The Solution to Ilegal Immigration

by | May 20, 2006 | Immigration, POLITICS

I didn’t hear the President’s immigration speech, but I must comment on one paragraph I’ve read:   “We’re a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We’re also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals.” The […]

I didn’t hear the President’s immigration speech, but I must comment on one paragraph I’ve read:

 

“We’re a nation of laws, and we must enforce our laws. We’re also a nation of immigrants, and we must uphold that tradition, which has strengthened our country in so many ways. These are not contradictory goals.”

The actual truth is: We’re a nation of laws, and we must enforce or repeal our laws.

The problem of “illegal” immigration can be solved at the stroke of a pen: legalize immigration. Screen all you want (though I want damn little), but remove the quotas. Phase them out over a 5- or 10-year period. Grant immediate, unconditional amnesty to all “illegal” immigrants.

In this connection, it is gruesomely fascinating how scared are the pro-immigration factions (in both parties) of the word “amnesty.” In the students riots of the late 60s, the student thugs demanded amnesty. (And they got it, of course.) Now, all of a sudden, “amnesty” has become a dirty word. Why? I think it is because of the moral cowardice of the pro-immigration movement.

I admire those who broke our rotten, rights-defying anti- immigration laws to come here. These brave people knew it was better to live in America under a stigma, in the semi-shadows, than as “legals” in their native countries.

John Tierney’s column in today’s NY Times makes some good points with great verve:

“A porous southern border is supposedly no longer tolerable now that terrorists have declared war on America and are threatening even more catastrophic attacks.

“But if terrorists are smart enough to plan such an attack, they’re smart enough to get into the United States, no matter how many agents and troops are on the Mexican border. If terrorists have the determination to train for years, if they can pay for flight lessons or anthrax or a nuclear bomb, then they can easily bribe or forge their way into America–or waltz in with legitimate visas.

“Mohamed Atta did not have to hire a coyote or swim across the Rio Grande. He and the other hijackers entered the country legally. The 500,000 or so people who manage to sneak in from Mexico each year are a minuscule fraction–about 1 percent–of the tourists and students and other visitors who enter America legally.

“Mexico is not the preferred route of the suspected terrorists caught so far because they prefer more convenient options, like the Canadian border. Even if the northern border were sealed with the Great Wall of Saskatchewan, there would still be thousands of miles of unsecured coastline–and plenty of drug runners with boats and planes who would have no trouble delivering a terrorist or a suitcase bomb.”

“… the immigrants now coming across the Mexican border do not want to sack our cities. They’re not about to pillage our granaries or march home with Americans in chains. They just want to mow our lawns and clean our offices.

They’re coming to feed us, not take our food, yet we’re demanding that our leaders keep them out. No Mexican busboys! No Guatemalan cooks! Stop them before they grill again!”

And I reiterate that those who want to reduce Mexican immigration (I am not among them) should be calling for the U.S. to exert diplomatic pressure on the Mexican government to establish capitalism there.

Recommended Reading: Immigration Quotas vs. Individual Rights: The Moral and Practical Case for Open Immigration

 

Dr. Binswanger, a longtime associate of Ayn Rand, is an professor of philosophy at the Objectivist Academic Center of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is the author of How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation and is the creator of The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z. Dr. Binswanger blogs at HBLetter.com (HBL)--an email list for Objectivists for discussing philosophic and cultural issues. A free trial is available at: HBLetter.com.

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