Changing The Immigration Debate
By: Mark W Adams

In simple terms, and in no way intended to be insensitive or condescending to my compadres south of the border, the so-called immigration "problem" boils down to jobs. I believe you can do something about the problem, today. It's called socially responsible investing. Walls won't solve the problem, but Wall Street can.

The phenomenon of what the cable news guys hysterically equate with an invasion is really just about economic development and fair opportunities. Build a fence, build a frickin wall if you want. People craving a better life still managed to get through the Berlin wall, and their stories were nothing short of heroic. We aren't about to start shooting people on sight trying to cross over, and even that won't deter everybody trying to get here.

The Great Wall of China didn't save the Ming Dynasty from corrupt border guards being bribed to throw the empire's gates open -- and when they annexed Mongolia into the new Qing Dynasty, the whole wall thing was more or less just a quaint idea. And contrary to History Professor Gingrich's revision, the 9/11 hyjackers were here legally.

So go ahead, build the stupid wall. After all, that's what Washington is good for, throwing vast sums of money at boondogle after boondogle. See anything I've written about missile defense or count up the money we've spent on Iraq to "liberate" the people whose oil was going to pay for our adventure, and you'll see we're experts and flushing tax dollars down the toilet.

As usual, we sit around and wait for the government to do something for us. But when it comes to Mexicans leaving their homes to come here in the hopes their children will have a better life (the story of every family who can trace their ancestry to some intrepid soul who took a chance and made the trip to this land of opportunity) , no wall is going to do anything except make us feel better -- that at least we're doing something. But if you, yourself want to really DO SOMETHING, you can -- or at least you know someone with a 401-k or some other investment/retirement vehicle they can channel to do some real good.

Invest in Mexico.

Setting up a new bureaucratic structure, complete with paying fines and returning home to stand at the end of some line to come back is typical beltway dumbassery. Oh yeah, that'll take care of things -- like an engineered bit of social Darwinism, we'll be able to identify the immigrants who should not be entitled to a license to breath because they're too stupid to stay here. They'll be the idiots signing up for this retarded program.

As for coming down on employers who hire the undocumented, the current prohibition on hiring "illegal" workers hasn't been properly enforced. Why on earth do you think a new law saying, "hey, we mean it this time" will make any difference?

No, you change the focus -- ride the wave and try to steer it. No finger in a dyke will stop the tsunami of globalization. Would anyone really backpack through the southwestern savanna to trek here when they're opening up a new manufacturing plant back home? As horrible NAFTA has been to the rust belt, I don't believe it's going away. No artificial panecea will stop our global economic dynamic. As long as Americans insist on getting paid more than anyone else, we can and should accept the idea that we will be making things assembly workers who are satisfied with making a fraction of what our work force demands cannot. We should be making things you just can't find elsewhere.

If you've got any stocks, bonds or mutual funds, you can invest in the Mexican Stock Exchange directly, or even buy shares of the Mexico Fund (MXF) on the New York Stock Exchange. It's providing a decent return on your investment and you can say you're bit of free marketeering is doing good, not the usually evil corporatist exploitation you usually find associated with the "capitalist pigs" on Wall Street. (Full disclaimer, I inherited several shares of MXF).

You can also seek out those innovators and entrepreneurs whose products and services rely on a skilled, educated and technologically advanced workforce. And yeah, they better damn well be unionized. But they're out there, and unlike the trite bumpersticker that immigrants are doing the jobs Americans won't, these 21st century captains of industry will be providing the jobs that only Americans can do. We are leaders in aviation and computer technology, communications, robotics, agricultural engineering and entertainment.

The list goes on, and investment opportunities are out there in abundance -- lots of places you can put your money where your mouth is, in a socially respectable way to build up your nest egg other than the energy consortiums and industrial/military complex.


Jeremiah Jenne said...

As a former Ohio resident (I studied history at the College of Wooster), I just wanted to pick a small nit. You are correct when you say that the Great Wall was not an effective barrier, but lets give the Ming some credit. The Ming general, Wu Sangui, in charge of holding the Wall, faced a dire situation in 1644, with bandits ransacking the capital and a well-ordered Manchu army waiting on the other side of the fence. Faced with the ultimate choice between two unpleasant alternatives, Wu requested that the Manchus take part in a "peacekeeping operation" to restore order in the capital. They eagerly accepted and the Manchu "peacekeeping mission" lasted 267 years. Whoops. Wu was many things, but it wasn't bribery that forced him to open the gates, just an overabundance of faith in the pure hearts of those who come bearing arms in the name of peace and order.

Mark W Adams said...

Thank you for this. That is most facinating. More Americans, including myself, would benefit from a greater appreciation of Asian history.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Mark, that is a very well written and thoughtful post. I never thought of that as a possible solution to immigration but it does make sense, more sense than trying to build a wall.

Hopefully you've sent this idea to the Edwards campaign, it would be nice to see them take a look into this for the campaign.

Mark W Adams said...

I sent it up the flagpole but haven't seen any salutes yet.

Mark W Adams said...

Okay, that was hardly worth the trip, was it....

Thanks Lisa.

Anonymous said...

It's always worth the trip when it involves you.

It's also a matter of more of us focusing on this and pointing out your idea. That I'll work on.