The Real Failures of Immigration Policy

We can send them home, but that won't mean we've seen the last of them.

Rick PerryRobert Scoble / FlickrIn the eyes of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and others, the crisis on our southern border demonstrates the failure of our immigration policy. They are correct, though not in the way they think. The failure in our immigration policy comes from the persistent belief that we can make rivers run uphill.

The sudden flood of underage migrants, sometimes accompanied by their mothers, didn't happen because border security has been neglected. This administration, like its predecessor, has made a fetish of toughness against anyone trying to get in without authorization. It's worked, but only up to a point—and often with perverse results. This influx happens to be one of those unanticipated effects.

Since 2000, federal spending on immigration enforcement has tripled, after adjustment for inflation. The Border Patrol has twice as many agents as it did 10 years ago. The border has 650 miles of fencing that wasn't there before, augmented with trenches, motion sensors, cameras and surveillance drones.

Deaths among undocumented migrants have risen because they've had to venture into more remote and dangerous terrain to elude pursuers. Deportations are at record levels. If more enforcement were the remedy, there would not be a problem.

But here's one paradox: The closer we come to sealing off the border the more we encourage undocumented foreigners to buy instead of rent. In the old days, many people came without papers from Mexico and Central America to work for a few months and then went home, often repeating the process year after year. Today, those who get here tend to remain because they can't be sure of making it back should they leave.

That's one reason for the arrival of so many Central American kids. Princeton sociologist Doug Massey says the surge is a byproduct of our involvement in military conflicts in the region during the 1980s, which wrecked economies, destabilized societies and prompted many people to head here.

"Some of these people circulated back and forth initially," he said in an email, "but after the U.S. militarized the border in the 1990s, this became infeasible and they ended up staying north of the border. At this point their children are older and families are desperate for reunification, especially in the context of the economic turmoil and violence that arose from the U.S. intervention and never went away."

The desperation is not hard to comprehend. According to a study by the Department of Homeland Security, most of those arriving from Honduras and El Salvador come from the most violent areas.

The exodus is not just across the Rio Grande. The U.N. refugee agency says the number of people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala seeking asylum in neighboring countries, from Mexico to Panama, has risen a stunning 712 percent since 2008. They aren't showing up in those places because of anything Barack Obama has done.

A report from the agency notes the stark findings of interviews with 104 children from El Salvador: "Sixty-six percent of the children cited violence by organized armed criminal actors as a primary motivator for leaving, and 21 percent discussed abuse in the home. ... Only one child mentioned the possibility of benefiting from immigration reform in the U.S."

Nor would these kids stop coming here if we immediately shipped them back where they came from. We already do that with Mexican children apprehended at the border—yet they still outnumber the Central Americans. The impulse to escape from violence and poverty is too strong to suppress. Those who want in badly enough will keep trying until they make it.

Many of those on this side of the border denouncing the arrivals say they are opposed only to illegal immigration. But the reason so many foreigners come illegally is that we offer no other avenue. The annual number of legal spots for low-skilled immigrants is 5,000—for the entire world. Even foreigners with family members living here legally may have to wait decades to be allowed in.

Central Americans in terrible straits don't have the luxury of waiting, and getting tougher won't make them more patient. Michelle Brane, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice program at the Women's Refugee Commission, says it's like using threats to keep people in a burning house: "If they're in a burning house, they're going to jump out a window, run out the door, find a way out.

We can send them home, but that won't mean we've seen the last of them.

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  • UnCivilServant||

    I've never played the Ace Attorney series, but I've seen enough references that my first thought at seeing that page image was that the alt-text should be "Objection!".

    Sad am I that there was no alt text to be found, least of all a video game reference.

  • sarcasmic||

    I was thinking more like "Boss boss, de plane, de plane!".

  • UnCivilServant||

    Blast it, why can't I remember that character's name?

    But he was in a white suit. And that show tended to use full-body shots rather than upper-torso shots.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tattoo!

  • UnCivilServant||

    Thank you.

    I kept coming up with the name of the character played by the same actor who was Scaramanga's henchman.

  • BakedPenguin||

    ...the same actor...

    Hervé Villechaize.

    Jeez, you're especially UnCivil this morning.

  • UnCivilServant||

    I got in to work at 4:15am (not my normal start time). My brain is a bit scrambled.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But the reason so many foreigners come illegally is that we offer no other avenue.

    Why should they get special treatment? The bureaucracy put in place by the people we elect has closed off virtually every avenue to every thing Americans want to do. Immigrants should learn that lesson first thing.

  • RJ The Terrible||

    No point in coddling the poor little dears.

    That said, the Constitution says that an immigrant should be naturalized after 7 years. For sake of argument lets assume they are legal immigrants with green cards. The typical wait is well over 12 years if you want citizenship. That is bullshit.

    We are creating an underclass. The implications of this is lethal to our society.

  • wareagle||

    you act as though the creation of an underclass is a bug. To the politicians and bureaucracy, it sounds more like job protection.

  • ruralcounsel||

    The Constitution only says that Congress has the power to implement uniform rules of naturalization. There is NO Constitutional requirement that someone becomes naturalized in a fixed period of time.

    Immigration and naturalization requirements have varied widely over the last two centuries.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, but the people flooding our southern border are why we are stuck on 5k unskilled visas a year. If people respected our national sovereignty and our laws were enforced, our needs for unskilled immigration could be properly assessed and a framework to increase that number as needed could be established.

    I'm pretty much a "tall walls with large open gates" kind of person, but that has to be done within a proper legal framework to be effective. And our government deliberately ignoring provisions of our immigration laws while vocally attacking the opposition for doing nothing will get us no closer to that effective legal framework than we are today. And it will ultimately create further animus against immigrants that have risked their lives to get here...legally or otherwise.

  • Agammamon||

    That is . . . stupid.

    1. We can see what our need for unskilled labor is just by looking at the numbers of illegals already in the country and the numbers trying to get in *without* permission.

    2. If we don't think the CIAB is genuinely able to handle managing the demand and supply for tart cherries how do we turn around and say State is going to handle this *much more* difficult decision?

    Locking everyone out to determine demand just means that people will simply not get things done or look for other (more expensive) alternatives for those things that *have* to get done. No one is going to sign up with a government agency and give up a list of the number of low-skilled employees they want. TO make that decision requires factoring in how much the labor costs relative to the value added for a position. If labor is cheap enough a store will hire someone to wash your car while you shop just to get you in the store. If its too expensive you'll see free bagging go away.

  • ||

    1. Those numbers used to fluctuate wildly depending on the season and years when certain crops had better hauls than others. They stay more constant now based more on free government bennies than on the demand for labor.

    2. I think both systems are broken, and again I said we need to establish a legal framework for tall walls and wide gates. I never said that framework required established limits or quotas.

    And I never said we needed to lock people out. There are currently emergency provisions to allow us to let more than 5k in while a new framework is established. As for the other end, yes I think a basic respect for our national sovereignty is a respectable request for people whose intent is to get here.

  • Agammamon||

    We already *have* a legal framework - the real problem is that the quota exists in the first place.

    1. If you're one of the lucky 5,000 you can be in this country, with a green card and working within a matter of months. It'll still take 5+ years to go through the citizenship process if that's your goal.

    2. Why don't we uncap the quota. You apply for a green card, meet the same restrictions the current winners of the GC lottery have to meat - no changes there, if you've got some nasty disease or are a vicious criminal you're still not allowed in. Let the market sort out the need for unskilled labor. Too many people come in, bid the cost of labor down, the US stops being attractive for immigrants. Too few, price of labor increases, more flock to our shores.

    Its more in line with our traditional immigration policy, pre-WWI - that whole 'give us your tired, huddled mass . . . 'schtick - come, register, work.

    Don't even worry about 'oh what if they overstay their visas?' Either they keep their heads down, in which case - who cares - or they cause trouble, get picked up by the police and are deported - never to return (unless they can find a now increasingly rare coyote to smuggle them across).

    get rid of that ridiculously low quota and a huge majority of the *illegal* immigration problem goes away.

  • wareagle||

    or they cause trouble, get picked up by the police and are deported - never to return

    unless they live in the so-called sanctuary cities..

  • Agammamon||

    Well then the governments of the sanctuary cities can deal with them - and then they get caught if they leave town.

    Odds are that if you're committing crimes you won't be able to *not* drive over the speed limit with a joint dangling from your lip while swerving in and out of traffic checking your text messages.

  • wareagle||

    those govts ARE dealing with them, but protecting them. And why would someone who gets in trouble and gets away with it leave the place that is rewarding his bad behavior?

  • Agammamon||

    Then he's not a problem, unless you live in that place. If he's not a problem, then why do we need to deal with him?

    If he's causing problems in the 'sanctuary city' then that city can always stop turning a blind eye to his immigration status.

    And with an unlimited quota with GC's, there's little moral standing left for the 'don't deport 'em, ever' crowd to hide behind.

  • wareagle||

    how in the hell is he "not a problem" if he's a god damn criminal? The sanctuary city is already turning a blind eye to his immigration status; it's why they're called sanctuary cities. And the "don't deport them" crowd could give two shits about moral standing. They are willing to shelter criminals and seem proud of it since they don't exactly hide their status as sanctuaries.

  • Agammamon||

    He's not a problem *here*. He's not a problem *there*. He's a problem only in the place where people tolerate those problems - which means they don't see him as a problem.

    If he stays there then he's *not a problem*.

  • ||

    If he's causing problems in the 'sanctuary city' then that city can always stop turning a blind eye to his immigration status.

    So we'll allow selective enforcement of a broken policy because it's easier than establishing a simple, basic legal framework where labor is freely exchanged but welfare is abolished? I don't think that's a very good idea.

  • ||

    Having lived in/near sanctuary cities, I can tell you that many police officers will merely ignore infractions by illegals because they do not want to do the paperwork required since the person will just skip the legal proceedings and use a new bogus ID to continue his existence here.

    The key is to eliminate sanctuary cities altogether and develop a workable system where welfare is not a part of it. That ensures labor crosses borders as needed and a permanent underclass of society is eliminated.

  • Agammamon||

    Get rid of the quota and you get rid of the influx of *illegals*. Get rid of that and you get rid of sanctuary cities.

  • ||

    It's like you're deliberately ignoring the many posts on here I've made that propose doing just that.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Slightly off topic, but why did the federal government sue AZ to prevent their enforcing immigration laws but never sued any sanctuary cities to eliminate their flagrant violation of immigration laws?

    And as you note, the street level effect of sanctuary city policies is preferential treatment for perceived illegals. That's not a great way to expand respect for immigration in general.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Criminals commit dozens to hundreds of crimes before they are caught.

  • Agammamon||

    Which is completely irrelevant, unless you're pushing for increased surveillance of *everyone* on the principle that we could be committing crimes *right now*.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    You're expressing the kind of attitude towards illegal alien criminals (I guess that they would be illegal in your scheme) that old school liberals expressed about crime in general in 70s. Which led to a huge backlash creating the environment that led to the current police state.

    Telling the public too fucking bad about crime is a proven loser - for politician and more importantly everyone else.

  • Agammamon||

    No, I'm not. I'm saying that if your city tolerates criminals - then that's a problem between you and your city government and, as long as those criminals are criminaling over in *my* neck of the woods, I'll give you the courtesy of allowing you to live as you see fit.

    Go someplace that doesn't tolerate hijinks and start hijinking and you'll be shown the door.

    Basically what I'm saying is, if all the illegal immigrants are staying in a small portion of the country, there's not much negative effect that's going to have on the rest of us. If they leave their sanctuaries, they can behave or get booted.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    That's unworkable unless there is some type of population control around those cities.

    For example, the city of Los Angeles is a sanctuary city, but it is only 20% of the population of the los angeles metropolitan area. Their sanctuary city policy can lead to greater victimization of the public in adjacent cities.

  • ||

    I think you're misreading my posts for,some,reason. I do not want any quota at all. I believe the market can establish what the immigration needs are, but they're now being determined by how much free shit we are giving away relative to the life people have in other nations.

    But a legal framework is necessary.

    And since it is, I will propose one right here: any immigrant is free to travel in and out of the United States and to work herein. As an amendment, no welfare programs exist as of today.

    There, legal framework established.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    How do you exclude criminals if everyone is free to come and go at will?

  • ||

    Aren't all immigrants fingerprinted and given IDs when they arrive here legally? I think we could continue that as a basic requirement for legal entry.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    So that's not open borders, and would require a continued border enforcement to prevent some people from coming in.

  • ||

    It may not be "open borders", but it's free market open immigration. And I'm sorry, but merely giving people free IDs and determining upon entry if they've broken any of our laws in the past are hardly unacceptable hoops to go through. For one, the ID helps establish their work credentials and speeds up their ability to exchange their labor.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I'm not disagreeing. I'm just noting that is different than the stereotypical (Cosmo) position that the border between the US and Mexico should be no more consequential than the border between US states.

  • Agammamon||

    Yeah, and its (IMO) a pretty damn good compromise between the 'don't ever open the door' and the 'let 'em all in' tendencies.


    Simply get rid of the quota and a huge part of the *illegal* immigration problem goes away.

    Hell, you don't even have to cut the budget of INS/BP if you want - they just won't have to sort out kids and whatnot from the real criminals. In this scenario, if you're sneaking across then you're a real criminal.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The problem is that our christian moral impulse motivates large numbers of people to do right by the children. Which invariably means allowing their admittance and providing welfare.

    Suggestions that we fly the kids back to Guatemala or wherever else they came from are treated as inhumane and beyond the pale.

    When in reality what we should do is just dump them back over the border that they just crossed and let Mexico deal with them.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    ...or they cause trouble, get picked up by the police and are deported - never to return

    Which takes a given some control of the border and the ability to exclude the right people.

  • Agammamon||

    Actually, it doesn't. Its incredibly difficult to cross the our border with Mexico unless you know what you're doing.

    A fit, but unprepared man can be dead within 48 hours during the summer. If there's no quota, there's no need for people to try to smuggle themselves across, if there's no need for that, there's no money for the coyotes. No money for the coyotes means there are no coyotes (or, at least they're harder to find, don't specialize in people smuggling - vice drug smuggling - and have less of a reputation to protect so the journey is more fraught with being shot in the head and left).

  • ||

    Isn't it as simple as walking to a border checkpoint and saying you're going shopping and providing required ID?

    Or do you mean crossing our 40 mile wide border?

  • Agammamon||

    If you've been kicked out, you won't have the required ID.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Its incredibly difficult to cross the our border with Mexico unless you know what you're doing.

    Yet millions of people do it every year.

    And that difficulty is only due to current immigration policies. Remove those and it's no harder to cross the US Mexico border than it is the CA-AZ border.

  • ||

    than it is the CA-AZ border.

    Depending on which way you're going, of course. I once spent nearly two hours at a California Agricultural Checkpoint because I refused to open the door of a moving van for the guy who wanted to search it. I demanded he show me what gave him the authority to (he couldn't) and then told him if he was gonna search my vehicle, he was gonna open the door himself (he demanded I pen it for him).

    His boss finally came over and let me go after I sat in the lane and blocked it for just under 2 hours.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    If you did that on reentering the US from Mexico your car would be torn apart and you'd likely be arrested (with charges later dropped)- so even in that example the CA-AZ border is orders of magnitude more open.

  • Agammamon||

    Because they have people who know what they're doing guide them, people who set up waystations, caches, and bring supplies.

    They can do that because of the money to be made from the flood of crossers.

    Getting rid of the quota gets rid of that flood.

  • wareagle||

    If people respected our national sovereignty and our laws were enforced...

    for some reason, I am a bit surprised to read that line. Much of the commentariat is fixated on open borders and rights to contract and all the rest as if borders are meaningless. Perhaps the reason our sovereignty is not respected is the non-enforcement of our laws.

  • ||

    See my comment at 8:51. I'm an open borders guy but I still believe in rule of law and establishing a legal framework. And I believe cutting all welfare ensures our immigration will work as intended.

  • wareagle||

    and I am not disagreeing with you. It's just that this seems a minority viewpoint here, as if the discussion begins and ends with open borders. Rule of law sold separately.

  • ||

    Oh, I know you're not. I was reiterating my viewpoint for the board at large.

  • Harvard||

    Finally! The first illegal alien article on Reason that makes the best undeniable case for a wall....with a moat....concertina wire....tank batteries.

  • RJ The Terrible||

    You forgot the watchtowers with machine guns. Amateur.

  • UnCivilServant||

    What? No motion-activated flamer turrets?

  • Hawk Spitui||

    I'd go with land mines, personally.

  • Agammamon||

    Don't forget the overwatch marksmen who fire on anyone coming into sight of the border 'just in case'.

  • UnCivilServant||

    "They were in the one mile exclusion zone that extends past the border. We had no choice but to open fire with 30mm incendiary and explosive rounds"

    /Border Patrol

  • ruralcounsel||

    Kind of like police executing a no-knock warrant against citizens these days. Why should illegals get anything better?

  • BambiB||

    Why use such small caliber weapons?

  • straffinrun||

    "Today, those who get here tend to remain because they can't be sure of making it back should they leave."
    I must be reading that wrong.

  • BakedPenguin||

    They cross the border only once ever, instead of once a year. Because they're more likely to be caught should they try repeat journeys.

  • straffinrun||

    The violence in Honduras etc is also given as reason. You can do something about the border, not so sure you can do much from the US to improve the lot of those hell holes in central America. Other than leaving them alone.

  • Brian D||

    What the Land of the Free really needs is a replica of the Berlin Wall surrounding it. Ayup.

  • sarcasmic||

    The difference being that the Berlin Wall was made to keep people in, not out.

  • Agammamon||

    It was made for both. Give it a little time and so will ours.

    Hell, apparently the Border Patrol can stop you when crossing the border *into* Mexico now.

  • sarcasmic||

    Back in the days when school-age kids picked crops during the summer we didn't have such a demand for illegal immigrant labor.

    Now little Johnny goes off to camp while Jose and Jesus pick the crops.

  • ||

    By "goes to camp," do you mean "lays on the couch and plays video games"?

    Or do you mean "goes off to college for 7 years to get multiple degrees in art history while summering in Brooklyn to master his beekeeping and unicycle-racing skills"?

  • sarcasmic||

    I mean that bullcrap "camp" that's basically daycare for preteens while the parents go to their jobs. Fucking kids should be put to work. Gain some discipline and earn their keep.

  • Tim||

    Nobody fucks with the Jesus!

  • Swiss Servator, Alles Klar||

    +1 corn de-tasseling job?

  • BambiB||

    I'll see your corn de-tasseling and raise it one bale bucking job!

  • John||

    The problem is that begging on the streets of America is a better option than working in most of central America. The open borders types assume the only reason anyone would come here is to work. Sure, many or most of them would work if they can, but even if they can't they would still come here. And of course a small percentage of them come here to commit crimes or will engage in criminality if they can't find a job.

    If you truly opened the borders and let anyone who wanted in for any reason, a large chunk of the population of Latin America would move here making the rational decision that it is better to beg in America than work there. This would continue until one of two things happened, either the quality of life down there would increase enough to keep them there or the quality of life in America would decrease so much that it no longer made sense to come here. The former is pretty unlikely. So that leaves the latter.

  • John||

    How does letting millions of desperate people into the country make the country a better place to live for those who already live here? If you don't believe in national sovereignty, then that question doesn't matter since the people who live here don't get a vote because they don't have sovereignty. People like Chapman fall into this camp. The entire issue is how to make life better for the people coming and the local can really go fuck themselves. If letting most or a good chunk of the population of these countries move to the United States increases overall welfare, then Chapman says do it. If doing that makes life worse for the people already here even though it may make things in some larger aggregate better, well too damned bad for those who live here.

    I would submit that regardless of its merits, that is a political dead loser proposition. People may answer polls saying they support immigration but the implicit assumption in that answer is that the immigration doesn't reduce their quality of life. If immigration means letting in millions of desperately poor people and making the country look more like Latin America, very few Americans are going to support it. And rationally, they shouldn't since it is against their interests.

  • Agammamon||

    How does letting millions of desperate people into the country make the country a better place to live for those who already live here?

    No, that's not the question at all. Go down that road and you end up voting Democrat.

    If there's any utilitarian argument to be made, its 'how do we maximize freedom for humans'.

  • John||

    No, your argument is utilitarian. The only reason Chapman says to open the borders is because it would make things better for people in Latin America. Isn't that utilitarian.

    And further, not all utilitarian arguments are bad. The whole point of having sovereignty is so that people can create a government to act in their own interests.

    If opening the borders is not in the best interests of the people who live here, why do they have to do it? The only way you can say they have to do it is if you deny their right to sovereignty and borders. If you admit they have sovereignty, then they have every right to act in whatever they feel is their best interests. That is not making a utilitarian argument. It is just stating the fact that people have the right to act in what they see as their best interests through their government.

  • Agammamon||

    But you say its not in our best interests as if that's an axiom - to be taken as given, not questioned - and that the open borders people are arguing against that plainly visible interest.

    You are, in effect, doing exactly what we say our ideological enemies do - we're stupid or evil.

  • John||

    No, I am saying that it is not mine nor your place to decide what is in their best interests. That is up to them. If the people of this country decide that they want to open the borders, then that is their right. At the same time, if they decide they don't want to, that is their right as well and no one has any right to claim they are acting irrationally or not acting in what they see as their best interests.

    I frankly think it would be a bad idea to do this. But that is neither here nor there. The point is that the people of this country collectively through their government have a right to make that decision. And if they decide that closing the borders is the thing to do, who are you or anyone else to deny them the right to do that?

  • Agammamon||

    But *I'm* in this country. I mean, we made drugs illegal - does that mean we should shut up and not try to get those laws changed? The people of this country made those laws through their government.

    How about taxis? The people made the decision, to have a taxi cartel, through their government. Is that also no longer up for review?

  • John||

    Yes, Agammamon, part of living in a country is being willing to live with decisions that come out of the governmental process you don't like. Again, it comes down to whether you recognize the existence of nation states. I do and thus am fine with the people in them controlling their borders as they see fit. I don't think Mexico owes me admittance into their country and I don't think we owe admittance to anyone either.

  • Agammamon||

    1. Only to an extent.

    2. I have been living with those decisions, but once made that doesn't mean they can't be unmade and that's what I'm trying to do here.

  • Agammamon||

    And not woeing admittance is far different from an arbitrary and, quite frankly, mean spirited quota.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And there's the flaw in your argument, John.

    It's morally unacceptable for people to act in their own best interest. Except for illegal immigrants, and politicians, and corporate interests. Everyone else needs to take one for the team

    < / Cosmo

  • Agammamon||

    John, we're *libertarians*, FREE MARKET libertarians.

    Why will the market not work here.

    Just like you can only pack convenience stores so closely before they start parasitizing each other, same with beggars.

    Get a lot of people on the street begging, you have a lot of competition for limited charity. Eventually its not going to be cost effective to come here to beg.

  • wareagle||

    we also believe in laws and believe in govt as an umpire regarding those laws. This market differs from the rest because in unchecked form, it sooner or later infringes on the rights of third parties. Until the welfare state is disentangled from the question of immigration, the 3rd party aspect will remain part of the discussion.

  • John||

    Sure you have competition. And yes, eventually the quality of life in the US will be lowered to such a degree it won't make any sense for people to come here anymore. I am not however seeing that as much of a selling point for immigration.

    What if people living here don't want beggers? Perhaps the people in this country don't feel they have a need to be a safe haven for everyone in the world who is facing a bad or uncertain future? Just like maybe they don't want to pay taxes to police the world maybe they also don't want to face solving the social problems that come with admitting millions of desperate people.

  • Agammamon||

    So, maybe, since we're so far apart on this topic and not likely to *ever* agree (let alone compromise), then maybe its better to split the country rather than draw a wall around people who don't want that wall?

  • John||

    Sure, it is called the border. There are two debates going on here. One is the merits of opening the borders. There we certainly disagree and I am not sure how we could ever agree. The other debate is the right of the people of the United States to have and enforce that border if they choose to. There, I don't see how you can not agree unless you just reject the entire concept of sovereignty and the nation state.

  • sarcasmic||

    What if people living here don't want beggers?

    They don't give the beggars money, and the beggars go beg somewhere else. That's why some cities have beggars on every street corner and median, while others have none.

  • John||

    Easier said than done. And we have this huge liberal machine that is designed to make doing such hard if not impossible.

    Regardless, even if you can try to run them off, that only works with American beggers. You underestimate how hard life in a place like El Salvador is. Eating garbage and living in a box in the US is actually preferable to the life that many people live in this country. It is easy to say that we should just tolerate giant shanty towns and slums but actually doing so would be a lot harder than you think.

  • sarcasmic||

    I've lived in cities with lots of beggars and cities with practically none. The difference was quite simple. In the cities with lots of beggars the people gave them money, and in the cities without beggars the people ignored them. Don't have to run them off. Just don't feed them and they'll go away on their own.

  • ||

    I think you're oversimplifying the beggar conversation, sarc. The reason a lot of cities don't have many beggars is because there are laws against it and those are vigorously enforced, whole in other cities laws don't exist.

  • sarcasmic||

    Or some cities are populated by bleeding heart liberals while others are not. In the city where I did my college there was a beggar on every median, and you'd regularly see windows go down and cash go out. In the city where I buy much of my groceries, there is some prime beggar territory. You see beggars there from time to time, but they tend to drift away after about a week. Not because the cops run them off, but because no one gives them anything.

  • Swiss Servator, Alles Klar||

    Inspector Clouseau: [to blind beggar] City Ordinance 132R prohibits the begging.
    Blind beggar: How do you know so much about city ordinances?
    Inspector Clouseau: What sort of stupid question is that? Are you blind?
    Blind beggar: Yes!

  • ||

    John is no libertarian. John has never been a libertarian. John should be looked at with just as much contempt as Tony.

  • ruralcounsel||

    Another free market approach would be to put a bounty on them.

  • wareagle||

    Many of those on this side of the border denouncing the arrivals say they are opposed only to illegal immigration. But the reason so many foreigners come illegally is that we offer no other avenue.

    so we're supposed to offer an unlimited number? It's not a theme park, it's a country and a flood of barely literate, low-skilled people carries a cost. I understand why folks in Central America are willing to take the risk associated with illegal immigration. I don't particularly understand their enablers on this side of the border.

  • Bryan C||

    "This administration, like its predecessor, has made a fetish of toughness against anyone trying to get in without authorization."

    They have?

  • Agammamon||

    Doesn't mean they've actually *done* anything - just means they like to talk tough.

  • Bryan C||

    Hmm. I haven't heard much tough talk. Maybe I just tuned out early on.

  • Bryan C||

    "Central Americans in terrible straits don't have the luxury of waiting, and getting tougher won't make them more patient."

    I'm not asking for them to be "more patient". I'm asking them to take responsibility for the horrible state of their own countries. Staying at home and not being ruled by incompetent kleptocrats should be the path of least resistance.

    "a byproduct of our involvement in military conflicts in the region during the 1980s"

    Sure it is. While we're at it, let's blame William Walker and Pizarro. This is the same sort of patronizing idiocy that believes inner-city blacks are forever stuck on welfare because of segregation and slavery.

  • straffinrun||

    Would you say the same of defectors from the Soviet Union? I fled an oppressive state 20 years ago. Do I have to go back and change it or can I choose to act in what is in my own self interest?

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Did you enter The United States of America legally? What oppressive state did you flee from? The second talk of your post is not really a question, but a sarcastic statement posing as a question. Once again, did you enter this country legally? If not, then would entering illegally because you fled an oppressive state justify your entering illegally. My ancestors fled oppressive state in Europe over 100 years ago. And yet, none of them felt that entering the U.S. ILLEGALLY was an option. Why are Hispanic peoples "exempt" from obeying the same immigration rules my ancestors had to follow?

  • straffinrun||

    Yes, I entered the US legally. Through my mother's birth canal, dipshit. The oppressive state I left was the US. You jumped to a conclusion and then tried to blast me. You sir, are an idiot.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    Oh, for fuck's sake. Really?

    Princeton sociologist Doug Massey says the surge is a byproduct of our involvement in military conflicts in the region during the 1980s, which wrecked economies, destabilized societies and prompted many people to head here.

    I have no doubt that our involvement in Central America during the '80's and prior and the current WoD have created a certain social havoc in these countries, but please, bitch.

    Four years ago the number of unaccompanied minor from the region was rough 4,000. This year the number will top 50,000. The increase is due to the legislation passed in 2008 under Bush that began treating these minor differently (as refugees) rather than illegals from Mexico.

    I give these people credit for figuring out the loophole and then taking advantage of it. But please stop treating them as players in your passion play. It's embarrassing.

  • John||

    This is why you are one of the best posters on this board. All of this and more.

    This is happening because in 2008 Bush signed a law that gave all unaccompanied minors not from Mexico or Canada the right to a full hearing before deportation. Then Obama decided everyone here illegally under 18 was a "dreamer" and thus shouldn't be deported. Word got out that if your kid made it to the border unaccompanied, the US government would either take care of t hem or turn them over to any family here and they would get to stay forever. As a result, people started sending their kids unaccompanied to the border. It was totally predictable and the result of government actions.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    :-)

    You do yeoman's work, John, trying to correct certain types of libertarian derp here. It is frustrating to watch libertarians fall into the same kind of sentimental dogmatism we expect from both progressives and conservatives.

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    ALL ideologies are Dogmatic. Libertarians are no exception. The Libertarian approach and "solution" to every issue is no less (or no more) dogmatic than that of the progressives, conservatives, or any other social political movement.

  • TO in TX||

    In a sense you are correct, but there is a difference I think. We base our dogma, if you want to call it that, on principle, like the non-aggression principle. Liberals and conservatives thik in slogans and ideology instead.

  • Black&Yellow||

    Dogma - a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.

    As for libertarianism being dogmatic, there is about hundreds of years of thought and empirical evidences that tells you otherwise.

  • Black&Yellow||

    The belief in restricting free people from crossing imaginary lines = DERP!

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Yet another article telling all of us Gringos north of the border why we Anglo meanies need to accept the massive migrations of Hispanic peoples lest we be accused of racism and other "crimes" against humanity. This tidal wave of humanity is all our fault of course since we (the U.S.) created all that violence down Mexico way and points south. Everyone knows that poverty and violence never existed down there until us Gringos created it. It's all our fault, and we (The Gringos) deserve a giant collective spanking for our sins.

    However, atonement is possible. We can start by dissolving the Border patrol and taking down all other evil barriers that impede a comfortable crossing for these poor, Gringo-abused people. Welcome Centers with abundant food, drink and medical care could (and should) spring up where those nasty fences and surveillance cameras once were. So let's get cracking on his humanitarian project, so most of the population of Central America (for starters) can be relocated to the United States. Also, each person entering this grand land in the future should be provided with citizenship papers.

  • TO in TX||

    An important part of the solution is to eliminate public education, welfare and free health care benefits for everyone to make it less attractive for illegal immigrants.

    I am not holding breath though.

  • Black&Yellow||

    MEH BORDERZZZZ!!!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So open up the guest worker program with no path to citizenship through that, but you can still apply for the latter through the normal channels. Exempt them from all payroll taxes and benefits. They pay none and they get none. Exempt them from the EIC. Team Blue hates that even though it delivers virtually all of the supposed goals because this isn't about what's best for the people; it's about packing the polls.

  • BambiB||

    If it's a "river" we can build a "dam".

    Just start shooting the invaders. Video the kills. Transmit the video to Mexico with the message, "We welcome LEGAL immigration. Those who try to invade America, to sneak across the border, will be killed."

    The "river" will stop dead, reverse itself and dry up.

    As for the lame "buy v. rent" argument, give criminal aliens already here six months to get out. Provide bus service to the border. Emphasize that if caught after six months they will lose EVERYTHING, do two years HARD LABOR and NEVER be permitted back (mandatory death penalty for any who try). After 3 months, start fining anyone who knowingly rents to or employs a criminal alien. Help those who want to apply for immigration fill out the forms and put them in queue (at the END of the line). After six months, drop the hammer.

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