by Ron Burkham
First, let me say that when I say "illegal immigration" it is just to differentiate the topic, not because I think any immigration is illegal or in any way different from any other immigration. My personal view (from an anarchist’s perspective) is that people can't be illegal. Every person born has the same natural rights and liberties and no government borders can change that. One of my favorite anarchists was Thomas Jefferson (people think I am crazy for calling him an anarchist), but something he wrote applies to this thought. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Those rights are for everyone and they don't come from a government, we are born with them. I think that applies to everyone, everywhere. Doesn't matter where they are born. The reason the government raises and issue with illegals has nothing to do with them taking jobs, or using welfare, or any of the stuff they talk about illegals being a problem for. The money for those programs doesn't come out of the governments’ pocket, so why would they care about it. The only problem the government has with illegals is that they don't have the power to tax people they don't know about. That’s it. PEOPLE that have a problem with illegal immigrants are very upset and vocal about the problems they perceive them causing, but if you notice, the government hasn't really done anything to address their concerns, except when it will get them votes. Politicians that still feel some obligation to US citizens have tried to do things to address it, but it doesn't gain much traction. Partly because some of the politicians realize that, despite the cost associated with "illegal" immigration, a simple economic principle is in play. People are capital. They represent a real unit of capital. It is ALWAYS good for a country to get more people into it. They stimulate the economy, even if they aren't paying taxes. The not paying taxes part is probably the ONLY part the government is really concerned about. I don’t buy the, “They could be terrorists” argument.
I have to point out that government has a monopoly that they force on the people. They have a monopoly over a bunch of things, but the particulars related to immigration have to do with taxation, control of land, and the use of force to require compliance. It is in their best interest (not the interest of the people) to define an area of land as theirs and theirs alone. The idea that we have private property in this country is really a misnomer. The government can force anyone to comply with anything they want, even though a person owns a piece of paper that says the land belongs to them. They charge a yearly rent for that land in the form of taxes. They make rules about what you can and can't do with that land. And if the mood strikes them and they think they can do something better with that land than the owner, they can and do take it for themselves. So what does that have to do with illegal immigration? The main reason for borders is to show the world where their sphere of influence lies. If they fail to enforce those borders, at least to make a showing (no matter how half assed), than they are saying we don't really care about this area or our influence over it. The reality than is that they care less about who comes in those borders than who goes out those borders. I mean, yes they are going to be opposed to other governments trying to move in to that area and trying to assert force on the people inside them, but as far as people crossing them, it is mostly in their best interest to have more people to be able to exert that force over.
We the People?
But, as you know some people inside those borders are opposed to other people coming over them. I would say they have some legitimate concerns based on their perceptions of what is going on. They know that the government is going to force them to give up money to pay for stuff. They know that people that come over those borders without paperwork that makes they share in being forced to pay for stuff are getting a free ride for any of those things they are forced to pay for and the newcomers aren't. It pisses people off, but they are pissed at the wrong parties in my opinion. I would personally be pissed at the people who are exerting the force and are REALLY stealing from the people, which is the government. If there were no illegal immigrants, there would still be welfare programs. If there were no illegal immigrants, hospitals would still have to see people that won't pay for the services, because by law they still have to treat people regardless of ability to pay. The illegal immigrants really are doing jobs people don't want to do, along with some jobs that people probably would want to do, but either way, first come first serve. Ask the onion farms in south Texas about the jobs that Americans won't do. Because of the rhetoric concerning illegal immigration, lots of people that usually work the fields didn't show up to work this last harvest. And it wasn't just in south Texas fields either; it was all across the US. Even the ones that have come to do the work legally didn't come this year. There were advertisements looking for workers, paying in some places $20 an hour to do the work. But the reality is that the work sucks. 12 to 14 hours a day, hunched over in the beating down sun, usually 7 days a week. Most Americans don't want to do that, for any amount of money. So I don't buy the "taking jobs Americans would do" argument at all. The social programs that are being taken advantage of will exist regardless of who is using them. So the argument goes back to what the governments argument is, they aren't paying taxes. On that point I can only say, good for them. No one should pay their taxes. Anything that is getting taken out of your check is theft, plain and simple. Any other taxes we pay, illegal immigrants pay the same taxes. Any illegal immigrants that are using phony social security numbers are also paying income taxes, and that is free money for the government, because no one will ever try to claim a return on it.
Freedom of Association
I think there is also a constitutional issue involved with illegal immigration, even though I don't hold much for the constitution itself (which is a different topic for a different time). The first amendment says in part, "the right of the people peaceably to assemble". If you think, like I do, that "the people" applies to all people (that everyone is born with equal rights), than stopping people from assembling anywhere is wrong. If you believe that the constitution only applies to US citizens, it is still an abridgment of my rights if you want to keep me from assembling with illegal immigrants by keeping them out of the country. But really it is all probably a moot point.
I think nationalism is the same as racism. To me this is the reason, even if people don't realize the reason behind it, that some people see the anti-illegal movement as closet racism. It is about feeling that one group has more rights or a better station in life, merely by accident of birth. With racists it is by being born a certain race, with nationalists it is being born in a certain country. Everyone is free to feel however they want and to associate with whoever they want. But excluding people for whatever reason cuts a percentage out of your possibilities. Instead of looking for the things we think are wrong with illegal immigration, we should look at what is in it for us. If the government is doing something that is unfair to us, instead of saying the immigrants are taking advantage, we should place the blame on the ones who are forcing us to participate. If social programs and taxation are being taken advantage off, we should cut them off, no matter who is doing the taking advantage of. Let us give our money to programs that will spend it how we want, or lets us keep our money, either way. We shouldn't be forced to participate in things we think are scams. We shouldn't be forced to associate or not associate with anyone.
We do have a problem in this country and I think illegal immigration makes it glaringly apparent. But it doesn't have to do with the people, but with the government abuses of all of us. We need to quit letting the government shift the blame, especially when experience tells us that they have no real plans to do anything about it.
I don't think people are ever illegal. I would never tell a man he can't cross an imaginary line in the sand to feed his family or make a better life. There are some real issues that should be dealt with that the immigration problem points out though. I could also probably go on for a couple of more pages on private property rights and the difference between private property and "public" property, but I will let it drop for now.