Sunday, June 2, 2013

Why They Keep Coming

Immigration reform is one of those issues the media is beating to death right now.  We are hearing the pros, the cons, the dreams, the realities and the logistics for solving the "problems".  We get educated on how important the immigrants -- our own ancestors -- have been to the country, how much we need more as migrant workers, as well as how expensive it would be to pack them all up and send them home.  We are inundated with news about how expensive they are to our educational system and medical care.  We must not forget how much is said about building better fences and defenses to keep them out.  We are told we should not worry because our poor economy has stopped the influx, but video cams from border states show veritable parades crossing into American farm and ranch lands.  We are asked for empathy for their children who have known no other home.  In other words, sifting through all the verbiage to find the facts, could become a full-time job.

Let's fence them out, but keep them in once the fences haven't worked.  Let's turn our heads from the "problem" for years and then offer them amnesty periodically, or, okay, yes, offer them amnesty that isn't really amnesty.

So, why do so many unwanted, fenced out people keep slinking into our territory?  Because our illogical, unthinking policies reinforce them for doing so, and also because the message that even natural-born Americans are currently unable to achieve the American dream has not reached them.  They haven't heard or read the opinions of investment experts who have quit telling us how to invest in real estate.  They now try to assure us it is smarter just to rent.  And, also, because reinforcement theory is always in effect whether or not we choose to control it

So what does this mean?  A reinforcer is defined loosely as any stimulus or event that follows a behavior that increases the probability the behavior will occur again.  In other words, if you want something to keep happening, keep reinforcing it.  You want illegals to keep coming, keep giving them and/or their foreign born children amnesty and citizenship.

Better still, use an intermittent reinforcement schedule -- the strongest, most effective schedule.  This means keep them guessing all the time as to whether they will or won't get forgiven for breaking our laws and coming here outside our legal immigration system.  Don't just tell them they might get to become citizens every five years if they are here anyway, but let them believe coverantly it might happen in ten, or maybe in two, or it might never happen again.  Operant conditioning research -- research that has discovered what causes animals and people to behave as they do -- has proven that intermittent reinforcers keep us doing desirable and/or undesirable things longer and stronger than a regular schedule does.

Furthermore, reinforcers, punishers and reinforcement schedules are always in effect -- always at work -- even when people don't know they exist.  We can either ignore them and let them control us without our knowledge or we can take charge of them and get our environment under our control.

A lot of the verbiage today is about needing more aliens to plant and harvest our fields or to bring technological skills to our shores.  After all, some say, our own people don't want to work in the fields, so we need the illegals to work the farms.  Really?  So how come we see article after article saying that farmers have nobody to bring in the crops?  Where are those illegals working?  The fields?  Or, are they doing roofing and foundation repair cheaper than Americans can afford to do them, thus causing more native sons to be on unemployment?  Are they working in our factories and retail stores?  Are they running their own businesses and sending home for more illegals to come work for them?  Or, are they providing new jobs for America's existing work force? 

What we need is not our typical Band-Aid approach where we make a temporary fix of letting the current lawbreakers stay, but securing our doors so we don't get more lawbreakers.  We need a long-term measure that says this is the last, the final time that illegal aliens or their foreign-born children will ever be granted amnesty or amnesty by any other name.  From a specific arbitrary date on, every illegal not on our soils by the stated date, will be summarily returned to their homelands with no exceptions allowed.  And, yes, that will probably require profiling.  We need to prosecute any business owners that hire them.  We need to make temporary agencies that cater to them illegal, and we should prosecute them as well.

Or, we could just open our doors to one and all and forget the whole sorry subject.  It's a cinch the current approach is causing the problem, not solving it -- that is if it is a problem at all.  Just get a policy and make it work. 

I wonder if open borders might actually be effective?  If people can come anytime they want, perhaps coming might not have so much appeal.  We are a rather defiant species.  My daughter, at age one, would have climbed Mt. Everest if she had thought I had put it there to keep her out of something.

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