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Post details: The Immigration Issue

The Immigration Issue

Politicians have an amazing ability to becloud an otherwise clear sky beyond all meteorological recognition. Give them a simple choice and a few "Lobbying Welcome" signs and in a few weeks they will turn a legislative no-brainer into a spaghetti bowl of conflicting regulations, obscure edicts, executive orders, prohibitory statutes and arcane ordinances all intertwined in such confounding manner that it would take five armies of clairvoyant constitutional scholars to figure out what's right and what's wrong.

Take the issue of immigration, for instance. On the surface it looks like a reasonably clear cut matter. Either we think it is legal for people to just saunter into this country at will or it is not. There is no middle ground. There is no point just trying to make it somewhat legal or somewhat illegal or in general discourage immigration by instructing enforcement officers to frown and glower at the entry booth. This is a simple yes or no question. Are unauthorized border crossings within the law or not.

I am not saying that either variant has a moral high ground, because I see pros and cons on either side, but we should choose one and stick with it. If entering the country without permission is legal, then we should stop harassing throngs of prospective immigrants and make moving into this country as easy as moving from Alabama to Arkansas. On the other hand, if it is not legal then we should simply make sure that violators of the law will face consequences. For the Number One superpower which has placed a man on the moon and which can wage drone based surgical strikes half way across the globe it should be no problem to seal up the southern border and make sure that any new immigration is done in a controlled fashion. If we need more labor of a certain type, I am sure we can increase the appropriate quotas.

But such dichotomy would be too simple. Politicians hate transparency. They love murky waters where they can set up the traps of palace intrigue and flaunt their wheel greasing and elbow rubbing expertise. Rather than saying which variant they'd prefer, they keep dancing in the gray area, creating targeted pardons and temporal exceptions and a climate in which grand horse trading thrives. Imagine we'd apply the same standards to say stealing: Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Henceforth it will be deemed beyond the law to pilfer private property from other citizens, except on New Year's Eve and maybe also on Tuesdays as long as the name of the pilferer begins with "P". Just imagine the legal havoc.

While the political system flails in a legislative limbo, a motley crew of potential new Americans is pouring into the country day in and day out, whether through the Port Authority or through the Sonoran desert. The colorful crowds contain a varied mosaic of people: foreign experts with critical skills, gangs of drug traffickers hoping to expand their nefarious networks, hard working laborers on a quest for a decent job, gimmigrants whose one and only goal is leeching off the welfare system, stranded family members looking to reunite with their kin. The bandwagon teems with motives and aspirations, with schemes and visions. But the saddest part is that without clear and enforceable laws we won't be able to separate the good from the bad.

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