Migration into the United States

In February more than 76,000 migrants crossed the Southern border without authorization, an 11 year high.

76,000 illegal immigrants in one month!

This blog is liberal in outlook, and is even run by an immigrant!  However, such a big number is shocking.  Apparently, while the majority of  Latino migrants used to be men, now they are women and children, and, to the disgust of most people, the children are being separated from their mothers and no one seems to know how many separated kids there are, where they have been sent or how to match them up with a parent, so incompetent are the immigration authorities.  All we know is that they are scattered and some are being kept in jail cells or “cages”, as Democrats affirm.

The optics are dreadful; the government should be ashamed.  But not just the American Administration.  The Governments of the Central American countries of origin of the refugees should be even more ashamed, ashamed of their drug economies, the corruption endemic in the region, and the fact that so many citizens are desperate to leave.

Having said this, and sympathized with both the adults and innocent children involved, I still have very mixed feelings about this massive influx of undocumented people.  For any country the numbers are huge .  How do you cope with thousands of mothers with tiny children? Where do you put them?  How will they earn a living with small children to look after?

But there is something else.  I came to America in 1994 with a green card wbich I applied for and received before I left my home country. As soon as possible I applied for (dual) citizenship.  This turned out to be mind-bendingly bureaucratic and lengthy business. They lost my fingerprints three times. Not a process anyone would enjoy, and quite exasperating.  Nonetheless, I struggled through the process and became a US citizen, obeying the law.  I therefore feel rather annoyed that so many people should try to enter the country illegally, assume they will get in with minimal checking or surveillance.

The other aspect of all this immigration is the reaction of people who migrated and now have a settled life and jobs.  Ask them what they think of the undocumented surge and I bet they would want it curtailed.  Why? Because new migrants undercut the wages of more established migrants, which is why immigrants in the UK support Brexit – to reduce the wage competition from East Europeans just arriving.

Life is never simple. But I would maintain that obeying the law, however inconvenient, is the duty of everyone, and of Epicureans in particular.  This is because a peaceful and pleasant life is the object of living, and you cannot achieve ataraxia ignoring the law.


  1. It’s legal for asylum seekers to enter the country without prior approval. You had the luxury of acquiring a green card in advance, but you weren’t at risk by staying in your home country.

    “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty and I think it’s a sentiment that the richest, most powerful country in the world, which calls itself the Land of the Free, can afford to, and should, support.

    Trump’s attempts to close the border have no doubt spurred some to try to get in while the border is still open.

    • I take your point, but I was trying to look at this situation from the point of view of those fiercely opposed to large-scale immigration, who are rather numerous.

      Back in 1963 I was in Southern Mexico, in a small, very poor pueblo. There was there a professor from Mexico City helping reverse the poverty. I had dinner with him, during which he told me that he was a member of a right-wing nationalist organisation. “What are you going to do when the scores of little children you have in this village grow up and want jobs. His reply was interesting:

      “The Gringos provoked a war with us in the 19th Century and stole vast tracts of our land. We cannot fight them now to recover it, but then there is no need to. We will just encourage all these children in due course to go north of the border. It will take time, but that is something we do have. Eventually we will, de facto, recover the lost territory”
      This is absolutely true. The American man in the street has no clue about it, but he/ she sees it happening in real time. Doesn’t affect me personally, but it worries a lot of people, clearly, because it is a Trump preoccupation. Just reporting!

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