22 November 2007

Our Immigration Problem: Connecting Some of the Dots

Recently The New York Times reported that: "The Department of Homeland Security is ahead of schedule in building some 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican border." The "fence," of course, is meant to protect us from the threat posed by all those brown-skinned, foreign-tongued economic migrants from Central America. How rare is it that a government project is ahead of schedule? If only our security agencies might address other, really pressing immigrant threats with similar alacrity.

Today The Times reports that 60% of foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq come from our "allies" Saudi Arabia and Libya. We can't build a fence to keep these deadly immigrants out. Indeed, it is not at all clear that such immigration (or any other type) is susceptible to such military-style solutions. What we ought to be doing in the face of this immigration problem is exporting democracy to the Middle East by encouraging the despotic Saudi regime to democratize. Why? One plausbile reason is that, as economist Alan Krueger explains [1] [2], terrorists tend not to be terribly impoverished or poorly educated; but they do tend to have grown up under repressive regimes that fail to extend civil and political liberties to their citizens
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P.S.: And for readers who've convinced themselves that terrorists are irrational, criminal, predominantly Muslim, and likely to infiltrate the U.S. via Mexico, . . . oooopps! Krueger explains here that none of those deep insights are plausible. It is astounding what you might learn if you look and see instead of being guided solely by fear and rank prejudice.

P.S.2: If you want to read the research on which the opinion peices I've linked to here is based try Alan Krueger. 2007. What Makes a Terrorist? Princeton UP.

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2 Comments:

Blogger stanco said...

Jim- Are you really trying to advance an argument by presenting well researched documentation in a rational, logical manner? Certainly you don't think you can actually convince anyone with that tired routine?

22 November, 2007 22:26  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Stan ... Ooops! My bad ... JJ

22 November, 2007 22:45  

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