Ludwig von Mises pointed out that one government intervention into economic activity inevitably leads to another intervention, which then leads to more and more interventions. That’s because the first intervention inevitably produces problems, which then require another intervention to fix those problems. That new intervention then produces a set of new problems, which then necessitates new interventions. The process continues until there is a complete government takeover of that sector of the economy.
The same principle applies to criminal laws of an economic nature that people ignore. To ensure that people comply with the law, the government enacts a police-state measure. But then people ignore that measure, which causes the government to enact another one … and another one … and another one. The end of the road is a giant police state in that area of the economy.
A good example of this double-phenomenon is immigration.
The original immigration intervention was simply a law that prohibited foreign citizens from entering the United States without the official permission of the U.S. government. This law, of course, was contrary to the open-immigration policy under which the United States had been operating for more than 100 years.
But the government did more than that. It also adopted a system in which the government would plan the movements of people into the United States. What would be the quotas for each country? What would be the qualifications for entry? How many total immigrants would be permitted to enter on an annual or monthly basis? The federal government would decide such questions.
The problems that arose were twofold: One, people didn’t comply with the law; they just kept coming without official permission. Two, the system to determine the number and types of immigrants was based on the socialist system of central planning. As anyone in Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea can attest, central planning always produces crises. That’s, in fact, why the U.S. immigration system has been in constant, never-ending crisis for at least 7 decades.
To enforce this socialist system, the federal government began enacting ever-increasing enforcement measures. They authorized the Border Patrol to trespass onto private farms and ranches along or near the U.S.-Mexico border without search warrants to search for illegal immigrants. They made it a felony for American employers to hire, transport, harbor (i.e., aid) illegal immigrants. They subjected people, including Americans returning from overseas trips, to highly intrusive searches, including requiring people to disrobe completely and have their body cavities searched. They now also require people, including Americans, to turn over their cell phones and passwords so that they can be searched. There are also fixed highway checkpoints north of the border, where people who have never entered Mexico are stopped, interrogated, and subject to complete searches of persons and vehicles. There are also roving Border Patrol searches, where Border Patrol agents arbitrarily stop vehicles and subject them to searches. Immigration agents are now boarding Greyhound buses in the different parts of the country and demanding to see people’s papers. The U.S. government has built a Berlin fences and walls along the border and stealing people’s property through eminent domain to get the land on which to build the fences and walls.
None of it has worked to end the ongoing, never-ending immigration crisis. Even worse, it has produced massive death, suffering, and an immigration police state in the American Southwest. A police state is the opposite of freedom. A police state is what one finds in nations run by communist or totalitarian regimes.
No immigration reform will ever succeed in resolving the endless immigration crisis. Anyone who thinks a reform can be found that will finally resolve the immigration crisis is living in la la land. That’s because socialism is an inherently defective paradigm. It is incapable of working. Reforms of an inherently defective program oftentimes only make things worse.
There is only one — repeat: only one! — solution to America’s decades-long, never-ending immigration crisis. That solution is economic liberty and free markets — i.e., open borders — that is, free enterprise and free markets — unilateral free trade and open immigration — the free movements of goods, services, and people across borders.