Friday, April 07, 2006

Open Borders, Closed Minds

The immigration debate is not advanced by arguments like those in this WSJ editorial. First, they misrepresent the positon of those who do not favor open borders and unlimited immigration, by claiming they want to "seal the borders". No, they don't. What's desired is control of the borders, which is very different. The issue isn't whether to allow immigration or not, it is what to do about illegal immigration. The majority of those who want stricter border enforcement don't want to end immigration, they want it controlled. No one of any importance has called for an end to legal immigration, just the illegal variety. A distinction ignored by the Journal, either out of sloppiness or disingenuosness.

The Journal also ignores another reason for stricter border controls, like security. It apparently hasn't occurred to them that the same routes used by "coyotes" to smuggle Mexicans into the US can be used by terrorists and criminals. How can we call our borders secure, when law enforcement officials discover stuff like this running under our border?

The Journal also shows little or no concern for the problems faced by the border states popular with illegals, including added burdens on social services (taxpayer supported, of course) and the heightened competition for low-skilled jobs that hurts our poorer citizens. I guess WSJ editorial writers don't think that being a citizen merits anything over being in this country illegally.

I guess they've forgotten that economics is a means to an end, not an end in itself. The extent to which our economy fails to meet the needs of our citizens is also a kind of measure of its failure, not whether every last theoretical measure of profit is wrung out of it. Insteat, the Journal prefers subsidising employers via depressing wages via illegal immigration rather than allowing the market to work fairly, i.e. by hiring people who are legally permitted to be here.

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