Mass Shootings, Violent Video Games, and the facts about Guns (Part 3)


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Many politicians point to mental illness as the primary culprit for mass shootings. Will we see a significant reduction in mass shootings if we shift our focus to mental illness?

Research: Mental Illness Doesn’t seem to be the Cause of Mass Shootings

Less than 5% of shootings are committed by people with a diagnosable mental illness. Suppose we shift the discussion to those who suffer from serious mental illness. In a paper titled, “Mass Shootings and Mental Illness,” James L. Knoll and George D. Annas explore the relationship between serious mental illness and mass shootings. The paper shows the following beliefs are false:

• Mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent the most significant relationship between gun violence and mental illness.
• People with serious mental illness should be considered dangerous.
• Gun laws focusing on people with mental illness or with a psychiatric diagnosis can effectively prevent mass shootings.
• Gun laws focusing on people with mental illness or a psychiatric diagnosis are reasonable, even if they add to the stigma already associated with mental illness.

Less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides are committed by people with serious mental illness, according to this paper. Suppose we asked how much do those with serious mental illness contribute to overall violent crimes. The number only increases to 3%, that is, 3% of violent crimes are committed by people with serious mental crimes. Therefore, focus on serious mental illness is not key to a reduction in mass shootings.


Mass Shootings, Violent Video Games, and the facts about Guns (Part 2)

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Many people think they see a causal link between violent video games and mass shooters. Will regulating violent video games reduce the number of mass shootings in America?

Research: Regulating Violent Video Games is Not Very Helpful

Christopher J. Ferguson is a Professor of Psychology at Stetson University. He has studied violent video games for nearly 15 years. His academic article, “Violent Video Games, Mass Shootings, and the Supreme Court,” appeared in the law journal New Criminal Law Review. Ferguson concluded that “current evidence does not support the regulation of violent video games, and legal policy attempts to connect video game violence to specific crimes are unlikely to survive careful scrutiny.”

To be sure, there are studies that affirm a causal link between violent video games and aggressive behavior. A meta-analysis by Craig A. Anderson et al. titled, “Violent Video Game Effects on Aggression, Empathy, and Prosocial Behavior in Eastern and Western Countries,” was published in 2010. The paper ended by saying “we believe that debates can and should finally move beyond the simple question of whether violent video game play is a causal risk factor for aggressive behavior; the scientific literature has effectively and clearly shown the answer to be “yes.””

The American Psychological Association (APA) takes the aforementioned meta-study into consideration, but they still conclude:

Violent video game play is linked to increased aggression in players but insufficient evidence exists about whether the link extends to criminal violence or delinquency, according to a new American Psychological Association task force report.

“The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression,” says the report of the APA Task Force on Violent Media.

So, the meta-study cannot be considered a definitive study that demonstrates a causal link between criminal violence or delinquency.

The APA came to this conclusion in a 2015 report titled, “Technical Report on the Review of the Violent Video Game Literature.” The task force consisted of the prominent practitioners and theoreticians. Members of the task force included: Mark Appelbaum, Ph.D.; Sandra Calvert, Ph.D.; Kenneth Dodge, Ph.D.; Sandra Graham, Ph.D.; Gordon Nagayama Hall, Ph.D.; Sherry Hamby, Ph.D.; and Lawewnce Hedges, Ph.D.

Researchers at the University of York found no evidence to support the belief that violent video games ‘prime’ players to act in certain ways even if you increase the realism of the violent video game. The study by David Zendle et al. shows that an increase in realism in violent video games do not increase activation of aggressive concepts resulting in antisocial effects in players. They say, “When taken together, the results of these two experiments seem to suggest that greater behavioural realism simply does not seem to lead to greater activation of aggressive concepts in VVGs. The strength of this conclusion is further bolstered by the methodology used in these experiments.”

The research seems mixed, but the overall evidence suggests that regulating violent video games will do little to reduce the number of mass shootings in America.

Mass Shootings, Violent Video Games, and the facts about Guns (Part 1)

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America continues to mourn the deaths of 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Students who survived the shooting are speaking out against Congressional inaction on gun control. The texture of the clarity and depth of the student’s ire is a unique feature of this school shooting. Once again, we find ourselves embroiled in a debate about gun control. This blog series will be devoted to sifting through the contours of the debate. My goal is to raise the level of discourse by engaging with relevant scholarly data and offering an evenhanded assessment.

Kicking the Disabled in the Face

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My readers will notice that I have turned by attention to scrutinizing the Republican party. I have undertaken this venture simply because they are the party in power.

Thursday, February 15th, saw the passage of a particularly unsavory and immoral bill. House Republicans passed the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017,” yesterday. Details of the bill and the changes it makes are a bit convoluted, so we will quote Newsweek to help explain the relevant facts:

In a 225-192 vote Thursday, most House Republicans and a dozen Democrats passed a bill that makes it harder for disabled persons to sue for discrimination, in an effort to prevent opportunistic attorneys from taking advantage of business owners.

But many disability and civil rights groups fear the bill will weaken incentives for businesses to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which mandates equal access to public accommodations.

Proponents argue that the bill, the ADA Education and Reform Act, or H.R. 620, is necessary to stem the flow of “drive-by lawsuits” brought by lawyers who only wish to line their pockets. The bill would require those filing suit in federal court against businesses for not complying with the ADA to first give that business 60 days to devise a plan to fix the problem. They then have another 120 days to implement the changes.

“There is now a whole industry made up of people who prey on small business owners and file unnecessary and abusive lawsuits,” Representative Ted Poe of Texas, who co-sponsored the bill, said after introducing the measure in 2017. “This bill will change that by requiring that the business owners have time to fix what is allegedly broken.”

The bill would effectively gut the ADA, detractors argue. Without a fear of being sued, businesses might be inclined to ignore ADA compliance rules. Critics of the bill also believe people with disabilities should not bear the responsibility of making sure businesses are compliant with the law.

To be sure, some Democrats are culpable in the passage of this bill.

Who thinks it’s morally acceptable to place the onus on a disabled person to make sure a business complies with federal law? Lawsuits are expensive and difficult for anyone to bring and we are now requiring, nay burdening, disabled people with the task of ensuring compliance after they have been wronged by noncompliance. This law makes disabled people’s lives more difficult.

The Pacific Standard explains how this happens:

H.R. 620, the “ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017,” restructures the enforcement mechanism for the ADA. The means of enforcement have always been unusual. Most regulations that affect commerce are enforced by local, state, and federal agencies. While there is a small division in the Department of Justice (DOJ) doing some oversight, the ADA generally depends on private citizens bringing complaints through damages-free lawsuits (though with legal fees attached) in order to command technical compliance in commercial spaces. Think about how this differs from most other regulatory situations. You aren’t required to check whether the local restaurant complies with health codes, labor standards, or other safety features; the government does that for you. When it comes to disability, though, most enforcement starts with a personal lawsuit.

We all know, where there’s a bill there’s a lobbyist The International Council of Shopping Centers is a lobbying group that represents shopping malls and they are behind this bill.

You probably didn’t hear about this bill, that’s because the Republican party used the Florida school massacre as cover for the passage of this bill.

Sinister bill under a sinister cloak.

Senate Testimony Transcript

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In case you didn’t read it, Dianne Feinstein released the 312-page transcript of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The transcript shows the circumstances that led to the hiring of Christopher Steele and it also reveals some troubling details surrounding Donald Trump’s business dealings.

Read and be enlightened.

Let’s Take Stock

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Members of the Trump administrations continue to drop like flies. The administration has been embroiled in scandal after scandal and there are no signs the bleeding will stop. Here is a list of people and circumstances of departure complied by the Washington Post:


Sally Yates. Deputy attorney general. Days with administration: 11. Refused to enforce Trump’s entry ban.
Preet Bharara. U.S. attorney. Days with administration: 51. Part of purge of U.S. attorneys.
James B. Comey. FBI director. Days with administration: 110. Allegedly pressured by Trump to scale down investigations.
Rich Higgins. Director, NSC. Days with administration: 176. Fired after writing a conspiracy-filled memo.
Derek Harvey. Senior director, NSC. Days with administration: 182. Fired following power shift under national security adviser H.R. McMaster.
Anthony Scaramucci. Communications director. Days with administration: 11. Fired by Kelly.
Ezra Cohen-Watnick. Senior director, NSC. Days with administration: 188. Fired following power shift under McMaster.

Resigned under pressure

Michael Flynn. National security adviser. Days with administration: 23. Ostensibly fired for having misled Vice President Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
Katie Walsh. Deputy chief of staff. Days with administration: 68. Moved out of administration to work for a pro-Trump PAC.
K.T. McFarland. Deputy national security adviser. Days with administration: 118. Pushed out following power shift under McMaster.
Tera Dahl. Deputy chief of staff, NSC. Days with administration: 166. Reassigned following power shift under McMaster.
Michael Short. Assistant press secretary. Days with administration: 185. Scaramucci told media that Short would be fired.
Reince Priebus. Chief of staff. Days with administration: 188. Resigned in favor of Kelly.
Stephen K. Bannon. Chief strategist. Days with administration: 209. Bannon left after giving a negative interview to American Prospect.
Sebastian Gorka. Deputy assistant. Days with administration: 211. Butted heads with Kelly.
William Bradford. Director, Energy. Days with administration: About 120. Past racist comments were made public.
Tom Price. Director of Health and Human Services. Days with administration: 232. Under fire for taking expensive charter flights.
Jamie Johnson. Director, DHS. Days with administration: About 230. Past racist comments were made public.
Carl Higbie. Chief of external affairs, Corporation for National and Community Service. Days with administration: 153. Past racist comments were made public.
Taylor Weyeneth. Deputy chief of staff, Office of Drug Control Policy. Days with administration: About 340.Questions about experience and details on résumé.
Rob Porter. Staff secretary. Days with administration: 385. Allegations of spousal abuse became public.


Michael Dubke. Communications director. Days with administration: 89. Personal reasons.
Walter Shaub. Director of Office of Government Ethics. Days with administration: 181. Concern over ethics rules.
Mark Corallo. Legal team spokesman. Days with administration: 59. Apparently concerned about handling of Trump Tower story.
Sean Spicer. Press secretary. Days with administration: 181. Uncomfortable with hiring of Scaramucci.
Elizabeth Southerland. Director, EPA. Days with administration: 193. Disagreement with direction of department.
Carl Icahn. Special adviser. Days with administration: 211. Resigned in advance of an article about conflicts of interest.
George Sifakis. Public liaison director. Days with administration: 204. Sifakis was an ally of Priebus.
Maliz Beams. Counselor, State. Days with administration: 97. Reported differences with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Elizabeth Shackelford. Political officer, State. Days with administration: 323. Disagreement with direction of department.
Paul Winfree. Deputy director. Days with administration: 330. Returning to Heritage Foundation.
Dina Powell. Deputy national security adviser. Days with administration: 304. Personal reasons.
Omarosa Manigault. Director of communications, Office of Public Liaison. Days with administration: 364. Resigned to “pursue other opportunities.” Now stars on CBS’s “Big Brother.”
Jeremy Katz. Deputy director, NEC. Days with administration: About 340. Personal reasons.
Thomas Shannon. Under secretary of state for political affairs. Days with administration: 385 and counting. (Resignation announced but not yet in force.) Personal reasons.
John Feeley. Ambassador to Panama. Days with administration: 385 and counting. Disagreement with administration.
Rick Dearborn. Deputy chief of staff. Days with administration: 383 and counting. Joining private sector.

This is further evidence the administration is in chaos.

Telling the Truth about the Russia Investigation

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There is no question that Republicans are not interested in getting to the truth about the Russia investigation and the areas of possible criminality being investigated by Robert Mueller. Republicans are trying to undermine Robert Mueller and obscure the facts around Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS. Senate Republicans recommended a criminal probe of Christopher Steele. Shamefully, Republicans have also subpoenaed Fusion GPS in order to get their financial records. No doubt, this move is meant to hurt the company.

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who are by no means saints, recently released a statement that correctly summarizes where we stand:

The Judiciary Committee particularly has a role to play in revealing efforts to undermine the work of the Department of Justice. Given public reports showing that President Trump has used multiple avenues to disrupt the Justice Department’s investigation of his Administration – ultimately firing the FBI Director and nearly firing the Attorney General when improper and unlawful demands from the White House were not heeded – it is clear that the Judiciary Committee has profoundly critical work to do.

However, selective evidence related to Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele does not appear to shed meaningful light on this important work. Recent reporting has made clear what was long apparent from the facts gathered by our Committee: the Steele Dossier was simply corroborating evidence supporting the U.S. government’s investigation into Russian election meddling. That investigation was initiated based on information that originated within the Trump campaign itself, with concerned foreign allies, and with other intelligence sources. Russian interference, and the threat that interference will continue in upcoming elections, has been verified by the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities.

Diverting our focus from Russian interference to Glenn Simpson or Christopher Steele is, in our view, a misallocation of scarce resources.

The last vestiges of American integrity is being eroded and it doesn’t look like there’s enough interest to stop it.

Put this Myth to Rest: Russian Spying

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Donald Trump disputed the fact that Russians hacked our elections. He doubts they would leave evidence of their hacking. The Intercept has been skeptical of Russian interference as well. Is there any evidence that Russians hacked our elections? The answering is a resounding yes, if current reporting is accurate:

The joint investigation by de Volkskrant newspaper and Nieuwsuur (“News Hour”), a current-affairs television program, describe how Dutch intelligence experts accessed the Russian hackers’ computers and cameras in hallways at a university in Moscow. The Dutch spies watched a team of Russian hackers infiltrate the State Department, the White House and the Democratic Party to pilfer emails and electronic documents, including 2016 campaign emails later published by Wikileaks.

The disclosures add new details to Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election, which, according to the Dutch reports, was part of a larger pattern of Russian meddling in Western elections. The reports also raise questions about why the Democratic Party did not sufficiently respond when alerted to the hacking, which shadowed the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“In the summer of 2015, Dutch intelligence services were the first to alert their American counterparts about the cyber-intrusion of the Democratic National Committee by Cozy Bear, a hacking group believed to be tied to the Russian government,” Nieuwsuur’s report began. “Intelligence hackers from Dutch AIVD (General Intelligence and Security Service) had penetrated the Cozy Bear computer servers as well as a security camera at the entrance of their working space, located in a university building adjacent to the Red Square in Moscow.”

“Over the course of a few months, they saw how the Russians penetrated several U.S. institutions, including the State Department, the White House, and the DNC. On all these occasions, the Dutch alerted the U.S. intelligence services, Dutch TV program Nieuwsuur and de Volkskrant, a prominent newspaper in the Netherlands, jointly report on Thursday,” Nieuwsuur said. “This account is based on interviews with a dozen political, diplomatic and intelligence sources in the Netherlands and the U.S. with direct knowledge of the matter. None of them wanted to speak on the record, given the classified details of the matter.”

Dutch intelligence spied in real time on the hackers’ computers and a hallway security camera in a nearby corridor, the journalists said. They said the Dutch soon realized they were observing a notorious Russian cyber-espionage unit. The Dutch agents “consider Cozy Bear an extension of the SVR, the Russian foreign intelligence service, which is firmly controlled by President Putin.”

“The information shared by the Netherlands about the hacks at the DNC ended up on the desk of Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor leading the FBI investigation into possible Russian interference in the American elections,” Nieuwsuur said. “As early as December, the New York Times reported that information from, among others, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands had propelled the FBI investigation.”

… The Dutch news reports said their country’s intelligence service broke into the elite Russian operation four years ago, but initially did not know its significance.

“It’s the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has penetrated the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, oblivious to the implications,” Volkskrant reported. “One year later, from the AIVD headquarters in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues witness Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything.”

Soon after, the Dutch spy agency observed a real-time and successful Russian hacking attack on State Department and White House computers, Nieuwsuur reported.

This operation is so clandestine it’s difficult to believe.

Immigrants: Faceless Abstractions and Political Fodder (Part 3)

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Policy Prescriptions

I will end this series with substantial policy recommendations. I’m surprised that I’m doing this again, but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) provides one of the best policy proposals for immigration reform:

Earned Legalization: An earned legalization program would allow foreign nationals of good moral character who are living in the United States to apply to adjust their status to obtain lawful permanent residence. Such a program would create an eventual path to citizenship, requiring applicants to complete and pass background checks, pay a fine, and establish eligibility for resident status to participate in the program. Such a program would help stabilize the workforce, promote family unity, and bring a large population “out of the shadows,” as members of their communities.
Future Worker Program: A worker program to permit foreign‐born workers to enter the country safely and legally would help reduce illegal immigration and the loss of life in the American desert. Any program should include workplace protections, living wage levels, safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers, and family unity.
Family‐based Immigration Reform: It currently takes years for family members to be reunited through the family‐based legal immigration system. This leads to family breakdown and, in some cases, illegal immigration. Changes in family‐based immigration should be made to increase the number of family visas available and reduce family reunification waiting times.
Restoration of Due Process Rights: Due process rights taken away by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) should be restored. For example, the three and ten year bars to reentry should be eliminated.
Addressing Root Causes: Congress should examine the root causes of migration, such as under‐development and poverty in sending countries, and seek long‐term solutions. The antidote to the problem of illegal immigration is sustainable economic development in sending countries. In an ideal world, migration should be driven by choice, not necessity.
Enforcement: The U.S. Catholic Bishops accept the legitimate role of the U.S. government in intercepting unauthorized migrants who attempt to travel to the United States. The Bishops also believe that by increasing lawful means for migrants to enter, live, and work in the United States, law enforcement will be better able to focus upon those who truly threaten public safety: drug and human traffickers, smugglers, and would‐be terrorists. Any enforcement measures must be targeted, proportional, and humane.

Bishop José H. Gomez gave a very detailed presentation of the policy proposal before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 12, 2013. I do not agree with everything in this proposal but I think it is a good start. I would supplement this proposal with a policy proposal from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI):

1. The FWAC [Foreign Worker Adjustment Commission] is needed because our employment-based immigration system is far too rigid, political, and detached from the real needs of the American economy. An independent agency is needed to develop much better measures of labor market shortages, assessment methodologies, and processes to efficiently adjust foreign labor flows to employers’ needs while protecting domestic and foreign labor standards. In order to give it time to prepare for its very important functions, we recommend that this commission be established in two stages: (1) create the structure and develop and refine methodologies, measures, and procedures to be recommended to Congress and (2) fully implement the system.
2. Border controls and internal tracking processes are necessary parts of an overall immigration control system. Border control alone is not likely to be sufficient—at best, no more than about 40% of unauthorized border crossers are apprehended. Increasing border resources has not done much to raise the number of apprehensions, but has pushed these migrants into ever more hazardous terrain and apparently has caused a larger proportion to settle in the United States with their families. But even completely successful border controls would not stop illegal immigration because an estimated 40 to 45% of these immigrants have overstayed visas—and this proportion undoubtedly would rise with more stringent border controls. Therefore, it is important to complement border controls with a much more effective internal tracking system. We have made progress with an entry identification system, but not with an effective way to determine whether or how many of the over 30 million authorized foreign visitors each year leave the country. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed that the cost of an exit identification system be shifted to ocean and air carriers.
3. Since most unauthorized immigrants enter the United States to work or join family members who are working, an effective work authorization process is an essential component of a comprehensive immigration system. Efforts to overcome IRCA’s [Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986] authorization defects have been largely ineffective. For example, the E-Verify system to determine if workers’ Social Security numbers are valid has many known and unknown identity and document error problems, as well as privacy and due process concerns. The basic problems are: the absence of a secure identifier (which the social security card definitely is not and was not intended to be); the lack of a secure database; the absence of due process and privacy protections; employer control of the verification system; and discrimination against naturalized citizens and authorized workers.

One promising approach to overcome these problems would be to have a federal agency give workers a secure identifier with biometric data and a unique work authorization number for each new job based on individual PIN numbers issued by the federal authorizing agency. Employees would present the work authorization numbers and identifiers to their employers, whose sole obligation would be to verify the number with the authorizing agency. This system would give workers control of their personal information and give trained federal professionals, not employers, the responsibility for verification. The administrative burden of introducing this system could be reduced by phasing it in for new hires, job changers, and foreign workers authorized to work in the United States.
4. Adjusting the status of unauthorized immigrants is the most controversial and complex of our framework components. It is controversial because a vocal minority of Americans believe allowing unauthorized immigrants to remain in the United States would be rewarding lawbreakers. These critics would be on firmer ground if we had a good immigration law that was fair, transparent, and enforceable, none of which applies to IRCA. For many years before 9/11 unauthorized immigrants were justified in believing that if they got into the United States with a visa or crossed the border illegally—which was not hard to do—got a job, worked hard and stayed out of serious legal trouble, they would be able to settle in the United States. Indeed, the unauthorized immigrants’ networks had a lot of official and unofficial support. It was not until after 9/11 that the United States became serious about immigration enforcement and then it proceeded in an unfair, disruptive, and often unconstitutional manner.

I’m not sure these policies proposals will work. My goal is simply to raise the level of debate.

I hope this series has moved the conversation in a decisively rational direction.

Immigrants: Faceless Abstractions and Political Fodder (Part 2)

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I said in my previous post in this series that entrenched ideologies and unchecked emotions rule the immigration fight/debate. Current discourse has traveled a great distance from rational debate. We use choice terms like ‘illegals’ to capture the tone of our position.

The time has come to inject probing questions and in-depth analysis into the debate. Let’s start by asking the right questions. Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics created a helpful website to facilitate rigorous discussion about immigration. Some of the most important questions include:

Ethical Issues

• What are the costs of migration? What is the cost in terms of lives lost?
• What are the financial costs both to the migrant and to the countries involved?
• Do nations have an ethical obligation to do the least harm to migrants when establishing and enforcing immigration laws?
• Whose voices should be included in such discussions?
• Does it matter who is migrating and whether one person or one family is migrating versus whether an entire community is migrating?
• Could there have been forces pushing the migrant to leave his or her community, such as loss of land, natural or man-made disasters, instability, or poverty?
• Is it possible that economic and political policies and actions of the local government, neighboring governments, or super-powers may create a domino effect that results in decisions to migrate?
• How important is it to fully comprehend the reasons for migration?
• If migration is seen as a means of survival, is survival a choice or a necessity?
• Is it ethical to use immigration as a political tool, whether to denounce human suffering or to promote national security, in order to gain political capital?
• Should theories of migration incorporate cultural diversity, including gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and economic status?
• Must a discussion of migration incorporate a myriad of theories, or is policy best served by identifying the principal reasons for migration?
• Can the studies of migration and the statistics of migration accurately explain the reasons for migration?
• How can studies and statistics focused on defining the factors that motivate and impact migration best serve policy makers? Does the information itself become a source of contention and debate in light of divergent or conflicting interpretation of these studies and statistics? Do these studies and statistics address ethical concerns, or exacerbate them?

Ethics of Sending Countries

• Is it unethical for a country to cancel citizenship for anyone who emigrates elsewhere?
• Is it unethical for a sending country to disregard the risks and dangers that migration poses to its citizens because the country has a stake in future remittances that its citizens will eventually send home?
• What ethical obligations, therefore, do sending countries have to stop human trafficking or to protect citizens in transit?
• Does a sending country have an ethical duty to allow a receiving country to return citizens of the sending country when those citizens have violated the laws of the receiving country?
• What ethical issues arise when one country encourages its citizens to emigrate shifting its responsibility to feed, educate, and protect those citizens to another country?
• Is it ethical to encourage citizens to emigrate knowing that such emigration will economically benefit the sending country and improve the standard of living of other citizens in the sending country, even if emigration means separation of families and loss of the “best and brightest”?

Ethics of Loss

• To what extent can countries ethically discourage emigration in order to minimize the loss of professionals and educated citizens to other countries and other economies?
• Is it ethical for countries to try to protect their nationals from perceived dangers either in transit or on arrival in the receiving country by blocking emigration?
• Can a sending country request a receiving country to reimburse the sending country for the cost of education and care of the migrants that are contributing to the growth of the receiving country?

Impact of Global Economic and Environmental Interdependence on Migration

• How has out-sourcing and re-location of businesses affected migration?
• How can nations balance businesses’ need for additional labor with concerns about departure or arrival of large numbers of migrants?
• Do businesses prefer to hire and train immigrant workers because it creates a labor force beholden to the employers?
• As the population of receiving countries age, how do nations best address the need for a young labor force and a need for care providers for an older population?
• Does increasing the labor force through immigration to care for an aging population create an exponential need for future immigrants to care for this labor force as it ages?

Public discourse doesn’t come anywhere close to this level of rigor. This is not even half of the questions listed on Santa Clara University’s page. You can see why I reject the principles of immigration proposed by The Heritage Foundation. Quite frankly, the proposal is too anemic. It fails to address critical ethical issues. The report is shaped by conservative political ideology and it does not contain a comprehensive engagement with enough of the central issues.

Questions like these help show the complexity of immigration policy making. Not all of the questions revolve around economic issues. Tropes about immigrants taking American jobs misses many of the issues we are required to address if we intend to arrive at an ethical proposal. We often fail to take the needs of the immigrate into consideration when we engage in sloganeering and name calling.

Stay tuned for the next post in this series.