Don’t like the feds? Vote Republican.
Category errors cloud thinking on many public policy issues. Among them are illegal immigration and governing powers in our loose-knit federal system.
Let’s first tackle the emotion-laden problems of illegal immigration, move on to our democratic republic, and finally suggest what we as Nevada voters can do to help change direction.
First, let me stipulate that your columnist is a thorough-going capitalist and a business booster unless business blows it in some egregious fashion. Often I castigate government and prefer private solutions.
Regarding illegal immigration, however, there is ample guilt to go around. Feds botched it, business blew it, and our national tendency to let things slide buried us in an avalanche of difficulty.
This may offend some fellow conservatives, but blaming illegals and undocumented workers won’t help much and is xenophobic. Sure laws were broken, but breaking the law for a better life is as American as making Moonshine. It’s not a Ponzi scheme (nor Goldman Sachs—though GS remains innocent unless/until proven guilty).
Roberto Suro, author of Strangers Among Us: How Latino Immigration is Transforming America, traced federal government ineptitude and business greed at the heart of the problem now in our faces.
“The government made no effort to seek out and punish employers who continued to hire illegal aliens,” he wrote. “Between 1989 and 1994, the number of INS agents assigned to the enforcement of employer sanctions dropped by half, as did the number of fines issued. Despite an illegal population of an estimated 4.5 million people nationwide in 1994, the INS completed only 1,761 cases producing fines against employers. Meanwhile, it had accumulated a backlog of 36,000 leads on possible violations that had never been investigated. And so illegals kept coming and kept finding jobs.”
Suro, American-born son of a Puerto Rican father and an Ecuadoran mother, is a journalist/author whose book came out as the problem mushroomed. Now the United States has an estimated 10.8 million illegal immigrants, down a million since the recession hit.
From my perspective, it is much like drug trafficking in that drugs and undocumented workers keep coming as long as there is supply in poor countries and demand in affluent nations. Drugs, capital and human capital flow toward demand and slow when it recedes.
Now to the latest controversy, a spin-off from the category error of blaming Latino human capital and just as misguided.
Blaming Arizona’s new law, which tries to stem rampant illegal immigration, is emblematic of a huge error plaguing us. Admittedly it’s not the best law, but the recently passed national health insurance “reform” demonstrates that passing good laws eludes legislators in Congress, as well.
The federal government can’t police the borders, can’t crack down on employers hiring undocumented workers, can’t halt drugs coming into this nation, can’t stop spending money it creates, and can’t run the health care monstrosity it is creating.
The category error involved? Always turning to the feds. Our federal system was designed constitutionally to give the central government some powers, leave a few others to states and the rest to us. If the Feds can’t or won’t act, blaming states for trying to force issues won’t do. We forget that government is us.
So what are Nevadans to do? Ignore national noise. Vote Republican so the Legislature, in redistricting and reapportioning legislative and congressional districts after the census, will boost the party that believes the federal way isn’t the only way.
State and local governments and we, the people, can act as a brake regarding federal ineptitude or over-reach.