So the immigration debate has been raging lately at levels that are somewhat unavoidable, nearly on par with the Russian “election meddling” case. As framed, though, I don’t find either side of on both issue so compelling as to be reprioritized to the top my hit list. At least, that is the way the immigration debate appeared on the surface – an old argument that wasn’t compelling thirty years ago, and not so compelling now – until I actually spent the mental energy to think about it in a way consistent with my core philosophy.
At a very high level, I agree with left’s point when they say the debate about illegal immigration is a civil rights issue. But that’s where the similarities end because I don’t look at the civil rights issue embedded in the immigration issue to necessarily be related to the people who are detained and deported, assuming they understood what they were getting into. Rather, from an economic standpoint, I filter it through the lens public policy issues: the ineffectiveness of prohibition, inefficient labor regulation, and the impact it has on average Americans. Unlike the left that appears to have gone completely off the rails, I actually care about the rights of people who belong here over those who willingly and knowingly exist outside the system.
From the standpoint of prohibition, my reasoning is that there is a sort of Laffer curve regarding regulation of nearly any given item. The more restrictive the regulation, the less control over the regulated item there is, and the more contraband, corruption and associated behavior you get, all commensurate with demand, like an additional dimension that could be added to an S/D model. Add to this the recent doubling of the minimum wage, and it could be reasoned that, rather than flocking here for the additional $$$, instead, the incentive and reward for existing outside the system is greater, and being inside of it, for those on the lower margins of productivity, a near absolute liability
I don’t want to make it sound like I am not worried about the treatment of people who are caught or the sort of consequences they face. But in my view, on large it is nothing compared to the combination of these things representing a complete tragedy as far as having some means of survival for those caught on the margins where the floor on wages is too high, as that very same floor that was intended to help them stokes demand for the supply of people who exist outside the system. We don’t have enough, nor could we ever have enough cops, prisons or judges to cope with this perfect storm of unintended consequences, and among the possibilities of what happens to people who are trafficked across the border, getting caught is probably the most humane of them all.
I am not sure if the political class understand that, on the margins, low pay and no benefits is better than no pay and no benefits when it comes to being able to eat because they don’t act like they do in de facto regulation of even the most modest means of survival nearly out of existence for people who are lawfully here. But then again, given that I’ve been harping on other issues of nearly the same magnitude for years here on this blog, I understand how hard it is to get their attention as the tyranny foisted on the working people all across the nation continues to pile up to the sky.
There truly is a lot of ruin in a nation.