Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Strange Bedfellows Supporting Free Movement of Labor

LtoR: Lori Nessel, Mario Rizzo, Michael LeRoy, Ilya Somin, Kit Johnson

On Tuesday morning, I had the pleasure of participating in a symposium put together by the NYU Journal of Law and Liberty. The topic of the day was Freedom versus Fairness: The Tension Between Free Market and Populist Ideals in Labor.

The panel I participated on was titled The Free Movement of Labor. My co-panelists lya Somin (George Mason), Michael LeRoy (Illinois), and Lori A. Nessel (Seton Hall)  and I discussed wide-ranging issues from the management of immigration historically to whether consumers are hurt by immigration restrictions.

The conference put in stark contrast the strange bedfellows who support greater labor mobility. As I discuss in soon-to-be-published paper A Citizenship Market (that's not on SSRN quite yet as it's still in the editing process), both the political left and political right favor reduced immigration restrictions, albeit for very different reasons. On the left, supporters tend to focus on the rights of migrants. On the right, supporters tend to focus on the benefits of letting the free market roam free.

What I found most enjoyable about the program was the ability to engage with the audience, most of whom really had no foundation in immigration law. It was a good opportunity to educate folks about the realities of immigration law - for example, the small numbers of LPRs admitted to work in contrast to the significant larger numbers of nonimmigrant workers in the United States. Every chance we immprofs have to dispel myths regarding immigration is a gift.

There will be papers forthcoming from the symposium. I'm excited to report that I'll be revisiting the Q visa in a piece titled Beauty and the Beast: Disney's Use of the Q and H-1B Visa. Michael LeRoy will also be tackling the H-1B visa in the context of Trump's Executive Order 13788 (Buy American and Hire American). Stay tuned!


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