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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Declaration of Independence, formally adopted by the Continental Congress in 1776, is a long list of grievances against King George III and the British Empire. A top concern for the early Americans was the flow of people, goods and ideas across borders.
A few of the indictments contained in history’s greatest breakup letter deal with trade and immigration. Colonists were outraged at restrictionist policies forced on them by the British monarch and parliament.
The Tea Act of 1773 is well known to modern Americans as the impetus of the famous Boston Tea Party. The law aimed to unfairly bolster sales of British tea and undercut rival products that were being smuggled into the colonies. Resistance to the act was a pivotal part in the escalation to a revolutionary war.
Lesser known are other measures imposed around the same time, intended to limit or outright ban migration and naturalization in the American colonies. Patriots rightly recognized those early immigration restrictions as a threat to the viability of our political experiment.
“He has endeavoured to prevent the Population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for naturalization of foreigners,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence.
Fast forward 245 years and we have a new class of would-be monarchs preventing the population of these states and controlling the availability of products. History repeats itself, this time with North and South American migrants instead of Europeans, and illicit drugs instead of smuggled tea.
Iowa is one of at least five states sending police officers to the U.S.-Mexico border in a foolish ploy to crack down on illegal immigration. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced the move last month, citing a reported increase in border encounters and drug seizures.
Sending Iowa officers to play live-action Keystone Kapers at the border is unlikely to have any substantial impact on the drug trade.
“The rise in drugs, human trafficking and violent crime has become unsustainable. Iowa has no choice but to act,” Reynolds said in a news release announcing the trooper deployment.
The great irony is that Reynolds, President Joe Biden and other executive officers share a large portion of the blame for any influx of drugs coming across the border. They favor policies to restrict the supply of drugs through prohibition, which makes international trafficking all but inevitable. Americans demand drugs, and we will get them one way or another, never mind the law or the enforcement regime.
What’s more, sending Iowa officers to play live-action Keystone Kapers at the border is unlikely to have any substantial impact on the drug trade.
Since last October, federal agents have seized more than 138,000 pounds of cocaine and meth, but the vast majority come from legal ports of entry, Texas Monthly reported in June.
It’s not like former U.S. Rep. Steve King said in 2013, “They’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” If anyone has enlarged leg muscles, it’s Americans from tapping their brakes at border checkpoints. Evidence shows drugs are more often smuggled in vehicles at ports of entry, rather than carried in backpacks through the desert like you see on sensationalist TV news stories.
Most people are coming to the border for a better life, not to import drugs. They are literally risking their lives for the chance to be Americans. Reynolds and Biden have the gall to deny them.
Meanwhile back home in Iowa, businesses are desperate for workers to fill vacant job openings. Our pathetic growth rate means we’ll likely lose a congressional seat next decade. The sustainability of our colleges and universities is threatened by a dearth of incoming high school graduates.
And yet some would rather see our state shrivel up and die than let the population take on a slightly brown hue.
Humans have unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That includes the right to make peace, build friendships and do business with other humans, no matter which side of the border they happened to be born on.
Anyone who would deny us those rights is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
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