Open Borders and Social Safety Nets

I am Spartacus. I'm lost. Which way to Rome?

I am Spartacus. I’m lost. Which way to Rome?

Open Borders

Or relatively open borders. It’s a kind-hearted idea— that anyone who really wants to come to our country should be able to, without too much trouble and complication.

Social Safety Net

Another kind idea— that people who are disabled, unemployed, unemployable or otherwise in desperate need are people our society should help. Some politicians talk as if the only part of the social safety net that count are the government programs, like Food Stamps and SSI Disability in the US. But private charitable efforts also function as part of the social safety net.

Open Borders and the Social Safety Net in Conflict

Once a decent— or half-decent— social safety net is in place, open borders become a more expensive proposition. Without social safety nets, poor immigrants both legal and illegal would leave our country (the US, in my case) when there were no jobs and go back home. There would be relatively little cost in having those open borders.

When we have a social safety net, each person who crosses the border is someone our nation must potentially support financially, perhaps for years. The cost of each immigrant to the nation rises.

In wealthy elite communities and neighborhoods this doesn’t seem like much of a problem. But in poorer areas, there are already lots of people that the social safety net must support. When these hard-pressed communities experience a wave of illegal immigrants, and the politicians elected with wealthy elitist dollars say these communities must fund social safety net services to these newcomers, a lot of anger and resentment builds.

This is the problem.

There are no easy answers. Political slogans may make you think there are, but in fact the problem is far too complex for a quick fix at this point. We DON’T want to demolish the social safety net, because we have too many people depending on it. We DON’T want to turn into a nation closed to immigration, since a certain degree of immigration is needed to prevent population shrinkage caused by our all-too-efficient contraception/abortion industry.

But I’m a Christian. And because the Founder of my faith said ‘Love one another’, I believe the most effective steps we can take are based in love.

Wow, I got through this whole post without saying anything rude about That Certain Politician or That Certain Political Party! I think that qualifies as a miracle.

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