I watched the Cubs’ opener today… 16-7 over Cincinnati. On pace for 162-0. I have decided that the new “Best Name in All of Sports” belongs to Angel Pagan, the Cubbies’ new outfielder. “Angel Pagan.” He could be a Bond villain.

We need to build a wall to keep those goofy foreigners, who have strange customs and who speak English with bizarre accents—if they speak it at all—from entering our country illegally. We should also do something about the Mexican border.

Seriously, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sealing the border and ensuring that we can control which people and how many people come into our country. “Which” and “how many” are up for debate, but we can control neither as long as the border isn’t secure.

A monitored wall or fence must be built along both borders. I think I’d prefer a “virtual” wall wherever possible; i.e., no bricks or mortar, just electronic sensors, cameras, and guys with guns monitoring them. Why? Because a big wall in the middle of nowhere would be just plain ugly, and it would be funny to watch people and animals bump into an invisible force field. Would these walls stop all illegal immigration? Certainly not, but it would reduce it to a far more manageable level.

I’m glad that people want to come to America. I just prefer they do it legally. How do we deal with the people currently here illegally? I don’t know, exactly. But whatever solution we develop, if any, must adhere to two principles above all others:

1. The solution must secure our borders. We must be able to control who gets in.
2. The solution must discourage violation of our immigration laws. The costs and risks of, and punishment for, crossing our borders must outweigh the benefits.

Should we deport all illegal immigrants as soon as possible? Well, there are studies that indicate that illegal immigration may have a net positive effect on the economy. If this is so, then deporting all of them immediately would traumatize the economy, though it’s difficult to say how badly and for how long. Deportation of all illegals, to be feasible, would have to take years.

Should we grant amnesty to the illegal immigrants, subject to certain conditions? Some have suggested that we forgive current illegals who can pass a background check, learn English and basic civics, pay a fine, and so on, while deporting the rest—which would hopefully be a small fraction of the current illegals. This would be far less economically damaging to everyone involved, but would also insult the people who came here legally, or who would like to come here legally, or who applied to come here legally but were delayed or rejected.

Furthermore, as reasonable as conditional amnesty sounds, it also sounds like a precursor to even more illegal immigration down the road, forgiven by yet another grant of amnesty in 20 years or so. After all, if the U.S. is simply going to keep forgiving illegal immigration, and there’s a low risk of deportation or punishment, why pay attention to its immigration laws in the first place?

There’s no easy solution, from either a political or socioeconomic standpoint. But that’s what happens when you let a problem go unresolved for so long. Whatever solution is reached, many people will complain about xenophobia, bigotry, ethnic bias—but those accusations are meant to obfuscate the issue. The key concerns here are legality and manageability. We can, and perhaps should, increase the number of immigration applications, work permits, green cards, visas granted to Central and South Americans—it’s all part of increasing free trade among nations and neighbors—but we can have that discussion after we get our borders under control.

However we decide to treat the current group of illegal immigrants, any discussion about future immigration control is academic without those walls, virtual or real. Right now, too many people can simply walk right over or tunnel right under our borders without permission and get away with it.

7 Responses to “Borders.”

  1. aabrock Says:
    April 4th, 2006 at 8:10 AM

I would take a different approach…harsh punishment to to those businesses that employ ANYBODY that cannot prove the legitimate right to work. If someone knowingly hires someone without the proper documentation that proves they can legally work in this country…$10,000 per occurence and double it every month they still infringe. If they can’t be hired then there is less incentive to just come here illegally and work; all immigrants will know that they have to establish some sort of legal status if they want to participate in the American economy.

Now, I am sure businesses will fight such a proposal tooth and nail. Then they should work to change current immigration laws, not circumvent them.

  1. Vincent Viscariello Says:
    April 4th, 2006 at 9:52 AM

Does your approach still involve birds flying into the force fields?

  1. aabrock Says:
    April 4th, 2006 at 2:45 PM

Force fields, under my proposal, would be unnecessary. Cool, but unnecessary. Although with a force field you couldn’t get the super-mega-brainbuster-suplex!

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    April 4th, 2006 at 9:05 PM

There are already siginificant fines and potential jail time for hiring illegals – it’s just not consistently enforced. aabrock’s approach would already be working if the government wasn’t turning a blind eye.

It’s interesting that one of the justifications for allowing illegals is because they do the dirty work that Americans won’t do – at least for the amount that employers are willing to pay. It seems that it may be also be true on the opposite end of the scale.

The current composition of graduate students in engineering at XYZ University – where I’m studying – is about 50:50 native and foreign born. Also, the number of natives pursing advanced engineering degrees overall, especially a PhD, is declining.

It’s interesting – and a little scary – that the US is this reliant on foreign talent. I would personally like to see a little more home-grown people in these disciplines. There are definitely benefits to having the foreign talent around – the more ideas, the better – but there’s a difference between collaboration and cooperation with foreign talent and reliance on foreign talent.

That said, some of the immigrants that are trying to get in or stay in this country after completing their studies are the best and brightest, but they have a difficult time getting work visas. Considering that these are people that have a large potential positive contribution to the US, this part of immigration policy also needs work.

Disclaimer – It’s not “Doctor” – yet.

  1. Vincent Viscariello Says:
    April 5th, 2006 at 2:04 PM

That’s an interesting look at things at the other end of the pay spectrum…

I’d say the “reliance” on foreign talent is only “scary” to the extent that it has an impact on national security, if any at all.

Besides, whose fault is it that American nationals aren’t seeking as many advanced degrees in engineering as we might like? It could be that home-grown Americans are generally lazy. As I sit here watching the second leg of the Juventus-Arsenal Champions’ League Quarterfinal, I’d have to say it’s a distinct possibility.

But there could be some benign explanations as well: it could be that other sectors of our economy are growing faster and drawing doctoral and master’s candidates away from engineering.

Frankly, if national security weren’t a concern (for us or any other nation), I think none of this would be a problem… people could come and go and work and trade as they saw fit.

  1. roxuresox Says:
    April 6th, 2006 at 8:08 PM

Now unfortunatley and significant distance using invisible walls of any kind is simply unfeasable. Any long fence of nearly any kind will inevitible be breached. Thus i suggest an idea of a high density mine field in anyareas where patroling is a problem, of course they will have to be clearly marked and made as obvious as possible however it will probably be considerd “inhumane” by many but hey whats more of a deterent than being blown up.
But Since this is almost certain to be rejected i propse a larger denser barb and razor wire fence like in the great escape the one that “the cooler king” jumps over at the end. A fence of this kind though will still need to be patroled but it will be much more effective if boarder patrol agents dressed as german officers are patroling it, they will also need to be strongly discouraged from taking breaks on hilsides and setting up MG 42s

But for those here its likley that an idea of getting all illegals to be screend and such to become leagal aliens, especially if they know they will not pass, theirs nothing i can think to do for them but try the screening and tell everyone waiting legaly that life is not fair, or more apporpriatley “such is life”

  1. Vincent Viscariello Says:
    April 7th, 2006 at 12:36 AM

Mine field? Terrible idea, but we can always dream about the force fields.