A Method for Understanding Illegal Immigration

The illegal immigration debate has taken on more prominence since the 2016 election, hasn’t it? I’ve had several discussions, and one discussion in particular really got me thinking.

In the past, some have focused on the idea that otherwise law-abiding illegals are being told they are unwelcome in the country. Others have previously been taken with the idea that illegals are cheaters who take school resources, jobs, and services away from legal citizens who followed the rules. And nearly everyone wants the situation to improve.

Einstein famously said we cannot solve problems with the same mindset that created them. How can we leverage an interesting new mindset with which to address the issue?

In his book “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big,” Scott Adams discusses thinking in terms of systems rather than goals. A system produces results continually, while a goal is a one-off target. The acquisition of a particular sum of money is a goal; a business that produces income over time is a system.

Systems thinking has a long history, although it wasn’t always called by that name. The Founding Fathers were systems thinkers because they built a system of government that is both resilient and adaptive. So one can consider a country’s government, legal environment, and culture to be a system. Many people call our system “America.”

The American system arguably tends to produce more prosperity, freedom, and individual opportunities than other systems. This is particularly true compared to systems in place to the south, which is a big reason why so many from there break immigration law to come to America. They want access to a system that produces better life results for them than their current one, and in many cases they are willing to risk a great deal to get that access.

When we consider America to be a system, we can realize one new reason why so many object to illegal immigration: they can see illegal immigration as a theft of access to a superior system. When you think about it like that, it’s easy to see how that makes sense. Particularly when you consider the perspective of all the legal immigrants who spent years waiting for openings, establishing employment ahead of time, learning English, and going through background checks. Most people think that illegal immigration is unfair to those who follow the rules.

A lot of people have had strong ideas about illegal immigration and it can help to consider things from a new perspective. My previous discussions have ended. But the new discussion can begin. Who else needs to think of things in new ways?

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