After listening carefully to President Trump’s nationwide address today, the Spirited Reasoner was disappointed to hear at least three factual and/or logical fallacies, each so gaping as to render the proposal untenable.
Here they are, in approximately the order in which I heard them:
- The notion that drugs are coming across the border because of the lack of a wall. Why is this nonfactual? Because the illegal drugs that stream across our southern border are being smuggled in trucks, vans, and cars that cross, each day, at the “legal” ports of entry. The vast bulk of these drugs are not being carried by the desperate families who are crossing the border on foot, in those parts of the border where a wall is likely to be built. How do we stop the unlawful smuggling of drugs? Through massive increases in the number of inspectors (and inspections) at the current ports of entry.
- The notion that people fleeing tyranny should apply for asylum in their home countries, rather than waiting until they are safely inside US borders. I confess that the Spirited Reasoner almost choked when he heard that proposal. I imagined the Trapp Family Singers (you know, the ones featured in The Sound of Music) traipsing into Berlin to ask Hitler politely if they could please be allowed to leave his empire for the free world. Really?
- The notion that 50% of all crime in the United States is caused by illegal immigrants. I’m guessing that most of you are up on your local news, and so you were instantly struck with the absurdity of this claim. You know the names of the recent suspects who were nabbed after violent acts of crime in your respective towns and cities. And I’m guessing the vast majority are those perpetrators have been living on the poor side of the tracks (with, perhaps, a few high profile exceptions, where a wealthy perpetrator does in an unfortunate business partner or spouse). And yet, the President most think many of us are stupid enough to swallow the notion that almost all of these local crimes are being committed by people who migrated up to our towns from the southern border. Just in case one or two of you might need further convincing on this topic, I will simply point out the following: in a list of all the mass shootings in the United States during the year 2018, you will be hard pressed to find any link to illegal immigration in the list of perpetrators. (I invited you to type the words “Mass Murders 2018” into your favorite search engine, then study the list of alleged perpetrators. You’ll find that almost all of them are home-grown Americans.)
What solution does the Spirited Reasoner propose? One with two prongs, as follows:
- Treat the disease at its source. If people are fleeing a particular region because of tyranny, then we must oppose that tyranny diplomatically and put pressure on those government officials who are causing it. I know. It takes long-term political willpower to apply effective sanctions on those governments who threaten their own people. But it’s a beginning. Our ultimate goal would be to assist our neighboring countries in the improvement of their economic and social conditions to such an extent that their people would have no reason to seek asylum elsewhere.
- Treat those who are fleeing tyranny as fellow seekers of liberty, not as criminals and other assorted “dirty” people. Asylum-seekers are only “illegal” if we deem them to be so. Does this mean we have to allow violent criminals into our country? Of course not. But if, after rational and effective screening, we deem the vast majority of these people to be honest seekers of safety from an oppressive government, we should err on the side of compassion.