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Where Were the Immigration Reforms in the GOP Debate?

GOP Debate

The funniest part of the Republican presidential debate last night, for me, was the part about immigration. Every one of the candidates emphasized and reemphasized that illegal immigration is extremely important to the American people and, therefore, that it’s imperative that the candidates present a solution.

So, what solution did they propose? Not one! They just kept repeating what an important area this is and how important it is to present a solution — or how we just need to enforce the law!

Let’s see what immigration reforms the GOP candidates could have proposed as a way to resolve the ongoing, decades-long immigration “crisis”:

  • Make it a crime to illegally enter the United States. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Make it illegal to hire an illegal immigrant. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Make it illegal to transport an illegal immigrant. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Make it illegal to harbor an illegal immigrant. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Conduct immigration raids on private businesses. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Establish passport checks at airports, just like in communist countries. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Establish highway checkpoints within the United States, just like in communist countries. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Authorize Border Patrol agents to enter onto farms and ranches near the border without warrants or probable cause. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Authorize Border Patrol agents to conduct roving searches of automobiles near the border. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Build a Berlin Fence along the border, taking people’s property through eminent domain and destroying the natural environment. Darn, they’ve already done that.
  • Involve the military in the war on illegal immigrants. Darn, they’ve already done that.

Why did the GOP presidential candidates talk only in terms of generalities last night when asked about the immigration “crisis”? Why didn’t they propose reforms?

Because deep down they all know that there is no reform that can possibly fix the problem. In fact, if you ever want to see a look of consternation on the face of someone who favors immigration controls, ask him: What would you do to solve the immigration “crisis”? You will be met with stunned silence, except maybe, “Well, we just need to enforce the law!” But darned, they’ve already done that too.

There is but one way to solve the immigration “crisis” — remove the cause of the crisis. The cause of the crisis is immigration controls. They are nothing more than socialist central planning — the attempt by government officials to plan a complex array of peaceful activities, including labor markets.

Assigning quotas. Establishing qualifications. Determining the right number. It simply cannot be done, no matter how brilliant the planners or how sophisticated their computers. The fact is that socialism is inherently defective. It can’t be fixed, not even by American politicians and bureaucrats. Socialism always produces crises. Just ask the Russians, the Cubans, or anyone else who has lived under a system of central planning. No matter how powerful U.S. officials are, they simply cannot abolish the laws of supply and demand.

The free market is the only solution to the immigration “crisis.” That means recognizing the fundamental, God-given right of people to cross back and forth between borders, just as people do between Virginia and Maryland. No more Border Patrol, no more raids on businesses, no more harassment of foreigners, no more checkpoints, no more Berlin fences or walls. All that goes away, along with all the pacing the floors, gray hair, outrage, anxiety, depression, fear, and nervousness that come with the “crisis” produced by immigration controls.

Of course, most Americans aren’t yet emotionally ready for a free market in immigration, which is one reason why the GOP candidates would be scared to make the case for a free market in immigration. But reality has a way of making people more receptive to the truth. If a person beats his head against a wall long enough, it’s possible he’ll finally figure out what’s causing his headaches.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.


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