How not to stop the flow of illegal immigrants

So the Border Patrol is trying to stem the tide of illegal immigrants by airing ads in foreign countries warning of the dangers of coming here illegally.

“The Spanish-language ads include messages like, “The journey is too dangerous;” “Children will not get legal papers if they make it;” and “They are the future—let’s protect them.” Radio ads for each of the three Central American countries warn listeners that children will be caught and that they will likely also encounter dangers like coyotes, or smugglers, on their journey north. The agency will also work with stakeholders in Central America and in the U.S., like local governments, faith-based organizations, other non-governmental organizations and the news media, “to encourage them to continue communicating these messages with their constituencies.””

It’s a nice try, but the problem of illegal immigration is more complex than that, as I’ve told you before. A series of ads aimed “downstream” at the people is not going to work as well as putting pressure “upstream”, at the lawmakers and law enforcers in the countries where these people are running from.

But the Obama Administration is under a lot of pressure to do something on illegal immigration, especially with all those children showing up at the border on their own. So I guess this is the next best thing to actually doing something about it with a Congress that is as obstructionist as it gets and a populace that dehumanizes illegal immigrants to the point where the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty don’t apply anymore.

So we’ll continue to play the game. The cartels get their mules. Human traffickers get their business done. The addicts in America get their cheap drugs. The politicians get their talking points and marching orders to give to their people. Companies get cheap labor. Immigrants get more money here than they do there.

And round and round we’ll go…

I'm a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen