Whenever the State involves itself in an issue there are unintended consequences (okay, the consequences could be intended but I’ll give the politicians the benefit of the doubt in this case). When the State involved itself in the alcohol market by prohibiting its manufacture, sale, and consumption criminal organizations arose to provide the prohibited good. Today we’re seeing the same thing happen again as the State has involved itself in the markets of several other substances. When the State further involved itself in the healthcare market health insurance premiums skyrocketed.
What happens when the State involves itself in immigration? Unintended consequences:
For four months every year he employs almost exclusively Hispanic male workers to pick the harvest. This year he had 64 men out in the fields.
Then HB56 came into effect, the new law that makes it a crime not to carry valid immigration documents and forces the police to check on anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally.
The provisions – the toughest of any state in America – were enforced on 28 September. By the next day Cash’s workforce had dwindled to 11.
Today there is no-one left. The fields around his colonial-style farmhouse on top of a mountain are empty of pickers and the tomato plants are withering on the vine as far as the eye can see. The sweet, slightly acrid smell of rotting tomato flesh hangs in the air.
On Friday, the 11th circuit appeals court in Atlanta blocked the first of those measures, but allowed the state to continue detaining suspected illegal migrants. So it is unlikely that Cash’s workers will dare to reappear.
The blow to Cash can be measured in those $100,000 – money he says he had wanted to put aside as insurance against a poor crop in future years. But it can also be measured in other ways.
A great deal of manual labor in this country is performed by “illegal” immigrants. Why? Because they’re willing to do the work for the pay being offered, unlike most Americans. When those immigrants aren’t available to do the work the work often ends up not being done, which costs producers money and consumers available goods.
Immigration is a hotly debated topic amongst libertarians. One camp believes that the State has the authority to decide who can and cannot cross the arbitrary lines it has created. The other camp, i.e. the correct libertarians, don’t recognize the State has a legitimate entity and believe that the only person who can decide who can and cannot enter a property is the owner. If a farmer wants to allowed laborers from Mexico to enter their property then those Mexicans can enter the property. Property rights cease to exist the second the State is allowed to dictate who can and cannot enter the farmer’s property.
One thought on “Unintended Consequences”
I’m with you. Of course it’s true that people shouldn’t be tempted to pour across the border just to snap up free goodies the government is passing out (at taxpayer expense), so the handouts should stop before borders are opened. Both should happen immediately.
Brian Cash lost a $100,000 crop, and the rest of us will pay more for tomatoes as a result. Thanks, government!
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