Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Case for Attrition

By Douglas Kohn

As anyone well knows, America is being very nearly overwhelmed by illegal migration and uncontrolled borders. While certain numbers of immigrants greatly enrich our country, being overwhelmed by monolithic and culturally confident blocks of immigrants is not only a drain on resources and a potential security threat, but also puts our very culture at risk.

The most obvious historical comparison that one can draw is that today’s illegal migrants were yesterday’s Visigoths entering Rome. The Visigoths originally came into the Roman Empire, not as conquerors, but wanting to share in the fruits of being part of the greatest civilization of the age. Ultimately, the Visigoths were too culturally alien to be properly assimilated into Rome, went into open rebellion and eventually helped engineer the collapse of the Empire.

Overall, this is a wholly depressing picture. But there is great hope that the situation is improving.

Today’s illegal migrants are in much the same position, having flouted American law they now live underground and it is impossible to even count them properly. Estimates range from 12-20 million with practical solution in sight.

What can be done?

The answer is to muddle through. The answer is attrition. There are many new technologies available that are starting to have an impact on the situation. Using the internet, employers now find it possible to screen nearly everyone who comes to work for them to make sure they are citizens. In poll after poll of the illegal migrants that we can locate, the word of the day is fear. They are now living in constant fear of having the authorities find them, are finding fewer job opportunities (not just because of a poor economy) and a general atmosphere of hostility. 2008 is the first year since 2002 that the ‘official’ number of illegal migrants has started to decrease.

This is attrition. It is impractical to have one massive roundup of illegal migrants and deport them all at once. It would also lead to an unnecessary humanitarian crisis. Gradually tightening the grip, with small busts of smuggling rings and punishing employers will do the trick. It will take time but there are signs it is happening. Patience is of the utmost importance in dealing with this situation.

We also must put some of the problem of immigration into perspective. We will always have to cope with some level of illegal migration, though none of it should be openly tolerated. The wall and better border enforcement will help but it would not be a cure all. The wall is not going to cover the entire Mexican border. For the wall to be effective it would need two layers and several large towns would have to be destroyed for the wall to run through it. This would be prohibitively expensive and logistically impossible.

For more perspective on the situation, we need only look at immigration in Great Britain. Britain is an island nation that finds in its midst thousands of illegal migrants from as far away as China and Southeast Asia. It is impossible to stop all of it, though with proper awareness and better enforcement, it can be reduced from today’s overwhelming problem to a minor inconvenience.
As of right now, this immigration problem could prove to be a fatal illness; however, through patience and proper policy, it may be reduced to the equivalent of a chronic ailment.

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