Some tough thoughts about immigration

Monday, November 28th, 2016
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems…they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Donald  Trump was wrong. Of course “Mexico” is  not sending people. Mexicans are coming, or at least used to. But, are there drug traffickers among them? Criminals? Rapists?  Of course. Are some good people? Of course.  The proportions don’t matter. The “problem,” people feel, is that they came and they are here.

We are not living in a world of facts. We are living in a world of perceptions. The experts have been telling us for two centuries  that free trade is good for us, but many, even after buying a Chinese-made 40″ flat screen TV for $200, perceive otherwise. Experts tell us that the amount of money that goes to abusers of the social welfare system is minimal;  that Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” meme is a fiction, but many perceive otherwise. Likewise, experts may report how immigrants boost the GDP, ensure a labor pool to pay the social security for retiring boomers, and do the jobs Americans don’t want. Simply put, they collectively pay their way plus some. But many perceive immigrants as draining our resources, taking our jobs, and perverting our culture.

The people who think this way just chose a President and now he will do their bidding. People who oppose stricter immigration enforcement feel that what may come will be too inhumane and too immoral and thus should not happen. But these people, generally the more “liberal-minded,” by and large are not open borders people. Conservative businessmen  are the open border people.  To paint with an over-broad brush, liberals want to care for everyone inside the country and know the country cannot afford to care for the whole world. The scarce resources must be re-distributed from the wealthy to the American people and non-Americans who deserve a share of the pie. Conservative businessmen, on the other hand, want people to sink or swim on their own merits. Let all with ambition come and work, and if they swim, we all swim.  But if they sink, then suffer, leave, or ….  I suspect, until the social safety net is dismantled more, even a significant number of the most conservative businessmen believe that the public cost of open borders is too high to adopt it as a policy. There is thus general agreement that everyone who may want to come and live in the United States cannot come and live here and that everyone who is already here cannot stay.

This has to mean, then, that stopping people from coming into the country or compelling some to leave is not immoral. Depending on how seriously you take the negative consequences of immigration is how severe you are willing to be in dealing with the undocumented immigrant population. If the huge numbers that voted for Donald Trump believe immigrants cost people money, take people’s jobs or at least cause lower wages, and in addition are potentially drug dealers, criminals, rapists, and terrorists, and collectively are changing the norms and values of our society, what incentive in the world could there be to not act forcefully on the problem? There are no One World, international responsibility, or God arguments that persuade.

While to tarry, on the other hand, results in the impoverishment of citizens, exposes Americans to the danger of drugs, crime, rape, and terrorism and allows for unpredictable changes to our norms and values. From that point of view, the view of the citizenry that elected the next President, it is delay that is immoral.

I do not expect to see much moderation in the immigration position of Donald Trump in January 2017.  His supporters, advisors, and he, himself,  don’t think they are doing anything wrong in trying to remove the undocumented population. Rather, it is they, they believe, who are doing the right thing and those who disagree and who erect hurdles and cause delays in enforcing immigration law are hurting Americans. So, come January, duck and cover. Posted November 28, 2016.


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