Friday, August 13, 2010

How to Reform Immigration

Here's my plan, and it doesn't involve amnesty or increased spending on border controls. Border controls are a classic pie crust defense, and they don't work.

1. Legalize marijuana. Not because I'm a pothead. Because the pathways that illegals follow are blazed by smugglers. Shutting down the drug lord's smuggling routes would automatically make enforcement of other border problems easier.

2. Increase the gas tax. Transport into and through the United States is a major expenditure (which is while they ride fifteen to a van). Raising the cost of transport--besides being a good step towards dealing with our trade deficit--would decrease the mobility of illegal immigrants.

3. Swap legals for illegals. Every time you deport a few illegals, let another legal immigrant in to take their place. That will protect our economy from a labor shortage and reduce the number of jobs available to illegals.

4. Change our tax code. Our current tax system is easy to avoid by the undocumented. A national sales tax, VAT, Fair Tax, or the equivalent, would spread the tax burden to all people in the country, legal or not, and thus reduce the capacity of illegals to undercut legal workers.

5. Change our citizenship law. This is by far the least likely. Interpret the Fourteenth Amendment's clause "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" to exclude those who have opted out of U.S. law by entering illegally. Becoming a de facto (and eventually de jure) permanent resident by having a child in the United States would no longer be possible.


And that's how you do it.

4 Comments:

OpenID bruce-church said...

Your solution won't work since you make a number of wrong assumptions about the character of the problem, and because you don't seem to think that the issues a policed border are trying to solve are actually all that bad, namely, drugs & unemployment of Americans due to foreigners taking the jobs. Your solutions are similar to those advocated by the scorned pro-Open Borders Wall Street Journal.

First, you say legalize marijuana to stop smuggling. That's a cure that's worse than the problem itself.

Second, it's not true that most illegals are packed into vans like sardines. It may appear that way from TV since that's sensational and makes the news, but most illegals come into the country in ones and twos, and in cars. The cost of gas is not a concern since they buy most of it in Mexico where it's cheap. Some of them will pack into vehicles, but that's so they can all make a break for it if they are stopped by cops, and then the smuggler loses only one vehicle to confiscation.

Third, borders all over the world have worked well, and work well, for centuries at a time, assuming there's national will and consensus to make them work. Your blog post is prime evidence of why our border fences don't work.

cont'd...

2:45 PM  
OpenID bruce-church said...

cont'd:

Fourth, the US already has enough legal immigrants living on welfare, so bringing another one or two in for every deportation will exacerbate that problem greatly.

Fifth, if there is a labor shortage in the US, it's because of the atrocious school system, chronic divorce problems leading to fewer children per family, etc. Improve conditions here, and you'll have more qualified laborers who speak English even.

Sixth, you said change the tax code so everyone is taxed more evenly. With 20pc of Americans owning 80pc of property in the US, taxing everyone at the same rate for consumption would not raise enough to make it worth it. You must be thinking about the pre-Reagan era when a greater percent of Americans owned a greater chunk of America. Those days are gone for good (see the GINI Index). We now have a rich-poor divide in America that's similar to Mexico and S America historically. Moreover, the people the border fence is meant to keep out can avoid nearly ANY tax system since if they don't rent, their houses are made out of scraps (many of them are cash-only builders and demolishers, junk haulers, landscapers, and are into tree removal which can be used for boards), and landfill debris, and then covered with plaster and stucco.

Sixth, your idea of changing the Anchor Baby law has some merit, except that only about 7,000 OTMs (other than Mexicans) per year take advantage of that law, whereas a half million or more anchor babies are born to illegals each year, but under the current regime those illegals aren't being kicked out in great numbers anyway. There are 11 to 20 million illegals in the country, but only a few hundred thousand are deported each year, and each year the deportees are replaced by new fence hoppers.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

That's a cure that's worse than the problem itself.

You must have read vastly different research than I have. To me, defunding the drug lords is reason in itself. Controlling the border is a side benefit.

It may appear that way from TV since that's sensational and makes the news, but most illegals come into the country in ones and twos, and in cars.

Living, as I do, in a community which is mainly illegal immigrants, this is an incorrect assertion.


borders all over the world have worked well, and work well, for centuries at a time,

Only if you define, "worked well" as "absorbed almost all of the military capacity thereof".

7:36 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

the US already has enough legal immigrants living on welfare,

Legal immigrants are on welfare at much lower rates than are either natives or illegals.


if there is a labor shortage in the US,

The labor shortage would be created by removing illegals and not replacing them.


but under the current regime those illegals aren't being kicked out in great numbers anyway.

It's all about the margins. If, by addressing pull factors, you can reduce the inflow to below the outflow, eventually the problem will be taken care of.


since if they don't rent,

In my community, they do rent, though they may have three families in a three bedroom apartment. Their limited employment, and the need to send money back home, is a large constraint on their resources. Working the margins on their incomes would send the most marginal ones back home.

An increased gas tax would be a good example of an unavoidable tax, as illegal communities are unusually dependent on mobility (though they do gravitate towards the cheaper means of travel).

7:42 PM  

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