Let me give you an example of the ways that the current problems associated with so-called “illegal” immigration stem not from immigration, but from the illegalization of immigration. Many feel, and you will hear this common in the media, that because we are not in control of our borders, the United States of America is vulnerable to attack from terrorists who enter the country without permission.

Any honest person must admit that none or almost none of those crossing the border are terrorists. Almost all border crossers–whether they enter with documentation at a checkpoint or run through the desert in the middle of the night–are seeking a better life for themselves and their families. From an economic point of view, these migrants are supplying the labor our economy demands. But a few that cross are not so well-intentioned. A few cross, not to supply labor, but to supply drugs. Unlike the common references to the border and terrorism, drug trafficking through our borders is not hyperbole, but is in reality a huge problem for border communities, on both sides of the border. Whether you believe the hype about terrorists crossing the border illegally, or you consider the real problem of drug smuggling at the border, the basic problem is that there are so many “illegal” crossings that the border patrol cannot control the border. But while many argue that we should further militarize the border by building a wall, bringing the National Guard, etc., the solution to our problem is exactly the opposite.

If we did not prohibit laborers from immigrating, allowing all persons who could pass a criminal background check to enter the country at a checkpoint, where their belongings would be searched, then we could be certain that the only people running through the desert in the middle of the night are people who could not pass the criminal background check or who, if we searched their belongings, would not be allowed to enter the country. Rather than searching for a few needles in a very large haystack, we would get rid of the haystack and only have a few, well-exposed, needles. And that is a group that we could control. Furthermore, this is a group that we should want to control. In stead of being stretched thin by chasing millions of immigrant laborers through the desert, the border patrol would have enough resources to prevent every one of the hundreds of drug traffickers.

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