Free Markets, Free People

How inept is big government?

I think the signs are clear that most of big government displays varying degrees of ineptness, from slightly to completely.  And over the years, the entire scale of government has moved relentlessly to the “completely” side of things.

Here’s a simple example of why few have any trust in government and even fewer believe what it says anymore.  In this case it has to do with security and immigration.  It has to do with basic competence.  It has to do with following and enforcing the law.  And it also has to do with a department of government which has done none of those things:

The Homeland Security Department has lost track of more than 1 million people who it knows arrived in the U.S. but who it cannot prove left the country, according to an audit Tuesday that also found the department probably won’t meet its own goals for deploying an entry-exit system.

The findings were revealed as Congress debates an immigration bill, and the Government Accountability Office’s report could throw up another hurdle because lawmakers in the House and Senate have said that any final deal must include a workable system to track entries and exits and cut down on so-called visa overstays.

The government does track arrivals, but is years overdue in setting up a system to track departures — a goal set in a 1996 immigration law and reaffirmed in 2004, but which has eluded Republican and Democratic administrations.

“DHS has not yet fulfilled the 2004 statutory requirement to implement a biometric exit capability, but has planning efforts under way to report to Congress in time for the fiscal year 2016 budget cycle on the costs and benefits of such a capability at airports and seaports,” GAO investigators wrote.

Why has it eluded both Republic and Democratic administrations? Basic incompetence coupled with bureaucratic resistance. A combination which leads to ossification – something we see more and more of as government grows more vast and inept. Also note that many of the problems we suffer today are of government’s making. Certainly if we have a means of logging arrivals into the country, having a system that tracks their exit just couldn’t be that tough to do. And DHS has had the mandate to do that since … 1996. 17 years. 17 years and nada.  Result?  We have no idea how many foreigners we have illegally in this country right now.  But they can track a Pakistani Taliban for days on end via drones.

Of course none of this should surprise anyone, because the federal government isn’t now nor has it ever really been that interested in enforcing immigration laws. When it does do so it is almost by whim.

Like I said, this is just one example of the legion of examples where big government exacerbates problems by being inept or just intransigent (or both) in the execution and enforcement of laws.  Executive departments really don’t pay that much attention to either the law or Congress.  And, as usual, there are no consequences for doing so.  The department charged with homeland security during a war on terror has lost track of a million foreigners that have traveled to this country.

And no one seems to care.


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45 Responses to How inept is big government?

  • If you really want to track all foreigners, then you need a MUCH BIGGER government.  You want that?  Tough immigration laws require a big government, and one that violates libertarian principles.  You want that?   I’m amazed at how often you gloss over fundamental contradictions in your world view!

    • so, what you’re sayng, doctor asshat, is that the current DHS is broken, and in your view the only way to fix that is to make it bigger, throw more money at it, and if WE want one that works better, the only answer is YOUR answer, bigger, more intrusive.  And you don’t understand why we would want that.  Your contention is that it just has to be bigger.  Just…because….
      that’s your only answer isn’t it, dumbass.
      You don’t understand why we’d want that….because that’s NOT what we want.
      How about this asshat, how about a smaller organization that does a better job?

      • What would you want?  (Your name calling is cute)

        • Is it?   Good, you’ll continue to enjoy it in the future, I can pretty much guarantee that.
          Want?  Shoot, when someone comes to your college, what do they want?   Do they allegedly want an education, or do they come for the drinking and parties?   If it’s drinking and parties wouldn’t it be cheaper to close down your college and open up a couple new bars?   The costs will be lower, and certainly the salaries will be less, and we won’t have to worry about stupid tenured bar tenders who can’t make a rum and coke properly but can’t be fired.  You can make pizza again.
          But you’re answer reflects your job, when you clowns f up the education world, we throw more money at you to ‘fix’ the problem.  We all are keenly aware of how well that has worked.
          What I want is for the agencies who are tasked with doing a job to DO THEIR JOB.   It isn’t complicated.   If they can’t close them down.
          Enforce the magic laws they’ve passed, do the job the agency was tasked to do when it was created, not some new job that someone dreamed up, like NASA being told their job was Muslim community outreach.  The side you most often argue from is keen to make new law to strike fear into the hearts of law abaiding citizens, if not potential criminals, enforce the laws.  Actually I’d like to see a bunch of those laws and regulations eliminated, but right now I’ll settle for them doing their jobs.
          DHS has proven to be a boondoggle, and a very expensive one at that, why in God’s name would I want it to be bigger and more well funded.

          • Enforce the laws, you need big government.  Bigger than now.  You wanna be a little would be fascist, well, it takes big government to do it!  And your words sound like you’re a fascist wannabe!

          • Prof Web demonstrates the pitfalls of drinking and posting late on Friday after a few too many numbing drinks.

          • Enforce the laws, you need big government.  Bigger than now.

            You see a bureau, agency nominally empowered to address problems…to fix them, to alleviate suffering, to reduce bad things.  You presume that only government can do it, that only government is efficient and benign, and that adding more people and more budget to that bureau will improve the results.
            But history shows government does not work that way.  The “war on poverty”, medicine, education, health insurance, unemployment, the “war on drugs”, various international expeditions to take out bad guys and set up good guys to rule the foreign countries.  Politicians keep promising that more money will help, but as growth creates top-heavy bureaucracies, inefficiencies, waste, graft, unaccountability, additional problems (both intentional to drive higher budgets and unintended consequences).
            I disagree with most here about immigration, but your narrow-minded ideology, an over-simplification of reality in which only government can fix things, causes you to make errors in thinking, over and over.  Your faith in the goodness and effectiveness of government is not only unfounded, but is demonstrably irrational, given empirical evidence.

            You wanna be a little would be fascist….

            How do you figure that?  Fascism is government propping up loyal businesses and groups, like the GM bailout, the special exceptions to ObamaCare granted to federal employees, TARP, Solyndra, etc..
            Don’t throw rocks when your house is made of glass.

            And your words sound like you’re a fascist wannabe!

            I disagree with him, but you have no basis for that accusation.  If anything, your channeling of Goebbels is evidence of your own fascist tendencies.

          • Law of diminishing returns you sorry hack, try again.
            Did I mention your insult was cute?   What happened to those proud statements that we should try and be like you and not throw insults around?  You pompous hypocritical hack.

          • Just so there is no misunderstanding my previous comment is for Herr Doktor Erpppppp.
            The comment indent limit does some disservice now and again.

    • Furthermore, if they DID a better job, there’d be less likelihood that people here when they shouldn’t be would try that crap.  But when they KNOW that they can stay with impunity because the DHS is such a collection of boobs where’s the fear of breaking the law?  You know, that fear thing you liberals are always claiming will happen when you pass more laws against ‘criminals’.
      Where’s the motivation to leave when you’re supposed to when the punishment is you get to stay and collect welfare and free housing, like, um, two of Obama’s relatives in Massachusetts did.
      If they were actually AFRAID of DHS catching them and booting them out with just the clothes on their backs, they wouldn’t over stay their welcomes.
      The answer isn’t to make the crappy system BIGGER, you’ll just get MORE crap, it’s to fix the crappy system so it works.
      I can see you now though, handing your kids MORE money for failing to do their chores.

    • More bilge from the problem-solving challenged adolescent!
      Nah…all you need is a bigger hard drive for the database and competent (read: not post-modern leftists (pardon, that’s redundant)) people running it.

    • Actually, a little enforcement of legal status would go a long way towards solving the problem. When you round up a few illegals, many more go home on their own. And then it is yet easier to enforce the law with respect to the remaining illegals.

      Our illegal alien problem is a direct result of lack of enforcement.

    • Or we can just decrease the number of “foreigners” around to track……
      Now go eff off.

    • Don’t be silly Scott. They are not calling for tracking of people. They want to add the biometric analysis to exiting visitors. It is already done to all arriving visitors (photograph, fingerprinting) so the database exists and the hardware has been in use for years. They have “lost track” of a million people, but really mean that they aren’t sure if they have exited legally or not. Most of them probably have via some channel where their passport was not recorded. It’d be the same in any large country. I’m pretty sure that the Schengen area loses track of quite a few people as well. Whether adding biometrics to the exits will help is another question, but it seems your beloved big government hasn’t managed to get their fingers out of their asses either way.

  • I don’t understand self-described individualists calling for strict immigration crackdowns, rounding up people who are hurting no one else and shipping them back home.
    Most undocumented immigrants come here to work their butts off to make a better life for themselves, doing the work that lazy Americans won’t do, for less money, and don’t hurt anyone.  If the complaint that some of them get on welfare or use other taxpayer-funded services, the solution is to end those programs, not to try to use two wrongs to attempt to make a right.
    Immigration enforcement has been a joke for decades.  Democrats don’t enforce the laws and want to grow their electoral base.  Republicans want to thwart that, but in the process they are easily portrayed as being racist against Latinos, and they alienate a demographic which actually could fit under their tent if they’d just quit pandering to the Archie Bunkers.  Latino immigrants tend to be family oriented and hard working.  Conservatives like to portray themselves as such.  Democrats can easily lure the less work-oriented people with free cheese, changing the electoral demographics as well as the nature of the immigrant population.  Republicans are reaping what their predecessors sowed decades back when they compromised and compromised with Democrats until that became the standard game plan.  “Give free cheese?  Well, how about just a little bit?”  Great work, guys.

    • Here’s the mental model I think is held by a lot of individualists towards immigration (including me):

      Zero immigration is silly. This is a nation of immigrants, and “being American” is more a matter of attitude than being part of any other country in the world. That’s one of our strengths.

      However, we have a culture that facilitates the freedom and prosperity we enjoy. If, say, thirty million immigrants a year came in with no intention of “becoming American”, but just to work and send money home, then after a while the culture that makes our society special is no longer dominant or influential. The result is movement toward a nation with less freedom, because the new residents/citizens don’t really understand or value American-style freedom.

      So there’s a number in between that achieves a balance between gaining benefit from immigration vs. being having our societal culture being swamped by it.

      People can argue over what that number might be and have quite reasonable disagreements. But I think anyone at either extreme is simply advocating a policy that can’t work in the real world. I see that in a few hardcore conservatives taking the zero option, and some hardcore libertarians taking the unlimited option.

      I reject those alternatives in favor of a balance.

      In the past, we had the society that wasn’t saddled with social welfare, and the cost of getting to America was high enough to be a barrier to those who didn’t care that much about being here. The cost of coming, and the knowledge that they were totally on their own when they got here, was enough of a filter.

      In today’s world of (relatively) cheap worldwide transportation, the “barrier to entry” on pure economics will not enforce any such balance. Plus the social welfare policies you noted attract those who have no intention of assimilating American culture – they just want to work some and take whatever free goodies they can wheedle from our society. (They are in addition to the non-free-riders who do want to work and assimilate.)

      Simply saying “We should not have those social welfare policies.” doesn’t make sense to me as a position in the real world because we have them, and there’s no obvious way to get rid of them. I might as well base government spending recommendations on mythical competent, all-knowing bureaucrats. Sure, get rid of the social welfare, and I’m happy to talk about more liberal immigration policies, though I still think the low transportation costs cause a different dynamic than was the case during America’s big immigration waves.

      So I believe in limited immigration, and that requires policies and government force to enforce the limitations. It’s one of the few Constitutional responsibilities of government to do so.

      I see no conflict between that position and a generally individualist, libertarian philosophy. I am much more interested in figuring out what to do about our real world problems than discussing the theoretical libertarian cases for which I can’t see any conceivable path (short of civil war and starting over as a society).

      And by the way, the entire “Latinos would be fine Republicans if the GOP started respecting them” argument strikes me as fantasy. The surveys I’ve seen have Hispanics favoring Democrats about 7 or 8 to 1. Even if that got reduced to 2 to 1, it’s still giving statist Democrats more and more power, and I really don’t think it would be reduced that much in a world with a lot of social welfare in it.

      • I’m married to a hispanic. Trust me, hispanics are not going to quickly convert to the conservative or libertarian worldview. They will accept gay marriage long before they accept small government and free martket capitalism.

      • Simply saying ‘We should not have those social welfare policies.’ doesn’t make sense to me as a position in the real world because we have them, and there’s no obvious way to get rid of them.”

        There is nothing simple about it.  This house of cards was built, law by law, court case by court case, election by election.  The time to make a stand was during FDR, or maybe LBJ.  By the time Nixon tried to win over the liberals with his “moderate” fiscal policies, the fight was already lost.
        This isn’t about waving a magic wand to make this world closer to ideal, or any such rot.  It is about arranging accountabilit and values in the proper order, not playing political blackmail like:

        Sure, get rid of the social welfare, and I’m happy to talk about more liberal immigration policies….

        If you want to grab Mr. Lopez, lock him up and then put him on a bus, because you’re afraid he’ll get food stamps or go to the ER without paying, I’ll just point out that Mr. Lopez didn’t make those compromises with Democrats.  Republicans did.  But he is paying for their failures.

        I am much more interested in figuring out what to do about our real world problems than discussing the theoretical libertarian cases for which I can’t see any conceivable path….

        You’re making arbitrary divisions, attempting to justify abandoning principles for pragmatism by labeling the difficult, intractable problems as “theoretical libertarian cases”.  Mr. Lopez is a real world person with real world rights, not some ivory tower hypothetical.

        • You’re making arbitrary divisions, attempting to justify abandoning principles for pragmatism by labeling the difficult, intractable problems as “theoretical libertarian cases”.

          I don’t think so. I desperately want radically smaller government, but I’m not going to pretend that there’s some magic pathway that gets us there. The more issues that get conflated, the harder it is to come up with anything that is remotely politically possible.

          Like it or not, this society isn’t going to radically reform social welfare programs absent some sort of collapse that sidelines any worries about issues such as immigration. It’s hard enough to get people to even admit the unsustainability of these programs. Trying to tie them to immigration simply has zero possibility of working, so I don’t see any reason to try it. I’d be happy enough just to see the programs reformed for the simple reason that they’re going to tear apart society if they’re not.

          Then, if that small probability ever came true, sure, let’s talk about more open immigration. That’s just acknowledging the way the real world works, Elliott. Nothing arbitrary or theoretical about it. In the meantime, immigration policy should be centered on not making other problems worse, and admitting more people to strain the social welfare system looks like the opposite of that (and makes any reform of that social welfare system more difficult).

          Yes, many of our problems are indeed intractable. I didn’t create that situation, and I don’t like it, but I’m not going to pretend that it’s not reality.

    • Aww man, in the real world, they are hurting the legal residents in many ways, all of which have to do with a government run amok I admit, but still we do suffer harm.
      We suffer harm in having to support those we do support, we suffer harm in them taking jobs from citizens, we suffer harm from them operating in the cash environment where they aren’t paying income taxes or are avoiding other taxes because they’re in the shadow world that obviously doesn’t want to report transactions that are (unfortunately) taxed by the government.
      A lot of those things I wish the government wasn’t doing, but they are, and therefore by extension when these illegal people benefit from things they aren’t responsible for paying for, and they make the rest of us responsible for picking up the difference in one form or another, they are actually causing us harm.  They are counted and enumerated as if they were citizens, so they affect, government collection, redistribution, and even voting by representative congressmen.  When the government doesn’t get a proper count of them, they guesstimate them.
      This isn’t the open borders everyone takes care of themselves universe you’re aiming for.  So, dealing in the real world, I object to their presence.
      Not to mention, when they came in, they more or less agreed to play by the rules, and then broke them, so at a minimum they are displaying a lack of honesty and honor.  Why in the world should we tolerate that?
      What’s more, it’s quite possibly a canard that they ALL come here to bust their asses, you can’t possibly verify any of that because they live in a twilight world that is unaccountable to anyone.  So we don’t know why they come, we don’t know what they’re doing.  Saying they all come and bust their asses for a better life isn’t a proven fact because you can’t be every where to see if it’s so.   You really don’t have any idea, it’s all speculation perhaps based on someone(s) you know who do indeed bust their ass in the hope of being part of the American dream.  That doesn’t mean all of them, or half of them even, we can’t know what the percentage is.  I’m not accusing them of being shiftless and lazy in percentage (x), I’m saying we can’t tell.
      And saying Americans are essentially lazier is just a big an unprovable.  If you mean a guy who thinks $5.00 an hour is great pay because in El Salvador his opportunity to earn that is nil doesn’t mean he’s necessarily a harder worker than an American who can’t keep his house payments and tax payments going for $5.00 in pay.   “Lazy” Americans can’t disappear from the system the way an undocumented alien does.    Not to mention the “lazy” American understand $5.00 an hour sucks, and the government will ‘help’.  So now I’m paying for the illegals, AND the lazy Americans who can’t get jobs at a decent wage because employers are paying guys who will take work for much less pay because they have nothing invested and their presence here is a one bedroom apartment shared illegaly with 12 other guys.  If an American does that, he probably ends up in jail or court (which is a nice system for extracting money from citizens too), if an illegal does it, he ends up with a bus ride out of the country and he can start all over again.
      It’s the system we have, not an ideal system we’d like, and as long as it’s what we have, the illegals need to come in and do it properly until we get what you’re after.

      • we suffer harm in them taking jobs from citizens….

        The jobs belong to the employers.  They do not belong to people who want them, just because they were born here.  The employers have every right to hire whomever they want.

        A lot of those things I wish the government wasn’t doing, but they are, and therefore by extension when these illegal people benefit from things they aren’t responsible for paying for, and they make the rest of us responsible for picking up the difference in one form or another, they are actually causing us harm.

        I’ve put in bold your errors.  Politicians set up the system.  People who operate in the shadows didn’t set it up and are therefore not the ones making anyone do anything, or causing harm.  Look to Washington for the blame.

        …it’s quite possibly a canard that they ALL come here to bust their asses….

        It’s your strawman.  You feed him.
        I’ve seen Mexican immigrants working hard more times than I could count.  I know there are people who are not honest or hard-working.  But in my experience, the second, third, or greater generation Americans tend to have less work ethic.

        And saying Americans are essentially lazier is just a big an unprovable.

        Many natural born Americans are hard workers and highly productive.  But the percentage gets fewer each year.  More people are on the dole, fat, pampered.
        Irish, Italian, German, and others immigrated here long ago, and the established Americans (of British or Scots-Irish ancestry, from before the revolution) said the same things about them.
        The immigrants are getting blamed for problems they didn’t create.

        • “It’s your strawman.  You feed him.”
          Heh, seriously, that made me laugh.
          But I’m not blaming them for what they’re doing.  I understand that completely.  Better life, who doesn’t want one?
          I’m blaming US for letting them do it when we’ve allegedly established a system.   To that point I’m not sure our system ever can or did work the way I think it can or did.  I just know we can’t take the world in.
          I do know that I’m not getting my money’s worth out of the government, especially DHS.   I’m more concerned they’ll break down my door ‘accidentally’ (because they’re Fing idiots….) or there’s some law I don’t even know that will have them show up with their Department of Educations Loans SWAT team because I didn’t pay my son’s school loan on time for 2 months in a row.
          Homeland Security….right, that’s why I worry more about Homeland Security and their random stops, pokes, and legalized assaults than I do Achmed and Salim.  If I pop Achmed in the process of him doing ‘his job’ I’m a hero, if I pop an agent at 2 in the morning who’s team breaks into my house accidentally, I’m going to end dead myself or confined to some Federal Prison.
          I DO honestly worry more about DHS than I do the people who overstayed their welcome.

          • sigh – in case one wonders why heavily armed government, like DHS troubles me more than Achmed the not yet dead terrorist…
            Yeah, I know, it’s NOT he Federal government in this cite, but it’s the mentality that the government has…and it’s everywhere.

          • Looker, Radley Balko has been documenting police militarization for many years and just came out with a book on it.  Many others have been highlighting this sort of abomination.
            It’s everywhere, from feds, big cities, on down to little towns who get armored personnel carriers to show off.

          • I know, this just being one of the latest demonstrations that they’ve crossed the line.  It’s more reason I don’t want them with more funding.
            What ever happened to NOT assuming people have laid out anti-personal mines, with interlocking fields of fire and a retired German 7.5 cm PAK 40 just in case the gubmint boys brought along one of their toy tanks?
            It’s gone beyond reasonable, and gone beyond safety.   In this case, what were they expecting?  Bambi’s father to show up and gore them?
            They have things they think are toys, and they’re using them, cause it’s cool.   And so we end up with dead innocent civilians and slaughtered pets.  Christ, the KGB at least knocked at midnight, they didn’t blow the door down.
            this article reminded me of Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant especially since these clowns really DID use up their cop equipment to get aerial photos before they launched “the operation”.   I wonder how many 8X10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one describing what each one was they had to take to get Bambi from the animal shelter so they could have their Bar-B-Q.

    • Late to add, but reflect, this article is about those who walked in the door, legally, and then we sort of lost track of them because of stupidity.
      This isn’t even about aliens sneaking across the border.

      • Good point.  I missed that.

        • I wandered into those who hike over the border during my ramblings.   So I confused the issue.  You’re not to blame when you respond to what I’ve written.
          The people who come in legally and don’t leave… how they do what they do is beyond me.  They’re not in the shadows, they have papers and I’m assuming the majority aren’t from south of Texas.  I gather what they’re doing is living amongst legal immigrants of their own ‘kind’.   Presumably their papers expire and they just never say anything, and we never do either. And they notice the consequences of their law breaking are often enough nil to make them stay.
          But I’ve worked with enough foreign nationals on visa’s to know they know they’re breaking the law, it’s not an accident.    Recent example is that whackjob Chinese chick who decided to apply a coat of green paint to our national monuments (a rare example, not what I’m worried about, but she’s one of the people we’re talking about with her expired visa).
          Meanwhile we focus our efforts on rounding up kids smoking dope.  Maybe if we could convince the DEA that ALL those people sneaking across the border are carrying a pound of grass with them someone would do their damn jobs.

    • Latinos are not going to easily fir in the GOP tent. They are not natural conservatives or libertarians.

      • Natural?
        Many Latinos come from socially conservative cultures, with strong family values, typically Catholic.  When they come here to pursue the American Dream, exactly how are the values of their culture and the values it takes to succeed through honest hard work anathema to conservatism or individualism?
        The “tea party” movement started in response to the bailouts of big banks, rewarding failure.  Somehow, within a few years (months?), there were a$$hole civilian volunteers to stand post on the border as “tea party patriots”.  For me, the principles behind the Sons of Liberty had nothing to do with keeping the dark-skinned people out, but about standing up for the rights of the individual, whether it’s John Hancock, or Juan Hernandez.

  • “Of course none of this should surprise anyone, because the federal government isn’t now nor has it ever really been that interested in enforcing immigration laws. When it does do so it is almost by whim.”
    Indeed, this is the second-order problem of Democracy — democracies always quickly elect a new people, either via immigration or propaganda — the desired result is the same:  a new population that will demand a more powerful government.

  • Why do you call me an Archie Bunker?  I have no problem with  LEGAL  immigrants, but I  *DO*  have a problem with  ILLEGAL  ALIENS  who have no right to be here.
    To clarify the concept:  imagine you get home from work one day, only to find some other family has moved into your house.  And for argument’s sake, let’s say they are “family oriented and hard-working”.  Do they get to stay in your house?  Would you think it was “cruel” to tell them to leave, or to call the cops and physically remove them from your premises?
    Why is somebody breaking in to your country less offensive than somebody breaking in to your house?
    “Family oriented and hard-working” is really a swell thing, but “legally permitted to be here” trumps that.  There are 6-billion-plus people on the planet; most of them would LOVE to come to the USA, where we’ve got ample food, clean water, and an open and tolerant society.  “Family-oriented and hard-working” or not, we can’t let them all just stroll over the border because they want to “make a better life for their family.”   Can you comprehend that?
    PS- I haven’t seen a huge demand on conservative blogs to “round ’em all up and ship them home”.  Are you sure you’re not exaggerating that?

    • Why do you call me an Archie Bunker?

      I don’t know your real name, don’t recall ever seeing anyone posting under the pseudonym, and didn’t point fingers at anyone else in this forum.
      There are people (not here, that I have seen) who bitch about illegal immigration who make it apparent that they are driven by bigotry.  They make jokes or play up ethnic stereotypes.  Such people also often make derogatory remarks about queers and “rag heads”, which often explains the shallowness of their political insight.  One of the joys of partisan politics is that the party faithful have to apologize for such people, and vote for politicians who pander to them.
      Yes, there are bigots among the Democrats, too.  Of course, they have the advantage of a media and popular culture which nearly always gives them a pass.

      …imagine you get home from work one day, only to find some other family has moved into your house….

      My house?  Well, by your use of the possessive pronoun, you have presented the hypothetical with the answer built in to the question.
      If your neighbor decides to rent his house to Mr. Lopez, an undocumented alien, and the store down the street decides to offer their job to Mr. Lopez, then where is the problem?  Those people have the right to choose their renters and employees.  Why should any of us or any government bureaucrat get to dictate to them otherwise?  That’s a denial of their property rights.
      And, what of the people here on visas?  How is it that you think they have a right that people without paperwork lack?  Does a piece of paper grant rights?  Does a government bureaucrat?
      Borders are lines on a map.  If you want to speak of rights, then we can start with asking who had the right to draw that line at that location and make rules for everyone inside a geographic area?  Do that before you discuss whether someone, who is doing no one harm, has a right to be in this country.

      PS- I haven’t seen a huge demand on conservative blogs to “round ‘em all up and ship them home”.  Are you sure you’re not exaggerating that?

      I am sure you need to read what I actually wrote and not what you imagined I meant.

      • A big problem for anti-illegal immigration proponents is some percentage of them are racists. This is true and very, very annoying.

  • Oops, forgot to address my comment above to Elliot at 14:23

  • The fundamental fact is that the feds are not trying to enforce immigration laws. They could enforce them if they wanted. Operation Wetback is an example.

    • This is nothing new.  The first I heard of deliberate non-enforcement was in 1980.  My dad was stationed at a base in south Texas.  Local immigration officials would not come pick up illegal aliens who were caught on base property, because the powers that be had squelched the budget to fuel their vehicles.  Coincidentally, it was just before the election.
      I see all the arguments regarding immigration, but could someone please explain to me why I should care what any politician says about immigration, ever?  Pretend I’m one of those on-the-fence voters who need to be persuaded.  Name one politician who has made promises to change things who has kept those promises.
      It’s about as useful as paying attention to what politicians say about cutting spending to eliminate deficits.  It’s all just noise.

  • Okay, we have a pretty simple way to track people coming into the country…  If you fly into the US at least, you have to go through customs, and immediately the gov’t has a way to track your entry into the country.

    However, when you leave, the government has no way to track this.  If you get on a plane to another country, the US government basically doesn’t really know about it — the country you’re going to knows about it from its incoming customs group.
    Do we, as libertarians, *really* want a government that forces us to declare our exit from the country every time we leave?  And if we don’t, how exactly do you want to craft an automated system that gives us the capability to know that visa holders have exited?

    • They could listen in to your phone call when you make your travel reservations!
      wait…….   🙂

    • Who said anything about tracking “us”.  We’re talking about keeping up with “them”.  And that shouldn’t be at all difficult with the technology of today.

      • As a regular visitor to the USA I’ve been through the biometric controls quite often. I’ve been photographed and finger-printed many times, so much so that usually they just take one finger to confirm these days. But there is no biometric analysis on the wayout, just a scan of the passport and on to the loving attention of the body scanners. I can imagine why they didn’t stick the biometric scanners on the exits as well. Most likely because the slowdown in getting people through to the gates would mean having to expand the departure lanes and they figure that it is unnecessary. Scanning the passport of legal departures is enough in their minds no doubt, since arranging for someone to try and go through on a fake passport to imitate someone illegally staying behind would be an enormous drama that wouldn’t pay off.
        As for tracking us visitors in the USA, well, as in any other relatively free country that is damn near impossible. I can land in Houston, get scanned, withdraw some cash, rent a car and then go anywhere within the duration of my stay and fly out of Chicago. You just can’t track people in between. Sure you have to provide an address when you clear immigration on arrival, but that is always just a hotel in town and so long as you don’t work up a sweat the DHS guy is not going to get interested when he has 2000 other people to process. I don’t even need a visa to visit, just make sure to have a valid ESTA. Of course they have turned the once free ESTA into a cashcow now, but that is a different story. It used to be different before the ESTA when you had to fill in the green immigration form, if you lost the little stub that you HAD to show with your passport on departure then there was a world of administrative pain and even difficulty getting back in later… since they sometimes thought you were still in the USA and could not possibly have left the country without handing over that stub so technically, mister, you are illegallyin the USA despite not being in the USA. Fun and games.

        • It isn’t about tracking its about knowing you left when your visa expired.  Accountability.  Don’t care about them tracking you throughout the country. Just one in … one out.

  • I just posted some comments about this on the upper topic not knowing this post had been written.
    The exit system is used by every country I have visited except the US. There must be a good reason for that.
    I would say that without such a system then why have visas at all?
    One problem with implementing this system is no space in airports and it would slow down exits…so maybe I should be against this actually.
    How do we actually stop flight risks from fleeing the country without this system? We must do something.
    OK, but beyond all this is the problem of implementation. Why has it not been done yet? The Federal Government seems to like to grow and expand, and pass new laws, but not actually digest them and implement them.

    • I’ll have to keep an eye on what they do next time I exit the USA. I haven’t really paid attention before and assumed they swiped the passport through a reader. But now I try and recall any instance of being there, I think maybe they just check that the person matches the photo in the passport. You are right that most every other country scans on the way out, usually also requiring a departure card to be filled in. Given how much of an effing drama it is to get into the USA it is surprising they don’t do this. The ironic thing is that when you check in for an international flight the airline requires your valid passport and usually asks if you have the required visa for your destination, the last thing they want is to waste a seat on returning your sorry ass to your original point of departure. Some places I know for sure that this info is passed on to the immigration section of the airport to speed things up. Since all the info is already collected and the databases already exist, the only reason for not implementing it must come down to something mundane like airports protesting about increased delays in getting passengers to the gates if the existing floor space doesn’t allow for an easy upgrade to multiple immigration lanes.