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Illogical Immigration

Almost no one that can command an audience will publicly state that illegal immigration isn't a problem for the United States, but many of the arguments in the debate are seriously devoid of logic.

Jan A. Larson

Almost no one that can command an audience will publicly state

that illegal immigration isn't a problem for the United States, but

many of the arguments in the debate are seriously devoid of


Opponents of increasing border security claim that immigrants

are hard working, honest people that are simply looking to

improve their lives. In many cases that is true, but there is a

second group of immigrants whose goals are not so noble – drug

trafficking, gang-related activities and yes, terrorism.

"None of the 9/11 terrorists came across the border from

Mexico." Yes, and at one time Neil Armstrong hadn't walked

on the moon. What is your point? That was then and this is

now. You can put locks and an alarm on your front door, but if

you leave the back door open, your house will be burglarized

sooner or later. The tightening of the borders that may prevent

otherwise hard-working people seeking to improve their lives

from entering the United States, but most Americans want the

borders tightened to prevent terrorists from prancing across the

border unimpeded.

"A fence won't solve the problem." That may come as a

surprise to the folks at American Fence Company [1] who have

been making their living building fences since 1948. If my

recollection of history is correct, the East Germans had pretty

good luck in reducing unwanted migration with the Berlin Wall

and, frankly, there is very little pedestrian traffic through my

fenced back yard. Fences and walls have been used for

thousands of years and I think the track record is fairly

compelling. To suggest that a fence won't solve the problem

may be technically correct when all aspects of illegal

immigration are considered, it will certainly solve the problem

of unfettered access across the border.

"Immigrants do the work that Americans are unwilling to do."

As anyone that has watched an episode of the Discovery

Channel's "Dirty Jobs" program can attest, there are virtually no

jobs that Americans won't do … if the price is right. There's the

rub. Illegals do those jobs because they will accept very low

wages for doing them. This is simple economics. Want proof?

Just see who applies for housekeeping or landscaping jobs if

they are offered at $40 per hour.

There is debate as to whether illegal immigrants have a net

positive effect (performing labor-intensive jobs for low wages)

or negative effect (draining public services without contributing

a corresponding amount in taxes) on the U. S. economy, but

while I am personally not threatened by the prospect that my job

will be lost to an illegal, illegals do take jobs away from

Americans at the low end of the labor market. They take the

jobs that low skilled and entry-level workers seek thereby

preventing many otherwise hard-working Americans from

improving their lives.

"Politicians are afraid of losing Hispanic votes." If this were

true, then we need to get new politicians (which wouldn't be a

bad idea even if this weren't true). Considering that illegals

don't vote and the livelihoods of unskilled, legal Hispanics are

threatened by illegals, I personally don't understand why any

politician would stand to lose any votes by advocating increased

border security. The votes they should be concerned about are

the Caucasian, African-American and Asian-American votes that

they will lose if they don't do something about border security.

"Let's work with Mexico to solve the problem." You might was

well suggest working with your ex-wife to reduce your alimony

payments. Mexico has no interest in limiting migration into the

United States. The Mexican economy cannot support its

population and for every person that crosses into the United

States, the Mexican government says, "goodbye, good luck and

don't forget to send a check every month." Make no mistake,

Mexico benefits from migration to the United States. There is

no downside. South of the border rhetoric aside, not only does

Mexico have no vested interest in reducing migration, it is in

Mexico's interest to increase outbound migration. We are

foolish to expect any help from the Mexican government.

"What about the Canadian border?" If your toilet valve is

leaking two gallons of water per minute and your kitchen faucet

drips once every five, which are you going to fix first? The

flood is coming from the south, not the north.

Do we benefit from cheap labor? Certainly we do. Does the

United States offer the promise of improving lives? Yes it does,

but with estimates of up to 12 million illegals already in the

United States, it only stands to reason that at least some of them

are undesirable. Unless the ceaseless flow of immigrants is

stopped, the number of undesirables will only increase. We

need to stop making illogical arguments about the immigration

problem and get to work to fix it.


Copyright ©2006 Jan A. Larson All rights reserved

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