So with all the controversy surrounding the Arizona immigration law, I thought it was probably high time I said something on the subject. And so, without further ado-
I've noticed that some people seem to have this view that immigration is evil, no matter whether its legal or not. Their thinking is that America is for the Americans, whatever that means. Then we have people who think that "illegal" immigration should be stopped. Then there are still others who think that immigration is fine and all, but once people are here, they should "become American"- whatever weird "American" they're thinking of. Then there are people who are of the opinion we should just let anyone and everyone in, whether they are legal or no.
As for me- well, I'm not really sure. One thing I do know is that, if we completely stopped immigration, our economy would most likely either stagnate or implode completely as cheap labor ceased to come in. However, if we let too many in, we might see either not enough jobs to go around and unemployment would skyrocket, or more jobs being created as labor became cheaper as the workforce expanded.
One thing I do think is a given- the immigration system America currently has needs a lot of work. For one thing, its astronomically expensive. And if anybody can figure out how a Spanish-speaking Mexican national who lives on three bucks a day can get into a country that requires thousands of dollars and the completion of multiple forms (all in English) before they can even have a hope of eventually getting into America legally (within oh, ten years), then that person will officially become a genius in my eyes.
So for starters, it would help immensely if we cut down on how much it cost. Yes, yes, I know- "if they want it enough, they'll pay for it." With what money, pray tell? We expect them to go to the end of a rainbow and nicely ask the leprechaun for his pot of gold?
Now, for illegal immigration- yes, it is a problem. But when one has a problem, it oftentimes helps to trace the problem back to the source. Why is it a problem? If people feel the need to come here illegally, why? I think it can be traced back to some of the above factors, at least some of the illegal immigration. It's too expensive. They can't afford it. What do they have to lose if they try to just cross the border? Deportation? Won't be any worse than the hell-hole they're in at the moment. Length of the process. Once again. What do they have to lose if they try to cross the border immediately?
And so, it is easier to come across illegally.
Now, for those illegals who are motivated by the profits to be gained here- drug dealers, etc. Well, let's see. We've been fighting a "war on drugs" since 1971. Since 2009, we've also been sending money to Mexico to try to help them eradicate the drug problem. Let's see...1971, it's now been almost 40 years since we've started this "war on drugs"?
That means that, in 40 years, we've not only failed to eradicate drug abuse and drug dealers, but the problem has only escalated. In 2003, it was estimated that over 50% of high school seniors were abusing drugs. 20% of 8th graders had tried marijuana. In 2007, 8% of people over 12 had "used" illicit drugs. (This site has an excellent map of drug abuse stats, etc.) According to Wikipedia, in 2005, we had arrested more than 2 million people for drug use.
The "drug war" has failed. Its just wasting money. So stop. Remove the stigma from marijuana, and I do believe we'd see use fall. Yes, people would still use drugs. But it's their body. They can mess with it if they want. And if use fell, we'd see drug dealers trying to get in from Mexico cease trying to get in as much.
Next, obviously our "wall" at the border hasn't managed to keep anything out. As Gary Johnson said- "A 10-foot wall [just] requires an 11-foot ladder." Or, in the case of some of the drug dealers, it just requires a truck with some handy hiding places, and not so much luck as you'd think. Some of the border patrol officers seem more inclined to harass a middle-aged man with his white wife and three teenage children (have a friend that happened to) than the people who might, more logically, be drug dealers. That just shows you the power of a quota.
So here's what we need to do- either hire border patrol officers with more sense, or institute a better system. Oh yeah, and make sure that people who are here illegally can leave, and not detain them as they try to leave, spending lots of money keeping them in jail, because that's just silly. Then, we should streamline the immigration process, and make it so that it is less expensive and takes less time to come here legally.
Anyway. Just my thoughts on this subject.