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Henryk A. Kowalczyk Headshot

Why Do We Need a Line?

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An open letter to Mr. Mitt Romney on immigration

Dear Mr. Romney,

You stated many times that illegal immigrants should return to their countries of origin and get back in line. Why do we need a line to begin with? I grew up in Poland, then a socialistic country where the government ran almost everything, and we had lines for almost everything as well. Lines are a byproduct of the socialist ideal of a centralized, government-run economy. There are no lines in a free market system. The only meaningful lines that Americans have to endure on a daily basis are the lines in the U.S. Postal Service offices, the government-run quasi-monopoly.

In your generic declarations you often strongly support free market ideas and promise to help individual entrepreneurs. I have difficulty believing you because, when addressing a particular issue, you, as a typical socialist, advocate for the nationalization of the immigrant portion of the U.S. labor market. This has always been a vital section of the U.S. economy. In my book, if you wear one dirty shoe, you are walking in dirty shoes; if you are a socialist on one key issue, you are just plainly a socialist. I am addressing my letter to you as I think about giving you my vote, but I have problems with your stand on immigration. If it makes you feel any better, on the issue of immigration, all of the GOP presidential candidates are taking ideological positions closer to those of Karl Marx than those of Adam Smith, and present political concepts from Hugo Chavez not Ronald Reagan.

Whose line it is anyway?
An illegal immigrant stays here because he or she has a job. If you send this person back to the end of the line, an American employer who employed this person will be in line as well, waiting for this employee to come back. I already hear a choir of voices chanting that this employer can instead hire an unemployed American. As an entrepreneur myself, I know the answer most American employers give to this argument: "If you want to tell me whom I should hire, then pay my bills as well". If the government wants to micromanage private business, this means nationalization and an end to private entrepreneurship. This is socialism. The bottom line is that these illegal immigrants are here first and foremost because the American economy needs them: they are important workers at some American businesses. In your statements I see that your eagerness to punish illegal immigrants prevails over your promises of promoting the free market and helping American entrepreneurs. Did I get that right?

There is no legal immigration allowed
You say that you support legal immigration. I have bad news for you. We do have some people immigrating legally, but we do not have a legal immigration system. As you seem to like high stake bets, let me put my money behind my thesis that we do not have legal immigration and let you put your money behind your statements that there is one. As our wealth levels are disproportionate, I suggest that if I lose I will donate 1% of my 2011 taxable income to your political campaign; if you lose you will donate 1% of your 2011 taxable income to my work toward establishing a reasonable immigration system in the U.S.

Let us say that a foreign national at some point decides that he or she would like to immigrate to the U.S. Please provide me with the document that this person should fill out, and the name of the U.S. agency with which this document should be filed in order to start the immigration process. If you can produce this document, you will have won the bet. Unfortunately for you, this document does not exist.

Henryk A. Kowalczyk in an author of the Freedom of Migration Act concept.