contest the economic arguments, or the desire to spend more time with Latvians, but they would have to separate and discuss their arguments accordingly. No more economics-as-a-proxy-for-cosmopolitanism, no more immigration-restrictions-as-a-proxy-for-xenophobia. We’d all have to argue precisely the case that matters to us, whatever it is.

        • Sean II

          I very much agree with the idea of immigration as a proxy debate, but I differ a bit on what’s really hiding beneath.

          THE SKEPTICS – Along with classic anti-foreign bias (your point) I think there is also status quo bias: “What we have works, why tamper?”

          In fact I think the latter dominates the former in terms of motivational power.

          Evidence: you don’t see many Americans being mean to foreigners. Hence why activists end up faking so many hate crimes. There are hardly any real one. Which against the strength of that particular bias.

          But you certainly do see a lot of people anxious about losing what they have, feeling alienated from the future, etc.

          In other words: it’s not that immigration skeptics hate foreigners, it’s more that they don’t want to BE foreigners in the land of their birth.

          But your main point is well taken: there are a lot of post hoc arguments
          recruited to serve that concern, and many people won’t even admit the underlying motive is there.

          But I will. Part of where I’m coming from is: I just like the civilization we have here. It suits me. I do well in it. When I see people pushing one of the few things that could transform it, in a rapid and irreversible way, I don’t respond with something other than blind enthusiasm.

          THE FAITHFUL – I also differ slightly with what’s going on in the minds of the border openers.

          No doubt some are exhibiting the famous “expanding empathy” of the NWE peoples, in the sense of seeing fellow human beings and wanting to help them.

          But I also see another motive at work, more common and more powerful:

          Many advocates don’t actually seem to like foreigners. As a rule these guys tend to be right tail on the SWPL spectrum. They mostly keep to their own, and as the old joke goes: they avoid blacks, hire Hispanics, and date Asians.

          Most of these cats would shit their pants and flee if their neighborhood became 10% Haitian. So I have a hard time buying love of foreigners as a main driver here.

          But…there is a group they seem to hate rather passionately: whites outside their own social class, basically the only group they let themselves stereotype or mock, and a group curiously exempt from the “care” instinct which is otherwise supposed to characterize WEIRDOs.

          In other words I think open borders advocacy is mostly just another proxy in the culture war: it offends the right people, and it makes one look bold, interesting, and virtuous in the bargain.

          Ima big fan of prior probability, and you’ll note this accords with that. Two of the most common human behaviors are fretting about change and seeking status.

          • King Goat

            “I just like the civilization we have here. It suits me. I do well in it. When I see people pushing one of the few things that could transform it…”

            This is like saying ‘this fusion restaurant is absolutely my favorite, but I really wish they’d stop it with the experimenting with combining elements of different culinary traditions anymore!’

            “Many advocates don’t actually seem to like foreigners…They mostly keep to their own”

            Of course one should casually charge those you disagree with with being insincere, but this is hard to square with the reality (perhaps best popularly described in the work of economist Richard Florida) of white liberals of means, who can easily choose where they will live, flocking to…the same big, diverse cities where live most of those immigrants they want to avoid.

          • Rob Gressis

            Re: the fusion restaurant analogy: couldn’t it be that you think some immigrant populations benefit the country but others don’t? (E.g., fusion Vietnamese and Italian may be good; but fusion Ethiopian and steakhouse, not so good.) Or: couldn’t it be that you think immigration is good, but if too much happens too quickly, then it’s not good?

            Re: flocking of white liberals to big diverse cities: do they live in predominantly black or hispanic or even Asian neighborhoods?

          • King Goat

            The exact neighborhood someone lives in is probably a function of their income/wealth more than anything else (I don’t think in order to have established a sincere desire to be around diversity that we should require someone to actually live in a less nice house near a smelting plant or whatever just to obtain it). But if these people really don’t want to be around immigrants then isn’t it more than passing strange that they would flock to the cities where most immigrants are? There are no real walls between city blocks, and if they really didn’t want to encounter immigrants they could easily live in rural areas where there are almost none.

          • Rob Gressis

            No, I don’t think it’s that strange. They want migrant labor (e.g., domestic servants) and certain migrant practices (e.g., culinary ones). They also like to think of themselves as good people, and liking people of different cultures is part of that (where “like” means “willing to live in the same geographic region as them, willing to eat at their restaurants, willing to go hear their music”, etc.). Finally, they don’t like the kind of people who want to live in non-diverse communities or who don’t have a particular desire to live in diverse communities.

          • King Goat

            Again, given that we shouldn’t ask them to give up some pretty important features of community choice that are tied to income, it seems very strange for someone who is uncomfortable around or actually doesn’t like a group of people to put themselves into a proximity where they are going to come around those people regularly just in order to ‘signal’ as you and Sean describe. Have you ever been around people you can’t stand or who make you very uncomfortable? Signaling theory is cool and all, but people don’t put up with that for long.

          • Rob Gressis

            Except, they don’t have to be around them in the way you’re saying. I see this in LA all the time. There are people who are happy to go to church with Hispanics, or go to work with them, or go to Hispanic restaurants, but who feel uncomfortable living in a Hispanic neighborhood. They don’t hate Hispanics, but they don’t feel safe, comfortable, and/or welcome in a Hispanic neighborhood. I suspect that the vast majority of this discomfort has to do with economic reasons — they don’t feel comfortable in any *poor* neighborhood, and many predominantly non-white neighborhoods are often poor. But they’d feel OK living in a non-white, non-poor neighborhood, such as, e.g., Baldwin Hills.

          • King Goat

            Like I said, I think you’d have to hold economic conditions constant. I don’t expect someone to go live in a small apartment in physically crowded Chinatown or else, a ha, they don’t like being around Chinese people!; the fact that they moved to the city because there’s a Chinatown, that they eat there and go to shows there all the time seems to me to make any argument that they don’t ‘really like Chinese people’ to be untenable. This just isn’t what you do when you don’t like a group of people.

          • Rob Gressis

            There’s a difference between “disliking someone” and “not wanting to be around someone”. I don’t dislike my students, but I don’t want to hang out with them either.

          • King Goat

            Sean II said “most advocates don’t actually seem to like foreigners.”

            If you moved into on campus faculty

          • Rob Gressis

            I didn’t write what Sean II said. I don’t agree with it, depending on how you construe “like”.

            But let me get down to brass tacks: do you deny that some neighborhoods in the same city have different ethnic compositions? For instance, do you deny that Baldwin Hills is predominantly black? Do you deny that Koreatown is predominantly Korean?

            Second, assuming you accept that there are some neighborhoods IN THE SAME CITY that have different ethnic compositions, do you admit that it’s possible for me to live in Los Angeles without living in Baldwin Hills? I hope you admit this, because I DO live in Los Angeles, and I DON’T live in Baldwin Hills.

            So, it seems possible that you could like living in a big city like LA while also not wanting to live in an ethnic enclave in that same city. Indeed, it’s not only possible, I strongly believe that it’s actual.

          • King Goat

            Of course you can live in LA but not in Koreatown. But the fact you live in LA but not Koreatown wouldn’t be much evidence you didn’t like being around Korean immigrants, especially if, on the other hand, you had moved to to LA from Lassen County, and you hung out, ate, went to shows, and emoted people from Koreatown a lot.

          • Rob Gressis

            What’s “emoted people” mean? Serious question. I feel like you must have made a typo, but it could be that I’ve missed some new lingo.

            Re: your main point: why not live in Koreatown? My thinking is this: a lot of white progressives don’t speak Korean and would feel uncomfortable living there, but they like having it nearby so they can eat the food. So, they want to live in a city with a lot of diversity, but don’t want to live in the ethnic enclaves. Not necessarily because they’re racist!

            I’ve lost track at this point, though: do you deny what I wrote in the above paragraph?

          • King Goat

            It’s a typo for ’employ’

            The track does seem to be lost, because I’m not sure what you’re arguing at all here. My original reply was to Sean II’s comment that “Many advocates don’t actually seem to like foreigners…They mostly keep to their own”
            I noted that it seems strange for people who don’t like foreigners to move from places like Lassen (where there are almost none) to places like LA (where there are lots). You replied making a point about whether these people tend to live in foreign neighborhoods. My reply was that if they don’t, that doesn’t seem to matter to the point re: them not liking foreigners, because neighborhood choice probably has a lot to do with factors other than the demographic characteristics of specific neighborhoods (Koreatown has the highest population density in LA), *not because of them not liking the foreigners that live there.* The fact that they tend to spend a lot of time socially in those neighborhoods and/or partaking in the cultural products of those foreigners is further evidence that it’s doubtful that they don’t like foreigners.

            We’ve been going around and a lot of what you say doesn’t seem to disagree with me. For example, you’ve said ” happy to go to church with Hispanics, or go to work with them, or go to Hispanic restaurants, but who feel uncomfortable living in a Hispanic neighborhood. They don’t hate Hispanics, but they don’t feel safe, comfortable, and/or welcome in a Hispanic neighborhood. I suspect that the vast majority of this discomfort has to do with economic reasons — they don’t feel comfortable in any *poor* neighborhood, and many predominantly non-white neighborhoods are often poor. But they’d feel OK living in a non-white, non-poor neighborhood, such as, e.g., Baldwin Hills.”

            So…what are we arguing about?

          • Lacunaria

            I think you are arguing over what “like” means: living with vs. visiting.

            Rich people can live wherever they want. They may like diversity because they can sample just the good parts of each on their own terms.

            I think Rob’s and Sean’s point is that this insulates them from the full effects of the diversity they advocate for.

            When people do not have the means to choose, they more clearly self-segregate.

          • King Goat

            There aren’t walls in cities. It’s daft to argue someone doesn’t like Koreans if they choose to live in an LA neighborhood where they have to go through Koreatown regularly when they could have stayed in a county where there are no Koreans.

          • Lacunaria

            How about: “I don’t like living with X, but I like visiting them” ?

            I think those were the two “likes” that you two were implicitly debating in shorthand by saying that someone likes or dislikes X.

          • Sean II

            Right. The city is not a good unit of analysis here. People don’t live in cities, they live in little pools and currents within those cities.

            The pools are clearly segregated, as racial dot maps unanswerable show. But the currents are segregated too.

            Many honest observers on the left are happy admit this. They don’t count “I sometimes pass black people on the street” as meaningful integration, and neither should we.

            Shows like Louie and Girls and OITNB (before they got chastised for being too accurate) depict this rather well.

            If Louie and Hannah and Piper really lived diverse lives, then how come these shows can mine endless gold from their character’s ignorance about how other people live, think, feel, etc? Is sharing a metro statistical area with different groups actually amounted to sharing a life with them, those gags wouldn’t work.

          • Rob Gressis

            For the record, I think that immigration has, by and large, made America stronger. That said, every time immigration has come in large waves, the Americans already living here were skeptical of those immigrants and wanted them to assimilate. And those immigrants did, pretty much. But I’m not as such that what has happened in the past will continue to happen in the future, because I don’t know why immigration has worked so well in the USA (assuming it has). After all, there are some places where it doesn’t seem, from my uneducated point of view, to be working as well as in the USA (e.g., France), and there are some places where I think lots of immigration from the surrounding region would be a disaster (e.g., Israel).

            So, I think immigration raises lots of questions. Here are five: (1) has immigration worked well in the USA? (2) If so, why? (3) Once we know the conditions that allowed immigration to work well in the USA (assuming it has), we have to ask: do those conditions still obtain today? (4) Does immigration always work well whenever it’s tried? And finally (5) what does “work well” even *mean* in this case, anyway?

          • Sean II

            Good set of questions.

          • Peter from Oz

            Good questions.
            I would hazard to say that the problem today is that most of the immigration is of third world people of markedly different cultural understanding to that pertaining in the west.
            But even more important is the fact that the West has lost confidence in itself and is committing demographic suicide. So it needs to import fresh people to support the ageing indigenes.

          • Sean II

            As a long time foodie, I’d like to point out that fusion cuisine is not a product of “any ingredient, any time”.

            There’s a lot of careful discrimination involved, a lot of testing for compatibility, and a lot of delicate balancing to make sure the infused flavors don’t overpower the native or natural ones.

            Remind me: who was this analogy supposed to help?

          • Peter from Oz

            The interesting thing is that all the great cuisines of the world are fusion cuisines as they arose after the Columbian Exchange.

          • I can’t say that there is anything here I disagree with. Good comment.

          • Sean II

            Thank you. And thanks for initiating that approach.

            It’s a good practice, pausing now and again to inspect the undercarriage of an argument, and not just the carefullly painted exterior.

          • Peter from Oz

            May I add another strand to your very prescient and urbance analysis.
            The fact is that many of us in the upper midle classes have always know and intermixed with foreigners. We have more in common with upper-middle class foreigners than we do with a lot of our own compatriots. So when we promote mass immigration we don’t really think of the 100,000 peasants who will turn parts of the Midlands into little Lahore. We don’t go to such places anyway. We think of our brother’s wife from France or that nice sculptor we know from Malaysia. We also think of all the nice ethnic restaurants.
            So how dare the lower orders complain? Surely they must know that all foreigners are comopolitan chappies and chappessies who will improve our local hobbledehoys’lives no end.

          • Sean II

            H-1B goggles. People look at their own immediate surroundings and say “What the hell are you on about? Diversity works great…here in my Infectious Disease fellowship program.”

            And they’re not wrong. It really is true that if you screen people for the very top of the distributions on IQ, conscientiousness, and conformity, you get high-trust, high-functioning little mini societies.

            But of course that’s the whole idea behind a points system.

            And also, it takes away the excuse of ignorance.

            People like this are supposed to know what sampling bias is. They’re supposed to know about the perils of making global policy based on idiosyncratic local examples. Shame on them if they suddenly forget those principles and methods for the sake of a sentimental urge.

          • Peter from Oz

            But the fact is, Sean that a lot of members of the upper middle classes have appalling logic skills. or to put it another way, they are a thick as two short planks.

          • j_m_h

            A late response but some of what you talk about resonates with a view I’ve had of some advocates or “progressive”or “liberal” agendas. I’ll use H, Clinton as my example. She is often touted as a champion of children and presented as is she just loves children. I find that position a bit at odd with the fact she has only one child.

            I wonder often in such situation if the truth is that a person likes X in the abstract or as an idea but actually is not good with or even likes X in the specific instances X will exist. If so just how much of a true champion of X’s interests could such a person be?

            Similarly, I think that applies to many libertarians, especially in the area of politics and policy. Many seem fine with individuals in assumed private setting, such a economic/market participation because they see that is not impacting others at all. But in the area of policy it’s all about “I should be able to have an impact on them because I make better decisiosn” and they should be limited because they make bad decisions. I’ll concede some truth but it’s not as strong as often claimed.

            Note, I don’t disagree witht the idea of people wanting to oppose changes that will negatively impact their lives. That is natural, just as not being too concerned about such impacts when my actions are clearly improving my lot in life. But that’s where actually having honest discussion about the motivations is how to maybe find a workable consensus. Without that we end up fabricating fictions and faciads we quietly pretend have substance.

          • Sean II

            This is why one of my favorite movie moments is that scene in Dazed and Confused when the wanna-be Carl Bernstein liberal kid has an epiphany after visiting the Post Office, realizing he actually despises the poor people he planned to spend his life helping.

            The pattern replicates. End of the line for most world-saving hippies was a life of self-improvement and home equity building.

            The 21st Century version is a little different: you start out promising to do good for the black and the brown, then end up doing well among fellow whites.

            But yes, it does seem rather a trope of leftism to say “we fight for X”, where X is some group – proletarians, peasants, racial minorities, trans, etc. – whose company the saviors conspicuously avoid.

            To love humanity in the abstract is to hate it in most particulars.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Or, to quote Greg Gutfeld on the John Edward’s love child scandal: “Like all liberals, he loved global and screwed local.”

          • I think it’s more a power play than you’re letting on. It’s analogous to anti-black sentiment in the early 20th century. Whites had been in power as long as they could remember, but they could feel their power slipping, and that’s why some of them joined the KKK and supported segregationist politicians.

            Also, your claim that anti-immigrationists are motivated by status quo bias does not explain why so many movements wish to further restrict immigration. I’d actually say it’s the people with pro-immigrant sympathies who are the ones likely to favor the status quo.

          • Sean II

            “Also, your claim that anti-immigrationists are motivated by status quo bias does not explain why so many movements wish to further restrict immigration.”

            Quite a weird reading there. Obviously I meant the “status quo” in status quo bias to describe the cultural and demographic status quo, NOT the current state of migration policy.

        • Jay Guyere

          Is your ability to peer into your own soul to determine your “true” intentions as highly developed as your ability to peer into the souls of others? I’m so envious. I think. Perhaps you can tell me. Am I?

          • There is no need for sarcasm. If there is something specific that you’d like to dispute, I’m happy to discuss it with you, and I will readily admit error and apologize, if you can cast a little doubt on what I’ve said.

            You’ll notice that Sean II did dispute some of what I said, and we came to an agreement. Maybe you and I could do the same.

            I like to think that I am one of the most self-critical people I know, but only another person who knows me well could objectively judge for certain. For what it’s worth, people have told me that I am, but I still believe I have a lot of work to do.

            You may have noticed that everyone writing about these topics – from the original blog authors to the members of the commentariat – spends some time interpreting what is behind others’ point of view. I’m not alone in this, but I concede that I ventured a bit further than most tend to do.

          • Jay Guyere

            You ventured into a place you have no knowledge of. This is intellectual hubris. Hubris is always deserving of sarcasm. Argue ideas, not “hidden” purposes, otherwise known as straw men.

          • I understood your meaning by your initial comment. Would you care to dispute anything substantive, or is it only important to you to dispute hubris in the abstract?

          • King Goat

            Doubting the authenticity of *other people* is kind of Ryan’s political philosophy. If only others could be as pure as he…

    • King Goat

      Rob, when you say ‘moral difference’ what do you mean? I feel more of a duty to my son than your son, and in my daily actions I’m going to act differently regarding them, but I’d think under most systems of moral philosophy I’m familiar with our sons have equal moral value/weight.

      • Rob Gressis

        Here’s what I mean: I grant that every person has equal moral worth, in the Kantian sense that, because each one has a capacity for rationality, each one has certain inviolable rights. However, I don’t think that every person’s obligations to everyone else is the same. So, like you said, I don’t think you should just feel more of a duty to your son than my son, I think you *have* more of a duty to your son than to my son, in virtue of your role. In that case, there are, relative to you, moral differences between my son and your son.

        When it comes to governments, it seems to me that governments have stronger obligations to their own citizens than they do to non-citizens (I don’t have a non-consequentialist argument for this; maybe there isn’t one). So, your government has a stronger obligation to protect your rights than it does to protect non-citizens’ rights. It doesn’t follow from this that governments are allowed to *violate* non-citizens’ rights, and if it’s true that any policy of immigration restriction violates people’s rights, then what I say of governments’ greater obligations to their own citizens is irrelevant to that question. But, if immigration restrictions don’t violate citizens’ rights, then the fact that some people couldn’t qualify for entry to their own country if they were immigrants instead of citizens doesn’t seem to me to be relevant.

        • King Goat

          Thanks for the response. For what it’s worth, that’s basically my view of things in this area too. I just wanted to clarify after you used the phrase ‘moral difference.’

          • Rob Gressis

            Got it.


          A putative non-consequentialist argument for the citizen/non-citizen distinction you mention:

          • Peter from Oz

            Your argument is very good.
            The problem with the open boarders argument of your opponents in the debate was that it turned the relationship between the government and people around. The government is there to look after my interests, not those of any foreign nationals. We all revere the notion of no taxation without representation, but the reverse is also true.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Thanks Peter. Naturally I agree with you.

  • brandonberg

    The point of a points-based immigration system is to selectively admit immigrants who will be net tax payers rather than net tax recipients. This is why the young are favored over the old (more years of paying taxes before collecting benefits) and highly educated and high earning applicants are favored (likely to pay more taxes, less likely to be dependent on welfare). It’s also why people with good command of the local language are preferred (easy to find a good job).

    If we’re not going to go full open borders, this seems like a reasonable way to decide who does get to immigrate. Why exclude those who carry their own weight in favor of those who don’t?

    The bar may be too high, but pointing out that certain current citizens don’t meet it is not a valid way to demonstrate this. Especially when you’re just making stuff up. As native speakers of English, they’d presumably get full points for that, and also for income, since Senators make something like $170k.

    • Cassiodorus

      Quibble with how he sorted them, but these standards do seem absurdly high. I used myself (a relatively young person who is well-educated and making significantly more than the median income) as a test case. I’d barely qualify under this system. If I didn’t have a post-graduate degree, I wouldn’t qualify.

      • Octavian

        Well, considering the long run fiscal state of social security and Medicare, there’s an argument to be made that anyone over 23 will be a net burden on the system.

    • James Taylor

      I quoted Cotton’s official salary. And as I noted he doesn’t qualify as being fluent in English given the extremely poor wording of his proposed Act.

  • Cassiodorus

    He still wouldn’t meet the threshold for admission, but Cotton’s score is 29 (professional degrees from a US institution are worth 13 points).

    • Kostas

      Aren’t all postgraduate degrees besides stem-related ones excluded from the point system proposed? This includes an MA or PhD in Law, Philosophy, Classics, Literature, Education, Political Science, etc.

    • James Taylor

      No, his professional degrees are excluded under his own plan.

      • Cassiodorus

        That’s not accurate. Page 30 of the bill, lines 18-21, state “an applicant whose highest degree is a United States professional degree or a doctorate degree in STEM from an institution of higher education shall accuse 13 points.”

        Page 27, lines 7-11, which provide the definition for “professional degree” defines the term as an MBA, JD, or MD. Last I checked, Cotton has a JD.

        • James Taylor

          The authors of the Bill might have WANTED to include professional degrees outside of STEM fields, but that’s not what they wrote on p.30, where the reference scope only includes STEM degrees.

          • Cassiodorus

            The bill clearly says “professional degree or doctorate degree in STEM.” I think this bill is a horrible idea, but you’re mischaracterizing it.

          • James Taylor

            No, I’m not. They might have intended to include professional degrees outside of STEM fields, but the drafters omitted the comma that would have given them this. Reference scope matters, especially in legal documents!

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Okay, as someone who practiced law (with an emphasis on contracts) for 20 years, once a term is defined, as “professional degree” is, that definition is read-in every time that word appears. So, “professional degree or doctorate degree in STEM” means “JD, MBA degree etc. or doctorate degree in STEM.” That’s contracts 101, sorry.

          • James Taylor

            Fair enough! So, we’ll downgrade their grasp of English to “Poor”, and accord Cotton his JD. Even if we don’t do the first downgrade, neither qualify to enter the US. Chuck ’em out!

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            I’d chuck them all out, but I was making a rather technical point.

          • Sean II

            This proposal doesn’t go far enough. We should subtract points for humanities degrees.

          • MARK_D_FRIEDMAN

            Friendly amendment: subtract 2x for education degree.

  • Peter from Oz