demographic challenges facing the party in the future know it’s
time to get on board with immigration reform, and many have. A
deal on a border security amendment may secure more
Republican support. Chuck Schumer and John McCain are
aiming for 70 votes in the Senate to get the kind of momentum
they feel is needed to get the bill passed into law.
But what does the new spending on border security mean? If the
Border Patrol is underfunded (big if), it’s because they have to
pursue drug cartels and human traffickers operating along the
border. Real immigration reform would mean liberalizing immigration
laws to make it easier to enter the United States legally.
Appropriately implemented, immigration reform should cut down
significantly on human trafficking at the border. Once it is easier
to go the legal route than to hire a coyote, the human trafficking
problem should largely take care of itself. Regular readers of
Reason know ending the war on drugs would go a long way to
stripping drug cartels of their power. Who wants to deal with the
Zetas if you can import your drugs from Legal Weed Inc.? But
regular readers of Reason also know that’s not happening any time
too soon. Fine. Yet even if the Border Patrol is mandated to pursue
narcotraffickers and terrorists along the border, easing the demand
for illegal entry (by lowering the cost of legal entry) ought to
allow the Border Patrol to focus on those narrower problems.
The demand for massive new border security spending, then,
suggests two things: that no one in Washington actually expects
“immigration reform” to make it easier to cross the US-Mexican
border legally, and that many Republicans are still enamored by big
government when the money is thrown down their hole of choice.
admitted as much when he said special interests “coming back
for more” goodies in the immigration reform bill was a good
A final version of the immigration reform bill is still not yet
here, but you can read the current Senate version of the bill
here (pdf). The Senate is expected to vote on the border
security amendments and the full bill by the end of next week, but
the House version isn’t likely to get voted on till September (DC
loves its long summer vacations)
You can read my case for amnesty, which wouldn’t require a
here, and Shikha Dalmia’s argument for liberalizing immigration
laws, which also wouldn’t require a 1075-page bill, here.
And check out Reason’s latest eBook, Humane and Pro-Growth:
A Reason Guide to Immigration Reform here.