Immigration, like many other issues is a complex problem (we are told). The solutions must be similarly complex, we are told by the same people. Or is there an easier way? Well, it looks like Indiana might have found one, and honestly, it’s one that the feds (of either party) should have figured out a long time ago.
Really? Yes. Especially considering the Executive Order last September encouraging greater reliance on behavioural science to coerce — sorry, “serve” — the doe-eyed American public by having said public adopt such behaviours as government officials have decreed are in their best interests.
Seeing the government’s love for the behavioural sciences, some effort might have gone into seeing whether they had anything to offer in solving this immigration issue.
You know, maybe look at what drives large groups of people to hop a fence (or, perhaps the empty space where legislation said a fence should have been), and come to America. Why is it only the Southern border that crowds keep crossing? Why to America from Mexico, and not to Central America? Such questions lead to insights and answers. So they are not asked.
Motivation matters in determining behaviour. If you work with behavioural consultants (as I have) you know this. In working for decades with adults with challenging behaviour, I’m quite familiar with the methods politicians are attempting to co-opt for pure political advantage.
Aside from the Machiavellian, Alinsky-ist, intentions, good ideas can be borrowed from these programs. Understanding the connection between behaviour and motivation, for example. (Which incidentally is why unpopular programs [*cough* Obamacare *cough*] rely so heavily on rewards and punishments to force general compliance.)
That cause/effect connection seems to have been grasped and applied by Indiana, as evidenced by their new Bill. Just to help you explain this connection to your pro-statist friends or family, I’ll show you a non-political application.
When I lived in Florida for 3 years, I quickly learned about ants. They have the ability to shape human behaviour. Maybe this isn’t an issue in newer buildings, or high-rises, but where we were, ants had no trouble finding their way inside.
That half- open box of cereal in your cupboard that was ‘no big deal’ up North? You can’t do that in Florida. They find it, call their buddies, and swarm it. It wouldn’t matter even if you hopelessly smashed that line of ants all day long, you will never, ever, diminish their numbers.
So does this mean everybody in Florida is plagued by ants? Nope. I quickly learned to seal food tightly. I stopped doing battle with the ants. They lost interest, and went looking for more reliable food sources. I leveraged their nature, rather than fighting it. I made what attracted them (food) inaccessible, and they sought it elsewhere.
“What does that have to do with immigration, you racist!” Calm down, this isn’t racial, it’s behavioural. In big, bold letters, what did we learn from the story? Behaviour that is rewarded is magnified, behaviour that is unrewarded is diminished.
Now let’s look at Indiana. Their new bill is aimed at employers. If an employer is found to have knowingly hired an illegal alien (already an illegal act) it will, on the third offence, be subject to having their business licence stripped.
It’s brilliant, and simple. It doesn’t deport anybody. It doesn’t target the illegal immigrants. It focuses on the workplace. Suddenly the employers face the real risk. You can’t dismiss the threat of fines as a business expense. The stakes just got higher. If the business loses a licence, the owner could lose his livelihood, and any money invested in the business. Is it still worth the risk of hiring a non-qualified applicant? In many cases, no.
With fewer people hiring non-qualified applicants, will they stick around, or will they look for more lucrative options? Will they seek sanctuary cities, perhaps, or a State known for ignoring immigration laws?
Who knows? They might even go home, or (gasp!) apply to enter the legal way. Which they should have done in the first place.