I had a letter published in today's print edition of the Arizona Republic. Though there were some minor edits in the letter, the point is essentially unchanged. It began on Tuesday, when another writer criticized undocumented immigrants and asked why they didn't have the 'decency to at least become naturalized citizens.'
My reply was very plain: I wrote,
Short answer: We don't let them.
Every year the legal immigration quota is full. The number of undocumented immigrants is the accumulated difference between the government mandated supply (when Congress sets the yearly immigration quota) and the market based demand (the number of jobs that they fill)
So really what this comes down to is the government trying to limit the number of people who can fill the jobs, so in effect limiting the number of jobs which employers can create. There is a name for this philosophy, of the government controlling fundamental parts of the economy in order to manage it. That name is socialism. There is also a name for the competing philosophy, that the market demand for any given product will determine how much of that product is needed, and this applies to labor just as it applies to any other commodity. The name of this philosophy is capitalism.
Earlier this year, some people in Congress, with the support of the President, attempted to introduce a bill which would both give us the security of knowing how many immigrants were in the country as well as giving us information on who they were. It was a market based solution, in which those who wished to work in the United States would pay a fee or a fine and then be allowed to find work. This would not result in an unlimited supply of immigrants, contrary to what some said, because once the supply of jobs was met, the fee would be large enough to deter people once their chance of finding a job in an already saturated market dropped down low enough.
But the neo-socialists, who wanted the government to control the job market instead, screamed that this was 'amnesty,' and shouted it down.
So be it.
But clearly they have taken the socialist position, so someone should ask some of the anti-immigration hardliners why they think that socialism is better for our economy than capitalism would be.