In a New York Times op-ed today, Mexican businessman Ricardo B. Salinas is endorsing what he calls a “humane” alternative to President Trump’s cruel and brutal enforcement of America’s system of immigration controls: a “Marshall Plan” for Latin America! He says that it is the “right way” to solve America’s decades-long, ongoing, never-ending immigration crisis.
According to Salinas, if the U.S. government will just use the IRS to plunder and loot the American people even more than it already is doing so, the U.S. government will be able to send hundreds of millions of dollars to Latin American regimes, which will use the money to bring economic vitality to their countries, which will cause Latin Americans to stay home instead of coming to the United States for jobs.
Voila! Immigration crisis over! No more death, suffering, and immigration police state along the border. Just like that! Why, that’s just ingenious!
Now, I know what some of you thinking. You’re thinking that those Latin American government officials and their elite cohorts will pocket the money instead of using it to vitalize Latin American economies. You’re just too cynical! Don’t you know that Latin American officials are no longer corrupt? That they no longer take bribes? That they would never misuse U.S. government grant money? That they just want to do what is in the best interests of society?
But what about those hard-pressed American taxpayers? You know, the ones who are barely making ends meet as it is. The ones who are saddled with debt that they cannot pay off. The ones who can’t even save a few months of income. The ones that are living paycheck to paycheck. The ones who are already saddled with $22 trillion dollars in federal debt. How are they supposed to handle the increase in taxes to fund this welfare largess for Latin American rulers?
Not surprisingly, Salinas expresses no concern for them. For him, the federal government is apparently just one great big, vast wealth machine, one that apparently doesn’t have to plunder and loot people in order to send welfare checks to Latin American public officials.
Salinas points out that much of the violence and chaos in Latin American from which people are fleeing is due to the “United States’ insatiable demand for drugs.” The implication apparently is that if the U.S. government would just crack down even more fiercely in its decades-long, ongoing, never-ending war on drugs by prosecuting and jailing drug consumers in the U.S., that would put the drug suppliers in Latin America out of business.
Wow! Why didn’t anyone think of that before now? That’s ingenious! Well, except for the fact that the U.S. government has been cracking down ever more fiercely in the drug war with each passing decade of the drug war. Has Salinas never heard of mandatory-minimum sentences? Mass incarceration? Asset forfeiture? No-knock raids? Warrantless searches? Drug-war frame-ups? Racially bigoted drug-war enforcement? Maybe Salinas would favor U.S. officials embarking on a killing spree against drug addicts and consumers, just like in the Philippines. Just think: If U.S. officials were to kill every single drug user in the United States, those Latin America drug cartels wouldn’t have any more customers in the United States.
While Salinas gets it right in his condemnation of Trump’s cruel and brutal enforcement of America’s system of immigration controls. Salinas’ blind spot, however, is that he cannot see that the root of the problem lies with America’s system of immigration controls itself.
America’s system of immigration controls is based on the concept of central planning. Government officials plan, in a top-down, command-and-control manner, the movements of hundreds of millions of people. The planners arbitrarily assign immigration quotas to the various nations of the world. They decide the qualifications for entry. They want only the “right” people.
But here’s the rub: Central planning is a core feature of socialism. As anyone in Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea will attest, central planning and socialism produces crises, ongoing, never-ending crises. The economist Ludwig von Mises had a term for this phenomenon: planned chaos. Can you think of a term that better describes America’s decades-long, ongoing, never-ending immigration crisis.
That’s what happens when central planners try to repeal the laws of supply and demand. That’s why there is a huge backlog of people at the border. The central planner inevitably gets it wrong. He can’t possibly foresee the demand for jobs that future market conditions will produce. His plans inevitably just producer chaos and crises.
There is but one solution to all this immigration mayhem: a system of open borders. In other words, a free market, one in which the laws of supply and demand are free to operate. That’s the only way to restore life, peace, prosperity, harmony, morality, and liberty to the immigration arena. There is no other way.
The same applies to the drug war. The reason there are drug gangs and drug cartels in Latin America is not because there are drug users and drug addicts in the United States. The reason is because of drug laws. It is drug illegality that has brought a black market for drugs into existence. The only way to get rid of the drug gangs and drug cartels is through drug legalization. Cracking down on drug users or drug suppliers will only make the situation worse, as it has done for the last several decades.
Maybe Salinas is unaware of America’s experiment with the prohibition of another drug, alcohol. Booze laws brought into existence booze gangs, which employed violence as a competitive tool, just as drug gangs do. The more the feds cracked down, the worse the problem became, just as it has with the drug war. But the minute they re-legalized booze, the black market disappeared and all the booze gangs were immediately put out of business. That’s what would happen if drugs were legalized.
Thus, with its drug war, the U.S. government itself is responsible for much of the horrible violence in Latin America that has caused people to flee. But that’s not the only reason the U.S. government bears responsibility for the miserable conditions in Latin America. In its role as the world’s regime-changer, the U.S, government has initiated coups that have brought into existence brutal, right-wing military regimes with U.S.-trained assassination squads and torture squads, which in turn has produced violent resistance by the citizenry, which in turn has caused countless people to escape the violence by coming to the United States.
Under the laws of supply and demand, there will always be people pursuing happiness, which is a fundamental, God-given right as pointed out in the Declaration of Independence that Americans recently celebrated, by traveling from places with horrific conditions to places of great economic opportunity. Compared to Latin America, the United States is one of those places of great economic opportunity. In the process, those who are pursuing happiness by moving to America benefit us through their vitality, dynamism, work ethic, and division of labor. This is not something we Americans should be lamenting. It’s something we should be celebrating and expressing gratitude for.
Ricardo Salinas is wrong. The solution to America’s decades-long immigration crisis lies not with foreign welfare, a drug-war crackdown, or any other socialist or interventionist scheme. The solution to restoring peace, prosperity, morality, harmony, and liberty to the immigration arena lies only with freedom and free markets. That necessarly which means open borders.