By Tyler Bauer
I have a plan to fix immigration, particularly at our southern border. It’s by no means perfect, but I think implementing this would solve the vast majority of our problems. My plan to fix immigration has three components: ending the welfare state, legalizing drugs, and adopting a non-interventionist foreign policy.
End the Welfare State
Think about the most common arguments you hear when discussing immigration and the impact immigrants have on our country. For me, the most common argument I see is that immigrants place a burden on the welfare state. Many anti-immigration people speak about their fear of immigrants flooding the country, benefitting from our tax dollars, and diverting resources from American citizens.
To an extent, I have to admit that this concern is a valid one. Adding a substantial number of people to our population will place an additional burden on the welfare state. There will be more people using the roads, more people going to school, and so on. However, the same concern exists every time a baby is born in America. To be consistent, one who supports restricting immigration to prevent a burden on the welfare state would also have to support restricting the number of births in America. After all, limiting immigrants but allowing unlimited births would be hypocritical. So, unless you want to limit the number of births in America (like the Chinese), you shouldn’t oppose immigration due to the strain it places on the welfare system. To do otherwise means that your problem isn’t with the burden placed on the welfare state, but with the type of people (i.e., foreigners or Americans) who are burdening the welfare state.
As I see it, the welfare state is what attracts many people to the United States. While most immigrants are hard-working people, those who are not are incentivized to come to the United States because of the safety net that the welfare state represents. Even if one comes here and fails in pursuing his or her version of the American dream, there are social programs that will allow the immigrant to live in relative comfort and safety. If you want to attract fewer immigrants (and especially fewer immigrants who aren’t so hard-working), you need to remove what is attracting them to the United States in the first place – the welfare state. If the welfare state is removed, fewer immigrants will come to the United States, and those who do come to the United States will only be those who are confident in their abilities to successfully pursue their American dream.
I know what you’re thinking. “What do drugs have to do with immigration?” Well, the southern border – the only border anyone ever talks about – is where the majority of our country’s imported illegal drugs come from. As most everyone knows, much of the drug trafficking is done by cartels and other criminal groups. The drug trade is a key reason why many people cross the border, regardless of whether they stay only for a day or for the rest of their lives. I believe that by legalizing drugs in America, the number of border crossings would decrease, and the border crossings that did occur would be done more safely, as bringing drugs into the United States wouldn’t be a life-or-death situation. Ideally, it’d be no different than bringing any other product into the United States.
As a disclaimer, you probably shouldn’t do drugs. That being said, legalizing drugs would do a great deal to clean up the southern border. Cartels would be forced to operate above-board, as selling drugs would no longer be illegal. Border crossings would likely decrease, and the border crossings that continued would be made safer by eliminating cartels’ needs to sneak and shoot their way across the border. Lastly, I believe this would make drugs safer and decrease drug-related deaths. Just as prohibition made alcohol more dangerous by forcing it into the black market, the war on drugs makes drugs more dangerous. Allowing the sale and use of drugs to be done legally would allow for a larger market, which would see the best and safest drug dealers profit while the worst and deadliest drug dealers would go out of business.
Adopt a Non-Interventionist Foreign Policy
We would have fewer immigrants and refugees (and terrorists, for that matter) if we chose to mind our own business and stop using our military around the world. To make my case, I’ll provide two relevant (and recent) examples: Syria and Honduras.
In recent years, perhaps the most notable refugee crisis originated in Syria. As Syrian citizens fled the Syrian Civil War, they were in desperate need of somewhere – anywhere – to go. Our military involvement in Syria is partly to blame for this crisis. Had we not gotten involved in a conflict that never affected us in any way, the number of refugees created would have been much lower. Our involvement in the Syrian Civil War only extended and exacerbated the problem of creating refugees. Had we not gotten involved in the first place, there would be fewer refugees. The same can be said for our involvement in any conflict around the world.
A much more recent example comes from the migrant caravan which travelled from Honduras to the southern border. The members of the migrant caravan were fleeing what they believed to be unsafe conditions in their home country of Honduras. Fearing violence and a poor standard of living, caravan members sought a fresh, safe start in the United States.
Why was Honduras so unsafe, though? Well, you’ll be surprised to hear that we’re largely responsible for the state Honduras is in at the moment. In 2009, the United States government played an important role in a coup which saw Honduras’ democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya be prevented from returning to office, allowing a military junta to take over. Since then, Honduras has been in a struggle between a military dictatorship and a democratic system.
Whether it be in the Middle East or in Central America, our military does a great deal to contribute to the number of immigrants and refugees trying to enter our country. If you want to decrease immigration, a good way to start would be to bring our troops home and mind our own business.