My intention in this piece isn’t to make the constitutional case against Arizona’s immigration law – i.e., appeal to authority. Suppose the law is constitutional, the statute still fails to pass my morality test. Instead, I make the moral case against the immigration law.
The events that took place on 9/11 have been used as a battering ram against the civil liberties of Americans. Since that horrific event, the federal government has implemented CAPPS II and the “No-Fly List.” What is the “No-Fly List” for? Supposedly to prevent terrorists from boarding flights. This is a perfect absurdity. Why would terrorist suspects be told they can’t fly? Wouldn’t – and shouldn’t – a terrorist suspect be apprehended? Apprehending a terrorist suspect would also suspend the right to freely travel, which means it isn’t necessary to suspend particular freedoms without due process of law.
It is self-evident that the “No-Fly List” was never aimed at terrorists. Indeed, politicians, political activists, and tax delinquents have all ended up on the list. Objectively, their right to freely travel has been suspended contra legem. Travel restrictions are the hallmark of totalitarian governments. Does anybody remember the Berlin Wall?
Now, in the name of stopping the “brown peril,” right wingers agitate for deporting Mexicans and building fences. In light of the travel restrictions already in place, it would be a legitimate concern that a border fence and heightened border security can be used to trap people in – a far more dangerous prospect than living amongst individuals who don’t carry their federal papers.
The populist indictment of immigration is that immigrants “drive down wages.” Not true. This argument dovetails with arguments in favor of minimum wage law. The welfare-warfare state drives down wages. The problem is not the immigration, but the welfare state. Furthermore, let’s take this argument to its logical conclusion: capital controls.
The government could inflict injury upon every employer of Mexican immigrants (legal or illegal). However, this would do absolutely nothing to create or save a job. If employing inexpensive labor at home is curtailed, this begets one of two possibilities: the job is destroyed altogether, or the employer flees the country altogether.
What next? Criminalize capital flight? Pursuant to the statutory case against hiring illegal immigrants, the de jure case for capital controls is already in place. If it’s illegal to hire an illegal immigrant at home, then why is it legal to do business with “undocumented” workers abroad? (In that case, one becomes the de facto employer of foreigners living abroad.) For the sake of logical consistency, outsourcing should be criminalized. All international trade and commerce should be criminalized. Let me remind you that if the government can trap capital in, it can trap people in.
How would I approach this issue? Let property rights prevail. If two people wish to engage in peaceful, voluntary and mutually beneficial exchange, whose right is it to interfere? That somebody is an “illegal alien” is a faux concept constructed by statutory law. Unlike politicians and bureaucrats, most Mexican immigrants hold real jobs. (Maybe we should deport politicians and bureaucrats instead.) I will never again travel through Arizona until that law is repealed.
Recently, I was down in Puerto Vallarta. It’s a beautiful place and Mexicans are some of the most wonderful people on the planet. When Americans travel to Mexico, they see themselves as – and are treated as – tourists. When Mexicans come to the United States, Americans see them as invaders. I plan on moving to Puerto Vallarta. Don’t forget that there are plenty of American expats living in Mexico. Just wait until the Mexican government goes tit for tat and decides to expel American expats. And what would Americans say if Mexicans decided to do just that to the gringo? Maybe I’ll take that idea to…”my Congressman in Puerto Vallarta” (I say that jestingly). Let’s send all them silly Americans back to…Arizona.
Puerto Vallarta is peaceful. The crime is along the border. Why? The drug war, which empowers drug cartels by fueling demand for cross-border transportation. Last time I checked, there are no problems with cigarette smugglers at the border. End the drug war and you end the violence.