The reason we have an immigration problem is not because we are welcoming people to America, but rather what kind of America we are welcoming them to. This in turn has an effect on what kind of people seek to be welcomed here, which then provokes the wrong kind of reaction on our part, and which results in a series of actions and reactions not unlike a child’s party balloon that was not tied off yet but was over-inflated, and then let go.
We have two presenting issues on our southern border. One is the border security itself, and the other is all the stuff we are doing that creates the need for border
security in the first place. What we are doing wrong would include, but not be limited to, anchor babies, food stamps, other forms of welfare, free education, and so on. You get more of what you subsidize and less of what you don’t. There are very few things quite as destructive as American good intentions. If we then add to the mix the problems caused by American bad intentions, everything gets really complicated. What would happen to the drug cartels if Americans quit snorting their happy powder? And, incidentally, that problem is not going to be solved by a federal “war on drugs,” what a joke, but rather by Americans doing what previous generations of Christians used to quaintly call “repenting.” A whole host of our “political” problems have no political solution.
Back to immigration. In the current set-up, conservatives have a point when they say that we need to get control of the border first, and then talk about what to do with the millions of ille . . . oops, almost did a bad thing . . . undocumented ali . . . oops . . . what a klutz I am being this morning . . . undocumented personages. Ah, for the halcyon days when folks could just say wetbacks and nobody minded!
Let me take a brief moment to explain that I was not using the word wetback there, but rather was observing that there was a time back in Eisenhower’s day when other people did that kind of thing, and what I did was all in the third person, and so I would suggest, with all appropriate modesty, that I should not be arrested for merely reporting on these facts. Yes, someone might reply, but you were being simultaneously provocative and coy, and we are on to your tricks. You were really making a point that was plainly critical of the current diktats of our most revered speech police, and therein lies your real crime. Well, yes, I guess I was doing that. That is my real crime. I do confess it.
Back to the politics. The problem lies in how conservatives want to get control of the border — thousands of miles of fence, and so on. We are already dealing with the monstrosity of the Border Patrol setting up random check points inside the borders of the United States, with American citizens being asked to provide “their papers please” because they decided they needed to hit Home Depot after the Piggly Wiggly, with Home Depot being on the other side of the local check point. The Border Patrol is already authorized to set up random check points one hundred miles inside the border, and that happens to be where most Americans live their previously free lives. You really want to solve our problems on this issue by giving those guys more money? Billions more?
Any “conservative” who wants to give the Border Patrol billions in order to control the people on the other side of the border, and who serenely expects at the same time to have untrammeled freedom on this side of the border, enabling them to keep on rocking in the free world, is being insufficiently cynical. And by insufficiently cynical, I mean that they are being blockheads, moonbeams, ninnyhammers, pinheads, tomfools, and so on down the line, in alphabetical order.
In years past, I have said that fences along borders make me nervous because anything tough enough and tall enough to keep “them all” out is also capable, when the circumstances change, of keeping “us all” in. Have you not noticed that when our government is “tough on terrorists,” you are the one who has to stand in long lines at airports in order to shuffle through their risible security theater? Have you not noticed that they have a tendency to “protect your freedoms” by taking them away?
I am suggesting that all the money we are spending on this problem is what is actually causing it. If we want to fix it, we should walk over to where the hose connects to the faucet, there on the side of the house, and turn that thing all the way to the right. It is in that sense that my proposed solution should be considered to be “of the right.” No mas. Here is my proposed campaign slogan — Open Borders, But No Freebies. If any politician wants to use it, he can have his staff contact my people.
But . . . what about . . .? It is a commonplace among conservatives that the left is trying to flood our southern states with immigrants, legal and the other kind, as a not so subtle way of turning Texas blue. This brings us back to our first point, which is the kind of America we are welcoming them to. What is the nature of the incentive? If we create a sugar daddy state, we cannot complain when we find ourselves with a long line of applicants who would like to have a sugar daddy. Every culture has its deadbeats, and if we create a system that attracts them, then that is our problem, not theirs.
If the Canadian government started giving out free heroin, would it be reasonable for them to draw conclusions about all Americans because of the caliber of people they now saw coming across their border for their daily treat? Would this not be a Canadian problem, and not an American one?
If we get our house in order, the message we should have for immigrants, as George Will recently put it, is simply “welcome to America.” If we had a culture that rewarded hard work, risk-taking, entrepreneurship, then the more immigrants the merrier. In other words, immigrants will only turn a state blue if that state is already building a bunch of blue attractions. If the liberals succeed in turning Texas into America’s udder, then we shouldn’t pretend to be surprised at the results. Neither should we think the problem was caused by those who come for what we offer.
In short, we will get the kind of immigrants we deserve. And so it is a not whether, but which problem. It is not whether we will get immigrants, but rather which immigrants we will get. And if we get a problem, it was our own stupidfault, not a typo, one word.
One last thing. For those soft bigots who believe that the problem is that Mexicans don’t have a work ethic, I would invite them to get a summer job in a Wenatchee apple orchard, trying hard to keep up.