In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010, there was an outpouring of humanitarian aid from the world to Haiti. Seizing the opportunity, many open borders supporters pointed out that the program most likely to help Haitians was emigration. Specifically, many people proposed that the United States could help Haitians by allowing them to immigrate to the country, yielding a huge benefit for Haitians at no (or little) cost to the United States.
UPDATE 1: For more on the general idea of emigration as a disaster relief policy, see emigration as disaster relief.
UPDATE 2: A large part of the recorded conversation below can be accessed in systematic form at the Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery initiative page on the Center for Global Development website. In particular, check out Migration as a Tool for Disaster Recovery: A Case Study on U.S. Policy Options for Post-Earthquake Haiti, a working paper by Royce Bernstein Murray and Sarah Petrin Williamson for the Center for Global Development.
Below is a record of some of the published conversation (articles in newspapers and magazines, blog posts, etc.):
- Charter Cities Versus Humanitarian Military Occupation by Paul Romer on the Charter Cities blog, January 19, 2010.
- Haiti: Shades of FDR and the Jews by Jacob Hornberger on January 20, 2010.
- What Haiti needs: A Haitian diaspora by Elliott Abrams in the Washington Post, Friday, January 22, 2010.
- “Neocon’s Neocon” trading Haitian deluge here for Israeli favors? by Patrick Cleburne on the VDARE.com website (a website that advocates immigration restriction).
- Help Haitians — in Haiti by Mark Krikorian on the Center for Immigration Studies website, critiquing the position taken by Abrams.
- To help Haiti’s earthquake victims, change U.S. immigration laws by Michael Clemens in the Washington Post, Sunday, January 24, 2010.
- Clemens on Haiti, a blog post by Bryan Caplan on EconLog, linking to and quoting Clemens’s piece in the Washington Post.
- Haiti: 9/11-Type Opportunity for the Open Borders Crowd? by Patrick Cleburne on the VDARE.com website critiquing Clemens’s position.
- The Answer to the World’s Problems — Immigration to America by Mark Krikorian on the Center for Global Development blog on January 24, 2010, critiquing Clemens’s position.
- Reactions to My Proposal for a New Visa to the United States by Michael Clemens on the Center for Global Development blog on January 25, 2010. Clemens responds to Krikorian’s critique of his position as well as some other anonymous private correspondents.
- The best way nobody’s talking about to help Haitians, a guest blog post by Michael Clemens on the Aid Watch blog.
- Let Them Leave: Why migration is the best solution for Haiti’s recovery by Michael Clemens in Foreign Policy Magazine, January 27, 2010.
- TWOFER: Here’s how Haitians can rescue the US from its budget crisis and save themselves by William Easterly on the Aid Watch blog.
- The United States Can Give Better Aid to Haiti by Nancy Birdsall on the Center for Global Development blog, April 6, 2010.
- Should Natural Disaster Victims Be Offered Safe Haven and Opportunity Abroad? by Michael Clemens (with help from Kaci Farrell) on the Center for Global Development blog on October 27, 2010.
- The Most Effective, Least Used Tool for Disaster Relief: Limited Humanitarian Entry by Michael Clemens and Tejaswi Velayudhan on the Center for Global Development blog on June 24, 2011.
- Two Years after Haiti’s Catastrophe, It’s Time to Complement Aid with the Most Cost-Effective Assistance: Migration by Michael Clemens on the Center for Global Development blog, January 9, 2012.
- Why I’m Thrilled the United States Has Stopped Excluding Haitians from Temporary Work Visas by Michael Clemens on the Center for Global Development blog, January 19, 2012.
- Does the U.S. Need and Want Low-Skill Haitian Workers? Yes: Just Look Around by Michael Clemens on the Center for Global Development blog, February 21, 2012.
- The Quick Fix: For the Love of God, Give Every Haitian a Green Card by Bryan Caplan on EconLog, April 19, 2008.
- Development in the Year of Immigration Reform: New Video by Michael Clemens one day before the Haiti earthquake.