Thomas Sowell

Just as we don't need to solve every crime and catch every criminal, in order to have deterrents to crime, neither do we have to ferret out and deport every one of the 12 million illegal aliens in this country in order to deter a flood of new illegal aliens.

All across this country, illegal aliens are being caught by the police for all sorts of violations of American laws, from traffic laws to laws against murder. Yet in many, if not most, places the police are under orders not to report these illegal aliens to the federal government.

Imprisoning known and apprehended lawbreakers for the crime of illegally entering this country, in addition to whatever other punishment they receive for other laws that they have broken -- and then sending them back where they came from after their sentences have been served -- would be something that would not be lost on others who are here illegally or who are thinking of coming here illegally.

Just as people can do many things better for themselves than the government can do those things for them, illegal aliens could begin deporting themselves if they found that their crime of coming here illegally was being punished as a serious crime, and that they themselves were no longer being treated as guests of the taxpayers when it comes to their medical care, the education of their children, and other welfare state benefits.

Incidentally, remember that 700-mile fence that Congress authorized last year? Only two miles have been built. That should tell us something about how seriously they are going to enforce other border security provisions in the current bill.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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