$2 Billion on Illegal Immigrants

See update below.

The Obama administration is asking Congress for over $2 billion in funding to deal with the new flood of immigrants across the border from Mexico.  Many of these immigrants are children, oftentimes without accompanying parents, who are originating from Central America.

While this story has received some recent attention, it really is probably being under reported.  The curious thing is that there is not a universal explanation for the huge wave of children that are all of a sudden pouring in.  Of course, all of these immigrants are coming across illegally.  Most of them are really poor, especially by American standards, and they are fleeing their home for a reason.  If it is just because they are from poor countries, it doesn’t explain why there has been such a huge number in just the last year.

Obama is also going to request powers to deport immigrant children who arrive without their parents.  Perhaps the strategy of these parents was to send their children alone, in hopes that they would somehow be taken care of, once arriving in the United States.

If Obama and the federal government are going to deport tens of thousands of children, how are they going to do it?  How much is it really going to cost?  And what happens if the children and their parents are put at political risk by deporting them?  Is the U.S. government going to deport children facing a dangerous situation?

These are not easy answers, even for liberty advocates, to answer.  For Americans, we cannot easily change a bad situation in other countries.  We can only change our own situation.

Immigration and the Welfare State

One of the major causes of an immigration problem is that America has become a welfare state.  We are just a really wealthy welfare state.  The welfare state did not come about until after there was great wealth accumulation.  In other words, there are still a lot of goodies to be handed out.

If the U.S. wasn’t a welfare state, then there likely would not be as many illegal immigrants.  There would also be less opposition to immigration because anyone coming to the U.S. would most likely be coming to find work.  They would be productive people.  There are already a lot of productive immigrants, legal and illegal, but there are some who take full advantage of the welfare state.

Obama is going to ask for $2 billion to spend on this problem.  This will just be the initial request.  You can bet that it will end up being a lot more.  That is a great sum of money to extract from the American population.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I would rather Obama spend $2 billion on helping poor immigrant children than spending money on drones to drop bombs on children in Pakistan.  But it is not as if $2 billion in additional funding for immigration is going to stop drone bombings.

It is also hard to say whether this $2 billion or more in funding is going to help or hurt the children immigrants.  If it is simply to fund the cost of deporting them, then it will only hurt the children.  That seems like a lot of money to spend to ship children back to an unstable environment.

There is another unfortunate aspect of the welfare state.  Because the government at all levels takes almost half of our money (maybe more, if you include the cost of regulations), Americans are not in a great position to help.  Worse, many Americans are less charitable simply because they expect the government to act as a charity.

If there was no American welfare state and we still had the situation of tens of thousands of children flooding across the border, then I imagine that many people would step up to the plate and provide answers in the form of charity.

I don’t have many answers to this issue, just as nobody really has all of the answers.  The government certainly doesn’t have the answers.  But if we had a voluntary free market, then different people would be coming up with different solutions.  Some would work better than others.  The ones that work better would get more of the funding from other charitable people.

Some of the answers might lie in foster care and adoption.  There are many Americans who want to adopt children.  Another answer might be finding other countries where there are people who want to adopt.  There are other answers in reuniting the children with their parents, whether it be in the U.S. or in another place that is more stable than their original home.

I fully realize that these immigrants are illegal.  But that is just a reflection of U.S. law.  It doesn’t make these people criminals in the sense of common law.  Most of them are innocent people seeking a better life.  It is impossible to gain access to the U.S. by going through the bureaucracy legally.  It is possible for them to walk across the border illegally.

No matter how the situation is dealt with, it should be done with compassion.  Compassion doesn’t mean taking taxpayer money to solve the problem.  But these are human beings trying to survive and most of them are not trying to harm anyone.  And the government is not going to be able to solve this issue.  It can only be done with voluntary charity and a free market.

UPDATE:  The amount Obama is requesting is now up to $3.7 billion.