The Nuts and Bonheads of the Immigration Issue

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.  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.

6 thoughts on “The Nuts and Bonheads of the Immigration Issue”

  1. I think one problem with this is that the number of people who want to come to the U.S. is way larger than the current 12 million illegal immigrants. I’m not sure how many, but there’s probably at least 50 million who would take up this proposal.

    Another problem are diseases and health. Ellis Island was setup to prevent people with communicable diseases from entering the country (such as tuberculosis). Those people would have to be filtered out.

  2. 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.

    On Penn & Teller’s most recent season of Bullshit, they gathered up a handful of day workers, had them build a wall to the exact specifications proposed by the US Congress. It took 6 men all day to build one section of the wall. Then they were asked to circumvent it. 2 men went over, 2 went under, and 2 simply went through it. All were done in 5 minutes.

  3. 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.

    China did it with bronze age technology.
    As for them finding their way around,over under or through, remember the lesson of the wall: DON”T F*@K WITH PEOPLE WHO CAN BUILD A 3000 MILE LONG WALL!

  4. If our problem was invading Mongol hordes, I might agree a wall could do some good. But we’re trying to keep people out who want to come here for work. Unless we’re willing to spend major major bucks and resources on patrolling a wall that long, and basically shooting anyone trying to cross it, it’s not going to be effective. Many of the engineering problems faced in the bronze age would still be faced today. I think the ironic thing about trying to wall out Mexico is that it would probably take a significant amount of Mexican labor to do so.

  5. OK so the lesson is subtle. Don’t mess with a country that can build a 3000mile long wall. Don’t mess with them. Don’t encourage your invaders to sneak in and send home $$. Don’t whine when your citizens who sneak in drugs sneak out with guns, because,anytime, anywhere, anyone builds a 3000 mile long wall it means LOTS OF PEOPLE DON’T WANT YOU TO COME IN!! Do you feel lucky? The Mexican government could be brought on board with a reminder that their number one money maker is selling oil to America. The number two moneymaker is selling labor to America.
    A 1600 or whatever mile long fence America would have to build would convince Mexico that we as a nation are united. See the name: “United States of America”. United enough to remove one or both their main sources of income.

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