Illegal Immigration: A Supply Side Solution

To arrive at a sound solution to a problem, we need to analyze its root causes. Addressing the causes of a problem ultimately eliminates (or significantly reduces) the problem; addressing the effects is a never-ending battle. As long as the underlying causes remain, the problem will keep reasserting itself, circumventing whatever solutions are implemented.

The border fence addresses the effects of the illegal immigration problem, but not the root cause. To stop illegal immigration, we need to understand why it exists. What is it that attracts illegal aliens to the U.S.? The majority are here for one of the following reasons.

  1. Jobs.
  2. Potential for citizenship.
  3. Entitlements.
  4. Criminal activities.
  5. They’re already here; why leave?

Once the causes have been ascertained, the path to a solution becomes clear. Don’t attract them, and they won’t come.

  1. Jobs. A guest worker program that provides temporary permits for seasonal workers. This not only benefits the guest workers by providing the jobs they seek, but also benefits our economy (see A Free Market Approach to Illegal Immigration), because labor laws, unions, and entitlement programs have undermined the viability of the agricultural labor market for citizens.
     
  2. Citizenship. No anchor babies. No amnesty. All applicants for citizenship must go through the legal immigration process. No shortcuts or special treatment for those who thumb their noses at it. If anything, illegal entry into the country should disqualify the perpetrator from eligibility for citizenship in the future. We cannot discourage illegal behavior by rewarding it.  
     
  3. Entitlements. No public assistance to non-citizens (even if they have children). Require proof of citizenship for school enrollment. When an illegal alien turns up in an emergency room, treat them, and then deport them. It would be inhumane to turn them away without treatment, but the fact that a lawbreaker may be ill is no reason to suspend the law.
     
  4. Crime. Immediate deportation on completion of prison sentence. Capital punishment for capital offenses. Repeat offenders, who have been previously deported, should serve additional time to discourage them from coming back again. (All prisoners who are capable of working should be required to work for their keep in prison.)  
     
  5. Happenstance. Opportunistic deportation of others. Deport them if and when they come to the attention of the government, for whatever reason.

To eliminate illegal immigration, remove the reasons people come here illegally, and make the consequences outweigh the rewards. It’s cheaper and more effective than a fence. A fence is a “band-aid” solution. If we address the underlying problem, the expensive band-aid won’t be necessary.


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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Notcha:

    I don’t disagree with your basic proposition. If you turn out the light, you will stop attracting moths. I’m just not prepared to do that. I like the light.

    I say that because I think your “targets” are selectively chosen. What has drawn immigrants to our nation throughout is history can be summed up in one word: opportunity.

    Just as soon as there is an equal opportunity to the would-be immigrant to prosper in his own country, there will be no reason for him to seek to come here.

    That equality can be achieved through a leveling. I think that the efforts in Washington toward a North American Union may recognize that. Likewise I see NAFTA as a step in that direction.

    The downside to the leveling is that we are starting at the top. Guess where we go. This is a matter of turn out the lights, the party’s over.

    We must either defend the border, root out and evict the invaders, and preserve what we have built or we will surely be leveled.

  2. Jackson, I don’t think we’re in disagreement. I’m not against a border fence, per se. I’m just skeptical that it’s going to solve the problem. And it’s very expensive. The cost can be borne, if necessary, but even so, it seems the current proposal will only cover about 670 miles of a 2,000 mile border. And then there’s the disturbing question of infringement on private property rights, where the mandate for the border fence puts the state in the position of appropriating private property (or the use thereof). I’m very much opposed to that, on principle.

    I see illegal immigrants falling into three categories:
    – Honest workers, who provide a service on the free market
    – Opportunists, who will take whatever is handed to them
    – Criminals, who prey on others

    The honest workers should be allowed to sell their labor on the free market. As long as the permits are temporary, and don’t include families, they get fair compensation for the value they provide and then take the money they’ve earned and go home. Opportunists should have their opportunities cut off. Criminals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and deported immediately on release.

    I think that would solve the problem of attracting the moths without having to put out the light. Do you disagree?

  3. Have you considered running for president? :)

  4. Excellent. A revolution in Mexico overthrowing the corrupt “Five Families” might help too but that’s up the Mexicans to do it for themselves. It has enough natural resources to be a successful nation.

  5. If a pipe has burst in the kitchen, you don’t correct the problem by mopping the floor. You shut off the water.

    Addressing our social problems deriving from illegal immigration has to begin with closing the border. The “fence” is not a particularly desirable way to do that. The fence is only political symbolism.

    As far as the folks on the border having property appropriated, I think you will find the vast majority affected would be delighted. I lived down there. The problems associated with armed smugglers and bandits crossing your land every night are a nightmare to honest citizens. Particularly when your government will not protect you and will prosecute you if you protect yourself.

    We need enforcement from both sides of the border. Instead of the Mexican government facilitating illegal entry, we need it to prevent.

    We can accomplish that overnight if we would close the border to ground crossing. Totally and completely. Want to cross the border? Go by air or sea and transit through customs. No ground border crossings. Close the gates at San Ysidro, Nogales, wherever. The disruption in commerce would be catastrophic and much more to Mexico’s chagrin than ours. Such an economic disruption would provoke an immediate response.

    How would we make that work? The coyotes would still attempt to do their thing. They don’t cross through the gates anyhow. Deploy military snipers. It was ridiculous to send the national guard to the border with orders not to shoot. (We’ll use the army but give it orders not to act like an army?)

    At the same time we establish a guest worker program by resurrecting the old bracero program.

    Then we root out the illegals already here. First step in that direction is to revise the federal privacy act provision that makes one’s immigration status private information. Make it public and available by simple phone call.

    As illegals are detected, arrest and deport. If they have anchors, too bad. Let them decide to take the anchors or leave them.

    Should any deported illegals later make application for legal immigration, treat them as any other applicant.

    We are being invaded and we have been overrun. It is time to demand that the government fight back with actions, not symbolism.

  6. Again, I think we’re mostly in agreement, Jackson. I completely agree about the bracero program, deportation on detection, and making immigration status public. I don’t think we should allow anchor babies. (Though I realize that would require a Constitutional amendment, I think that’s one case where an amendment is justified). Regarding the ones that already exist, I agree with you.

    I also agree that we need to control the borders. The only question is how. There are lots of people who cross the border for legitimate reasons, so I don’t agree with completely closing the border to ground crossings. However, if we really could close off the border everywhere except at official border crossing checkpoints, that would go a long way toward solving the problem. Perhaps a border fence can achieve that, but I’m skeptical. That said, I don’t have a better solution, and maybe that’s the only way to do it.

    However, not all property owners are happy about it. The December 17, 2007 issue of the Liberty Matters News Service had an article about Texas property owners being forced to give up their access to the Rio Grande, their only source of fresh water, for the border fence. One might say the border fence represents the greater good of society, and it’s selfish of private property owners to be unwilling to sacrifice their own interests to the greater good, but that sounds to me an awful lot like socialism.

    Again, I don’t have a solution for this part of the problem. It will be interesting to see how it all works out. But I’m sure glad it isn’t my property being appropriated for the common good. (If you’re correct about the government not letting property owners defend themselves and their property, that definitely is broken and needs to be fixed.)

  7. Where I used to live, with a good wind I could spit into Mexico. Property owners in the area cannot get response to 911 calls for trespassers. Property owners who defend their property themselves are subject to criminal prosecution and civil suit by the trespasser.

    And I’m not suggesting a permanent land closure of the crossing gates. I’m saying we need to do it to make a point. Keep it up until we make it hurt Mexico and they change their attitude about supporting and facilitating illegal immigration.

    Shutting down the drug smugglers would be a pleasant collateral effect.

  8. You forgot one thing in your excellent post. Making sure that businesses and people don’t hire illegals. Make the fines so severe that people would rather hire the people that are here legally to do some work for them instead of going to the parking lot of a large commercial nursery to get some people for 20 bucks. For private individuals start the fines at $1000.00… For companies? Make it 500,000 per violation…

    Companies hate fines and bad publicity…

  9. I agree with you, vegas. As long as there are jobs available to illegals, it’s just like setting out bait. With a guest worker program, there should be no need to hire illegals. — Unless, of course, the government screws up the guest worker program with all kinds of miniumum wage and benefits requirements.

    What too many people don’t understand is that, any time you stifle the free market with overregulation, you generate a black market, whether it’s in labor or goods. If they put too many regulations on the guest worker program it would defeat the whole purpose, and businesses would still have an incentive to hire illegal aliens. So, to remove that incentive, we’d have to make the consequences of getting caught outweigh the benefits of taking the risk.

  10. Ok guys, what about all the jobs that are currently held by illegal workers? What if they were all suddenly out of the picture? How do you think the economy would be affected? With the number of illegal workers in the US now, our economy would suddenly see a huge change. We would have to fill these jobs with US citizens, who may not even want these minimum wage jobs. The positions at fast food restaraunts are already hard enough to fill as it is. They are all here to make their lives and their families’ lives better. Changing Mexico is a very long term solution and these families need an immediate change. I can tell you from experience that the majority of the illegal workers here are just trying to find an honest wage because its not available in Mexico. I think the US public should stop being so critical on Mexican immigrants and put a little more attention on the violence and welfare abuse by African-Americans. Now that is out of control.

    • i was agreeing with you, but black people are not the only race to abuse welfare and black people are certainly not the cause of all violence…that was such a premature statement

    • “what about all the jobs that are currently held by illegal workers? What if they were all suddenly out of the picture? How do you think the economy would be affected?”

      Try it out:
      http://www.takeourjobs.org

      “I think the US public should stop being so critical on Mexican immigrants and put a little more attention on the violence and welfare abuse by African-Americans. Now that is out of control.”

      That is a straight up racist statement!

  11. Most people in America aren’t against immigration; they’re just against illegal immigration. For example, like most of our ancestors, my mother’s parents were immigrants. They came through Ellis Island and followed the various legal steps required in order to establish themselves as true citizens of this country. The immigrants crossing the Mexican border, however, have absolutely no interest in following these legal protocols. Once they cross the border, they change their names and/or purchase social security numbers in an effort to conceal their true identities from the law. It is not uncommon for an illegal immigrant to purchase not one, but two or more social security numbers, just in case one is flagged. I have witnessed this crime with my own eyes. (One day, a supposedly legal immigrant was asked to give their social security card to a receptionist for a job application and an interview. When the receptionist happened to ask to see the card a second time, the immigrant mistakenly handed over a different social security card with the same name on it, but with a completely different set of numbers…)

    Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against Hispanics. I have many Hispanic friends, but they either have green cards to work in the United States or have become legal citizens. They decided to follow the rule of law and work within the boundaries of our legal system. Unfortunately, many immigrants do not, and it is those particular individuals that we are most concerned about.

    Now it seems that those who sympathize with illegal immigrants wish to hijack the discussion of reform by attacking the law recently imposed by the State of Arizona through protests and boycotts; a state mind you, that has been besieged with crime, drugs and an ever-increasing population of illegal immigrants. Don’t allow them this option. Speak out and take action. This is your country… fight for it.

    In closing, I consider myself to be a bleeding-heart liberal: a Democrat. My ancestor, Roger Williams – the founder of Rhode Island and founder of the First Baptist Church in America, was one too; regarding the acceptance of different nationalities, cultures and religions as the vitality and lifeblood of any country. Nevertheless, I think that he would agree with me; that immigrants wishing to become legal citizens have not only the obligation, but the civil and legal responsibility to follow the rules of law established by any country in which they wish to become authentic citizens, just as our ancestors – both yours and mine – struggled so arduously and righteously to achieve.

    • First of all, I dunno why you would want to start commenting on a topic that’s literally two years old, but…be that as it may…

      “Now it seems that those who sympathize with illegal immigrants wish to hijack the discussion of reform by attacking the law recently imposed by the State of Arizona through protests and boycotts; a state mind you, that has been besieged with crime, drugs”

      …which has absolutely NOTHING to do with why this recent law was passed in the first place. No one is against arresting people (documented or not) that have committed crimes & then possibly deporting them. The state of AZ was doing quite a good job of doing just that well before this new, unConstitutional law was ever considered. What is abhorrent is that people in AZ will now be subject to interrogation whether they have done something wrong in the first place or not, and that is going to far!

      “My ancestor, Roger Williams – the founder of Rhode Island and founder of the First Baptist Church in America, was one too; regarding the acceptance of different nationalities, cultures and religions as the vitality and lifeblood of any country. Nevertheless, I think that he would agree with me; that immigrants wishing to become legal citizens have not only the obligation, but the civil and legal responsibility to follow the rules of law established by any country in which they wish to become authentic citizens”

      I know of Roger Williams very, very well…he was famed for his tolerance of others that did not agree with the way that he chose to live his life. Back in his day though, there was no such thing as the USA, and people came over to this land & freely staked claims to *other people’s lands* without batting an eyelash. Your failed attempt at an analogy with Williams is completely ludicrous!

  12. Welcome to Daddyland, destructionist. Despite Mr. Guy’s disapproval of your commenting on a two-year old post, it’s perfectly acceptable, and I’m always happy to see an articulate new poster to the blog, particularly one who makes intelligent and thoughtful comments. You’re more than welcome to post here anytime.

    I agree with your comment in every particular, and am a fan of your ancestor, Roger Williams. I hope we’ll see more of you.

  13. My EASY solution to drastically bring down the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border!! The federal government should also take note of my EASY solution. Most of the illegal immigrants are caught in the southern states but not all. There are raids on businesses in the northern states as well.

    This idea is going to blow your mind so hang on tight. Find the southern most city in Mexico (airport) and AWAY from tourism. Why can’t captured groups of illegals be loaded onto 747 planes (with guards) and flown to that city? If the Mexican president is serious about this issue, there should be little resistance. Drop these folks off, refuel and then back to the U.S. for the next flight.

    As months/years pass, less and less of these people will make it back to the U.S. border. I want their travel to be a LONG distance back to the border. The LONGER, the better. This is simple MATH. An 8th grader can work out the math. The amount of money saved by the U.S. because of the illegals coming over COMPARED to the costs flying them to a southern Mexican city…..apples and oranges.

    I do understand, that particular airport has to be able to handle 747’s. I do understand, the people in that city/town are not going to be real happy about the over crowding, too bad.

    I do understand, my idea will seem heartless and mean, too bad. Unless I’m wrong regarding the current system, I believe we deport the illegals only a short distance BACK into Mexico.

    My thought, lets see them WALK back to the border. I’m NOT trying to sound harsh but few will make it and some will give up and settle in towns on the way to the border. My idea makes 100% perfect sense. Thank you for reading.

    Ken (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)


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