Earlier in the week, I was reading about some videos over at Tiny Cat Pants, which reminded me of some of the vile anti-immigrant crap you hear about on the right. No matter what one may think about illegal immigrants, I think we can all agree anyone who does something like this to border crossers belongs in jail before they end up killing someone.
But then you have nuts on the left who claim that folks who argue that the government ought to do something about illegal immigration are responsible for spawning morons like the one featured in the video. I particularly like how he claims Clayton threatened him with his guns at the end of this screed. How exactly did that happen? Clayton is on my blogroll, and I’m pretty certain I’ve never seem him threaten anyone.
Either way, I think there are solutions to the immigration issue, but they won’t make anyone, on the left or the right, particularly happy. I do think we have a national security concern with illegal immigration and the ease at which someone can cross the border.
To some degree this is a fundamental problem, and not one that will be solved. You can’t build a wall; it’s too difficult an engineering problem, and it would cost a fortune. The Berlin example, which was a much much smaller wall, suggests they will figure out a way around it anyway. We have an interest in knowing who is coming and going from our country, however, and we need to think about how we can facilitate that.
Guest worker visas and various other things aren’t going to work as long as you have to pay those workers minimum wage and have them pay taxes. People will still hire workers who cross illegally because they can pay them less and don’t have to process any paperwork for them.
Here’s the part that will make the right unhappy. I think anyone who wants to come to this country to look for work ought to be able to do so. You can sign up for a temporary work ID, that just says who you are, where you’re from, and indicates to an employer that the state department knows about this person. The person would have to report in periodically and let the government know where they are.
Here’s the part that will make the left unhappy. Beyond that, the government will agree to look the other way as to whether that person is being employed in the informal economy, or employed formally. If the person is picking lettuce for 2.50 an hour, we’ll pretend we don’t see that. If the temporary worker is picked up on a criminal charge, they either go to jail or get deported. No questions asked. Temporary workers can’t bring their families with them. If temporary workers aren’t paying taxes, we won’t pay too much attention to that either.Â Employers who employ temporary workers, even informally, won’t get more wrath from the government than they currently do for employing illegals, which is to say, not much at all. Employers who employ undocumented workers will have a world of hurt come down on them from the government if they get caught doing so.
Here’s more that will make the left unhappy. Since we now make it easy to come into the country to work, we’ve presumably removed a lot of incentive to cross illegally. Since that’s the case, we can probably conclude people crossing with no documentation are up to no good, and are either smuggling contraband, criminals or terrorists into the country. We need to step up border patrols and make sure people who try to cross without documentation have a good chance of being caught and deported or jailed. The government doesn’t have the resources to do this, so yes, I do think they should deputize citizens to help the border patrol patrol. And yes, because this is a dangerous job, I have no problem with those folks being armed. But it has to be done within the structure of the government in order that folks like the man seen in this video are weeded out. We need more eyes on the border, both to catch the illegal immigrants, and people who would do them harm.
So there’s my politically infeasible suggestion for the illegal immigration problem. It wouldn’t make anyone happy, which is why it’s infeasible. But most of the other solutions are infeasible too, or wouldn’t do anything to solve the problem. Our country has a demand for illegal labor, and there’s a lot of people chomping at the bit to supply it. You can have all the government regulation in the world, but you won’t prevent that market need from being met. We need a solution to immigration which understands and accepts the reality of the market, and works with it.