Originally posted 2/17/09 on his personal blog:
I’m conflicted these days about a lot of things. One that keeps smacking me in the face is the whole immigration issue. I see both sides.
Side A: California is showing a $40 billion budget deficit while they pay an estimated $13 billion annually to support illegal (not “undocumented”) aliens (not “immigrants”). States across the US are similarly burdened. Our federal immigration laws are being ignored, and crazy policies in states like CA are actually encouraging more illegal aliens to come on in. The US / Mexican border really does represent a national security weakness, too, although not nearly as much as some would like us to believe.
Side B: Mexico is a disaster; there is no hope there for the majority of Mexican citizens. The US immigration process is slow, unfair, and often wholly impassable for Mexicans wanting to emigrate to the US. If I was a Mexican citizen living there in poverty and trying to support my family, I’d do everything in my power to get to the US. . . up to and including sneaking myself and my family across the border illegally. If I was poor in Mexico with a pregnant wife, I would do whatever it took to have my child born in the US. And in doing so, I would likely have to put myself and my family at great risk; too many people are suffering and dying as they try to get into the US.
There’s a lot of fault to go around. I can find significant fault in the corrupt and broken Mexican government that has failed consistently for 200 years to foster any kind of prosperity for its people while actively encouraging its citizens to go to the US illegally and send money back home. I can find fault in US federal policy that has failed to reasonably and fairly regulate its southern border while also refusing to have any kind of reasonable enforcement and deportation processes in place. I can find great fault in the state policies in California, which have purposefully exacerbated the problem.
But if I am honest with myself, I cannot find fault in the motives of those who choose to come to the US illegally seeking a better life. If the roles were reversed, I would be an illegal immigrant. And so would you.
John Bossert, PhD Public Policy