There are two important principles to keep in mind with respect to America’s decades-old, ongoing, never-ending immigration crisis:
1. The crisis is caused by the immigration system itself. That is, if there was no immigration-control system, there would be no immigration crisis.
2. The immigration-control system comes with an immigration police state. That’s because people will inevitably circumvent the controls. Therefore, the government needs a police state to enforce its system.
Let’s examine both of these principles.
America’s immigration-control system is based on the socialist principle of central planning. The government plans, in a top-down fashion, the movements of millions of people in one of the most complex labor markets in history. It simply cannot be done, at least not without what Ludwig von Mises called “planned chaos.” What a perfect term to describe the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a free-market society, people’s valuations and economic decisions are constantly in flux, as each person plans and directs his own life on a daily basis. In a free-market economy, people are in the best position to quickly adjust to rapidly changing market conditions.
For example, consider a farmer in Oregon whose crop is about to rot in the fields if it isn’t immediately harvested. What does he do? He immediately raises the wage rate for farm workers to, say, $50 an hour. Immediately, the word gets out to workers in Mexico informing them that an Oregon farmer is willing to pay $50 an hour, plus room, board, and transportation, for two month’s worth of labor. Immediately, Mexicans call the farmer, strike a deal, and catch a bus or a plane to Oregon.
The government central planner cannot do that. He is too busy studying charts, graphs, and statistics from last month to ascertain the needs of U.S. farmers. He then comes up with a central plan that coordinates the results of his studies with the credentials of foreign workers. He then has to arrive at the right number of immigrants and the correct countries that they should come from. He has to produce a plan in which the proper papers are issued to the workers.
By the time the central planner has devised his plan and intends to implement it, the crops of that Oregon farmer have rotted. The central planner simply lacks the ability to centrally plan rapidly changing economic activity. Friedrich Hayek described the mindset of the central planner as the “fatal conceit.”
The reason there is a huge crisis at the border is because of this socialist immigration system. There are more immigrants who wish to enter the country and go to work than what the central planner is willing to permit. Thus, they end up with a huge backlog of people at the border, which produces the “crisis.”
And then everyone gets agitated and upset over the fact that the “crisis” is ongoing and that officials won’t fix it. They want the government to enforce the system that is the very cause of the crisis. They don’t realize that “fixing” the crisis will only make the situation worse.
Think of the drug war. There are big drug-dealing cartels in Mexico, which have produced a drug-war crisis. People get agitated and upset over the fact that the government can’t get rid of the cartels. They want the government to crack down on the cartels and thereby bring an end to the crisis. They don’t understand that the drug war is the root cause of the cartels and the crisis. Thus, cracking down on the cartels only makes the situation worse. The only way to get rid of the crisis and the cartels is by legalizing drugs — that is, by ending the drug-war prohibition. Immediately, the crisis and the cartels would disappear.
It’s the same with the immigration crisis and the illegal trafficking of immigrants. With the adoption of economic liberty — that is, the abolition of the Border Patrol, ICE, and all restrictions on the free movements of goods, services, and people across borders — the crisis and the illegal trafficking of immigrants would disappear, just like with the drug war.
Instead, what immigration-control advocates do is the same thing that drug-war advocates do: They call on the government to double down with its immigration-control system. That’s how we’ve ended up with an immigration police state along the border. It consists of warrantless searches of ranches and farms within 100 miles of the border, highway checkpoints involving the warrantless search of travelers, roving Border Patrol warrantless stops and searches, the criminalization of hiring, transporting, harboring, or caring for illegal immigrants, and other police-state measures.
Of course, none of this has worked to end the crisis. It has only made matters worse and made people more angry and more upset.
What everyone needs to recognize is what I’ve been saying for more than 35 years: If Americans want to get rid of the immigration crisis, they’ve got to get rid of America’s socialist central-planning immigration system. If they choose instead to continue with America’s socialist immigration system, then they get not only the ongoing immigration crisis but also the continuation of the immigration police state along the border.
There is no other solution to America’s decades-old, ongoing, never-ending immigration crisis, just as there is no other solution to America’s decades-old, ongoing, never-ending drug-war crisis. It is only liberty, both personal and economic, and genuine free markets that can get rid of these crises and the police state that comes with them.