The Immigration Monster

Sometimes I listen to Rush Limbaugh because it gets my adrenalin going. I also listen to a Rush Limbauigh wannabee who does the late morning hours until Limbaugh comes along at noon. (The real reason I go there is they are on the only station providing local weather reports.)

So I was listening to the wannabee the other day and he was dealing with the issue of illegal immigrants. The wannabee was making it simple: They’re illegal, they should go. A caller said he agreed, but he had heard it said that if we deported all 12 million illegals they would be unable to find work in Mexico and become communists so that Mexico would no longer be a buffer between us and all the communists states further south so maybe deporting them wouldn’t be a good idea.

“So you think we should keep 12 million communists here?” asked the wannabee.

I tell you this because it’s an indication of the scholarly depth of the debate taking place about illegal immigrants. A lot of the debate might be summarized as “Why didn’t their grandparents come here before there were controls on immigration the way mine did?”

Could we try looking at the facts?

12 million people have not come here because they don’t like their own country, friends, and neighbors. They have not braved the Arizona desert because they enjoy being arrested, shot at, left to die of thirst, or hiking into unknown country in the dark. They come because they need to work and this country has jobs.

They need work because they can’t compete with the subsidized American agricultural products that have flooded their country as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

They find work because our wealthy country does not – like most wealthy countries – produce enough babies to fill the jobs an expanding economy creates.

We are, in fact, fortunate that there are people willing to risk their lives to keep our economy going. Wouldn’t we do better to take down the walls, call off the dogs, and let them come until there are no more jobs or until the supply of labor is great enough to force wages down to a level that is no longer attractive? When they can no longer do better here than there, they will stop coming. Isn’t that the way capitalism is supposed to work: let free market forces balance things out?

As I was saying last time, many monsters are imaginary and melt when met head on (that’s a line the Beowulf poet would love!). It seems to me this is one of them. What are we so afraid of? If we have any confidence in our way of life we shouldn’t need walls and guns to defend it – here or abroad.

Tell your representatives in Washington to get on with it and get over it. There are real issues to face and this shouldn’t prevent us from dealing with them.

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