Dan Popp
What is the illegal immigration problem?
By Dan Popp
January 11, 2014

A problem well stated is a problem half solved. – Charles F. Kettering

We hear a lot about the distressing and urgent problems of illegal immigration. But we don't hear a description of what those problems are. Not really. In business, we try very hard to understand exactly what's causing an undesirable result; and then we listen to all plausible solutions. "The fourth quarter numbers are down" is not a problem, but a symptom. Why are revenues down? Well, online purchases declined. Again, why? – and so on, until you find the root issue. Under post-Constitutional government, Why is the one question that must never be asked. The Solution is paramount, and all critics of The Solution are caricatured lovers of the Problem.

All of the so-called problems of illegal immigration that I've heard are not in fact problems, but symptoms. We can't solve symptoms.

Take for example this "problem," a real head-shaker and lip-purser even to Republican candidates: "There are millions of people living in the shadows." But that's an emotional picture, not a description of a problem. Why are they living in the shadows? Isn't it because they have broken the law, and living in the shadows is what criminals do to avoid being caught and punished? The question isn't, "Why can't lawbreakers come out of the shadows?" the question is, "Why haven't they been deported?"

An "illegal immigration crisis" can mean only two things: Either unenforceable laws were passed, or enforcement of reasonable laws has been abandoned. We've either "commanded a general to turn into a seagull," as author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry put it, or the President has broken his oath to "faithfully execute the laws." There are no other alternatives.

Once we've correctly identified the problem, you can see that solutions occur to us easily and naturally. If the laws are unenforceable, the lawmakers who voted for them should be removed from office, forced to return their pay, etc. Exile would be a fitting punishment for this particular "crisis," wouldn't it? On the other hand, if the problem is that the enforcer refuses to enforce, those penalties should be applied to him.

Isn't it a "problem" – a problem much bigger than illegal immigration – that those responsible for creating our national problems do not suffer for their malfeasance? Doesn't that encourage more government wrongdoing, which in turn creates more suffering for the American people? Wasn't this the fatal conceit that led to Obamacare – the misidentification of millions of people in the shadows of the healthcare system as a problem, rather than a symptom?

Lest anyone think I'm being facetious, let me tackle the purported problem that "illegal aliens will overwhelm social services." It's crucial to the problem-solving process that we define our terms accurately. "Social services" means "welfare," and "welfare" means "government giveaways." So the symptom is that some politician is giving away other people's resources, and there are too many takers. Have I got that right? I have, haven't I? The actual problem may be that the politician is an imbecile (even a child can understand that we can either give away presents at the birthday party or invite everyone, but not both). Or the problem may be that looting the populace is somehow not a viable business model. There will always be more and more "need," and there will not always be more suckers willing to be looted. The gravy train must crash, the upside-down pyramid must collapse; riots and murder must ensue – it's just a question of when.

So, following our process, let's ask why resources are immorally confiscated from some citizens and awarded to others, because on the surface, it's irrational. The stated reason for government largesse is a lie. Well, as Shaw said, "The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." The point of the exercise is the purchase of Paul's vote. So the "problem" of illegals swamping the system is that votes are being paid for, but no votes (or few votes) are being received. Then there's the problem that the system will probably collapse now, rather than later.
    Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD. 'Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD. 'Some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away; and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.'" Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good." For he thought, "Is it not so, if there will be peace and truth in my days?" (2 Kings 20:16-19, NAS95)
Our homegrown Hezekiahs are perfectly content to set time bombs that would make a terrorist shudder, as long as they're not on the scene when the blast occurs.

My simple suggestion is to work past the symptoms proffered by the left, and ask why, until you come to the cause. Using this method we could examine the "problem" of "breaking up families" by enforcing our immigration laws, the "problem" of "decreasing job opportunities for Americans," or any other symptom or emotional picture presented as a "problem," and solve the root problem with very little effort.

The solution to failed enforcement of good laws is to impeach and remove the failure, and enforce them. The solution to unenforceable laws is to replace the lawmakers with adults. To put it as plainly as possible, there is no illegal immigration problem; we have a deluded legislature problem, or a derelict executive problem. Or both, of course.

The purpose of government is to foster a righteous and peaceful society – that is, to provide "law and order." If a government cannot make workable laws – and enforce public order under those laws – it has no purpose. It is self-invalidating.

Problem half-solved.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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