3/31/2006

Yes...'Illegal' Immigrants are Illegal

I saw this post on the Cafe Hayek blog called Are 'Illegal' Immigrants Illegal?. The writer of the post argues that they are not illegal. He goes off on how laws are not really laws unless they are enforced. This is a direct quote from the post, "Someone in America peacefully going about his or her business is not illegal, regardless of whether or not this person has Uncle Sam's permission to be here". This logic can lead us down some pretty scary paths. There are all kinds of arguments we could get into about what this writer has said. In fact, he went into some arguments himself that really did not seem to make sense as the post's title promised to be about immigration. However, I would rather focus on the facts, not on theoretical arguments.

I lived in an area where there were many illegal immigrants...and yes, that means it was not legal for them to be there. These people that "immigrate" into America illegally really have no regard for the law. In fact, they just continue to break the law. On one hand, they knowingly break the law. This is evident by those that falsify their identity and/or their citizenship status. On another hand, many of them do not even know the law. This is painfully evident when they don't follow traffic and pedestrian laws. We don't need to go into what becomes of a society that disregards the law. But if you want a good idea of the result, be my guest and visit any area that is densely populated with illegal immigrants.

Now, I would guess that this writer does not live in an area like the one I described. If he did, I doubt he would write such posts. I have found that it is easy for people who do not have to directly deal with the consequences of illegal immigration to treat it lightly. The problem is that all of us have to deal with the consequences of this issue directly or indirectly. For example, when the illegals come, they often receive government benefits. They don't pay any taxes, but get the benefits of taxes collected from legal citizens. This is a serious issue; not one to be argued in some abstract manner. I do not claim to have the answers to solve this problem, but I think I have a grip on the reality of this issue.

Do not mistake this post to be about a certain race or even about immigrants in general. It is about "illegal" immigrants. These are totally different issues. While living in that area with a lot of illegal immigrants (mentioned above), I also had an "immigrant" neighbor who was in the United States legally. Guess what? He did not stand on the street corner waiting for work. Instead, he owned his own business as well as his own home. He and his family had respect for the laws and the community. This person was also a great neighbor and good friend. What a stark contrast he is from those that immigrate illegally.

2 comments:

Ole said...

You got to hand it to the illegal immigrants. They see an opportunity to go to a different country where they can earn 10 times or more what they make in their own country, get medical help, help with food from the government for free, and pay no income taxes. Essentially the foreign country is protecting them for being there illegally. If we as Americans knew of another country that would do all this for us, we would be doing the exact same thing. It just shows you (and I agree with Cole) that something needs to change.

Dr. Tufte said...

I can see your points (and I'm not wholly unconvinced by them).

However, I have a really hard time seeing how someone moving across a dashed pink line in an atlas can be changed from good to bad.

Why do I not become illegal when I move across state lines?

Why have I been made to feel (occasionally) in 3 states like I am an unwanted (if not illegal) immigrant.

If you shop online at a website and server located outside of your state and don't pay the local taxes, is your freeloading any different than that of an illegal immigrant?