|Tamar is telling us that because most illegals are just hard-working folk doing our dirty work for us, “there’s rarely any mistaking them for the kind of monsters who sneak into the country to kill Americans.” Perhaps she can offer her services to Tom Ridge; since she seems to know who the terrorists are, she might identify them for the authorities.
Of course, neither Tamar nor anyone else knows who the terrorists are. Dozens of hardworking, family-oriented people from overseas have already tried to kill us, and there’s every expectation that more will try.
More ludicrous, though, is the contention that immigration is somehow fixed at one million per year, but that “our ceilings accommodate only about three-quarters of that flow.” Immigration creates more immigration, and the development of industries where immigrants are concentrated is distorted by the huge and continuous supply of cheap foreign labor. In California, for instance, the acreage planted in labor-intensive fruits and vegetables has been steadily increasing, precisely because farmers are basing their planning on the expectation that the illegal flows won’t be cut off. If the inflow of illegal workers were reduced, and the outflow were increased, farmers would start making different choices-i.e., planting carrots instead of strawberries, since the harvest of carrots is mechanized.
Mass immigration actually slows the process of technological development in industries that have become addicted to it. Whether it’s agriculture, garment manufacturing, construction, or even services, the incentive to produce more output with fewer workers is diluted because of the loose labor market created by immigration. As the late Julian Simon said: “It is important to recognize that discoveries of improved methods and of substitute products are not just luck. They happen in response to ‘scarcity’ — an increase in cost. Even after a discovery is made, there is a good chance that it will not be put into operation until there is need for it due to rising cost. This point is important: Scarcity and technological advance are not two unrelated competitors in a race; rather, each influences the other.”
The opponents of immigration-law enforcement posit a false choice: between the mass deportation of all eight million illegal aliens tomorrow, or amnesty (“Earning legal status,” in Tamar’s delicate phrasing). Instead, the realistic approach to this issue — one which acknowledges not only the huge numbers involved but also the addiction of certain sectors of the economy — is to start enforcing the law and reduce the illegal population through attrition — and attrition will gradually increase the cost of labor in some sectors, and thus spur needed innovation.
Each year, some 400,000 people leave the illegal population, some by getting green cards, others by leaving the country voluntarily, yet others through deportation. The problem is that they are more than replaced by the 700,000 new illegal aliens who settle here each year. The solution is obvious: Reduce the number of new illegals coming in and increase the number leaving, so that instead of increasing each year, the illegal population will start falling. For starters, we do this by punishing the knowing employment of illegals (Tyson Foods, now on trial in Chattanooga for alien smuggling, will think long and hard before hiring illegals again); by denying illegals access to bank accounts, drivers licenses, mortgages, higher education, etc.; by tracking down and deporting foreign visitors who overstay visas; and by prosecuting and imprisoning those who repeatedly sneak across the border.
I could go on, but a listing of possible tactics for controlling immigration isn’t the point; it’s the will to control immigration that’s lacking, even at this late date. It seems that the lives of thousands more of our countrymen will have to be sacrificed at the altar of libertarian utopianism before we will muster the will to act.
— Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.