Who's On First--And Where Is It?

Column by Paul Hein.

Exclusive to STR

I am bemused at the concern shown about the problem of illegal aliens, but perhaps that can be attributed to the fact that I live hundreds of miles from the border. There seems to be some controversy about the role of the federal vs. state governments. I think this would be an ideal situation to employ the principle of subsidiarity, which states that problems should be handled at the local level, by the most decentralized and least powerful agency. To apply this principle, we need to know where, EXACTLY, the aliens are once they’ve crossed the border.

It’s easy to say they are in the United States. That’s true. But they are also in the Northern Hemisphere, and, if you will, on the planet Earth. Who will deal with the illegals? The United Nations?

Well, to get more specific: They are in Texas, for example. And in a specific county in Texas. Can we narrow it down still further? Are they in somebody’s back yard, or on the farm or ranch of, say, John Smith? In that case, the solution to the illegal immigration problem might begin with Smith. He could erect a fence, although that could easily be bypassed. Maybe a vicious dog on a long chain at a favorite crossing spot of the illegals, with suitable warning signs, in Spanish, of the danger. An occasional use of a Taser, or Mace, or pepper spray, or even a shotgun loaded with bird-shot would encourage wetbacks to cross elsewhere--until the owners of the property “elsewhere” would devise similar discouragements. This would constitute a burden for Smith and his neighbors, but it might be preferable to waiting for the city, county, state, and federal governments to decide who should do what, at whose expense.

Why be concerned about the illegals, anyway? What’s the problem? It’s this: These illegal immigrants have scarcely made their crossing when they begin receiving benefits courtesy of Uncle Sam, and perhaps local governments. They do not hesitate to admit that the reason for their invasion is to secure these benefits. American taxpayers resent being taxed to support these immigrants. Do these same Americans complain about being taxed to support non-immigrants? Why would the securing, by the immigrants, of naturalization documents make any difference? If one accepts the principle that taxation of one group for the benefit of another is a proper function of government, why concern yourself with the nationality or legal status of the beneficiary? Would your taxes be lower if there were no illegal immigration, or if all the illegal immigrants became legal? But there is one utterly simple solution to the “problem” of illegal immigrants being given benefits by governments: STOP IT!! If the illegals come here to secure benefits, and if this constitutes a problem, then solve the problem by cutting off the benefits. I have not followed the news reports about illegal immigration with great care, but I don’t recall ever hearing this policy being proposed. It’s the nature of government to create as many dependent classes as possible, and the illegal immigrants certainly qualify as a large (nearly 12 million) class of dependents. Of course, our rulers fret and complain about the “problem” of illegal immigration, but they have been known to shed crocodile tears before. Maybe those Americans living along the southern border might realize that the problem is actually the government, not the illegals who are merely taking advantage of what is offered to them.

There is also the complaint, voiced by some, that these illegals take jobs that could be filled by Americans. The key word, I think, is COULD. Are American workers fired so that their jobs could be given to the illegals? In most cases, I believe, the immigrants take jobs that Americans don’t want--otherwise they’d have them! One can contemptuously refer to “cheap labor,” but the immigrants were not Shanghai’d into this country and indentured; they volunteered to come, and consider themselves fortunate to be here. They are happy, or at least content, with jobs that most Americans disdain, and the product of their labor can thus enter the market at a lower price than if Americans had those jobs. And there is certainly nothing to prevent their returning home if they’re unhappy, or feel abused. Many do--after accumulating a modest nest egg.

Like many problems faced by society today, the government is more the cause than the solution. Don’t look to Washington for help; look in your own neighborhood.

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Paul Hein's picture
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PaulTheCabDriver's picture

A few random thoughts on illegal immigration:

Paul, I cannot speak for the other 49 states, but to the best of my knowledge, Arizona denies benefits to those who are not here legally. At least, they demand proof of citizenship when you apply for an EBT card or health insurance or other programs. That isn't the reason most illegals I have met come here though. They come here for work. Many of them are hired by cousins or friends of the family that are here legally. These workers are employed in small businesses (like auto repair shops or construction contractors), and can earn pretty good money working under the table. One group I met was the crew of a landscaping company, and the men on the crew, all of them "illegals" were making $150 to $200 per day doing yard work. Another guy I met worked at an auto body shop for his brother (who is here legally) pulling down around $20/hr. All of this is tax free.
But I highly doubt the figure of 12 million illegals itself. Where does this number come from? I've seen it bandied about for years, but no source at all. Do the math: 4% of the population is here illegally? Does that make any sense at all to anyone that 4 out of a hundred people are here illegally? it seems incredibly high to me. Perhaps by an order of magnitude. Further, the term "illegal immigrant" includes not just the border crossers, but the people whose visas expire etc. And a lot of those people would be here legally, but got caught in some sort of bureaucratic snafu.
And if we look at the laws themselves, they are altogether unconstitutional. While the US Constitution does say that the US government is to determine citizenship, it does not give the government any authority to keep people from coming or going as they please.(Yes, I know, the Constitution is a con.... but it is supposed to be the law of the land.)
Another thought: If these illegals are using bogus SSNs to work, then they will not be filing taxes at all. Which means that none of the tax money withheld by the government is ever paid out in refunds to these folks.
Another thought: Although a lot of illegals are cast as criminals, all the ones I have met have been incredibly polite, and obey the other laws to the very best of their ability. Why? Because they don't want to get the cops involved in ANYTHING they do, otherwise they will find themselves on a one way bus back to Mexico. And that really damages one's job situation.
Last thought: I have no idea what the solution is (absent liberty of course, but we won't realistically see liberty for quite some time.) But I do know the solution is not closed borders. Because any government that is powerful enough to keep "them" out, is powerful enough to keep us IN. And that is a scary thought.
Here is someone elses thoughts on illegal immigration.