Saturday, May 20, 2006

Economic Refugees

Too often we get caught up in the way we think the world "should" work, and forget entirely how it does in fact work, allowing us to make serious errors in judgement – just as the United States did in enacting Prohibition in the early part of the 20th Century. This is precisely why we need a guest worker program.

So long as the United States is capitalist and, as a result, wealthy, while places like Mexico are socialist and, as a result, poor, we will have economic refugees wanting to work here in the United States. Without a rational guest worker program – one that allows everyone who wants to work and can find work in the United States – the influx of economic refugees, and all the problems that brings into the United States, will continue. The only real choice other than a guest worker program is to simply kill on sight everyone who crosses the border. That would certainly discourage anyone from crossing. But aside from the fact that we are (or should be) too moral a country to commit such a brutal, evil act, I am also sure it would result in a war with Mexico. We want neither to be engaged in mass slaughter nor in war with Mexico. That being the case, the only real choice is the guest worker program.

One of the many benefits that a guest worker program would bring would be tax revenues. If economic refugees could come here legally simply by easily getting proper documentation, they would. And documented workers would then have to pay taxes. A black market in labor would come to the light, as would the tax dollars that they could then pay.

Another benefit would be that all those who wished to come to the United States to work would have proper documentation, and would not have to sneak across the border. Thus, we would be more certain that anyone trying to sneak across the border is indeed up to a true crime rather than simply trying to get a job. This is a national security issue. We need to know who is coming into this country. A guest worker program would allow us to do that.

Along with a guest worker program, we need to reform our citizenship laws. This is something I mentioned earlier. Why should someone be a citizen just because they are born in this country? This should continue to remain the case for those born in this country to legal residents and citizens, but not to those who are simply here as guest workers. Again, a guest worker program would allow us to make such clear distinctions, and to thus solve many of the problems associated with economic refugees.

The United States has a history of accepting political refugees from around the world. We should extend this to the acceptance of economic refugees. And we should openly use this term. Only by calling them economic refugees will be be able to make it clear what the real problem is: lack of economic opportunity in countries like Mexico due to corrupt governments, lack of protection of property rights, and socialist policies (the three are deeply intimately connected to each other). Then we can address those problems and hopefully solve the problem of economic refugees at its source. Otherwise, we will not and can not solve the problem.
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