Americans have recently been informed that Mexicans are sneaking into the US, picking tomatoes, working in factories, founding plumbing companies, and generally making us look lazy. Apparently this behavior has been going on for some time; it’s really surprising that no one noticed before now. (There are two Mexican Ph.D. students in the lab where I work… I’m surprised they have time to take the jobs of hard-working American tomato-pickers, since no matter what hour I go to the lab they’re at their benches designing gene-therapy vectors.)
From an economic point of view, this means that Mexicans who would have been assembling parts for American companies in Juarez are now assembling them in Houston. Obviously, the economic effects on American-born computer programmers in Seattle will be catastrophic. More of their products will be stamped "Made In America," lowering their perceived reliability. Seattle dwellers already live perched on the knife-edge of Seasonal Affective Disorder; the psychological trauma of knowing that their home appliances were made in the US might cause them all to commit suicide, or at least listen to boring pop songs about it.
The Taco Curtain
The solution is obvious. First, we pay Halliburton one trillion dollars (plus expenses) to construct a 100X-scale Berlin Wall around the entire United States (including Alaska, can’t have those treacherous Inuit smuggling non-government-approved workers in their umiaks… what kind of real Amurrican drives an "Umiak," anyway? Good patriots drive vehicles made in THIS country, like Hondas or Toyotas.)
Second, we will create another huge government bureaucracy to defend the country’s borders. We could call it the Defense Department…. no, the Homeland Security Department… well, all the good English names seem to be in use already by organizations that do other things (whatever those things are). I guess we’ll just have to outsource to a foreign source for the name; we could call it the NKVD (as most of the ex-Soviet Empire doesn’t seem to want to use that name for anything anymore).
Third, we force every human north and south of the Texas border (including the Canadians) to have a chip implanted that will display their SS#, retinal pattern, and detailed sexual preferences when scanned. The chip will be wirelessly updated by the new "collar" cellphones, which are locked on the neck when the child-citizen is tattooed with its SS#. When the GPS on the cellphone detects that the citizen is at latitude coordinates on the "wrong" side of the Rio Grande, it will detonate a shaped cutting charge that will implode the citizen’s head in a safe yet spectacular vertical collapse, a la World Trade Center 7.
Thus, we will finally achieve the neocons’ goal of "a place for every citizen, and every citizen in their place." Forever. This will free up US government resources for more important projects, such as suppressing Middle East oil production, nation-building in the Third World, and bringing democracy to Afghanistan and Florida (just kidding about Florida).
Those Awful Foreigners!
We instinctively fear and hate "the outsider"… even though Americans now come from every place on Earth, and few people suggest that any ethnic group be forcibly returned (except for those lazy, drunken Irish). Also, in modern times our fear of those outside the tribe is a little misplaced. No roving nomad can actually come and take your tribe’s favorite berry patch without paying for it… with the exception of any large developer who pays your city council to use eminent domain and turn your berry patch into a commercial development. But those large developers are rarely illegal immigrants.
From the very beginning of the Republic, American politicians have made emotional political capital out of the fear of foreign devils. First, in the 1700s, it was those irresponsible Germans who would threaten our "essentially English" culture (presumably from their excessive punctuality and thrift). After the Germans had become our second-largest ethnicity, worry turned to the aforementioned lazy, drunken Irish. The Irish in turn having become so popular that more people claim to be Irish than really are, other groups replaced them as the menace o’ the day. The stupid Swedes, the mindless Poles, the un-Christian Jews, the too-Catholic Italians, even the obscure Croatians (who sent us such shiftless drifters as Tesla); all this teeming refuse and more deluged our shores. In 1910, 14.7 percent of US residents were foreign born, much higher than today’s 10 percent or so.
All this occurred without much real interference from politicians. Only the Orientals suffered from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, passed because of the well-known racial inferiority of the Chinese. It was obvious to the Americans of 1882 that no nation composed of Chinamen would ever be able to excel in the sciences…
In the 1920s, more brilliant Aryan master-race schemes were passed. One group restricted were the Japanese, thus ensuring that hundreds of thousands of smart, hard-working people were forced to stay in Hirohito’s Japan and work for Mitsubishi et. al.
Fortunately, not all the European Jews were kept from escaping to America before WWII. Though many thousands kept out by immigration restrictions went to unnecessary deaths in the Holocaust, at least most of the nuclear physicists managed to escape involuntary employment under Hitler. Jingoists should think really hard about an alternate WWII where Germany had not only the best jet aircraft, the most advanced cruise and ballistic missiles, but nuclear bombs as well.
When the best and brightest people can flee to the most peaceful and freest nations, the whole world is safer.
Or Maybe It’s The Awful Natives?
Libertarians should have learned by now to be a little suspicious when politicians offer to solve our problems with the use of minefields and secret police. Especially when it’s the same politicians who created the problems in the first place.
We laugh at the stupidity of our ancestors, who sincerely believed that Irish were all lazy drunks, Jews had low IQs, Chinese could not be doctors, etc. We now know that Irish are very productive drunks, Jews have inherently high IQs (the fact that their mothers make them study hard can’t have anything to do with it, of course), and only Chinese or Indians can be doctors or scientists (math courses are too much work for white students). However, as with any other area of life, these things are more accurately discovered by market processes rather than by a large secret police bureaucracy.
There are two legitimate worries about immigration. One is that the Mexican culture will produce millions who will vote for more government. This is a little funny, because it wasn’t illegal immigrants who voted us into socialism; it was our own English-speaking great-grandfathers who voted for FDR. Mexicans don’t even control their OWN country’s policies; Mexican (or any Third World nation’s) politics is always dominated by the faction that gets the most US foreign aid. (Remember when Clinton "found" $35 billion for the Mexican government bailout? Or is that one down the memory hole already?)
It is legitimate to worry about other people voting your money away. However, those people are already here. They are the fourth-generation welfare families; people like the CEOs of Archer Daniels Midland, Halliburton, et al. And they control the Diebold vote, which is now the biggest voting bloc.
The only solution to this problem is to educate the productive classes about economics, while they still outnumber the non-working. Hernando de Soto does this; so does Alvaro Vargas Llosa. And they don’t spend time blaming the clueless US taxpayer for funding the parasitic governing u2018elites’ of Latin America… although they certainly would be justified if they did.
Immigration is a Libertarian Opportunity
The other "problem" is that immigrants will expose the unworkability of America’s various socialist programs, including our Federally controlled schools and medical system, a few years before they would otherwise collapse. (The immigrants are actually funding the Social Security system, but fortunately it will collapse anyway). This is indeed a problem… for socialists. The existence of a welfare state makes open immigration into a problem… for them. Every immigration conflict is an insoluble conundrum for the statist, but an opportunity for privatization for the libertarian.
Open borders between the US states have been a force against state-government welfare programs. David Friedman put it like this on his blog: "If welfare is provided and paid for by the states, high levels of income redistribution tend to pull poor people into, and drive taxpayers out of, states that provide them. That provides a potent political incentive to hold down redistribution. This is one example of a more general principle: The more mobile taxpayers are, the more governments, like businesses in a competitive market, have to provide them value for their money, and thus the less able they are to tax A in order to buy the votes of B."
If you believe that forbidding Americans to hire Mexicans will help our economy, then surely it would help to forbid the people of New Hampshire from hiring immigrants seeking tax asylum from Taxachussets. Refugees from New Orleans should be forbidden to work or live in Houston. In fact, everyone should just stay in their father’s village and follow his trade.
Americans are being conditioned to live in a Soviet-style prison nation with border minefields, national electronic ID, travel controls, random searches, etc. all justified by the need to protect the welfare state against the poor of the world. It isn’t the libertarian’s job to defend the welfare state, or the Gulag that it always becomes. It is our job to point out that the State itself is the problem. Without the US government support for Third World kleptocracies, more countries would be free (and more people would want to stay there). Without public schools, "free" medical care, etc., immigrants would not drain our nation. They would power it, as they did in the early 20th century.
Libertarian supporters of the new NKVD say that we need a Berlin Wall around the US because cutting welfare is "politically impossible." This is nonsense. The welfare state is intellectually dead. Capitalism has swept the world. The only people still convinced that the elimination of government programs is impossible seem to be American libertarians; the "Communist" Estonians, Czechs, Chinese, etc. certainly don’t believe it. And eliminating the welfare state is the solution to all immigration problems.
It isn’t poor Mexican workers that are trying to take our freedoms away. Poor Mexican workers aren’t going to send your children to die in unending Middle Eastern wars, spy on your email, or disappear you to some foreign CIA prison. Every libertarian knows where the real enemy is (hint: think "Potomac" instead of "Rio Grande"). If it scares you too much to face it, don’t take it out on Juan or Pedro. You may be wading the Rio Grande yourself on your way south ten years from now. ~ "Guillermo" Walker
Bill Walker [send him mail] works in HIV and gene therapy research in Rochester, Minnesota.