Rand Paul’s Errors on Immigration

While Rand Paul may be open to a limited degree of immigration reform, his recent Op-Ed in the Washington Times expressed many of the misunderstandings that plague and impede any meaningful reform.

Each time we’ve tried to pass immigration reform, border security becomes a last priority, if it is even a priority at all… In fact, we have de facto amnesty, in which those here neither have to return to their country of origin, nor are they fully or legally part of the American workforce.

New York Times Graphic

He appears to be unaware that deportations are at a record high. Additionally, spending on enforcement of centrally-planned immigration is at outlandish levels. The Department of Homeland Security now employs 240,000 individuals and wastes an annual $59 billion (PDF) — all for misinformed people to say that the federal government is not “securing the borders.”

Paul’s logic gets even worse.

“Before any immigration reform takes place,” he notes on his Facebook page, “we must first secure our borders. You can’t keep refilling a tire that has a hole in it.”

This analogy is so confused, it’s painful. First, there has been no meaningful reform of immigration in decades — so no refilling of the tire is going on. Second, the presence of millions of illegal immigrants — the hole — is a symptom of confused and blocked immigration processes. Far from impeding reform, it should compel legislators to hurry up and sort it out while this process prolongs discrimination and ruins people’s lives.

So long as there is no legal route for most people to get to the United States and work legally, the incentives for civil disobedience are enormous. Without creating an all-invasive police state, which is happening unfortunately, there is nothing any government agency can do to stop people from pursuing better prospects. Much like the drug trade, enforcement attempts merely drive such activities underground and, in this instance, promote human trafficking.

Further, Paul echoes a popular myth about the United States.

“America is a nation that always has been welcoming of immigrants, and we must have a system that encourages and embraces those who come here from all over the world to find a better life.”

While I agree with the latter point, the initial assumption is a joke. Canada, for example, has a 55 percent higher net migration rate, and just take a look at the image below.

The irony is that immigration merits celebration not condemnation, whether it comes with a government license or not. Perhaps if legislators realized the nature of the situation, they would open up the borders pronto, since that would both inflate the tire and fix the supposed hole.

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