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Massive migrant reduction

Bipartisan consensus: A deal is emerging in the Senate, supported by both Republicans and Democrats, that would reduce the number of migrants granted asylum and beef up immigration enforcement. Republicans have stipulated that a border-securing package be agreed to for Democrats to get additional Ukraine funding passed. More proof that whenever both parties agree on something, the resulting policy tends to be suboptimal from a libertarian standpoint. “It will be, by far, the most conservative border security bill in four decades,” Sen. James Lankford (R–Okla.) told NBC News.

The bill will most likely restrict the president’s ability to admit asylum-seekers via what’s called “parole.”

“Parole authority, which has existed since the 1950s, allows the government to extend migrants a special status to remain in the United States for a certain period of time,” explains The New York Times. “It was designed to be used only in cases of humanitarian need, or if there was a public benefit to allowing a migrant into the country. But administrations have interpreted that guidance in different ways, sometimes ushering in whole groups of migrants under the authority.”

State of play: On one hand, Republicans are correct to critique the expansion of executive power in this way. On the other, parole “serves an array of humanitarian purposes, including allowing foreign nationals without visas access to emergency or specialized medical care; allowing beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and green card applicants to travel internationally; or allowing undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens to regularize their status,” notes The Hill.

But Republicans broadly disagree with the “catch and release” method where immigration authorities briefly detain someone who has come to the country, but then grant parole and allow them to have free rein inside the country as they await a court date. They also tend to favor axing group-based parole programs (the Biden administration has, for example, allowed many Afghans to come here following the U.S. pullout there in August 2021) and policies that force detained migrants to stay in facilities on the Mexican, not U.S., side of the border.

The Franceification of California: Teachers at all 23 campuses that comprise the California State University system walked off the job yesterday as part of a five-day strike. Roughly 29,000 employees will be part of this strike, affecting some 460,000 students. The picketers are demanding pay raises of 12 percent, instead of the mere 5 percent offered by university officials in the bargaining room. 

University leaders said the system already spends 75 percent of its operating budget on staff compensation and cannot afford to increase salaries at that level,” reports The New York Times. “The California State University Board of Trustees last year approved 6 percent annual tuition increases over five years because system officials said they could not balance their budget otherwise.” 

Essentially, this is all a continuation of the trend we saw for much of last year: Workers demanding ever-larger paychecks yet remaining broadly oblivious to the economics of the broader institution. Case in point: the autoworker strikes, during which massive numbers of employees demanded that the Big Three carmakers appease them with more money, even though said carmakers are worried about how to make a pivot to electric vehicles and automated vehicles happen, and how to stay competitive in the future.

Scenes from New York:


  • All signs are pointing toward a big Donald Trump win over Nikki Haley in New Hampshire tonight. Ron DeSantis’ supporters, now that the Florida governor has dropped out, mostly seem like they’re picking Trump over Haley.
  • Israel and Hamas are fighting in Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, worsening the humanitarian crisis there. Ambulances are struggling to reach the injured, and hospitals are not equipped to save those who have been wounded.
  • Kayak.com now has a flight filter that allows travelers to exclude certain aircraft models from their search results—likely a response to a few recent high-profile flight mishaps.
  • Autoworker unions make cars more expensive, right after securing their pay raise (lol):
  • New reporting from Israel, courtesy of Nancy Rommelmann (whose whole globetrotting Reason archive you should check out).
  • “The introverts have taken over the U.S. economy” announces a headline over at Bloomberg. “During the pandemic, a lot of Americans had to stay home—and many discovered that they preferred staying in to going out.” I would theorize that the “takeover” is probably somewhat attributable to inflation—nights out got harder to afford—and also somewhat attributable to neuroses being indulged and fostered during the COVID era, during which virtue was made out of being a shut-in.
  • Nick Gillespie interviewed Coleman Hughes on the separation of race and state. It’s a must-listen if you’re interested in colorblindness, rolling back DEI, and questions of which activist techniques actually result in meaningful change.
  • And you thought we were getting deepfake porn! Instead, we’re getting deepfake Joe Biden.
  • Reminds me of AOC at the Met Gala:


January 2024