Republicans - Not Serious About Immigration Reform, Not Serious About Free Markets

While I doubt Obama will ever pass meaningful immigration reform, the Republican response to his justified verbal trouncing is, as usual, more delaying. Jan Brewer, governor of  Arizona, said:

'I don't think his comic attitude and laughing at a serious issue is being very well received, certainly not here in Arizona, I would imagine not across America,' she said. 'This is a serious situation. And for him to go to a pep rally and make light of the situation is unbelievable.'

It is a serious situation. Which is why you can't do much besides laugh at the Republicans' prescription for the problem; dig in their heels and demand a gigantic, multibillion dollar border fence, billions upon billions more in Border Patrol and ICE expansion, and the standard of stopping all illegal border crossings and deporting somewhere between ten and thirty million people from the country, before we talk about anything else.

(Oh, and by the way, they want the war on drugs to be done before we talk about immigration, too, since the War on Drugs involves Mexican criminals coming here.)

This is especially ludicrous given that the number of illegal crossings could be cut by more than 90% by simply changing the law; a process that, far from costing taxpayers billions of dollars, could actually be revenue-neutral or even generate revenue, and here's how.

Simply make it legal for anyone to cross the border at a certain point, pay for a medical exam and background check, and then issue them a green card. The green card would be contingent upon not drawing public services, meaning that they could be deported if they used unemployment, food stamps, etc. With no caps, illegal immigration would drop substantially and the violent criminals would no longer have the cover of thousands of people who simply want to come here to work.

This is taking the problem seriously. Addressing the real concerns of those who are being hurt by our country's broken immigration system in the most cost-effective, simple manner possible and implementing it, thus relieving the budget of billions of dollars spent building fences and paying an army of government agents to patrol the border and interior for immigrants who didn't follow the rules.

If the Republicans would adopt real free market ideas such as these, it would show that they truly understand and wish to defend capitalism and individual rights.  Instead, they are oblivious to how they are hurting the economy, eroding American wealth, violating individual rights and keeping a cost-effective labor force out of the country. They simply fail to understand how artificial price controls on the labor market (whether by backwards minimum wage laws or keeping certain people out of the labor market), make American industry uncompetitive, but the Republicans do not and have never understood how basic economics work. For all their lip service, they still believe the government should have a major hand in "protecting" Americans from evil "big business."

Comments (3)

Great article.

To comment further, I think the notion of individual freedom is devoid in the discussions on immigration reform, and I think for a variety of reasons. Most significantly, many Democrats or Republicans do not think of individual rights as universal but instead as primarily American. This blasé attitude towards the universality of rights is disturbing, and allows people to shrug off the sovereignty of other individuals that happen to be born in another part of the world.

Secondly, I fear there is a significant degree of xenophobia, particularly among those on the right, and it has become a voting bloc powerful enough to sway politicians' attitudes on the issue. (Ah remember the days when politicians were principled and did what they thought was right?).

Once again, great article. Keep up the good work.

Alas your proposed reform, if passed, would be instantly sabotaged by the courts, who would find denying people welfare--or punishing them for taking it by deporting them--a violation of their rights (pseudo-rights in _fact_ but that makes no difference to the corrupt legal system we are in). Once they've framed it as a rights issue, their rulings would make your plan (or rather the "stick" part of it) "unconstitutional."

Were it not for this, I'd be all for it.

For reasons like this--the fact that the welfare state will circumvent any attempt to deny its "benefits" to aliens (either legal or illegal), I tend to agree with those who argue against immigration on the grounds of the existence of the welfare state. But I don't oppose _immigration_ because of this, I oppose the welfare state. It is forcing me to advocate denying myself the benefits of immigration.

Hey Steve,

There are various legal ways to get around that - such as making visas contingent upon not collecting welfare for more than x months. This doesn't deny them welfare technically.

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