Friday, August 13, 2010

6 Simple Steps That Could Go a Long Way toward Fixing Our Immigration Problem

Despite what the immigration hawks that demonize all "illegals" say, most of them are good, hard-working people who shouldn't be punished for the actions of a few troublemakers.  The fact is, whether they realize it or not, the immigration problem in the U.S. is actually pretty complex.  However, that doesn't mean there aren't any good, no-brainer solutions.

1. Secure the border!  This is first and foremost.  As a libertarian, I know I'm "outside the mainstream" when it comes to folks who share my ideology, but the fact is, open borders is just not realistic.  Yes, most illegal aliens are hard-working folks, but there is still a good number of them who do nothing but cause chaos. This includes but is not limited to: common criminals, terrorists and drug traffickers.  It's better to be safe than sorry.  We should also be cautious about letting in people with contagious illnesses with full rights to move around the U.S. 

2. Reinstate the guest-worker program (expanded to all Hispanic migrants, though).  The Bracero Program was killed in the mid-1960s (after 20 years of success) thanks to farm unions, but there's little evidence that it didn't work or that it had huge negative consequences.  It was great for the United States and terrific for those Mexican workers, despite any alleged 'exploitation' that folks like Cesar Chavez railed against, who were able to make many times the income that they could've made back home.  The fact is, if Hispanic immigrants could actually come here just to work in a regulated, well-maintained program, they wouldn't have to cross the border and act like citizens, hiding in the shadows for fear of deportation or workplace raids.  Why should anyone have to become a citizen just to work somewhere?  Low-skill or high-skill, it makes no sense.

3. Make legal immigration easier.  The fact is, much of the reason Hispanics cross the border is because it's much cheaper and easier!  There's no incentive to "go to the back of the line" and become legal when you have to jump through so many hoops. Why??  As long as they don't have an extensive criminal record and aren't a threat to the country, and the immigrant assimilates, why should they have to go through all this crap?  2 or 4 years to become a naturalized citizen is nonsense.  It shouldn't take much more than a year, at the most.  And while I'm on the subject, either extend the visas for Hispanic immigrants, or eliminate them entirely.  No, there won't be some massive wave of immigrants that will "overtake the country" if we do that.  The market will sort this stuff out.

4.  Make the welfare state (as much as I dislike it in general) off-limits to illegal immigrants.  No ifs ands or buts about it.  Make it easier to detect records fraud so that an illegal immigrant cannot easily pretend to be a citizen and take advantage of things like food stamps, unemployment, etc.  If they want these benefits, they will have to become citizens.  I'm not saying most or all illegal aliens come here just for benefits, but I'm sure at least a few of them out there do come here just to mooch.  If they're not paying into the system through taxes, they should receive zero benefits.

5.  The U.S. gov't should start a program with at least Mexico, if not all the other Hispanic nations, to share information about known criminals and/or those with criminal records.  That way, we can make sure that all those who are trying to become citizens or guest workers are not the kind of people we don't want.  This will take a lot of effort, but I'm sure it can be done.  

And finally, 

6. Deport all known criminal, terrorist and drug-trafficking aliens (although the traffickers are actually fueled by drug prohibition itself; more on that later) caught by U.S. law enforcement ASAP.  Why should they be adding to the already overcrowded prisons? If they came here just to fuck things up, they shouldn't be here in the first place.  Their home nations' prison systems should deal with them.

As an aside, if someone is here illegally but is hurting no one else and is not mooching off taxpayers, why should I care?? Why should anyone care?  The only difference between them and American natives is this "illegal" technicality.  Why should anyone be punished for a stupid technicality? 

Furthermore, why shouldn't a business owner or manager be able to hire whoever he wants, as long as that person is not a threat?  E-verify is the biggest scam in the world!  We shouldn't punish people by raiding their businesses and detaining employees who just happen to not be citizens but are working hard and contributing economic growth.

The sad thing about this issue in the United States is that so much of the debate is led by fear, misinformation and ignorance.  People just blindly accept the idea that being "illegal" is somehow a sin or morally reprehensible, no matter what the immigrant's situation is.  They just blindly accept this ridiculous idea that jobs within the United States are somehow inherently "American" just because they're within our borders and that we should punish those who hire illegal aliens, even though from their standpoint, it's a pretty good business decision.  Actually, no one is entitled to a job!  Whoever is most qualified for the job should get it.  End of story.  

The simple fact is, the economy is not a zero-sum game.  No one "steals" a job from someone else by accepting one.  If you can't even compete with illegal aliens applying for jobs, you might have something wrong, not the alien.  Maybe you should up your skills a little and give the employer an incentive to hire you.

Don't listen to the far left or far right on this issue.

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