Wednesday, April 11, 2007


By George Schurman

In every election year there always seems to be a touchstone issue that politicians
love to embrace because they can wrap themselves in a flag, spout patriotic rhetoric, and not lose any votes at the polls no matter what they say concerning the issue. This election year is no different and the issue seems to be illegal immigration at the US – Mexico border.

We are always looking to blame someone for our problems, and, in this case, illegal Mexican immigrants are an easy target. Immigrants have always been an easy target because they cannot fight or argue back. They do not have a vote and they cannot organize or complain because they are desperate to keep what jobs they have and are afraid of being deported. We conveniently forget, of course, that we all have been immigrants and descendants of immigrants at one time or another, even the Native Americans who emigrated across the Bering Strait so many thousands of years ago.

Politician’s and voter’s natural reactions to immigration have historically been to erect barriers, pass laws, and/or reinforce police and military forces for evicting such immigrants. True to form, President Bush and Congress this past month have likewise signed and enacted a bill to erect a 700 mile long fence (along a 2000 mile long border) and stiffen penalties against Americans who hire illegal immigrants.

Perhaps we should step back a little and consider what are the basic causes of this “problem” and address these causes a little more intelligently and realistically before we create another hostile situation in this world. As any Economics 101 student could tell you, job migration is a simple result of an inequity in the supply and demand of employment.

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