Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Homeland Security and "Minutemen"

The disease: Rampant poverty and joblessness in Mexico, strict immigration regulations and waiting periods to get access to better paying jobs in the United States.
The symptoms: Illegal Immigration

What are we treating, The symptoms or the disease?

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Homeland Security Department will assign more than 500 additional patrol agents to the porous Arizona border, saying they will help keep potential terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the country, The Associated Press has learned.

The border buildup was to be announced Wednesday -- two days before civilian volunteers with the so-called Minuteman Project begin a monthlong Arizona patrol against immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico line."

I don't support illegal immigration. I don't condone it nor do I support amnesty proposals that also further neglect the root of the problem. With Mexico's economic situation continuing to make the United States a better option for employment to many of its citizens, the immigration and work visa demands are going to remain through the roof. At the same time the restrictions and extended waiting periods to even work a seasonal job in the United States legally continue to allow a trickle of legal immigration and work visas versus the immense flood of demand.

Fortification of the border is appealing to many Americans. Either by a huge boost in manpower and equipment for border patrols or literally fortifying the border using military manpower and equipment, walling it off, or creating other hazards. Just like amnesty this has no effect whatsoever on the high demand for temporary work visas and immigration versus the much lower rate allowed in legally. No matter how hard a government may try to keep something of high demand banned or heavily restricted the black market finds a way. Lessons of prohibition and the drug war should have taught us that by now. About the only way one can truly crush a black market with such high demand is by limiting freedom and implementing more oppressive measures. Something that most people would say they'd never support in the same conversation they confess that door to door searches for illegal aliens sound like a great idea.

So if illegal immigration is part of the symptoms, should we focus on the disease and ignore the symptoms? To suggest such a thing would be as absurd as a doctor giving you antibiotics for an infection but ignoring a harmful symptom such as a dangerously high fever. Demanding fortification of the border but opposing any immigration reform being the flip side of the analogy, giving you an aspirin for the fever but ignoring the infection that could cause you irreparable harm.

It's commendable that citizens are volunteering to help with the border patrol of our expansive border with Mexico to help cut back the flood of illegal immigration which is, sad to say, a pretty big gaping hole in our national security when it comes to tracking potential terrorists entering the country. The news of Homeland Security getting a burr up their hindquarters to do their job so average citizens don't have to do it for them is good news, to be certain. But how long are we going to attempt to fight this fever and ignore the infection eating through the flesh?

To some the idea of Mexican immigrants and temporary workers is horrific, whether legal or illegal. They are typically easy to coax into admitting their xenophobic issues. They'll rant and rave over the illegal immigrants but their complaints often include issues that cover all immigrants, legal or illegal. Suggestions to increase the limits and cut back the wait on legal immigration and work visas so that at least they are documented and checked out before coming into the country are met with harsh criticisms of immigration in general. You'd think that by switching the flood of foreign workers and immigrants from an almost unrestricted, unregulated, and insecure black market situation to a restricted, regulated and far more secure legal system that our border patrol resources could focus on the much smaller portion of dangerous immigrants who would find it necessary to avoid documentation, background checks, and so on by continuing to sneak in at risk of life and limb.

It's sad that a nation founded of such a large proportion of immigrants would have such a great disdain for newer immigrants. The people complaining rarely mention any Native American tribal affiliations, so their complaints often fall into the category of ironic hypocrisy.

Open legal immigration up so we can let our border patrols focus on the dangerous illegal immigrants, come up with a compromise on what we should do with the illegals already in the country, and end the xenophobic hypocrisy.

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