Sunday, June 24, 2018

America's Achilles Heel: Stopping Illegal Immigration

There's been a lot of talk---perhaps far too much--- of late about the recent influx of illegal immigrants and the "alleged" separation of children from their parents. Most of this "outrage" has emanated from the political Left and has been directed at President Trump. Perhaps that's because of the continuation of the anger and disbelief of Trump's victory of the Presidency and the denial of the obvious coronation of Hillary Clinton.

Certainly there can be no denying that the Left has been on a bender of sorts since the election. it seems every news broadcast, every headline or lead story, and every talk radio or TV show starts and ends with some alleged wrong doing by the Trump Administration. They've even tried to tag the enforcement of immigration laws, which call for the temporary separation of children from their parents "Trump's Policy" when they know good an well that it has been in effect for decades.

I've even heard a few commentators point out the attempts to discredit Trump's White House via alleged bribery charges, Russian collusion, vote buying, and just about everything else you can think of allegation just simply hasn't stuck no matter how much the Left wishes it to. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's known criminal behavior has been completely ignored. Do you think that perhaps the two are connected somehow?

Just recently, the corporate media, still trumpeting its "anti-Trump" tune, has been claiming that these individuals were there to "seek asylum", which may...or may not be true. The reason I say that is that it's not logical that people would bring their families (including young children and teenagers) hundreds of miles just to illegally cross into the US and then, after being arrested by the Border Patrol, saying they intended to enter the US in order to seek amnesty. "Why" you ask? Because the US maintains consulates and embassies literally everywhere in the world. But since these individuals are coming from Latin America and Mexico, let's stay focused on them for the sake of argument.

Mexico has a US embassy in Mexico City, which is the country's largest urban center. In addition, there are nine consulates scattered all through Mexico. Colombia, which isn't a very large country, has an embassy in Bogotá, the nation's capital. Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panamá, El Salvador, and the rest of the countries which make up Central America all an American Embassy in their capital city as well. As for South America, Brazil (which has the fewest number of illegal immigrants attempting to enter the US), has an embassy in Brasilia and three consulates; Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Recife.

Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, and all the rest in South America also have one US embassy each, which are all located in their respective country's capital city. So, again I ask---why could you tote your entire family hundreds, if not thousands of miles along dangerous roads full of all sorts of bad guys (especially those working for the drug cartel), illegally crossing borders and risking the loss of everything they have, including their lives, just to knowingly and willingly break US federal law to enter the US and ask for asylum when they simply just needed to go to their country's capital city and apply? Even initially, US officials will mail out the paperwork to get them started! Thus, I have to wonder if their actions make any logical sense? For me, the answer is clearly "no".

Of course, the next obvious question is why these individuals are seeking asylum in the first place? None of the countries south of the border are engaged in any ongoing military action. Each has a relatively stable government, at least as far as our State Department is concerned since the US doesn't officially provide aid to any "terrorist" or "terrorist sponsoring" state (of course, "terrorism" is in the eye of the beholder as we all well know), but let's look at that too for just a moment. Given that the majority of illegal immigrants come from Mexico, we'll start there.

According to USAID, Mexico, with a population of 131 million, receives $87 million dollars from US taxpayers. Next is Honduras, with a population of about 50 million, takes in $325 million. El Salvador gets $75 million while Costa Rica and Nicaragua receive $15 million and $31 million respectively. Paraguay cashes in with $22 million dollars of our money. Uruguay gets a paltry $837,000 (obviously they need a better lobbyists). Brazil cashes our check for $15 million each year as Argentina, which has one of the worst economies in Latin America as a result decades long poor economic policies, gets $2.1 million of our tax dollars, and the list goes on. In short, each of these countries benefit mightily for US taxpayers to help prop up their governments. Of course, none of these figures include the peripheral benefits of US trade or military bases.

If we look at the their economics, we find that most are doing ok; nothing to write home about (though sending money back home seems to be acceptable). As I said earlier, Argentina has perhaps the worse economy due to decades of pursing poor economic policies which has resulted in hyperinflation, severe unemployment, and, naturally, a lot of civil unrest. Nicaragua too has had some major economic troubles, especially since the death President Manuel Noriega. Brazil, on the other hand has done well economically, however, that prosperity hasn't been equally spread out. The ruling 3% or 4% elites have made a great deal of money off of the country's developing economy while the remaining majority live at or below poverty level.

Of course, the same thing can be said of most of Latin America countries, Mexico included. The problem goes back centuries where wealthy clans bought up huge tracts of land, which they, in turn, used to invest in various industries. Naturally, their wealth allowed them to control the various governments which have come and gone and ride out the periodic "People's revolutions", either through bribery, extortion, and old fashion murder. A middle class never really got a chance to take hold. Peasants were kept largely uneducated and ignorant, mostly with the active support of the Catholic Church, which received large kickbacks from the wealthy elites. In fact, it wasn't until relatively recently (post 20th Century), that any assemblance of a middle class has started to develop. Nevertheless, the elites remain in control of the government and more importantly, the military.

About two decades ago, there was a brief attempt to change the social and economic face of Latin America through a reinterpretation of the Catholic/Christian message called "Liberation Theology" which provided a more "socialist" take. The message was highly popular among the poor, especially in underdeveloped rural portions of the various countries, especially sense it promoted social justice. The message was promulgated primarily by individual priests and lay leaders, who spread the message primarily by word of mouth as they ventured from village to village (the best known of these was Gustavo Gutierrez).

It wasn't long before the ruling elites and the Catholic Church officials clamped down hard on this modern day "heresy". Anyone promoting "Liberation Theology" face dismissal from their parish and even excommunication! Thus, it too was consigned to the "dustbin of history" as Trotsky once said of the opposing Mensheviks. What's of interest, however, is that out of this there seems to have developed movement to bring individuals from these poor South American countries to the United States regardless of whether they broke US immigration laws or not.

These groups, which tend to be liberal and religiously oriented, as well as highly organized. They tend to hide behind their traditional "untouchable" status to secretly transport, house, feed, and support these families. They are also actively engaged in helping these individuals navigate or actually circumvent US laws to obtain taxpayer based social services such as healthcare, housing, and even jobs through various programs and church based connections, and when necessary, to even evade immigration officials.

The other group directly involved with smuggling illegal immigrants are (not surprisingly), drug cartels who are often paid up to $10,000 per person. These cartels often make use of corrupt politicians and individual in the police force and military. In some cases, such as we're now experiencing, these cartels will "borrow" children from those working for them or who may owe them money, and randomly pair them with an adult to create a "family", which is then used to aid these individuals in crossing the border illegally, believing that families get preference. Of course, the media loves a good "family drama", which gets overdramatized and politicians can't keep away from anything which smacks of good "PR" (the same thing can be said of Hollywood Liberals, who are always looking for the latest social "fad").

As we're now seeing, many of these kids are spilling the beans once they're interviewed separately by immigration agents, but that's not all of the story. In some cases, parents are legitimately sending their children north in order to link up with relatives already in the US. However, authorities from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have reported that, when contacted, these relatives often seen to vanish, leaving the kids abandoned, which creates a whole other problem---what to do with these children? At present, HHS officials are trying to place these kids with foster families while they continue to find either their actual families (who also don't want to be found for fear of prosecution) or an actual close relative willing to take the child.

Lastly, perhaps the worst offender in my opinion, are those who encourage these individuals to illegally enter the country with the promise of jobs. In reality, these are typically dirty, unclean, underpaid, unstable, and often unsafe jobs (obviously with no benefits). They are subject to whatever treatment the employer wants to dish out without recourse. What's worse, there's no one for these individuals to complain to. Some say these individuals will do the work US citizens won't, which is untrue. American's will work these jobs, but only if working conditions are improved and they're paid a realistic salary. No more paying pennies and pocketing dollars!

My solution to at least some of these problems is fairly simply. Illegals caught in the US should be deported ASAP by depositing them at the nearest home embassy or consulate; let them find a way to send their citizens back home. We should deduct the costs of handling these individuals from the millions of dollars in taxpayer aid being sent to their home country. We should, however, make it easier for those with a needed skilled to obtain a work permit and enter the country (with a mandatory minimum English fluency requirement). We should end the "anchor baby" provision; requiring that at least one parent to be a US citizen. No access to any taxpayer based services, including healthcare (unless it's deemed an medical emergency). All US taxpayer funded documents should be printed in English only, however, English language classes should be made available.

To reduce the supply, we must eliminate the demand. Any business or institution, including churches, aiding, employing, or assisting illegal immigrates should be subject to a substantial mandatory fine for the first offense; an increasing fine for the second offense including a 30 day suspension of their business license or tax exempt status along with a 30 day jail sentence (which includes the president/CEO and members of the board). For the third and additional offenses, a larger fine, permanent suspension of their business license or tax exempt status and up to one year in jail.

As mayors or governors who want to thumb their noses at federal laws, that's fine. However, they should also be willing to accept responsibility for their decisions and forego federal money to their state or community as well. You shouldn't be able to flip someone off with one hand and beg for money with the other. In short, we need to make it impossible and/or unprofitable to continue with this business as usual attitude and not expect consequences for their actions.

The US should and will continue to welcome immigrants to this country. It's what have made America the greatest country the world has ever known. But we can't continue to accept illegal behavior. We are a nation of laws, and we must not allow some to blatantly ignore the law just because it's convenient or makes us feel good. Maybe most importantly, it's not fair to those who have taken the time and made the effort to do the right thing; who are attempting to follow the law.

USAID: United States Agency for International Development

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