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Taking a shotgun to the illegal alien problem

Several years ago, I developed a technique for problem-solving that I called "the shotgun technique." When faced with a problem, I would simultaneously try several solutions. This tended to fix the immediate problem fairly quickly, but had the drawback of not telling me exactly what caused the problem in the first place. It was good in a crisis, though, when solving the problem was less important than ascertaining exactly what the root cause was in the first place.

(I don't claim to have been the first to come up with this idea, but I had never seen it spelled out before I started using it.)

A lot of people have a lot of different feelings about the illegal alien problem we have in the United States, and they all think they have the silver bullet, the single solution that will fix it. They argue back and forth about increased quotas, a "path to citizenship," stronger border enforcement, harsh sanctions on those who hire illegal aliens, expedited deportations, tougher laws against the smugglers, a veritable plethora of solutions all aimed at stemming the flow of illegal aliens across our borders and encouraging those already here to get right with the law or get out.

The arguments boil down to a few simple issues: what are the factors that have led to the crisis, and how do we best address those issues?

I have a simple question: so what?

As far as I'm concerned, the root causes is an irrelevant issue. If someone is bleeding to death from a cut on their arm, how important is it to know if the injury was caused by a knife, a chain saw, an animal attack, or struck by a passing car? The most important thing is to stop the bleeding, THEN worry about the larger issues.

So I suggest we try a bunch of solutions, all at once. Go after all the suspected causes at the same time, and see what happens. After a trial period, we can go back and analyze just what factors had what effects -- but in the meantime, the odds of actually stemming the tide of illegal aliens would markedly increase if we would actually DO SOMETHING.

Heck, if people are concerned, enact each measure with a "sunset clause," making each expire in a couple years unless renewed by Congress and re-signed by the president.

But as my mother used to say, it's long past time to crap or get off the pot.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Taking a shotgun to the illegal alien problem:

» bRight & Early linked with First Cup 06.12.06

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Comments (8)

If our govt had the balls t... (Below threshold)

If our govt had the balls to fine any employer that (knowingly or unknowlingly) employs an illegal, say, $10,000 per each illegal, per month employed, the problem would diminish greatly, quickly.

I agree with both of you - ... (Below threshold)

I agree with both of you - and nothing infuriates me more than people "forming a committee" instead of just DOING something.

If you get your arm cut off... (Below threshold)

If you get your arm cut off, everyone around may not agree on the cause, but everyone will agree with the goal. That's not the case here.

You've framed the issue as "fixing the illegal alien problem," and suggest trying multiple techniques simultaneously to solve it. Unfortunately, there's wide disagreement about what the nature of the "problem" is, and what it would mean for it to be "fixed." I, for example, might want to "fix the problem" by having a fence built, employers of illegals punished, illegals depoarted where possible, other illegals persuaded to leave when their jobs dry up, and punishment of illegals by making them inelligible for citizenship. You might want to "fix the problem" buy relaxing movement across the border, letting most immigrants work here legally, and making it easier and faster for most anyone to become a citizen.

Both of us would then have different ideas for "fixing the problem." That doesn't mean we can try both at the same time. A fix for you would be a failure for me, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, too often our politicians answer calls of Americans like Cindy to "just do something!" We usually regret it. More often than not, in politics, doing the wrong thing is a lot worse than doing nothing.

Geez, Jay, you want them to... (Below threshold)

Geez, Jay, you want them to do something and then maintain sufficient attention long enough to determine efficacy?

That's pretty funny for a Monday.

...Great. So are there any... (Below threshold)

...Great. So are there any, you know, *limits* to this shotgun method? If we aren't going to base it on the nature of the problem, I could easily say that the solution is obviously to mine the southern border in depth and station snipers at regular intervals to kill those who successfully navigate the minefields, or perhaps to invade Mexico to execute a regime change.

After all, if you're not going to look at the causes, the illegal immigrants could very well be part of some kind of Mexican government-planned infiltration of the US with an eye to annex large portions of our territory through subversion.

Sure, a bit of simple questioning and logic are all it takes to decide that such reasoning is silly and such actions unproductive-- but if we're not worrying about root causes (say, desire for better-paying jobs or superior living conditions), then "kill them as they cross the border" or "destroy their country because they are invading us and that is an act of war" are equally as valid as "make them citizens" or "build a fence" or "punish those who employ them."

Asking the reasons why we have illegal immigrants is the most fundimentally important part of solving this issue. View it as a case of war-- if you do not know the enemy and his goals, it is impossible to defeat him and you cannot predict what he will do in response to your efforts to stop him (or even if the activity you're stopping was necessary to reach his goal in the first place). If Iran's goal is nuclear weapons instead of nuclear power, offering them US reactor technology if they halt uranium enrichment isn't going to do the job. If Stalin's goal is to hold all the earth under his sway, allowing him to gobble up eastern Europe isn't going to do more than encourage his voracious appetite.

In the same way, some solutions to illegal immigration will be utterly ineffective unless one properly discerns the overall motivations of most illegal immigrants. If it's to get jobs that pay well, harsh punishment of employers will probably be very effective. If it's simply "to be in the USA because the US is AWESOME and I don't care if I have to scrounge out of garbage cans to eat," simply denying them jobs isn't going to work because the main reasons for them coming are not eliminated by such actions-- let alone if the main goal is (if you'll pardon me while I break into some melodrama for humorous effect), "Viva La Raza, y Viva Mexico! I shall wait until the appointed time, and then STRIKE and KILL the hated Americans. Bwuahahahahahahahaaaaa!"

"If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." Any success gained against an enemy without knowing him is completely the result of blind luck. And I am NOT willing to trust American security to Lady Luck.

I actually thought about mi... (Below threshold)

I actually thought about mining the Rio Grande. Seems pretty cruel but it works for the Koreans... doesn't it?

"As far as I'm concerned, t... (Below threshold)

"As far as I'm concerned, the root causes is an irrelevant issue. If someone is bleeding to death from a cut on their arm, how important is it to know if the injury was caused by a knife, a chain saw, an animal attack, or struck by a passing car? The most important thing is to stop the bleeding, THEN worry about the larger issues."

It's extermely important to know how the wound was caused, because it will affect treatment. Different injuries require different treatments, that aren't apparent sipmly by looking at the wound. A knife is likely to cut clean, so you can usually just stich it up. A chain saw will cause a more erratic damage, so it might be harder to stich up, and you'll probably need a tetnus shot. An animal bite will require a rabies shot. A car accident will probably mean that the guy will have broken bones.

HORRIBLE analogy.

JFranklin:"If our go... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"If our govt had the balls to fine any employer that (knowingly or unknowlingly) employs an illegal, .."

Hold on, Cowboy. Fining an employer that UNknowingly employs an illegal? I think that is too harsh.

"So are there any, you know, *limits* to this shotgun method? "

Yes. Common sense could be a good limit. Increase border patrols, build a fence, increase hi-tech surveilance; to name a few. Those are a few uncontroversial first steps that should be taken. Only the extreme moonbats object to those actions.
It won't solve everything, but those are the basic steps that have to be implemented first before anything else more complicated (green cards, amnesty, deportation, etc.., whatever course we decide to take) will even have a chance to succeed.

Compared to other issues that all nations face, this is not the most complicated.






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