An Economic Solution to Illegal Immigration?

Immigration policy in America is a tangled mess. Then again, we really can’t expect anything else considering the government is in charge of it. Ron Paul breaks down the myths that are prevalent during this election season.

Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. Today is the day we do Myth Busters and our co-host is Chris Rossini and Chris is also the editor of the Chris, good to see you this morning, what do you have for us?

Chris Rossini: We are going to talk about immigration, which is a tangled mess in America and it shouldn’t be too surprising considering government is in control of it. So, we are going to hit some hot topics concerning immigration and we will start with walls and fences. Humans are always creative and if you put an obstacle in front of us, if we are determined enough we will go through, around, over, under it, so the walls and the fences do not work when it comes to keeping people out and can, as you mentioned once, also keep Americans in some day.

Ron Paul: That is my concern of course. I don’t believe in walls and I don’t believe they work and I don’t think they should be the symbol of America, so I am totally opposed to building walls and fences, I don’t think it’s good symbolism and I don’t think it works at all and I don’t think it addresses the problem. As a matter of fact I think in many ways and I said this in the Presidential debate that the so-called illegal alien problem is a distraction and sometimes we use that problem or that issue as a scapegoat to blame others for some of our shortcomings.

That is a big difference, I think that happens when we deal with terrorism and the threat of terrorism and most Americans are very fearful of terrorism and think that it happens all the time, yet it’s very, very rare and not the actual problem. So, I think the problem of illegal immigrants and the immigrant problem is way out of proportion, but it’s great to use it as a political issue and demagogues can use this and take it way out of context.

I think what is happening right now is that people are concerned and they want something done and they are convinced of it, but they don’t want to look at anything else and why we have to deal with this and I think it should be a lot greater emphasis on economic policies and why they come. But, to make my point about how big a problem it is, there are some statistics that actually supports this position that it is not a growing problem. There was a study done, a five-year study in ’09 and ’14 and during that period of time 1 million Mexican citizens went back home. The net increase though was a 140,000, because a lot still came in, but it isn’t like millions and millions of people are lining up and pouring over into our borders and it doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the problem, but it still I don’t believe that it’s quite like they would like to paint it and that of course, lots of things can happen if you scare people into thinking about this.

But, I think walls and fences are too often designed for the people that are on the inside. As a matter of fact I think there are financial walls built around American right now. If any American citizen, any listener decided that right now to pick up 8 ounces of gold and leave the country, they would be stopped, it would be illegal, it would be over 10,000 dollars worth and you carry it and you don’t have a permit. So, you can get into a lot of trouble just by carrying 8 ounces of gold out of this country and a lot of people are getting frustrated with this, the numbers of Americans expatriating, leaving this country, giving up their citizenship is growing. It’s not into the millions, but it’s also representing those individuals who know that our government is not moving in the right direction are taking it into their own hands. But, this really doesn’t solve the problem if it is really an economic problem.

I think people are frustrated and the issue that they don’t want to touch is why we don’t have economic growth, why don’t we have a lot of jobs, why do Mexicans come in here and generally get jobs. We have 1 percent economic growth since the great recession started, which is lousy and even that is fictitious and the whole thing is 90 percent of the economic growth goes to the one percent wealthy and that is why the people are so unhappy. Are they going to think about the economic policies, are they going to think about the Federal Reserve policy, are they going to think too much about spending and monetizing of debt and too much militarism. It’s much easier to say it’s illegal, they are coming in here and they are the problem it’s certainly not us, so it’s very easy to find scapegoats and blame somebody else.

I think the biggest problem with dealing with immigration and the consequence of immigration is the fact that that isn’t the big problem. It is deliberately made as a distraction in order for people not to think about it. Maybe they don’t think about it out of ignorance, maybe they really do believe that if we just close the borders and shipped out 5-10-15, how many, I guess 11 to 12 million people, that everything is going to be OK. I just don’t believe that. There is a lot of things that we can do to improve this problem, but I think first off we have to deal with the fact that it’s more than just the immigrants coming here and a fence, a wall will not do anything to solve our problem.

Chris Rossini: Yes, you mentioned the deportation of millions of people, I think it’s like 11 million people that Donald Trump is promising to deport and some people love the idea, others are scared stiff of it, so please give your thoughts about this and what kind of police state tactics would be required to actually deport 11 million people.

Ron Paul: Yes and I think when you talk about deportation of 11 million people you have to ask the question why did they come and what were the conditions and not addressing that means it’s not solved the problem, because over many decades, we generally have a system where we have more illegal immigrants that seem to be necessary and they get jobs and they work and then we give amnesty and we make them citizens and it goes on and on. But, I don’t think the deportation can work. I think concentrating on the criminals, people who commit violent crimes, not the ones who smoke marijuana for a day, but the people who commit violent crimes and they came here illegally and broke the laws, I think that there is no reason why they can’t be deported, we don’t need to be subsidizing them and give them all the benefits of this society and then give them amnesty and then finally end up being voting citizens that will not necessarily vote for the free market and for liberty.

I think that the whole idea of deportation doesn’t solve it, if you don’t think about why the people come and what we can do about it. But, the system that we have today is very much of a stimulant for the police state and you brought that up Chris in your question. Yes, I think the police state is just rounding up people. How many people would you need to round up 11 million people, how would you sort them out? Everybody sent back would be a suspect. You can’t give them due process, take them through a legitimate court that would last a long period of time and how many American citizens would be rounded up too? So, it’s just not practical.

There is things that we can do to try to change the policies that won’t keep this process going, but to say that deportation will work, I think that there is no chance that that is going to do much good. But, we have to change policies, our border policies and also this temptation, not only would we have an army of people rounding up these potential illegal immigrants, Trump has come up with expanding E-Verify. I have worked for several years on this when I was in Congress, E-Verify is a national ID card, he wants to expand it, why does he want to E-Verify us? Everybody in this country would have to be electronically verified by the Federal government approving you being hired to get another job. That is a horror and the expansion of that to find out and round up illegal immigrants, I think is very, very dangerous.

This is a serious problem and has to be dealt with and it has to be dealt with by changing our immigration policies and of course also thinking about other alternatives of how are we going to handle those 11 million people that we see now as not a practical thing to think we can round them up and send them all home wherever that is.

Chris Rossini: Yes. Next, let’s talk about welfare. If there is just one thing that we know just dealing in the marketplaces, that whenever something is free, people rush to it and even when it’s not free, let’s take Black Friday, there are stampedes on Black Friday. A major complaint that Americans have is that many Mexicans come here just to go on welfare and live it up on the government dole, even though they are illegal citizens. So, what are your thoughts on this Dr. Paul?

Ron Paul: If the welfare system has to be addressed, if you really want to get to the bottom of the immigrant problem, but not everybody fits into a neat category. I would never say those Mexican citizens that risk their lives to come over here and work for not great wages and they want just a better life and they work hard and they may have a much better work ethic than many Americans, they still are involved in the welfare system, because they do, they will go on welfare or they will qualify, they can go to emergency rooms, they can get free education and all and I think that’s wrong. They shouldn’t do it.

If an illegal immigrant or anybody walked up to our house and knocked on the door and said I need a bed to sleep in and I need a meal and they could force you to be the bed and breakfast and you have to let them in and feed them and let them sleep there, nobody expects that. But, when it comes into the country, everybody says yes, it’s inhumane not to do that. So, I think that if the rules were set and people knew that they weren’t going to get freebies on this and we had a much better system where people could come in and work and not be encouraged to bring their families at the same time.

So, I am thinking that the people who talk about a much more expanded program where workers can come in. This argument that they are going to take jobs, I’d like to see how many times, following the footsteps of an illegal immigrant, they sneak into this country, they go in and they go and apply for a job and they say this guy is doing that job for 15 dollars an hour and I will do it for 10 or 8 and the guy gets fired and that doesn’t happen, but people might still argue, yes, they take our jobs, but I think there is some reasons why some of those jobs do go to illegal immigrants, because we have a law in this country that prohibits a businessman and a worker voluntarily being employed.

So, if there is a job that the productivity of the job is economically calculated, which you can do, how much labor really was worked, how much he produced. It could be 7 dollars an hour, 8 dollars an hour, 9 dollars an hour, but the individual says yes, I’ll do it and then the government comes in and say you can’t do it, we will prohibit you, you must pay him 15 dollars. Then, of course, some jobs in construction or other things, they just ignore that because they can’t stand business, if they don’t, so they end up taking some jobs like that, but the problem is the fact that we have a system that excludes these people.

We also have an educational system, because most people think of illegal immigrants doing manual labor, but we have people who overstay their visas and come into this country and as a matter of fact the law is biased toward helping those who are well-educated, the engineers, the medical profession and all. So, there is not enough Americans to fill these jobs. The computer industry is like immigrants to come in and they always want the laws changed. But, that is a reflection of a lousy educational system and a dependency on government. In those cases it encourages people to come and take these jobs and we permit them to do it. I think that a lot could be done in the understanding of the economic policy and also unemployment.

There is structural unemployment and people are hurting and I didn’t mention a minute ago that the little bit of growth there is, is dependent on government printing money and government spending and all that pseudo so-called wealth goes to the very wealthy five or one percent of the people and the rest become very, very angry and they don’t have good jobs and yet they are very much on welfare. Some of them aren’t all that anxious to go out and stand on a street corner and see if they can get a job for 8 dollars an hour, especially if they can get 10 dollars an hour in a welfare system. They are not going to do that, just common sense tells you you’re not going to do that. It won’t probably stop unfortunately until this country goes bankrupt.

That is my argument about foreign policy. We are not going to come home and quit nation-building and quit spending all this money, until we go broke. This same thing about how the welfare system both affects how people work in this country and how less likely they are to take a more menial job at a lower wage and also when the illegal immigrants come in, some go totally dependent and others become partially dependent and they are part of the system.

I remember quite clearly being on emergency room duty, which was a hospital requirement to practice medicine there, which is nothing wrong with that and we go into the emergency room and I would be put in the situation where I am taking care of somebody who just came into the country, no prenatal care, very difficult and deliver a baby that amazingly goes onto the welfare system and the real sad part is if you get a case like that they are usually tougher, they have some medical problems and if there is a problem there is groups of people out there that will grab a hold of this and they are more likely to sue you than a patient that you’ve had and had taken care of, so there is a legal problem there too.

But, basically, I think economics drive a lot of this incentive for people to come here and could be corrected by a more sensible economic system.

Chris Rossini: Finally Dr. Paul, let’s talk about birthright citizenship and it’s constitutionality that is a child that’s automatically or that’s born in the United States is automatically an American citizen regardless of their parents being legal or illegal. So, what are your thoughts on birthright citizenship?

Ron Paul: I don’t think we should give birthright citizenship and I don’t think we should give citizenship to those who came here illegally. I’d make them, since we can’t get rid of them I’d agree with that, if they are not willing to sign up and become a legitimate visitor to this country and get a work permit, no that shouldn’t be the road to citizenship. So, I don’t want citizenship rewarded to individuals who came here illegally, I don’t want citizenship given by the mere existence of somebody stepping over the border, that individual I just mentioned, who just came into the country and delivered a baby, automatic citizenship.

I looked this up to find out how many countries do this, a lot of third world nations do it because it’s sort of, they ignore the issue. Yet, there is only two countries that are developed countries, that give automatic birthright citizenship and that is United States and Canada. Nobody else does it and there is about 8 countries in the last decade or so that has given up on that. They saw this as a negative, so they don’t give birthright citizenship.

I don’t see it as a practical thing, but there is big arguments, it’s a legal argument and some of the libertarians even disagree on it, what does the 14th Amendment say that anybody born here is a citizen if they are under the jurisdiction of the United States government. With exceptions, there were exceptions made at that by law and by law and the Constitution that Congress is responsible for immigration laws and naturalization laws. So, what they did immediately is a diplomat, a diplomat lives here and his kids are all American citizens, nobody even talks about that and another example of this, if any of us are visiting say Japan or China or something, nobody would say isn’t this good, I am visiting here, I’ve been here, I’ve been working here for a year and we have a child, so I expect it to be a Japanese citizen. Nobody bothers with that.

But, the whole thing about birthright citizenship, even at the beginning, the diplomats were exempted and if you happen to be a prisoner, you are not going to give citizenship to those people, so there have always been exceptions. The other interesting exception in the 14th Amendment was all Indians were not considered, the 14th was written mainly for the slaves that have been released, so that they could become citizens, but the Indians were denied citizenship under the interpretation of the 14th Amendment. So, this whole idea that it was all inclusive and automatic for everybody, that never really existed. It took until 1924 for Indians to gain citizenship in this country as being part of America. So, there are exceptions and since I don’t think it makes any sense, it doesn’t mean that they should be mistreated or not treated under our legal system, but it doesn’t mean that you should be able to gain the benefits of a citizen.

This whole mess made it much worse, because of the welfare state, because I think we could be much, much more open and generous if we didn’t have a welfare state at all, because people look at this and they are turning this into votes and if we get this group, they are all going to vote for the welfare state and that’s what we want and that’s why they want to become citizens, so it ought to be clarified. People who come illegally, shouldn’t have a route to be able to vote for the welfare state. I don’t think there is a birthright for citizenship and I think the most important thing to consider in this little dissertation on my beliefs on immigration, is that the immigration problem is a bit of a distraction from the real reason that we do need workers.

The other things is that when you have a truly free society, sound money and true liberty and this becomes a much less significant issue, there is high demand for labor and not enough for people to be worried about it, because if you didn’t have people making the option of a low pay job versus pretty good welfare benefits, if they were all working, it would be insignificant. There is usually a high demand for labor in a free and healthy economy which we do not have, so that compounds the problem.

But, this issue is not going to go away. For me, I think it can be sorted out mostly by looking at the non-aggression principle and why people should be as much freedom to move and travel and trade and be less dependent on government special interest and make it more generous in dealing with what we have now as an illegal immigrant problem. But, anyway, I think this issue will be with us before and who knows we may talk about it sometime later on. Chris, I want to thank you very much for being with us today.

Chris Rossini: Thank you Dr. Paul.

Ron Paul: And I want to thank our audience for joining us today on this Liberty Report and please come back to the Liberty Report soon.

  • Jon

    All security works by making things more difficult. A lock on a house can be picked. A jail cell can be dug out of. A wall can be climbed. A moat full of alligators can be crossed. Encryption can be broken (given enough computing power). And so on.

    Just because a security measure is not perfect and impenetrable does not mean that it’s useless. Quite the contrary.

  • Paul

    The last political wall erected in the developed world was in Berlin.

    Was I erected to keep west Germans out or East Germans in?

    The last “great conservative” president is falsely touted as Ronald Reagan. What did he have to say about the wall?

    Conservatives in the 80s said Mr President tear down this wall. Now the ever confused conservatives are screaming. Mr president. Build us a wall.

    How short the memory is of those who have no philosophy and are wooed by demagogues.

  • Susan

    Stop the freebies and they’ll stop coming!

  • rickart

    hmm missles are yet coming over the wall in Israel duh


  • user user

    Put up the wall, it worked for Israel and it eliminated all the bombings in their country because it is impenetrable and that is a fact. California was decimated by illegal aliens undercutting the American labor force I was there in the 80s and 90s and watched it happen, put up the wall.