There is an old tale about a small New Zealand town that was suffering from an influx of vipers. To eradicate the problem, local officials established a viper bounty, offering people money to bring in these dead snakes. It resulted in residents breeding these reptiles in their basements and killing them. The plan didn’t solve the original problem, and the limited resources were flushed down the drain.
Former President Ronald Reagan famously said, “If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.” This is one of the first principles you learn in economics.
When the war on poverty was initiated by former President Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1960s, the federal government extended generous welfare payments to single-parent households. The unintended consequences were more women having children out of wedlock, the destruction of the nuclear family, and impoverished children. The Heritage Foundation writes, “Marriage is a powerful force in reducing poverty; a single mother with children is four times more likely to be poor than a similar mother who is married.”
And, thus, this is the problem with illegal immigration in America today: subsidization.
Subsidizing Illegal Immigration
The crisis at the border, as President Donald Trump recently declared in his televised speech to the nation, is the result of years of incentivizing illegal migration. Republicans and Democrats have manufactured this disaster at all three levels of government through lavish welfare benefits, social services, and other big government goodies that will attract millions from across the globe.
Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) proposed a new program in the budget that would make California the only state to offer coverage to undocumented young adults through its Medicaid program. And this was his first day in office.
According to a 2011 study by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), 70% of illegal immigrants in Texas received social assistance, getting many of these benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children. These consisted of school lunches for low-income students, rent subsidies, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.
…the number of visitors overstaying their visas was double than those detained at the border…
New York City announced that it would offer universal health care to 600,000 New Yorkers, including illegal immigrants. It will cost taxpayers $100 million per year once it is fully established in 2021.
Is it any wonder that these three jurisdictions have seen the number of illegal immigrants swell over the last 20 to 30 years? California’s illegal immigrant population has jumped to roughly three million, Texas has seen its share climbed to 1.4 million, and New York City is home to more than 500,000.
Pew Research Center notes that a large proportion of these households are families, which suggests children are attending taxpayer-funded schools. For example, 13.5% of K-12 students in California schools are children of illegal immigrants, and colleges are obtaining funding to expand services to undocumented youth.
Overall, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, unlawful immigrants in the U.S. create more in costs than revenues to all three levels of government combined. Researchers estimate that the national cost of illegal aliens can top $19 billion a year.
Government is the Problem
The welfare state is too immense, the government is too big, political correctness is perverse, and militarism has fueled the calamity at the border. These four issues have been a detriment to not only the nation’s immigration woes, but the American people as well.
For far too long, society has depended on the government to provide every service that politicians believed could not be offered by the free market, charitable institutions, and religious organizations.
Since the dawn of the neoconservative movement, they’ve focused more on the Afghanistan-Pakistan and North Korea-South Korea borders than the U.S.-Mexico boundary. By sending tens of thousands of troops to invade foreign lands, overthrow governments, and nation-build, administrations have neglected the daily troubles at the border. This desertion has enabled the coyotes, the caravans, and the drug smuggling. Ending the war on drugs would also reduce unlawful crossings.
One of the biggest aspects of illegal immigration that’s ignored is when people overstay their temporary visas. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data found that the number of visitors overstaying their visas was double than those detained at the border during fiscal year 2017.
Every decade or so, there is a push for amnesty. Policies like the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), Dreamers, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 have contributed to the precedent that the government will extend amnesty to illegals. Should Democrats seize control of the White House and legislative body in the coming years, it wouldn’t be surprising if amnesty is back on the table. Why wait with the thousands of others trying to enter legally when you can skip to the head of the line?
Build the Welfare Wall
Unfortunately, the immigration debate has been condensed to pro and anti-wall. This is intellectually dishonest and insulting to Americans concerned about the millions who have poured into the country illegally. The American people deserve something more.
The efficacy of a border wall can be debated. But a more effective strategy that can produce instant results is to eliminate access to welfare for immigrants – both legal and illegal. This is something President Donald Trump proposed in June 2017, when he suggested a five-year ban on welfare for immigrants. The better step would be to abolish it entirely.
There are plenty of market-based solutions to the immigration conundrum. Private property rights are just one answer to tackling illegal migration. We shall wait to see if a wall surrounded by barbed wire, sharks with laser beams, and the shrieking sound of Rosie O’Donnell’s voice will be erected. Until then, the Republicans are better off getting rid of public aid. Build the welfare wall now!