There’s been a lot of talk about immigration lately, especially with Obama’s recent executive order effectively legalizing about 5 million illegal US immigrants.
Today I’m going to talk about an immigration policy based on freedom and sound economics. As such, it will be very unlike the systems touted by both left-wingers and conservatives.
The right-wing view on immigration is one founded on fear. If all these people come across our borders, they will destroy our culture, make us speak in other languages, erase our sovereign borders, take our jobs, have sex with our daughters, and possibly incur domestic terrorist attacks. Therefore, we should build a huge wall of some kind and block all of these people out, or at a minimum, allow only a very few in at a time, using all kinds of government force and restrictions to do so. If you’re against this idea, you are anti-American (or anti-whatever-country-you-live-in), don’t value your culture or its future, and are recklessly inviting danger.
The left-wing view on immigration (as well as the view of the more corporatist side of the right wing) is one founded on insane economics and bankruptcy. It’s the view that the government (i.e. the taxpayers) have an infinite amount of money, thus we should throw the borders wide open and let anyone come in. When they come in, we should provide them with all the free stuff they want. Welfare, food stamps, social security, free healthcare, free housing, you name it, give it to them if they need it. Hey, c’mon. They’re poor. They need help. We can afford it. If you’re against this idea, you’re a selfish evil jerk, not compassionate at all, and probably racist.
I consider both the right wing and left wing as completely wrong most issues. However, immigration is one of those issues were the answer is indeed somewhere in the middle.
Here’s how you construct a rational, compassionate, and economically sane immigration policy.
Step 1: Don’t attack other countries.
What does this have to do with immigration? Well, this has to be done first, otherwise you’ll always face possible terrorist threats from immigrants to your country. Conservatives are right when they say that if the American borders were wide open, dangerous terrorists would get through. The problem is they don’t tell you the rest of the story, which is that these people wouldn’t be terrorists if we weren’t attacking everyone.
I don’t see terrorists itching to blow people up in countries that mind their own business. Do you see lots of terrorists excited to kill people in Switzerland or Hong Kong? Of course you don’t. If you don’t attack other countries, terrorists will have no real reason to harm you. So before you construct any immigration policy you need to make sure you’re leaving other countries alone. Of course you should be doing this anyway, but tell that to the neocons.
Step 2: All are welcome, but you don’t get any free stuff.
Next, open your borders wide and let anyone come in. That’s right. Anyone who wants to come in can. They can just walk right across the border and visit or even live in your country. They don’t have to speak your language (though they should if they want to get ahead in life), and they don’t even have to get a job. Anyone is free to immigrate to your country…
…BUT, and this is a big BUT, there’s a catch to this!
Non-citizen immigrants like this cannot get anything free from the taxpayer. Not one penny. No free heathcare, no welfare, no food stamps, no subsidized housing, nothing. Anyone is welcome to come in and live in our country, but if you’re not a citizen, you need to work to pay your own bills. The taxpaying citizens won’t be forced at gunpoint to give you (or your kids) free money. We Americans can’t afford it anyway; we’re $17 trillion in debt with a horribly debased currency and have $127 trillion of unfunded liabilities on top of that. Europe is in even worse shape. We can’t afford to give everyone who comes here free money, sorry.
If you want some of that free stuff the citizens are getting, then you’ll need to become a citizen, through whatever legal process the country provides. Then, after that, you can get the free stuff just like any other citizen.
Moreover, it should be stated in the law of the land (the Constitution or whatever) that citizens cannot vote to give non-citizens any free services, nor can any politician do so. Letting an unlimited amount of people immigrate to your country AND providing them with all kinds of free services will simply bankrupt your country eventually.
So let them all in, but they don’t get any free stuff unless they become citizens. Instead, they are free to get jobs and even start their own businesses here, and keep all the money from that they like after they pay the usual taxes.
Moreover, non-citizen immigrants like this can’t vote in any elections whatsoever, even local ones, unless you go through the legal process of becoming a citizen first. Again, this should be obvious, but many left-wingers would be happy to have illegal non-citizens vote in elections so their candidates can win.
Step 3: Have a one-strike-you’re-out policy for any troublemakers.
What about non-citizens who immigrate to your country and commit crimes? If we let everyone in, it’s possible, even probable, that lots of undesirables would come over. This is why non-citizens should operate under a one-strike-you’re-out policy. The instant a non-citizen immigrant like this commits one crime beyond a low-end misdemeanor, he/she is immediately expelled from the country. True, they could re-enter the country, but will be immediately arrested and imprisoned if they do so.
(In a free and rational country, prisoners in prisons would be 100% self-sufficient, growing their own food, making their own clothing, etc, so the cost to the taxpayer would be zero or close to it. But that’s a topic for another day.)
The same could apply to non-citizen immigrants who commit multiple misdemeanors. The message is that we allow anyone to come to our country with no restrictions, but while you’re here, you’d better follow our laws and be on our best behavior. Again, this should be common sense. I visit other countries all the time, and I always follow the laws of those nations when I’m there, even if I disagree with them (and I often do).
And again, any immigrant could go through the legal process of becoming a citizen and thus be treated like a normal citizen when whenever a legal issue arises.
Under this model:
- Anyone in the world who wants to may immigrate to your land and benefit from your free and prosperous economy with no restrictions.
- The government doesn’t go bankrupt and taxpayers’ money isn’t wasted.
- Terrorism isn’t a big concern
- Troublemakers are dealt with fast.
Of course no system is perfect and I’m sure you could find a few flaws with the above, but it’s still as close to win/win as you can get, as well as being far superior to anything the conservatives or left-wing has to offer.