Drug Mules and Immigrants

Arizona governor Jan Brewer apparently believes that a majority of people who cross the US-Mexican border without permission are drug mules which, of course, is false. Yesterday, David Gregory pressed Arizona Senator John McCain on this issue and he didn’t agree with Brewer, but also hesitated to actually confront her ignorance and demagogic policymaking:

As my colleague Andrea Nill details this is all part of McCain’s awkward position as a newfound hater of undocumented migrants who’s still perhaps trying to hang on to some of his old-time elite respectability.

In a broader sense, though, thinking about the drug mule issue or any of the other public safety concerns brought up with regard to unauthorized migration should really lead you to a very different conclusion. The issue in all these cases is that the vast majority of unauthorized migrants aren’t drug mules or criminals or terrorists, they’re people who want to do work in exchange for money. If we increased the number of people who’re allowed to come to America and work legally, then that would divert a lot of the migration flow into legal channels. That, in turn, would make it much easier to find people crossing the border for other, more nefarious reasons, since it would be much harder for them to hide amidst a vast flow of people looking for work.