How the Wall will turn Phoenix into Chicago

Our proposed approach to illegal immigration has been criticized as being too 'Ayn Rand', 'libertarian' and 'Cato'.   It is not.  Our approach is conservative.  But then again, so are the enforcement-based proposals of, say, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) or The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

So what's the difference?

FAIR and CIS believe that black markets can be beaten, that with enough effort, the Wall can close off Mexico.  We believe black markets cannot be defeated, certainly not for an extended period of time.

The data back us up.  The traditional black markets of alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gambling and migrant labor have never been beaten in the US.  Prohibition brought all sorts of crime without reducing alcohol consumption much, and was repealed.  The closure of suggests US prostitution was alive and well just last week.  Gambling has been widely legalized, with the government itself a big player.  Marijuana is moving rapidly towards wide-spread legalization, even as the opioid epidemic tells us we are being crushed in the war on hard drugs.  And despite 17,000 agents on the southern border, March saw a spike (albeit a forecast spike) in illegal border crossings, such that the Trump administration felt it necessary to add National Guard troops there.  We are not winning in migrant labor, either.

If only we try a little harder, argue our friends at FAIR and CIS, we can surely close the border.  That's not what history tells us.  History tells us that a Wall will bring the crime north into the suburbs of Arizona and Texas, as the cartels move on the Border Patrol and state police itself.  If you can't beat the Wall, you can always buy or intimidate those who man it.  That is a lesson of Prohibition.  Al Capone, the Prohibition era gangster, once claimed that half the Chicago police force was on his payroll.   A favorite Prohibition tactic was 'free nights', when bootleggers paid customs agents to be absent for a specific period of time on a specific night. That would work on the Mexican border, too.  Building a Wall, far from keeping Mexicans out, will bring the Mexican border right into the suburbs of Arizona and Texas as the cartels move to flank the barrier.

So, unless FAIR and CIS can convince us that the US can beat a black market, their proposals ring hollow.  Even if the Wall were built, the key achievement will likely be the transformation of Phoenix into 1927 Chicago, just as the Mexican war on drugs has turned the north of that country into a killing zone.  And there is nothing conservative about organized crime, police and political corruption, and the public's fear for its safety.  

By contrast, market-based visas will reduce crime associated with illegal immigration by 90%, close the border, and bring order, safety, and transparency, as well as compensation for labor market access -- all conservative goals.  True, we achieve that using a market mechanism -- because that's the textbook approach, which has been tried and tested.  

So, we'll let the policy cowboys at CIS and FAIR gamble with turning Phoenix into Chicago.  Princeton Policy will stick with solutions grounded in theory and proven in practice.