OPINION – Immigration is a touchy subject even under the best of circumstances. But the situation that is unfolding on America’s southern borders is hitting us at a particularly volatile time.
Tens of thousands of Central American refuges, mostly unaccompanied children, have entered the country illegally this year. Many of them are fleeing their native countries out of fear of drug or gang-related violence.
It should be noted that much of this violence can be traced directly to U.S. drug war policies that have been pursued in or forced upon these Latin American countries.
This latest influx of immigrants is straining the capabilities of officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to house, feed, and process them. It’s very telling that politicians and American media have begun referring to this as a “border crisis.”
Any time a political leader starts throwing around the word “crisis,” it’s a sure sign that he or she has a purely political solution in mind that must be imposed upon all of us for some greater good.
But it’s not just the politicians who are using the crisis atmosphere to their own advantage. The topics of amnesty and immigration reform have long served as useful wedges to divide the political left from the political right.
Many on the left support amnesty because they see it as a way of creating political power for themselves. Every time they reach out to newly arrived refugees with government-sponsored benefits, it enables them to essentially buy votes from those to whom government-sponsored benefits are distributed.
In reality, they are simply engaging in a perverted form of humanitarianism by extracting taxes from the productive members of society and then giving that money to the needy as entitlements. Opposition to this type of legal plunder is often falsely decried as bigotry since a great number of those who enter this country illegally are, by definition, minorities.
Meanwhile, many on the right are easily provoked into a nationalistic fervor at the thought of foreigners entering America without the proper credentials or official permission. Immigration reform is always viewed as a threat to national sovereignty and economic or cultural security.
They fear that immigrants are coming to overtake their country, steal their jobs, and debase American culture with foreign languages or customs.
To them, proper immigration reform involves impenetrable border fences, increased criminal penalties for those who enter the country illegally, and more aggressive deportation of those who are here without official permission.
What those on the left or the right fail to recognize about their highly polarizing positions is that each of their respective solutions requires greater central planning and more government control over all of our lives. Each of their so-called solutions results in less net freedom for all.
With this in mind, there is still a very real problem faced by thousands of unaccompanied youngsters who have almost no say whatsoever in their current situation.
The real question that should outweigh all political considerations is this one: What is the right thing to do?
The hardest part about answering this question is forcing ourselves to step outside of the mindset that the only viable solutions must be of a political nature. In fact, the more likely solutions are found by removing, as far as possible, the political influences that have led to this situation in the first place.
That would include dismantling the welfare state and allowing private aid to once again provide help to the truly needy among us. It would mean discontinuing the evil policies of the drug war that invite violence and corruption on all sides of the conflict while failing to make the slightest dent in demand for drugs.
It could also include seriously questioning the proper role of government in regards to immigration.
Sheldon Richman of the Future of Freedom Foundation advocates open borders. He suggests:
If the borders were open — that is, if the natural right to be free of aggression were respected — children would not need to be entrusted to shady men who can extort large sums of money on the promise to transport the children to the United States. Without government agents hunting them, children and parents could move north together in freedom and safety. They would be welcomed by generous humanitarian organizations, as immigrants were in the past.
This idea would be a very hard sell to the generations of Americans who have been thoroughly conditioned to doubt their own goodness and to trust only in the wisdom and beneficence of the almighty state. But this is how earlier needs were handled before the welfare state paralyzed our consciences.
Seeing others as something other than objects by which we can advance our political agendas takes practice. More real good is done for mankind under a mindset of service than takes place by political mandate.
Taking politics out of the equation and doing the right thing becomes much easier.
Paul Rosenberg explains why this is so. He said:
Whenever it is that we come to understand ourselves and the true nature of the world, doing the right thing will cease being a burden. We will do the right thing simply because any other action would be stupid.
Bryan Hyde is a morning commentator on Talk Radio 590 KSUB and an opinion writer in Southern Utah. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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