Immigration is one issue that seems to separate groups who are otherwise political allies. For example, the ‘conservative’ right tends to dislike immigration. The ‘libertarian’ right tends to favour it. Immigration has typically not been favoured by the ‘blue-collar’ left but is favoured by the ‘intellectual’ left (or Chardonnay Socialists). Perhaps this is why it creates such ranker when debated.
As an example, last week, Jeremy Sammut from the (conservative) Centre for Independent Studies had an article in the Australian praising the pro-immigration stance of liberal politician George Brandis while attacking the Gillard government’s reaffirmation of multiculturalism. See here.
So perhaps it is not surprising that the best pro-immigration arguments I have heard come from Bryan Caplan of the (considered-right-wing) George Mason University. The podcast is available here at EconTalk.
Bryan argues for open immigration. In other words, for the US (which is where he is talking about) why not let anyone who wants to immigrate do so? I found his arguments interesting and persuasive – but, as someone who is pro-immigration, I am a friendly ear! He points out the history of open immigration in the US – and comments very briefly that a factor that stopped Australia growing to be a productive powerhouse like the US was our stricter immigration policies. His arguments cover moral and economic grounds – so I recommend a listen.