Sunday, July 29, 2007

Illegal Immigration . . . What’s the real issue?

In the wake of a federal court throwing out Hazleton, Pennsylvania’s anti-immigration laws, I think we need to step back and reexamine the issue of illegal immigration.

Fences and guns won’t stop people from immigrating to find work, whether they do it legally or illegally. Doesn’t a father who has children that are malnourished, under educated, poorly sheltered, or lacking in medical care have a moral duty to do something to help his family? And, following logically, doesn’t that father’s children have a moral obligation to follow him, if he demands it?

The real issue isn’t crossing borders illegally. It’s rational choice. Most people are tied to where they grow up. Most of us would prefer to stay in the community where we were raised. But, if staying is not a rational choice, we have to leave.

The only way we can solve illegal immigration is by making the villages and cities in other countries a rational choice. NAFTA was supposed to do the trick, but it didn’t provide for minimum wages or environmental controls. If children can be fed, sheltered, educated, and provided with health care, to a reasonable degree, most parents would choose to remain where they are.

How do we use this global economy we’re developing to make villages a generationally rational choice?

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