Illegal immigration is one of many political issues in America in which both sides of the argument are right and wrong at the same time because they fail to look beyond the surface of the problem.
The recent surge in illegal immigrants from Central America has highlighted the two primary ways they are perceived and seen by separate political ideologies and sections of the country.
It is easy to view this as a huge humanitarian crisis and look upon the thousands of women and children fleeing to our country with compassion. For whatever reason they have come, they are penurious, powerless human beings who have left corrupt, unstable nations for better opportunities.
Additionally, it is also easy to judge those who actually live on the border who block vans full of illegal immigrants and threaten those who cross the border as racists and nativists; that is, until one realizes that unlike people such as myself, who live a thousand miles away from the border, they must personally deal with the result of thousands of people entering their small towns, flooding their public service systems, and creating the potential for outbreaks in diseases.
The truth is that these illegal immigrants are people who have value as human beings, as do the residents who live in border towns who also have legitimate reasons to be terrified when the nation’s southern border is left open for drug cartels, gang members and possible terrorists to enter their jurisdictions unchecked.
Nevertheless, one has to examine the causes of this crisis, rather than the symptoms. These immigrants have come to America, according to a report which conducted interviews with them, is due to a misperception about the U.S. immigration policy in which permits are given to minors and women.
They also come because the U.S. government not only refuses to secure the border, but at both a state and federal level they subsidize those who enter illegally. There is also the discussion of amnesty, which encourages illegal immigrants to cross the border before the bill is passed so they will quality for it.
But let us not forget that the U.S. government has had a hand in destabilizing these Central American countries through the War on Drugs, which has led to drug cartels gaining power in countries such as Mexico.
As Ron Paul writes at the Institute for Peace and Prosperity:
In fact much of the problem can be directly traced to the US drug war, which creates unlivable conditions in countries that produce narcotics for export to the US. Many of those interviewed over the past several weeks have cited violent drug gangs back home as a main motivation for their departure. Because some Americans want to use drugs here in the US, governments to the south are bribed and bullied to crack down on local producers. The resulting violence has destroyed economies and lives from Mexico to Nicaragua and beyond. Addressing the failed war on drugs would go a long way to solving the immigration crisis.
I understand the argument of some libertarians that there should be no limits at all on who comes into the United States, but the reality is we do not live in a libertarian society. We live in a society where healthcare is provided — often by over-burdened emergency rooms that cannot legally turn away the sick — “free” education is provided, and other support via food stamp programs is also made available for “free” to illegal immigrants. Many even argue that they should be allowed to vote!
In a free society where the warfare-welfare state ceased to exist, immigration laws would be far less important. A free market would seek workers rather than immigrants to add to its welfare rolls. Voting itself would decline in significance. If 20 people lived on a privately-owned island, for example, one owner could decide to have a guest on his property without bothering the other 19. Were we to move in this direction in the US, the current immigration crisis would be a thing of the past.
This wave of illegal immigrants is the product of a deeply flawed U.S. foreign policy, prohibition, and immigration laws that has been with us for years. Much like a seed that must be planted and allowed to grow into a tree before it can bear fruit, this event is the fruit of a tree planted decades before. The situation will only change after these things are addressed.
The immediate solution is to secure the border. It is preposterous that we send troops to other countries while we refuse to defend ours. In the long run, there should be no financial incentive for people to cross the border illegally. Then, the War on Drugs has to end, which would deprive drug cartels of their vast wealth and power, crippling their capacity to cause harm and violence against the people in their countries.
Eventually and ultimately, the most effective solution is to remove central government control of the border along with the dismantling of the government itself and allow private entities to protect privately owned land. Without government, there would be only private charities to provide for illegal immigrants; and of course, without government, there is no such thing as illegal immigration, only trespassing on private property.
Unfortunately, I doubt any of these solutions will be implemented or even considered anytime soon.
What makes this all the more tragic is that the people who are responsible for the crisis are the ones most removed from the consequences. The illegal immigrants coming to this country are being used as political pawns; remember, we are talking about young children and uneducated women responding to incentives that few people in this country wouldn’t respond to as well if in the same situation.
Meanwhile, Americans who don’t want their towns overrun with people they can’t care for are labeled as bigots by self-righteous “tolerant” folks who live in communities devoid of any racial or ethnic diversity, or at the very least feel little effects of this massive increase in border crossings.
Libertarians get accused of promoting a system that leads to chaos, yet it is government incompetence, not libertarianism, that is the direct cause of instability along our southern border and the chaos it has generated.