Is The Problem The Immigration, Or That It’s Illegal?

Illegal immigration is a problem, or so we’re told. And if you accept the premise that we need to keep everyone without official permission to be here out of the country, then it certainly poses practical problems. Most illegal immigrants come here for the chance to escape grinding poverty, and as long as there are poor countries, countering the pressure that makes them come is about as difficult for lawmakers as repealing the law of gravity.

And with thousands of miles of border to guard, and all the evidence we need that people will walk miles through burning deserts and cross the open ocean in bathtubs to find a better life for themselves and their families, managing to keep them out doesn’t seem the most practical of propositions, either.

But here’s the good news. We don’t need to. Earning a living is exactly what they do, albeit in the “cash” or “black” economy, which often means working long hours under brutal conditions. And even under those conditions, many of them manage to support families, send their children to school, and produce subsequent generations who are fully part of the society around them and barely distinguishable from the native-born. Imagine what people that motivated could do on a level field.

Looked at that way, the pathologies of illegal immigration are less the product of the immigrants, but of the illegality we decide it is. Perhaps we would be better served to simply open the border, and get out of the way?

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