Monday, February 11, 2008

"What are you going to do, deport twelve million people?!?"

One of the things that opponents to enforcing the immigration laws of the United States often shout hysterically is "What are you going to do, deport twelve million people?" The answer - always met with derision and mocking - is "we won't have to." Well, here's evidence from Fox News that we really won't have to: Illegals Begin Leaving Arizona as New Law Approaches.

UPDATE: Here's more info.

Tim Scott


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it makes sense. Immigrants respond to supply and demand, just like anyone else. Businesses concerned primarily with their bottom line have created a demand for low-wage workers, which the well-educated American workforce cannot supply. There will always be someone waiting to fill that gap.

This is why I don't understand the virulent opposition to illegals, as people. American businessmen and women have created a reality that immigrants have responded to in droves. The American government, responding the realities of the low-wage competition globalization has brought, along with the enormous cross-border trade industry that ornerous border protection would inevitably hamper (and that's extremely bad news when Mexico is your third largest trading partner in the world, with 13% of American exports, a declining industry by any standard of measurement, being shipped there), is going to have to make an ugly trade-off. It's the same reason why the "war" on drugs hasn't put a dent in the illegal drug trade...the costs of stringently enforcing the laws far exceed the benefits.

Yes, in the world of legal philosophical utopia, America would enforce its laws, even to its economic peril. And who am I to ask the people who fervently believe that their country is being usurped by illegals to give up on the fight? But I do wish the fiery rhetoric on each side of the "OMG R DA ILLEGULZ GUD OR EVULL??!?!?!" would yield just a smidge to understand the realities of this incredibly complex situation.

There is no magical panacea. There is no decision that can be made without undesirable trade-offs. We cannot secure the borders to ebb the flow of illegal immigrants without harming trade. And American businesses, who are feeling the pinch (understatement of the year) of a globalized market aren't about to willingly give up their cheap source of labor. Believe it...the lobby groups fighting hardest against tough immigration laws aren't your incredibly overhyped radical pro-immigration groups, they are business associations.

So hey, go after businesses, just like Arizona is doing. It truly is the most effective manner of dealing with the problem (and something a super-electrified fence shooting out radioactive barbs and red, white and blue laser beams can never accomplish). But expect the price of your precious consumer goods to go up. Expect businesses to tank as they begin to realize the long-term realities of their bottom line-fueled decisions. Expect urban tensions to rise. And expect American-born workers to have to fill the low-wage employment gaps illegal immigrants leave in their wake. And if those things are trade-offs you are willing to endure, then you can at least make a morally consistent case against the American stalemate on the issue. Too bad morally consistent just doesn't hold much sway in the halls of Congress and the White House. Not when soooo much green is at stake.

February 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM 

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