Let’s start with clarity: An immigrant is someone coming to share your house, An “unauthorized immigrant” is someone who has broken into your house. The invitee is gifted with such rights as you decide to give him. The uninvited has no rights but those given all humanity. Any who denies this thereby also denies United States sovereignty over its territory. Without sovereignty, there is no country. Such is the law everywhere on this planet, excepting the rhetoric of some U.S. politicians and media.
Just now, President Trump and Congressional Democrats plus no few sub rosa Congressional Republicans are producing, with much media help, a bang-up show over immigration. These fireworks serve to distract the voters from much elsewhile perpetuating the status quo. Much Ado About Nothing, as Skakespeare had it. According to The Hill, over 400,000 aliens were apprehended at the U.S. southern border in fiscal 2018. That seems a lot but the Department of Homeland Security reports that in 2014, the number was over 679,000. Perhaps that clarifies why neither the President nor his opponents appear much interested in quantifying their border hyperbole.
Another curiosity is the successive caravans currently conveying would-be immigrants through Mexico from Central America to the U.S. border. The participants are recruited, organized and shepherded in substantial numbers, an undertaking requiring money and manpower. People and money on that scale are hardly invisible and they are involved in a criminal act: violating the U.S. border. However, no one in U.S. law enforcement seems to be paying much attention. Apparently, The Show Must Go On!
For the President, the show recruits U.S. workers who fear competition from cheaper migrants and demonizes Democrats; for the President’s opponents it offers an increase in future voters while demonizing the President. Whichever side finally wins will be presenting a large bill to the U.S. taxpayers. Higher priced American labor produces higher priced products less competitive on a world market; lower priced immigrant labor carries added education and welfare costs.
The dismal economic reality none wish to discuss is simple: Democrats and their labor unions have priced U.S. labor above the world market. That sent U.S. capital and technology offshore for cheaper labor and draws the migrants. When a lower-priced shoemaker comes to town, the resident higher priced shoemaker finds a means to compete or goes out of business. America has made itself the high priced shoemaker on the world market; its politicians are trying to cope with the necessary adjustments without admitting what is really going on, since they have created it.
Meanwhile, we’re told that some 10.7 million illegal aliens resided in the U.S. in 22016, about 3.25% of the population. And that number is down from earlier highs. Reality can be so much less interesting than political rhetoric …
There is however, a genuine immigration problem in the U.S. The immigration laws and regulations are in need of modernizing and rationalizing. The unprocessed backlog of immigration court asylum cases exceeds 800,000. Enforcement should be consistent, efficient and predictable, not always the case in times of political turmoil. The current Washington political climate hardly favors the necessary compromises for this; perhaps President Trump’s brouhaha is intended to help, though it seems likely at the moment to have to await a second term. Possibly the issue is intended to promote the President’s reelection?
For any country immigration must be a subject for serious, responsible policy making if political leaders are to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the present case in the United States. Nevertheless that, not a wall, is what is missing.