I find the opposition to the wall baffling. First, it is a public works project which Democrats usually would like. The opposition is so intense it seems to imply something else is going on. How could a wall be so important?
Numerous times President Trump has tried to put the wall into spending bills and Democrats have practically gone to the ends of the Earth to prevent the funding. The current appropriation bill passed a few weeks ago actually has language in it that prevents any structure over 20 feet from being constructed and only repair of existing wall essentially. The Democrats seemed to be willing to give up the 1.8M DACA applicants to stop the wall from being built.
Liberals have argued the wall won’t work. Yet they oppose it so strongly. They say that we can have other measures that will work as well. So, if they are really for reducing illegal immigration and preventing a huge increase in illegal immigration again then why oppose the wall so vehemently? This is puzzling to me and implies frankly that they aren’t sincere in their opposition to illegal immigration.
Why are they for illegal immigration? Why not fight more for more legal immigration?
Let me recount quickly the reasons that the oft stated arguments that illegal immigrants benefit America is false:
1) Illegal Immigrants are second class citizens always on the edge of being found out and deported. Nothing will change this without making them legal and effectively creating an open border. America should never have 2 classes of citizen, one class which is abused and cheated and can’t rise to be what other Americans can. In principal the whole idea of illegal immigrants is fundamentally a slave concept and should be stopped on basic rights and moral grounds.
2) Illegal immigrants share much of the money they make outside the country which is a fine foreign aid strategy but means the illegal immigrants produce little net spending benefit to America.
3) Illegal immigrants generally can’t buy or don’t buy car insurance, medical insurance and therefore don’t provide the payments needed to handle their responsibility when things go wrong. Thus the rest of society picks up the bills when things don’t go right.
4) Illegal immigrants are not tracked and may be using social services in huge numbers. This includes various food stamp and other programs. Since there is no accounting for their work and it is all under the table typically there is no way for us to know if they are making $80,000/year or $10,000 and therefore they are almost certainly receiving a lot of social insurance. A cost Americans must pay. We pay to educate their children. Overall children of illegal immigrants may be making a million dollars from taxpayers over their education years and not pay taxes to compensate the taxpayers. They also go to colleges and get grants and take the places of citizens. They consume resources in public schools and create additional costs for other language teachers and remedial education, special needs education which taxpayers pay.
5) Illegal immigrants may pay some taxes in some of their jobs but overall they cannot be paying anywhere near what actual citizens are paying. Thus all the costs described above are coming out of ordinary citizens taxes as a hidden burden.
6) Illegal immigrants are not “required to go through vetting or civic education”. We don’t know the quality or the proclivities of illegal immigrants. Some may be terrorists or other mass criminals. We also dilute our culture by not having people who have to go through the legal immigration process.
7) Illegal immigrants are MORE criminal than citizens or legal immigrants. There is no doubt of this. Sometimes advocates will argue combining illegal and legal immigrants trying to make the issue into a “race” issue. Legal immigrants have lower crime rate than regular americans. This is logical since they have to spend years and thousands of dollars to get in they aren’t likely to throw it away and commit crimes when they get here. Thus legal immigrants are vastly less criminal. If you combine the statistics you might come up with numbers for immigrants total which appear lower or similar to overall American crime rates but the fact is straightforwardly determined.
Federal Prisons are 25% full of illegal immigrants. This is more than 5 times their percentage in the population. State prisons are 5-15% illegal immigrants. No matter how you count this illegal immigrants are a huge percentage of our prison population vastly outnumbering their percentage in the population. This is astonishing because their hidden nature probably would make it harder to find and prosecute them. Also, many are simply sent home when convicted. Thus it is pretty clear. Nonetheless people say they are less criminal. Arizona did a well controlled study and determined that illegals were twice as likely to commit all kinds of crime including violent crime and homicide.
Our criminal justice system is extremely expensive. Finding criminals involves using numerous very expensive police, investigators, extensive time and effort. After apprehended our court system is extremely expensive. Lawyers, judges and all the staff and legal Government infrastructure costs a fortune. Then if convicted they are sent to prison and this costs $60,000 per year. A typical illegal immigrant murderer might cost 1, 2 or 3 million dollars. Who pays for this? How does the benefit of the little taxes and economic benefit of the low wage illegal somehow compensate for the incredible costs I have documented above? It can’t. It’s impossible.
This is not counting the actual crimes committed which if those people weren’t here the pain and suffering of people injured in car accidents, criminal actions, drug dealing, rapes, homicide wouldn’t have happened. It’s simply hard to understand the argument of those in favor of illegal immigration. It’s obviously extremely negative.
8) Illegal immigrants can’t become Elon Musks or start companies and hire tens of thousands of employees. Since they are illegal they will encounter roadblocks in all directions trying to achieve success in America. Illegal immigrants will have a wall above them which prevents them from achieving what legal immigrants and citizens can. This means their benefit is capped. They can only produce the wealth of small laborers not the Elon Musks. They do not win Nobel prizes or advance us intellectually as they are almost always much lower on the educational ladder since their home countries typically have far worse education.
9) Lastly, illegal immigrants by definition are fleeing a country which does not provide them economic viability and may be repressing them. We are providing an outlet that allows dictators and corrupt politicians to brush off reform and just let people upset with them to leave. This leaves them free to plunder the remaining people. We do no favor to these countries by having all these able bodied people leaving their country. The argument that liberals use that these people are great and helping our country implicitly says that we are stealing these resources from their countries. There is no good reason for mass migration of populations from countries unless the country they are leaving is a shithole and the leaders are corrupt evil people. What person can be proud of a country that 33% of their citizens leave? Obviously this is overlooked all the time. These people should not have to mass migrate unless the governments they are leaving are indeed evil and corrupt. We should focus more on fixing that then moving a large fraction of the population to America.
Arguments for Illegal Immigration
Numerous arguments have been made for illegals.
1) They produce work that Americans won’t do
2) Net Net they produce positive output that bolsters our GDP
3) Some industries would see a decline like grapes or agriculture if we didn’t have these workers
4) Some of these people are actually quite good su chefs, tradesman, craftsmen, workers that perform functions that even Americans wouldn’t perform as well.
5) They produce fewer crimes than legal Americans
6) They are Navy seals and start companies, they pay taxes and are good citizens, good students in college.
All these arguments have an element of truth. We may have to automate some industries to offset some of the labor. Some industries without cheap labor will suffer and costs of people to clean your house, possibly restaurant meals will climb in price. However, what these arguments overlook is the enormous cost for the benefits argued above many of which are extremely weak.
I have shown it is simply impossible for illegal immigrants to be a net net positive. There are also moral arguments that I believe are unassailable.
Why do Democrats or others argue leniency for illegal immigrants?
It’s a number of factors I think.
1) If you know an illegal it feels harsh to consider the idea they may be sent away. Funny that liberals will argue that their home countries aren’t shitholes but the implicit point of the horror of sending them away implies they would face a dramatically inferior life if they went home. Maybe that’s true. Nonetheless, the US can help people in countries many ways. This is one way that has an enormous set of problems and I argue that their home countries would be better off if a lot of illegals went back decrying the low job availability and corruption in their countries. Maybe some would run for office or change things. If their labor is good it should benefit their home countries. We shouldn’t assume it is a death knell to send someone back. Further since the costs in lost jobs and wages of having more cheap labor in America are hidden people don’t see the negatives frequently of these people here.
Frequently people know people who are high functioning and don’t know criminals or if someone becomes a burden or has a car accident and things happen you don’t see that over the whole society and the costs and who pays. There is an assumption that social services are free and people don’t mention if they use food stamps or how much of our education system. They don’t show us how much taxes they pay. They don’t interact with criminals as much as good people. Thus people who know illegals probably don’t know or see the overall problem.
2) People who hire illegals (corporate as well as individuals) get to pay lower wages since these people don’t pay taxes and their social costs are hidden. They don’t buy insurance, etc. Thus their costs are lower and this allows agriculture and individual homeowners who get gardens done or have their house cleaned get a benefit they wouldn’t be able to afford in many cases if those workers had to have insurance, be responsible and pay taxes etc…
3) It seems extremely likely that Democrats believe that illegal immigrants somehow benefit them electorally. The claim is that they don’t vote. So, the question is why do they benefit them? They won’t let us look to find out how many illegals vote but the fact they hide it and fight so hard for illegals implies it could be millions as Donald Trump has said. Thus the democrats effectively have been arguing that somehow someway they can replace the voters who don’t vote with them with more reliable voters. That is fundamentally selfish and immoral. Why can’t liberals convince citizens to vote for them?
4) There is an argument that elites want a fungible workforce of cheap labor. Globalists like George Soros want huge numbers of illegals possibly to create chaos and roil the currency markets. Rich people don’t want wages of middle class to rise as it increases their costs and potentially decreases their share of the wealth. Rich people want to be able to roam the world with their corporations looking for cheap labor and move them around. They also want to move among all the countries of the world in their expensive houses with impunity and treat the world as the same all over. They don’t want the US to be special.
5) Lastly there is an argument that liberals prefer downtrodden classes and enslaved people as it gives them a reliable voting block that they feed off of and abuse. Black districts in poor areas are the most reliable districts for democrats. These districts never get better. The people are always down trodden and no matter how much democrats argue they are for poor people they somehow never manage to help them really. They offer government sucker programs that do little but keep them downtrodden. Liberals oppose programs like school choice which would allow people in those poor districts to send kids to other districts or schools. While no democrat would admit this is an actual policy the facts are still clear. Under Obama for instance with all the talk black people did no better. Under Trump they have made huge income and job gains which is undoubtedly going to lead to further gains. This is how America really works not stipends and government food stamps and programs like this.
So, assuming all these arguments definitely prove that illegal immigration is not a good thing and given that illegal immigrants are coming over will the wall stop them?
DT has proposed a 30 foot wall with certain transparent features and that it would cover most of the border except in areas where natural barriers prevent both the wall from being built as well as people passing.
The argument for the wall is based not only on stopping illegal immigrants but also the illegal goods and services being performed by passing across the wall. It is also a security argument for terrorism. We don’t vett anybody who comes across so obviously terrorists if they figure this out could send terrorists more easily to the US this way potentially.
If you add up the costs of these things from the crime increase and costs of social services as well as the drug trade it amounts to huge amounts of money that would clearly pay for a physical structure many times over quickly. The amortized cost of a wall might be $2-3 billion/year over its lifetime (maybe less.). The numbers for these other illegal activities and costs are enormously larger so it can’t be the cost of the wall that is a problem.
But, would a wall work?
I have some doubts. It seems any wall can be climbed and somebody could bomb or eventually break or tunnel. It’s clear to me we need some sophisticated electronic surveillance as well as a physical wall. Our technology today is vastly advanced over previous times. We have drones and IOT devices such that we could have universal surveillance and AI could be used to watch. We could have radar and LIDAR for looking underground or in dark. We can have the walls or barriers done with lasers and other devices which when interrupted would produce instant signals. A comprehensive system using modern technology could certainly provide a huge problem for smugglers.
Besides drugs and normal illegal immigration we know that an open border means that criminals once apprehended find it easy to get back. We know that a huge percentage of women who traverse the border are raped including younger people. If the border was effective a lot of this would stop.
Does this solve the whole problem?
Many people argue that only a fraction of our illegal problem and drug problem occurs by crossing the border illegally. That is probably true. Actually I would be surprised if we knew since the problem is Democrats seem unwilling to allow anyone to determine anything about illegal activities with clarity.
If it is the case that smugglers and others will simply expand the use of alternative methods then we need to improve enforcement of those loopholes. We should be working on this as much as the wall. The point is the wall is justified and other measures are justified.
We need more than a wall
However, America needs more than a wall and sophisticated electronic surveillance at the border. We need to take our citizenship seriously.
Becoming an American citizen should cost something. It should not cost your liberty. On the contrary becoming a second class citizen in America is precisely what America shouldn’t stand for. We should go back to the idea that it is effort to become a US citizen. That if you don’t become educated in our culture, heritage, way of doing things and pay something in time and money to come here then you are cheating.
We should be proud to be Americans, which means nobody should flinch at providing some form of citizenship proof or legal status to get a job or vote. Every other country in the world does this.
We should stop up the penalties for people who hire people who aren’t legal. That is the only method which will work in the end. We need to allow employers to request citizenship documents which they can generally and to have some way to validate those documents easily.
Emphasizing the rule of law is a goal. I am not for a gestapo society but having some form of citizen ID available to vote would not diminish or make it harder to vote. If so, then let’s make every effort to make sure people can get such documents. I would recommend increasing funding for helping citizens get their documents easily. I am not suggesting people have to carry such documents constantly. I want a free loose non-oppressive society but I assume that something as basic as your status in the country is not oppressive.
If we could have a foolproof way for people to determine citizenship it would eliminate a huge amount of fraud and problems. Tax problems, social service costs. Criminal apprehension costs. Lost jobs. It would be a huge deterrent to people crossing. However, as DT has said the crossing is also used for contraband movement and for human trafficking.
My biggest worry
As the economy heats up the pressure for illegals to cross into America and work here will grow exponentially. There is zero doubt in my mind that if our economy starts producing wage gains and the participation rate climbs back up to the pre-Obama rate that illegal immigration will surge back to the million + level. It is human nature.
We will eventually have to consider a worker program and to add to the number we take in legally if the economy zooms and wages rise and the middle class gets back on its feet.
We need desperately to get the wall and improve everything regarding immigration prior to this surge so that the wage increase and benefits of the higher US growth goes to the Americans who deserve it and need it.
It is not well known but the middle class never recovered from the last recession. Middle class wealth is well below its peak before Obama and the recession. If there is another recession before the middle class is restored I want to tell everyone that 100 million people will be on the streets destitute. America will have completed becoming a third world country. We cannot let that happen. This is why Donald Trump was elected. The middle class is suffering and it is time for all Americans to stop denying the pain of the middle class and realize our future is tied up in the success and growth of our middle class. There is no America without a middle class. There is no democracy if the middle class cannot vote in the people they need to support them. This country is not about elites or poor. It is about the idea that people are free and independent and able to support themselves. We want people to succeed wildly but we need for the majority to be able to live decent lives and have reasonable expectation of decent retirement, healthcare and everything. How we achieve that may be in dispute but accusing everyone in the middle class of racism is precisely the wrong answer. Importing millions of new americans to keep the globalist policies is not the way.