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Reaction to Observations on the Immigration Debate

I think Jack does an interesting treatment to the topic. I'd like to add an observation. That no one in the debate has actually discussed the cause of illegal immigration. I assume the reason people immigrate illegally is because it is easier then doing so legally with no consequences. I don't see how amnesty or a guest worker program will solve this. What it will do is open up a flood of legal labor coming in from Asia on top of the flood of labor coming in illegally from Mexico. While the possible culinary benefits of both Chinese and Mexican food on every corner is interesting, we have just about hit the upper limit of those markets. So I think their are really public policy implications not being considered.

Aye, there's the rub.
As our friend and now MU Alum has pointed out to me, though an Amnesty post facto of an offense doesn't necesarily undermine the rule of law, the act itself does, and to be perfectly fair to the Minutemen group, it is a problem we have that is not limited to merely the Mexican Border or to Latin Americans (the bulk of whom by the best estimates and my own anecdotal experience are not, as popular thought would have us believe, Mexican in nationality. I see increasingly that it is Honduran, Nicaraguan, Guatemalen, and Panamaian emigres, rather than Mexicans.). First let me say that I have come to decide that the rule of law is something that we have to maintain, and I am also sure that we can do so in a way that will not compromise the benefits of free flow of labor across our borders.

Here are some (though not an exhaustive list) of the major associated problems with entering our country illegally:
Tax Status
Homeland Security Concerns
Possible Human Rights Violations and Human Trafficking rings.

By virtue of the fact that it illegals do not want to be known as illegals, it is highly suspect to report any possible cost or contribution they make to national income. At its most perniciuos level, a slippery slope effect occurs (as with all of the problems I will address here) where the reasoning goes :If I can not file for legal status, I'm exempt from taxes, and if Im exempt from taxes I'm exempt from other lawas as well.


Homeland Security is very hard to maintain without the rule of law, and that certainly includes at our borders. Again, as anyone whose read the tipping point would readily point out, once permission for an act is given, others imitate the newly "legitimate" action.

Lastly, there are siginificant liabilities to human rights protection. Firstly, there's no assurance that any illegal immigrant would be treated fairly or justly if arrested or invesitgated by any law enforcement agency. One could argue that they shouldn't because they are criminals, but I am talking about fundamental human rights concerns, including torture. On the flip side, a human trafficking situation, such as already exists in significant scope in the vietnamnese, Thai, burmese, and Chinese immigrant community, whereby illegal immigrants are surefeited into indentured servitude, exists because of the economic supply and demand conditions as well as draconian and exploitative criminal organizations. As I understand it, if we are to assume that there is a fixed demand for labor outside the boundary of legal immigration qoutas, there is an incentive to be either an intermediary or purchase illegal labor. Slavery of course is illegal, as is the kindof treatment they recieve in transit.

I talk about those three problems to talk about this: I think you make a false assumption that illegal immigration is easier or less costly than legal immigration. I think more correctly, that illegal immigration is a preferred method in order to achieve or promote an undermining of the Rule of Law domestically.
Assuming this, legal immigration ought to be expanded, not diminished. Once some kind of paper trail exists, enforcement and succesful litagation becomes easier and more commonplace and incentives to immigrate illegally decrease.
Essentially, the labor is going to come, which is good because we need it somewhere and the further we expand it, the easier it becomes to regulate.

For national income and human rights guest worker programs address that. national security is a trickier set of problems, and I fear that assymetric attacks are just too convenient and cheap an option to be prevented permanently.

Thus we have to incentivize those who would harm us to not, and to make the economy and national character resilient enough to withstand "nuisance" level disruption. We can't allow 9/11 to happen again, and I certainly don't want a bomb going off on an Los Angeles bus, but I don't have a better idea.

More to the point, particularly where national security is concerned, I'm open to suggestions. I think though, we've seen that an isolationist approach is empirically flawed and leads to the very problems its designed to prevent.

When I said that illegal immigration was easier then legal immigration, I was speaking to a perception among those looking to immigrate. Many people who want to come to this country do not think they would be allowed to legally. Thus, while coming illegally is difficult it is possible and thus easier.

As long as we agree that it is a perception, and not a verity.

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