As the United States trudges on into the maelstrom that is the presidential election, we have already begun the process of pandering, name calling, and opportunism. While the Democrats whittle down their bizarrely large field to a chosen son or daughter, the President sits on the high ground, picking his shots and waiting for his opponent to emerge.
Rhetoric is filling the air like bullets at Gallipoli, promises are being made as if we have an elected monarchy, and we have not even gotten to the fun part. We have become a nation of single-issue voters, rather than thoughtful debaters within a Republic. Now living in a southern border state, my favorite bit of mindless rhetoric has become tying immigration to employment. Before we even get to next year’s election, we need to put this tired anecdote to bed and turn our attention to real national issues.
Political Trump Card
Often the trump card (pun intended) within Republican politics, the easiest way to steer a debate is to blame immigrants and foreigners. This works particularly well for employment, law enforcement, and national security. Unfortunately for the conservatives, the data proves otherwise.
Immigrants, legal and illegal, are good for local economies. I am more likely to be the victim of a crime at the hands of a natural-born American than an immigrant. The threat of terrorists sneaking over the border is insignificant and current security measures have proven effective.
There is an overwhelming reality around the claim that immigrants steal jobs meant for Americans: it implies that there is a collective ownership of employment based on nationality. This is simply not true. Ownership of jobs does not rest in the hands of the public, but in the hands of the employers themselves.
A job is something created by business owners out of their property; it is a private investment made by one individual in another individual. A group based on nationality or any other arbitrary characteristic has no more claim to a job as it would to someone’s home or car.
Employment is given based on criteria that is unique for each employer. Factors range from negotiated pay and benefits to education and experience to perceived potential. If a job is not given freely, it is theft of property in the form of wages essentially confiscated by one party on behalf of another. If a job is not accepted freely, it is servitude, regardless of pay.
Democrats Are Not Blameless
Democrats are not free from criticism on this issue. While the DNC may not make this argument regarding immigration, they certainly make the argument when it comes to trade and unions.
Economic Nationalism has been trumpeted explicitly by Senator Elizabeth Warren, under the guise of “economic patriotism” and other candidates have embraced the idea in policy, if not in name. The belief that American businesses must employ Americans and manufacture products in the United States is predicated on the same mistaken belief that there exists a natural claim over another’s property.
Move On, America
Let’s get rid of these wild claims from public discourse and use the next year to focus on issues that truly matter. Let’s focus on our national debt, now exceeding $22 Trillion with no relief in sight. Let’s repair our entitlement system. Let’s end all foreign wars and entanglements. And let’s finally have an honest discussion about immigration. Do not let these candidates off the hook.