Friday, October 26, 2007

Illegal Immigration - A Red Herring

I am really tired of the illegal immigration political discussions and have felt all along that this is a red herring. I mean, of all the critical issues in the United States and abroad, does illegal immigration even begin to merit the amount of attention and energy that it has drawn over the past few years. Granted, it does appear that illegal immigration puts a drain on state and federal resources, to the tune of 10 billion a year according to one study. I don't feel this shouldn't be a issue, but should it be one of the central issues? I mean, the Iraq war is now estimated to cost 2.4 trillion dollars, which is equivalent to over 200 years of illegal immigration based on today's costs!!!

The hurricane Katrina devastation in Louisiana is estimated to cost anywhere from 200 to 300 billion dollars, equivalent to 20-30 years of illegal immigration costs. Given the fact that much of the devastation from hurricane Katrina was preventable with foresight and better safeguards, doesn't it seem that a much better use of our politicians time is finding ways to prevent future events with similar disastrous results, as well as setting up infrastructure to respond quickly in the event that a natural disaster does happen. I mean, how much money would we save if we could react quickly and decisively to massive flooding or spreading wildfires? I would wager it would easily pass the 10 billion mark on an annual basis.

The problem is that illegal immigration is a flashpoint for conservatives and proves to be a strong rallying issue, as well as a distraction from other pertinent issues (Iraq war, failed recovery efforts in New Orleans, etc). Unfortunately the news media blithely comes along for the ride, breathlessly reporting each new development on the illegal immigration front. It drives me batty, as "solving" the illegal immigration issue (i.e. keeping Latin American's in their own damn country) will not provide substantial benefit to the United States, not to mention the moral failures of a country that becomes exceedingly selfish at hoarding their resources from those who have nothing. When will we learn...