We Have No Excuse

I came down to my kitchen yesterday morning and realized that I was running short on the lion’s mane, Scandinavian made mushroom coffee that I drink. I spoke a few words into the air and the robot speaker on the counter next to my refrigerator responded, called me by name and told me that the coffee would be on its way shortly. Later that day a van drove up to my house and dropped it off. That robot cost $39. The delivery was free.

49 years and 349 days ago three men climbed into a 363 foot rocket filled with half a million gallons of liquid oxygen and kerosene and flew a 150 ton payload to the moon, landed on the moon and flew back. The launch alone cost a billion dollars in today’s money.

Today, Alex Tabarrok reminded me, on his blog Marginal Revolution, that America once housed 400 thousand German POWs from the Nazi Afrika Korps in 48 states. The standards of humane conditions set by the Geneva Convention were met. Many of them decided to stay. It was all accomplished under a constrained timeline as the war only lasted another two years after they had surrendered.

We, the American people, are capable of incredible, unimaginable, spectacular things when we decide they are worth doing. That we don’t have sufficient living conditions for migrants who show up on our borders is a choice. That people are dying in them, children are separated from parents and basic living standards are not met, is a choice. That the facilities we have available are full, is a choice.

Change the immigration laws if we must. Make it harder to enter the country if that’s the agenda of the democratically elected government. Shut the doors and lock everyone out if that’s the America we want. I’m sure many do. But meet the standard required of civilized nations on how we house those we’ve detained. No excuses. No politics.

There are organizations responsible for solving this problem:

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency and the Department of Health and Human Services are responsible for the plan and its execution.

Congress is responsible for funding it.

And the President, who builds luxury hotels for a living for Christ’s sake, is overall accountable for the performance of the civil servants in the employment of the federal government.

Do your jobs. Yes, this is your job.

It’s not unreasonable to expect that we have a durable solution to meet an influx of migrants at the border that accounts for humane treatment of them. One might even consider it a core responsibility of those living behind the wall to have a plan that accounts for meeting a humane standard when those trying to get over it, show up.

Sometimes might can make right. We are a land of vast resources and unmatched wealth on a historical scale. We could do this without breaking a sweat. We have no excuse not to. And when we do, maybe we can start having a debate about what sort of immigration policy reform we need. Instead of a debate about what sort of monsters we are.


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