Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Illegal Immigration...

Since this is the crisis-du-jour, I guess I ought to put something up.

As I look at I.I., I'm left with one impression: Those who use the loudest voices in their positions are more wrong than anyone else--this is an issue where the moderates ought to prevail. This goes for the Minuteman/Tom Tancredo/Lou Dobbs position as well as the Si, Se Puede/Viva La Raza position. We have every right to protect our borders from any sort of incursion, be it economic, drug-related or military. However, we also need to recognize that we are a nation of immigrants and that the illegal immigrants now at issue are providing valuable services to America.

There is another set of snakes circling around this matter...politicians. They are pandering this issue like there's no tomorrow. My own Janet-Reno-Mini-Me Governor, Janet Napolitano, once said "Show me a 50-foot wall and I'll show you a 51-foot ladder". Now, she's all over the Bush proposal of putting the National Guard on the border to assist the Border Patrol on holding back the illegals. Of course, J.D. Hayworth can barely contain himself, what with his book out and all. And now Bush has fallen prey to the noise (to mix my metaphors) and will put up a token Guard force on the border.

So, what are their orders? Posse Commitatus probably enters here somewhere. Do the National Guard have any orders on lethal force against these illegal immigrants? Can the Guard defend themselves? Let's not rely on the idea that the Guard will be REMFs in purely supporting roles to the Border Patrol. They're there for a reason. Just what is their mission (beyond the public relations angle, at least)?

In the name of this public mass hysteria over I.I., we're embarking on a massive wall-building, Border Patrol build-up, and the politicians are scrambling over each other to see who can move to the furthest to the right the quickest. Just how different is this than the Berlin Wall? In terms of how much it costs to operate, does it really matter which direction the Guards are facing? One of my favorite blogs, Op-For [Note to self: Update the favorites!] once put up an entry with a parallel between what we did to the Soviets in the Cold War, and what al Queda is doing to us today. His point was that we "won" the Cold War by forcing the Soviets to do things that their economy couldn't stand. And now, in the combined (and confused) interests of Border Security controls Illegal Immigration, we're putting up the same sort of Wall that bankrupted the Soviets. Do we ever learn anything?

America has always had a shortage of labor here. From the days when indentured servants paid their way to get over here right up till today, there has always been a need for more labor. We've endured other immigrant waves (which today, are almost universally viewed to be "legal", but I'm not willing to concede that point). Germans, Italians, Irish, Chinese all flooded into this country seeking jobs that Americans decried at the time. Yet, somehow, we're all the better for it. And, surprisingly, after all these immigrant waves, we're still speaking English. I confess I don't understand why the "Mexican" Illegal Immigration Wave we're now in the middle of will turn out any differently.

I'm wondering just how many of the "Build-the-Wall" types have thought about just how expensive it would be to live off of American-only labor. How much would you have to pay an American kid to put down the PlayStation and go get a job picking lettuce? How much more would your house run--or said another way--How much less house could you afford to live in today if it was Americans who had built it?

The Pro-Immigrant marches in mid April and on May Day may have backfired. They left the impression among the majority here that the I.I.'s really didn't care about our laws. Talk Radio included one of the dumbest things I've ever heard...some college girl spouting off about how entire states of the West ought to be ceded back to Mexico. Then there was the "Boundaries without Borders" argument...to which I answer: "Huh? WTF are you talking about?"

Here is where I stand on Illegal Immigration...We are far better off by having these illegal immigrants here than we would be if we kicked them all out. Mexico and the other Central and South American countries sending us their labor are far poorer by having their ambitious and industrious people leave their homes to work here.

I think the real answer lies underneath the complaints many here have on I.I. and it is an example of needing to be careful what you ask for. The main complaint is that the I.I.'s burden our schools, healthcare and don't pay taxes. Firstly--they do pay taxes and they often get far less of a return on those paid taxes than Americans do. Yet if I.I. presence in our tax-paid schools and healthcare is such a problem, I say get rid of tax-paid schools and healthcare. Make them entirely private. The free market will quickly find a way to deliver these services to Americans, and probably at a lower cost than the .gov delivers them to us.

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