Magazine article The American Conservative

Why Blame Mexico? to Grasp American Immigration Policy, One Needs Only Remember That the United States Frowns on Smoking While Subsidizing Tobacco Growers

Magazine article The American Conservative

Why Blame Mexico? to Grasp American Immigration Policy, One Needs Only Remember That the United States Frowns on Smoking While Subsidizing Tobacco Growers

Article excerpt

We say to impoverished Mexicans, "See this river? Don't cross it. If you do, we'll give you good jobs, drivers licenses, citizenship for your kids born here, school for said kids, public assistance, governmental documents in Spanish for your convenience, and a much better future. There is no penalty for getting caught. Now, don't cross this river, hear?"

How smart is that? We're baiting them. It's like putting out a salt lick and then complaining when deer come. Immigrant parents would be irresponsible not to cross.

The problem of immigration, note, is entirely self-inflicted. The U.S. chose to let them in. It didn't have to. They came to work. If Americans hadn't hired them, they would have gone back.

We have immigration because we want immigration. Liberals favor immigration because it makes them feel warm and fuzzy and from a genuine streak of decency. Conservative Republican businessmen favor immigration, frequently sotto voce, because they want cheap labor that actually shows up and works.

It's a story I've heard many times-- from a landscaper, a construction firm, a junkyard owner, a group of plant nurserymen. "We need Mexicans." You could yell "Migra!" in a lot of restaurants in Washington, and the entire staff would disappear out the back door. Do we expect businessmen to vote themselves out of business? That's why we don't take the obvious steps to control immigration. (A $1,000 a day fine for hiring illegals, half to go anonymously to whoever informed on the employer would do the trick.)

In Jalisco, Mexico, where I live, crossing illegally is regarded as casually as pirating music or smoking a joint and the coyotes who smuggle people across as a public utility, like light rail. The smuggling is frequently done by bribing the border guards, who are notoriously corrupt.

Why corrupt? Money. In the book De Los Maras a Los Zetas, by a Mexican journalist, I find an account of a tunnel he knew of that could put 150 illegals a day across the border. (I can't confirm this.) The price of passage is about $2,000 a person. That's $300,000 a day, tax-free. What does a border guard make? (And where can I find a shovel?) The author estimated that perhaps 40 tunnels were active at any given time. Certainly some are. …

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