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The Migrant Caravan and the Drug War

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The newest migrant caravan has conservatives, once again, in a real tizzy. Led by the leader of the conservative movement, President Trump, conservatives are absolutely convinced that another army of illegal immigrants is coming to get them (notwithstanding the fact that Trump’s troops are still on the border from the caravan scare last spring). Their fear appears to be as deep as it was during the Cold War, when they were convinced that the communists were coming to get them. As just like the Cold War, they want the federal government to do whatever is necessary to keep them safe from the people who they think are coming to get them, no matter how much the federal government has to destroy liberty, privacy, and prosperity in the process.

But let’s get one thing clear: Contrary to what those fear-filled conservatives are saying, the immigrant caravan is not an invasion.

An invasion is what the U.S. government does to countries like Iraq and Vietnam. It consists of military troops attacking, killing, torturing, maiming, destroying, and Abu-Ghraibing people with guns, tanks, bombs, napalm, helicopter gunships, B-52s, B-1s, B-2s, F-18s, and a host of other weapons.

The caravan of migrants consists of unarmed poor people, including women and children, who are fleeing Central America to escape starvation and violence in the hope of coming to the United States and securing a job by an American employer who would be more than willing to hire them if the U.S. government didn’t prohibit them from doing so.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I say conservatives but the fact is that liberals (i.e., socialists, leftists progressives) support immigration controls just as much as conservatives do. It is only we libertarians who advocate open borders — i.e., the free movements of people across borders without governmental interference, the only policy that treats people with humaneness, dignity, and respect.

Among the darkest of ironies in this nightmarish circus is the fact that while conservatives quiver and quake over the prospect that the illegals are coming to get them, they continue to ardently support a federal program that is a root cause of the violence in Central America and Mexico that is causing people to flee those countries. That federal program, of course, is the drug war, a program that has long been near and dear to the hearts of both conservatives and liberals.

The reason there are drug gangs and drug cartels in Latin America is because of the drug war. If drugs were legalized today, as we libertarians have long advocated, those drug gangs and drug cartels would be gone tomorrow. That’s because they cannot compete in a legitimate, legal market. Nobody is going to buy drugs or needles from a drug lord when he can buy them from a reputable pharmacy or company.

That’s why there are no booze gangs or booze cartels. They simply cannot compete against reputable companies that sell liquor and beer. Of course, when we had booze Prohibition, we did have booze gangs and booze cartels, along with all the violence that comes with them. As soon as booze was relegalized, they immediately disappeared.

There are no positive arguments for continuing drug prohibition. And no one can deny that the drug war has ripped Mexico and Central America apart owing to the drug cartels and drug gangs that the drug war has brought into existence. In fact, the only argument left for continuing the drug war is jobs, the same argument, ironically, the President Trump is citing for continuing to sell weaponry to Saudi Arabia. With the drug war, the people who would be put out of jobs if drugs were legalized are federal judges, federal prosecutors, DEA agents, and state and local cops, some of improve their positions though money seized from asset forfeiture or even hefty drug-war bribes.

Many of the people in the current caravan are fleeing the drug-war violence in their countries in the hope of saving their lives or the lives of their family members. So, wouldn’t you think that conservatives, who are themselves in terrible fear of losing their lives to the illegals, would say, “Hey, it’s time to end the drug war so that all those people will have less incentive to flee and come to the United States”?

Alas, no one has ever accused a conservative of being logical. They are so wedded to their favorite welfare-state programs that they simply cannot let go of either their war on drugs or their war on immigrants. And so they just continue quivering and quaking over the fact that the illegals, drug dealers, commies, Muslims, ISIS, Assad, al-Qaeda, or whoever is coming to get them and, at the same time, calling on the federal government to do whatever is necessary to keep them “safe,” even if that means even more destruction of liberty, privacy, and prosperity for the American people.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.