Monday, March 30, 2009

Dishonest Dichotomies

Demagogues like Luis Gutierrez and Jorge Ramos present the issue of immigration enforcement as a black-and-white dichotomy - implying that the only two options are draconian raids and roundups or blanket amnesty + complete non-enforcement. Their aim of this dishonest dichotomy is to to push through a flawed and unpopular amnesty. The greatest flaw being that (that amnesty of 1986 shows that) any amnesty that occurs before the securing of border is secured will lead to another even larger future amnesty.

On the other hand, Dr. Ron Paul presents a third way. As a man who is committed to economic and social freedom, Dr. Paul's instinctively leans towards liberal immigration policies, but in the context of our strained welfare state and the erosion of popular sovereignty, Dr. Paul has shifted towards more restrictive immigration policies, echoing the sentiments of Milton Friedman who stated "You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state."

As a committed civil libertarian, he opposes the implementation of a national ID and draconian enforcement policies, such as raids and roundups. As a man well versed in economics, Dr. Paul instead focuses on addressing the economic incentives that promote unsustainable immigration patterns. By addressing these incentives, cost-effective immigration control can be achieved without resorting to brutal raids and roundups by utilizing one or more of the following means:

1. By forcing employers to pay for the welfare benefits of the undocumented (or even documented) immigrants that they employ, they will bear the true cost of subsidized "cheap labor." The immediate benefit will be a reduction in welfare expenses. And over time, this will ensure that the most productive and adaptive immigrants will remain and the least productive will return to their countries of origin, as was the case before the onset of a bloated welfare state.

2. Fine employers who hire undocumented immigrants, which will eliminate the most powerful magnet for undocumented immigration: easy access to jobs. And in order to be humane and economical, leave the option for employers to sponsor their employees.

3. Eliminate the powerful magnet of birthright citizenship (via the reinterpretation of the 14th amendment) and require that one parent be a citizen, such as the following democratic nations have done: Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

By eliminating these magnets, the end result will be a shift towards a smaller, more productive immigrant labor force without the use of raids and roundups. And in the end it will create the conditions that will make an amnesty possible. Dishonest dichotomies are for politicians and progressives, where as economics see in color.

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