With the rising conflict in middle-east, and the unabated influx of refugees in the European countries, and concomitant rising religious fundamentalism, the world leaders have been thinking for long about how to solve the problem of immigration. Piecemeal solutions like arresting the immigrants, closing the border walls, have proved to be inefficient.
In Contract Law, one often hears the legal maxim “alienapericula, cautiones nostræ” (others’ dangers are our warnings). For instance, Politicians, and their electioneers, with elections neigh, cite the political mismanagement of refugees in Germany and make it an anecdotal argument for “Building the wall”. When asked if such genius plan is foolproof, they dawdle.
One can understand the desperate, albeit stupid, proclamations of “Building the wall”.
It is remarkable that politicians and bureaucrats are consistently predictable in their injudicious quackery, withered of reason when it comes to finding solutions to any problem. Their ill-advised and ad-hoc “policies” can be best passed off as proof of their mediocrity and incompetence.
Thousands of years ago, the tribal man, usually had two popular stimuli as a response to something he did not understand – either worship it as some god or run away. Similarly, the modern state responds to any challenge with tribalistic vigor of a stone-age man. Their policies are invariably some non-essential jargon around the words “Ban”, “Stop”, “Tax it”, “Oversight”, “Regulate”, “Confiscate”, etc.
Anyone who is determined to illegally immigrate to a country, will not be stopped by a wall.
While the security of the border is necessary, it is important to make a distinction between different groups who are trying to immigrate. They all should not be generalized as one identity group. The immigrants include people who are fleeing civil wars, oppressive communist regimes, religious or racial persecution, etc. Is it moral to ask people who are persecuted to “follow the legal process”, which can take months, if not years, which these people cannot afford? To direct one’s anger at people who are fleeing oppressive conditions is illustrative of our own failing.
One can reasonably pontificate that large immigration will be stressful for any nation. And that is true. However, the most common argument of “wall-builders” is that such people are adept freeloaders and that they will be a huge stress on the physical and economic infrastructure of any country they immigrate to.
The government solution to “immigration problem” has resulted in more state control over citizens lives. In India, one glaring example is the NRC disaster that has unfolded in Assam. People of varied ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds have been declared illegal by the stroke of a bureaucratic pen. It may take years and perhaps decades for people who migrated to Assam, became part of it, paid taxes, had children there, to fight the faceless bureaucratic and judicial labyrinth. And those who will be successful in doing so will prove what was true all along – that they were part of India.
One should not neglect the argument that a large influx of unskilled immigrants may cause stress on the economy of a nation. However, such stress is proportional to the welfare policies of the nation. A nanny socialist state is one where the state takes care of citizens healthcare, education, retirement, pensions, among others. Such a state will see more support for closed borders and greater immigrant restrictions from its citizens. Consequently, a nanny socialist state will hurtle towards greater isolation with time. An influx of semi-skilled and unskilled laborers is important for the economy. With greater industrialization, the hitherto blue-collared laborers, who are now skilled, will move towards white-collar jobs and the wages of skilled laborers will rise. The semi-skilled and unskilled laborers will help normalize the transition and increase the competitiveness of the economy. This natural order of market does not require any state intervention. In fact, before the “wall-builders” arrived, America followed the natural order of the market and grew to be the greatest and strongest.
The alternative (for an isolated economy) would be either stagnation or a state-controlled, inflation infused “growth” (a term used by Keynesians).
It is clear that the solution is to have a small government, not a nanny or a welfare state. The problem arises when immigrants are incentivized (by the presence of a big welfare state) to immigrate and live at the expense of others. A streamlined and faster process for the immigrants who want to immigrate and contribute to the economy is required – one which can also screen and provide security from a malicious minority (traffickers, peddlers, and criminals). This solution, of course, does not go down well with the bureaucrats and politicians who follow one cardinal rule – “To establish the hegemony of the state over everything under the sun”. The fear of the general populace is exploited to a great extent by the state. This results in greater military expansion, greater surveillance, greater “police-state”, and obviously, greater government spending over nonsense like “walls” (And greater taxes to fund such “solutions”).
Fear is an adversarial human emotion. It reaps great rewards for those who exploit it. The “walls” only amplify it.
How to tackle the real immigration problem?
Eliminate incentives for those who would come here to live off the rest of us, and make it easier and more rational for those who wish to come here legally to contribute to our economy. No walls, no government databases, no biometric national ID cards. But not a penny in welfare for immigrants. It’s really that simple.