Friday, May 16, 2008
My Modest Immigration Proposal
I looked through my prior posts and saw that I hadn't actually talked about this before, but I have a solution to the immigration problem. It's not a popular solution, to be sure. It's radical, it is very possible, and it's never going to happen because nobody would go for it, including supposed libertarian Ron Paul. My idea is the ultimate libertarian one: if they want to come, let them come. No more giant queues in Mexico some 20 years long, no more H1B visa quotas that are filled within hours, no more Berlin Wall on US borders.
I know what some people are saying. Well, they're saying a lot of things, but among them are "we'll be overrun," "do you want to speak Spanish?" "America is for Americans," "what will happen to our jobs," and perennial favorite "we're going to have more crime, you know." Some of those are valid arguments, some are weak. First, we will not be overrun because if there aren't jobs for people, they won't come. It's pretty simple like that. In fact, an interesting thing to note is the immigration flow with Mexico is actually reversing (WSJ subscription required). It's not a full blown reversal yet, but it's very interesting to see that it's not just an unchecked and unsolvable problem. As long as there are jobs, people come. When those jobs vanish, so do the people. As far as the speaking Spanish criticism, this wave of immigrants is learning it. In fact, it's as fast or faster than prior waves, despite what is popularly portrayed. I think part of it is marketers marketing (if I put my sign in Spanish, I'll get more Hispanics!), but some of it is just misinformation. America is for Americans. They happen to be Americans - as much as you or I. Let's face it, we're all immigrants except for the Indians, and they are immigrants too, just from 12000+ years ago. Our jobs will be safe if we're semi-competent because it's still easier to hire someone who is a native English speaker who has had a good education. Of course, those who are here on H1B visas are another matter, as they're highly skilled workers, but I would say that if you are not skilled enough to get that job and a company has to look outside the US to fill the position that it's your fault. Get yourself educated and quit complaining about being kept down. US history is filled with people who went from rags and riches and it can still happen to anybody. Finally, there's the crime issue. I would proffer that if we had an open border, that would largely disappear. The vast majority of people coming here are honest, hard working individuals. They get involved in crime because we ghettoize them. They have nowhere to turn but criminals and that gives the criminals inordinate power. Who wouldn't have a lot of power with an army of 12 million who are forced to go to you for help? Get rid of the incentive to go there by letting people come in.
How would we do this? I'm not saying to just toss out a welcome mat to everyone to come on in. You would have to pass a cursory criminal check. If you're not a criminal, feel free to come in. That way, everyone who is coming in illegally is definitely not a good person and you can nail them to the wall if they're illegal. It makes a nightmarish enforcement job bearable and it punishes those who need punishing as opposed to the poor father who's trying to make it here so his family can have a better life.