Forget About the Wall And Fix The Stinkin' Door

My son comes to me all the time asking for help looking for something he lost, and my reply is usually the same: “How about you clean your room first. After that, if you still can’t find it, I’ll be glad to help.” Although it’s not the answer he’s looking for, it’s the solution he needs. After all, losing something rarely is the main problem; it’s usually a side effect of the real issue-- disorganization.

Unfortunately, kids aren’t the only ones who spend way too much time trying to alleviate symptoms while never addressing the real problems. In fact, I believe Congress has raised it to the level of an art form.

What would you say if a friend came to you asking for help saying, “Every time I climb through the window to get into my house, I cut my hand on some glass.” Would you help him fix the window, or would you first ask what’s wrong with the door? First, you’d probably ask yourself why you had such idiotic friends. But this is exactly what’s happening on our borders. Prompted by the continuous flow of illegal immigrants flooding in from Mexico, Arizona took it upon itself to try to do something. In theory, what they did was make it easier for local law enforcement to take action against a federal crime, but in practice, all they did was try to fix the window.

But before you spend a second of your time debating the possible effects of the legislation, ask yourself this: "Why is no one working on fixing the door?" The real problem is not with the number of people trying to get into the country, it’s why they choose to do it illegally. When you stop worrying about all the symptoms, the disease is actually quite easy to identify: an inefficient bureaucracy. If the department of immigration and naturalization ran effectively, most of the problems along our southern border would cure themselves.

In the 90’s, there was actually a strong market in counterfeit tickets to Indians games, and people were often caught trying to sneak in. Tickets were expensive and hard to come by and those desperate enough to catch the action live tried just about everything to get into a game.  Now, you’d have to be a fool to try and sneak into a game. With the sellout streak history and promotions practically giving away tickets, the risk of getting caught is nowhere near the potential gain.

So in 2010, why does the path toward citizenship seem to take longer now than it did back on Ellis Island a hundred years ago? Work permits should be relatively cheap and easily obtainable at every border crossing and point of entry. The government should hand out temporary work permits like candy on Halloween. If you cut through the red tape and offered an easy path to lawfully work and live, the flood of illegal immigrants would quickly dry up. And if you backed that up with stronger enforcement and punishment for the businesses that hire those here illegally, the only people who would risk crossing the fence would be drug dealers and terrorists. And at that point, you could pretty much tell the border patrol to shoot on sight.

This doesn’t have to be that difficult. Illegal immigration hurts everyone, as we’re all forced to pick up the tab for the extra public services and bridge the gap in the loss of payroll and income taxes. This may come as a surprise to many of you, but this is actually one area in which I would welcome an increase in the size of government. And if the government can’t pick up the slack and build an express lane to the American Dream, then they need to find a way to let private industry get it done.

Either way, a work visa should be as easy to get as a fishing license. People are coming into the country one way or another, so we might as well embrace the situation and make it work for us, rather than continuing to fight it to the detriment of all. This isn’t like the people who say we should legalize drugs since you can’t keep people from doing them. In most cases, it’s a matter of speeding up the clerical issues separating an honest day’s labor from an otherwise honest day laborer.

To solve the problem of illegal immigration we need to quit focusing on the immigrant and start fixing the legal system.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 8:25 AM, 05.19.2010