Missing the Point on Immigration

This tempest in a teapot caught my eye because it highlights just one of the many absurd aspects of so-called “illegal” immigration. People who care where Border Patrol uniforms are made are guilty of rearranging the deck chairs aboard the Titanic. There are larger issues here.

Harry Browne gave a speech at the 2003 Freedom Summit in which he said, “A free state doesn’t care who crosses the border. A welfare state is scared to death of every poor person who enters and every rich person who leaves.” Truer words have never been spoken.

Representative John Carter is quoted in this article as saying, “How do you know who are our guys and who are their guys?” How do we, indeed, Mr. Carter. Let’s ignore for the moment that this is a nation of immigrants — we wouldn’t exist without them. Let’s forget that the Statue of Liberty still beckons the world: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” — we haven’t exactly turned on the “No Vacancy” sign. Consider the simple fact, brilliantly underscored by Mr. Carter’s remarks, that a citizen of this country and a non-citizen are indistinguishable. How do we know “our” guys from “their” guys? The only way is through positive identification. But the only way to achieve this goal is by violating our own citizens’ rights to privacy and anonymity by compelling them to submit to and carry State-issued “papers,” namely a passport.

This violation would seem almost tolerable if it actually solved the problem it was intended to solve, but it doesn’t. And it can’t. Because we are attempting to solve a problem that cannot, and should not, be solved. The real issue here is not that people are entering the country, but that they are entering the country and using government-provided “services” for which they have allegedly not paid.

Since no one else seems to be asking the obvious question, I will. Why is the government providing these services in the first place? Confiscating tax money from the citizenry to pay for health care, education, and anything else the government dreams up is not only unConstitutional but immoral. Moreover, if we simply eliminated all of these services, the immigration problem evaporates overnight. No one but the most xenophobic among us should care who is entering this country once we are no longer picking up the tab.

Want to stop worrying about Border Patrol uniforms? Stop spending billions on the Border Patrol. Get rid of them. It’s not like they are actually protecting our borders anyway. They will freely admit that they don’t have the resources to do the job, and with organizations like the Minutemen demonstrating that civilians can perform the job at least as well, if not better, there is no reason to keep them around.

It is sad to me that a single breath is wasted on the debate over where some uniforms are made. They have completely missed the point.

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