Thursday, August 7, 2014

Our Border Dilemma – Part 2

This is the second of a two part series of posts having to do with immigration, especially illegal entries into the US.

So what can we do to stop people, including children, from entering the US illegally, given that we can’t take everybody who wants to live in the US? I don’t know what the answer is, but maybe we should look at some of the root causes of our border problems.

A major cause of the violence in Mexico, Columbia, and Central America is the drug trade. What feeds that trade is demand in the US. Illegal drugs account for much of the violence in the US as well, plus a majority of crimes as addicts steal to pay for their habit. If the US could reduce the demand for these drugs, many problems would be diminished, both in the US and countries south of the border.

As we found out during Prohibition in the 1920s, making something illegal doesn’t necessarily decrease demand. Entrepreneurial criminals will find a way to meet that demand. Even the harsh Rockefeller-era drug laws in New York State failed to stem the tide of illegal drugs. There’s just too much money to be made. Yet the social costs of drug trade and use are staggering. Moreover, these substances are highly addictive, so once somebody starts using, they’re hooked. What can we do?

The US must take definitive action to reduce demand and interrupt the supply chain of illegal drugs. Below are a few suggestions:

-Work with the authorities in these countries (including the major heroin producer Afghanistan) to reduce the supply of drugs and the raw materials to make them. This could be done by giving farmers incentives to grow more beneficial crops, defoliate fields still growing the bad stuff, and implement better ways to disrupt the supply of drugs into the US.

-Improve economic conditions in Central America and Colombia, giving some amount of aid (both money and expertise) to disrupt the drug trade, get drug lords in prison, and build up the economy in each country to improve the standard of living.

-To discourage illegals from entering for economic purposes, and we have to crack down on employers who hire illegals. This is easier said than done, but there might be a better way. That better way is to implement a “guest worker” program similar to what Western Europe had in the 1960s and 1970s. It seemed to work well for them, so I would hope we could do something similar.

Keep in mind that our leaders are expected to do what’s best for our country, so the good of the US must always come first when setting policy. Being a compassionate people, Americans try to help others as well. We can only help up to a point, because our resources are finite and our ability to help others is limited by many different factors.

Let’s hope our leaders can come up with some balanced and humane solutions to these problems, both for the sake of the US and for the sake of the immigrants. I can’t imagine what it’s like living under the constant threat of deportation. I also can’t imagine what it’s like living under the constant threat of violence in some of these countries. Something must be done to make life better for these people south of the border, while securing our borders.

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