Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Free Market Solution to the Immigration Problem

The nation is tearing itself apart over the issue of immigration. We all know that many who swim the Rio Grande are coming here to escape grinding poverty and the terrors of the drug wars. As Americans we can sympathize. But several million people swimming the Rio Grande every year makes for a real problem for our economy, our culture and our safety. The good illegals don't come alone. Within their numbers are a lot of really terrible people. So why are we so reluctant to do something to stem the tide? Certainly what our government allows our border patrol to do is woefully inadequate. In fact, our reluctance to enforce our borders may downright encourage the problem by making any consequences negligible. Humans are really good at making the risk vs. rewards calculation.

The problem comes down to a dysfunctional economic system that provides incentives, not only for illegals to cross the border, but for employers to encourage it. Employers who have menial labor jobs to offer don't want to pay a lot of money. The less they pay, the more they make. They are, after all, competing against third world countries that use underpaid menial labor to do the same things. So the menial labor employers create work camps (in Texas we call them colonias - colonies of illegal alients). Employers send pickups every morning to the colonias to load up workers and take them to the fields. The wives and children remain home where the kids are picked up for school in buses and the wives barter things purchasable with food stamps for rides to town in the back of pickups to town to buy groceries. These shopping trips can cost
anywhere from $50 - $100 per trip. The colonias are frequently in isolated areas, have little or no running water, sewerage or trash pickup. Health care is non-existent and conditions are miserable. Once there, you remain there; to poor to escape.

This "system" works well for the employers, but creates a kind of slavery for the illegal aliens trapped in it, living hand to mouth and unable to get ahead. Trapped by the "system" and the language barrier, exploited and abused, these folks are the victims of the unwillingness of government to close the borders and to arrest the employers who exploit these refugees. The whole mess is tolerated by everyone because, bad as it is, it's at least a solution to the problem and keeps all those people from starving en masse.

"Round 'em up," you say. Well, the problem with that is that if you began rounding these people up and shipping them back home you'd create a tragedy that would make the "Trail of Tears" look like a Sunday picnic with millions dumped back into countries that can't handle the sudden influx of their own expatriate citizens. 

The only solution to the problem is to CLOSE THE BORDERS TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.  Do it now. Make it stick.

Notice I said illegal immigration. Leave in place the proper kind of immigration. For that matter, we could even add a little humanitarian immigration without doing damage to our economy, but whatever happens we need to install a spigot or we're going to drown with it the way the flood is rising. Once that is done, we could let the free market system begin to take hold and clean up the problem naturally. As the unlimited supply of new, ignorant and easily exploited workers dries up, employers will be forced to compete against each other for the dwindiling supply of laborers. When it gets harder to find laborers, employers will have to up the wages they pay to attract them. As that happens, the laborers begin to buy cars, homes and to save money, reducing the would-be slaveowner's power over them. It would have to be a long process and like it or not, the only humane way to do it would be to create a guest worker program for those already here. As Americans we do not want to effectively murder millions of human beings, whose only crime was wanting a better life, by tossing them back into the horrors they tried to escape back in their home countries. Of course, there are criminals among them and I have no qualms about catapulting them back to Mexico or wherever they came from, but there are some cruelties Americans will not inflict on their fellow man.

Let's face it. Closing the borders is the first priority. Without that, the free market system cannot correct the problem and progressive meddling sure as hell hasn't fixed the problem; only exacerbated it. Feeding the problem with food stamps and subsidies only encourages exploitative employers to continue doing what they are doing. Actually it encourages them to do less than they are currently doing because the government is taking care of it now so they no longer have to.

You want to round somebody up, round up the exploiters who make money off the misery of illegal immigration. Send them to Mexico. We don't care that they don't come from there. It would be worth it to get these parasites out of the United States. We ended slavery more than a century ago. Let's not have a revival of it in the new millenium.

© 2014 by Tom King

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