The Diary of Anna Francisco
Arizona’s governor just signed two laws in the past few days.
The first removes the requirement that to carry a concealed handgun legally in the state one needs a government permit.
The second authorizes state, county, and local police to ask for papers from anyone they have “reasonable suspicion” is in the country illegally, and makes harboring an illegal immigrant a crime.
I spent years “harboring” a man who was never legally classified a “permanent” resident of the United States. He was like a brother to me.
That he was from north of the border rather than south of the border should only matter to a bigot.
Nonetheless, he never applied for permanent resident status or a “green card.” He never filed income tax returns in the United States. He may have had a Social Security number issued to him when he was in the country legally as a graduate student; if so, I never saw him use it afterwards.
When he was stopped by police on occasion — for jaywalking, or on one occasion because his common-law wife swore out a complaint against him — he showed the police his Canadian passport, which satisfied them.
He crossed freely and repeatedly between Canada and the United States, and only had problems with American authorities once when his Canadian papers weren’t in order.
And he never worked as an employee for any American person or company; anyone who wanted his services had to pay the Canadian-based corporation he owned, which used a British bank with branches in the United States and Canada.
He died in the U.S. having overstayed his student visa by 29 years.
A United States Congressman spoke at his memorial service. So did businessmen who would have been happy to sponsor him for a green card and legal permanent residency.
My friend didn’t do that because, being an anarchist, he did not recognize the moral authority of the government of the United States to license and tax his residency, any more than citizens of the State of Arizona recognize the moral authority of their state to license and tax carrying arms. In both cases the argument is in favor of natural rights.
Now, the United States and Mexico did fight a war between 1846 and 1848, which the history books usually call the Mexican-American War. It was a territorial dispute. The United States military won the conflict and imposed on the Mexican forces in disarray the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. That treaty gave residents in the disputed territories a year to decide if they wanted to live in Mexico and be Mexicans or live in the United States and be Americans.
The problem is, the United States was a capitalist society with a tradition of English liberty and a Protestant work ethic and Mexico wasn’t. The country to the north thrived and grew a rich upwardly mobile middle class. The country to the south stayed pretty much as it had been, with peasants and aristocrats.
So the terms of the treaty haven’t held up very well.
The political justification of the second Arizona law just signed is that illegal immigrants are bringing with them criminal violence from Mexico to Arizona.
Today Mexico is a country overrun by gangsters who use violence to control monopolies on who gets the profits from the sale of illegal drugs to the United States. The gangsters even pay Mexican police and soldiers to work for them, so we sometimes have Mexican soldiers crossing into the United States on missions for these gangs. That meets the definition of either an invasion or espionage. The United States could put these Mexican gangs — and this invasion — out of business overnight by the simple expedient of legalizing these drugs and pulling the rug out from under these Mexican cartels.
Another political justification for the second law is that illegal immigrants partake of government or government-mandated services in the United States — schools, welfare, medical services — thus overburdening American taxpayers. Moving these services to the private sector, and removing the government mandates, would relieve American taxpayers of these burdens.
There are other political justifications for the second law. Mexicans who work off the books — not abiding by licensing and other bureaucratic requirements, not paying income taxes or FICA, not being unionized — can work cheaper than American workers burdened by these regulations, taxes, and price supports imposed by the lobbying of organized labor. Eliminating these regulations, taxes, and price supports eliminates the market advantage of working off the books.
So, basically, if illegal immigrants work for a living there’s a political objection to them, and if they don’t work for a living there’s a political objection to them.
This is known as “Heads I win; tails you lose.”
Now, the interesting thing is that the only objection any of the Framers of the American system of government would have been concerned about was the invasion by foreign soldiers. The rest was none of the government’s business.
There was no prohibition of drugs.
There was no welfare.
There was no income tax or Social Security.
The practice of medicine was paid for by a patient paying a doctor.
There were no labor unions.
There was no mandatory public schooling.
There was no minimum wage.
And there were no laws regulating immigration, except the importation of slaves.
There was hardly universal freedom, especally if your skin was black or you were a woman. But if you were a white man, you were free. It would take close to two centuries before blacks and women achieved full equality to white men under the law, but by then they achieved equality with white men who were no longer free.
Here’s a real irony. The Governor of Arizona doesn’t have a clue that by signing the first law she pretty much made the second law superfluous, at least as far as the Founding Fathers’ concerns. By allowing Arizonans to carry arms for self-protection, the Mexican invaders stand a good chance of having someone shoot back. They will find they do much better back in their own land, where the government officially disarms their victims. This alone will act to drive them out.
Many of the immigrants who came through Ellis Island decades ago had as little understanding of what made America special as Mexicans who come here today. All the older immigrants knew was that America’s streets were “paved with gold.” They didn’t understand the principles of free-market economics that made America different from the European and Asian sewers they were escaping from.
But they learned the advantages of freedom. If there’s not enough freedom left here for the Mexicans to learn the advantages of it, that’s hardly their fault.
Mexicans know Mexico is broken. They come here because America and Americans have a reputation of being a free and generous people. If we are less free than our reputation — and our government more profligate — whose fault is that?
Let’s fix the problem rather than fix the blame.
Eliminate the bureaucratic laws, market-entry-barriers and taxes that grant undocumented workers market advantage.
Stop punishing free-market hiring of labor on terms acceptable to buyer and seller.
Stop blaming Mexicans for wanting to escape from Hell. Let’s recognize them for what they are: not illegal aliens, but refugees from tyranny.
Mexicans are the new Cubans.
And if the law says it’s illegal to hide them so they won’t be returned to the tyranny they escaped from, consider that some righteous Americans will hide them in an attic, and future school children will read the Diary of Anna Francisco.
Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Libertarian Ideals from the 2011 Anthem Film Festival! My comic thriller Lady Magdalene’s — a movie I wrote, produced, directed, and acted in it — is now available free on the web linked from the official movie website. If you like the way I think, I think you’ll like this movie. Check it out!