The grim story of some illegal aliens being forced out of a ship onto a booby-trapped desert island reminded me that there are different levels of immoral conduct in the illegal alien business — I will get back to the island later.
Everyone involved in illegal immigration is, of course, playing a harmful role to the host society, but some of the players are even more unattractive than others. And some classes of players are much more numerous than others.
In general terms I see a four-category system, with the very most unattractive at the bottom of the ranking. The list starts here:
Individual Illegal Aliens. These are immigration law-breakers who, usually, also carry phony work documents, steal or otherwise abuse Social Security numbers, and, of course, needlessly swell our population, lower wages at the bottom of the labor market, and shoulder legal residents out of low-wage jobs. This is, then, a very immoral population. On the other hand, they typically are doing this out of some degree of economic desperation and unlike the three worse categories below are doing this evil on an individual basis, not a group one.
There are millions of them.
The Gang of Eight's bill (S.744) would reward this class with legal status immediately and a long path to citizenship later; many of us think that the bill will encourage future waves of illegal immigration, as the IRCA amnesty did years earlier.
Employers. At a still lower level of morality are the employers of illegal aliens. They are far more knowledgeable and far more affluent than the illegals and should know better. They are seriously distorting the American labor market, and exploiting a class of worker that has little if any bargaining power. These employers' motivation is greed and they are usually operating on a group scale, not simply hiring one illegal. Were they, as a class, not doing what they are doing, illegal immigration would be much less of a problem.
These employers are thus engaged in an even more immoral activity than the illegals, though policy makers have not quite noticed. And there are all too many of them.
The Gang of Eight's bill has some provisions for making it a bit harder to hire illegal aliens, but none to seriously tackle the real problem: the lack of serious interior enforcement activities.
Garden-Variety Coyotes. Still lower on the immorality ladder are the run-of-the-mill coyotes who enable, for a stiff fee, the illegals to enter the country, either over the borders or with phony immigration documents. They are more unattractive than the employers of illegals because the latter are largely producing licit end-products, like meals served or lawns mowed, while the end product of the coyotes' work is a larger illegal alien population.
Enlarging the Border Patrol, as proposed in S.744, might negatively impact the coyotes at the border, but because it mostly ignores interior enforcement it makes the illicit trip that much more attractive to would-be illegals, and thus would produce more business and higher fees for these coyotes.
About the only thing one can say for this class of coyotes, is that they do not kill their customers, unlike members of the next category.
Murderous and Potentially Murderous Coyotes. This group, which might better be called "snakeheads," the Hong Kong term, consists of the coyotes who have no intention of carrying out their part of the illicit bargain, of delivering the would-be illegal aliens to the desired destination.
They take the aliens' money, and then dump them somewhere short of the agreed-upon location, often risking the aliens' lives in the process. Also in this bottom-dwelling class are the gangsters, notably in Mexico, who prey on individual illegals, often from Central America, as they move toward our southern border. Nothing can be said on behalf of either of these criminal populations.
One hopes that there are fewer members of this class than any of the others. Current laws are probably sufficient to cope with this population, but current levels of enforcement resources are not, and S.744 would not seem to address this matter.
Returning to the Desert Island. A bland press release from the Caribbean reminded me of the snakeheads, and their criminal activities.
A Customs and Border Protection news release dated August 2 said that CBP and the Coast Guard had "apprehended 84 undocumented immigrant citizens of Haiti today after they landed last night in Desecheo Island, 13 miles west of the mainland of Puerto Rico."
"They landed" is a total euphemism. The chances are — and CBP did not discuss this variable — that the group of 84 was dumped there, totally against their will, by some presumably well-armed, ship-driving snakeheads.
I say this because no migrant in his or her right mind would voluntarily get off a ship at this place. It is unpopulated, it has no surface water (and thus nothing for the migrants to drink), and it is studded, according to Wikipedia, with unexploded bombs left over from World War II, when it was used by the Air Force for target practice. People are barred from setting foot on the island as a result.
There have been suggestions by observers that Haitian migrants and their snakeheads are using the eastward route from Haiti to Puerto Rico, instead of the traditional northern route from Haiti to Florida, because of the at least somewhat effective enforcement activities of both our Coast Guard and the Bahamian Defense Force regarding the latter passage.
The dumping of the Haitian illegals on a dangerous, water-deprived island, then, was a perfect example of the snakeheads, the bottom-dwelling category in my hierarchy, at work.