What in the world has this nation’s ongoing immigration dilemma have to do with the economic theory referred to as the law of supply and demand? Actually there is a direct connection. In the following discussion we’ll see how the combination of the two can be thought of as the root cause of the massive immigration problem America now faces.
To begin let’s review what is going on as this immigration situation has reached a state of crisis, in fact a humanitarian crisis. It has become very apparent that everything that Donald Trump touches somehow turns into a massive controversy or some kind of crisis. And he has done it again with his latest twisted policy relating to border security.
A large portion of this country and its people are in an uproar over this issue. Americans who have feelings for their fellow human beings are enraged as they continue to see this government separate young children, and even toddlers, from their parents. On the other hand we have the cold, heartless Americans, typically staunch Trump supporters, who are not bothered in the least by what is happening.
Trump initiated this travesty when he introduced his policy of zero tolerance for immigrants from countries south of the border who have been attempting to enter into this country, many seeking asylum. When the situation blew up in his face, and after he took a heavy moral beating by the majority of the media and angry people across America, he had no choice but to rescind the policy.
He issued an executive order that was no more than a token gesture and does nothing to fix the overall problem or do anything to reunite some 2300 children with their parents. Now all we see is mass confusion and a total lack of coordination between various government agencies to try to bring this situation under control.
On MSNBC I watched as a reporter/translator interview two women from South American countries who were holding little children. The reporter asked them why they would even try to enter the US when they knew there was a good chance that they would be separated from their children.
They said that, in their countries, they were in such great danger from gangs, thugs and other criminals that they feared for their lives and those of their children each and every day. They had heard that this separation of kids from their parents was happening but that, even with that knowledge, they had to try to enter America to save their children’s’ lives. In other words even if they might never see their children again that would be better than allowing them to be killed.
That says it all, that’s an indication of the desperation of these immigrants and why their attempts to enter this country will continue. So with all that said then what might be the natural solution to this dilemma?
To come up with a viable solution we will need to return to the direct connection with America’s immigration problem and the law of supply and demand. What is the root cause of this problem, how did this situation ever come about and who are the responsible parties for the current mess?
We still have immigrants coming here from various overseas countries but not to the same extent as in the past. Things have changed over decades. In the past immigrants, largely from Europe and Asia, came here, took jobs that few Americans wanted, and then went through the process of becoming citizens.
Then things began to change. Decades ago many U.S. companies that were searching for ways to reduce labor costs and increase profits suddenly became aware that plenty of cheap labor was available south of America’s border. They had seen small numbers of mostly Mexicans come over the border illegally and then take jobs with companies in California and Florida that produced farm products.
What we have here is a classic example of how the law of supply and demand works. These U.S. companies made it known that they had a great many jobs and would hire undocumented immigrants, i.e., they created a strong demand for workers. And so illegal immigrants filled that demand. If the demand for cheap labor had never been created by these corporations then the supply chain would never have materialized. .
While thousands of corporations were breaking this country’s immigration laws which U.S. president ever demanded that they be called to task and assessed massive penalties for their violations? Not one. And why? Simply because the government was not going to do anything to stifle corporations’ objectives to vastly increase profits which would grow their businesses and the economy.
There are about 12.5 million of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. with about 3.5 in California and Florida alone. They are doing the work that typical Americans refuse to do, working on farms in California and Florida; they cut and fertilize our lawns, work in our restaurants, and in our car washes. They have become a part of our society, in effect; they have been assimilated into our culture. The vast majority of them are very law abiding, pay taxes, and are respectful of others.
Here’s what I believe can and must happen for the good of this country and all parties to this issue. There is a word called attrition, the definition of which is “the process of gradually reducing the strength or effectiveness of something because of certain conditions.” Now what could trigger such attrition in this sizable part of the American job force and what might the net effect be?
Suppose that Trump decides to deport millions of these workers or he builds that wall and the entry of immigrants is reduced to a trickle. The total number of undocumented workers would begin a steady decline and the states of California and Florida would see their commerce and their economies crippled.
Who in this country would fill those jobs; who would work on the farms to harvest our products, who would want to work in meat packing plants, and work all those other low level, low paying jobs? Would typical Americans like you and I do that, would our children? The chances of that happening are slim to none.
I can see only one good and viable solution and it will not be easy to implement. This government and the people of America must face reality and understand that our immigration laws must be radically changed. We cannot totally cut off the entire supply of these immigrants by preventing their entry. We have to create a controlled process to allow a given number of them into the country to fill these jobs. And then, over a period of years, allow them to become citizens.
Wow that’s easier said than done. Without question there would have to be a very effective process developed. Obvious smugglers and known and suspected criminals would have to be turned around or arrested. Families with children would have to be closely screened and either accepted for entry or turned around for very good reason.
Then the big question would be: for those being accepted for entry what would happen next, where would they go, what exactly would they do? Would they be granted special passes and sent to various states that needed low wage workers? Right now there are no really good answers but they will come.
To create and develop this special process, if I were the U.S. president, here is what I would do. I’d put together a very high powered commission comprised of the best and brightest Americans; those from Corporate America, involved government agencies, experts on immigration in general, and others who could make important contributions to the development of this process. .
This commission would have an ongoing agenda, one with no time limit with members that could spend the time and effort to come to the aid of their country in a great time of need. This would be a massive undertaking but critically important in doing two things; one to come up with a viable immigration system that Congress could implement and two, to see that our system of commerce remains strong and effective.
Now some would say that what I’m proposing is pie in the sky thinking, hoping for a miracle to happen, and that there are far more questions than we have answers for at this time. Sure we don’t have answers to many questions but does that mean that we shouldn’t try to do what many consider to be impossible? Of course not!
Yes this problem may be very complex but we need to remember that this is a nation that prevailed against the axis powers in World War II against seemingly impossible odds, that sent a man to the moon, and launched a space flight to Mars when that seemed to be no more than a dream. There is no question that we can address and solve this immigration problem.
However, to meet that objective, we can’t use conventional measures but have to think out of the box, i.e., use creative, innovative thinking. And when we do just that then we will solve this monumental problem plaguing our nation.