US Border Control vs. Burger Control
As the debate of the legality of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 rages on, I’m left concerned by the number of people who continue to fight against Arizona’s right as a State to implement laws that are of public interest without intervention by the Federal government. Keep in mind, the Federal government is not supposed to exercise such direct control over the States. The United States is a country as much as it is a term describing how the individual States came to form the USA. Keep in mind; I’m a proud citizen of the United States as I will always describe myself as an “American” before I ever call myself a “Virginian.”
As I wrestled with the baffling outcry of so many who claim rights are being violated by the law I thought to myself there must be some way of describing the need for State & Local intervention that can be relatable to all persons. So I will attempt to describe this as an analogy dubbed Border Control vs. Burger Control. In this simple example, I believe it will be possible to draw the conclusion that simply having border control at the federal level is not enough to completely secure the Nation’s borders and the interest of the States within just like Burger Control is not possible by inspecting meat only at the packaging plant.
Federal = Company Wide
State = Regional Cluster
Local = Individual Restaurant
Border Control = Quality Control
Illegal Immigrant = Burger
President = CEO/Company Executive
State Trooper/DEA = Regional Manager
Local Law Enforcement = Restaurant Manager
Equipment/Drugs = Meat/Tainted Meat
Federal Control vs. Company Wide Control
So here we have a huge country operating with 50 different States and borders spanning thousands of miles. Multiple times a day the border is crossed by hundreds of thousands of tons of freight and tens of thousands of people. The system of Federal control offers check points at pre-determined areas such as roadways, bridges, sea ports, train stations, and air ports; all the big ticket areas where most people and equipment will enter/leave the country. This is primarily comprised of Customs and Border Protection Agents. These guys also use technology to assist in tracking down people and equipment as they traverse the border. It’s all very state of the art. When discovered, Border Patrol agents intercept and apprehend the illegal person/equipment if they can arrive before the individuals escape.
Ideally, the majority (not all) of the illegal immigrants and equipment are discovered and the majority of that majority is actually apprehended before escaping. This only accounts for methods over traversing the borders that do encounter border checkpoints (people trying to drive in on roadway, or fly in by plane, etc). It’s important to note that most people attempting to traverse the border illegally are not going to go where the agents or checkpoints are because they are all but certain to be captured. Many illegal immigrants and equipment still find their way across the border and in having crossed the border blend in with existing populations and are not found by Customs or Border Patrols. Some of the illegal immigrants turn out to be criminals, they blend in with the population and cause harm through thievery, kidnapping, and worse. They also harm the local economy by causing a wages war and their kids take up a lot public school system capacity unexpectedly.
In the burger world, tens of thousands of burgers are being delivered to restaurants in our company. The burgers must be measured for quality to ensure the customer enjoys the product (Quality Control). The burgers are only inspected at the company level, meaning the administrators go to the packaging plant and decide that those burgers just look fine and all is well. The burgers are frozen and shipped to restaurants; they are not controlled further because they do not encounter any additional checks while they travel to their final destination.
The burgers arrive at the restaurants and are unpacked and enter storage. The meat is then taken from the boxes and put into a fridge that is never cleaned and does not work very well. They are then placed onto the grill without further investigation to see if the meat is still safe enough for human consumption. Inadequate inspections do not uncover the poor storage conditions or broken refrigerator equipment. Most of the meat is OK, but some of the beef has turned and the customers (who also do not inspect their food) ingest it and get sick.
State Control vs. Regional Cluster
So, reading the first example, it’s plain to see that without more comprehensive checks both illegal immigrants and tainted hamburger meat make it through the system and cause harm to those involved. Let’s go one step further and include State Control along with quality control on the regional level (A restaurant region is a subdivision of the company wide restaurant chain – much like a State in our country).
In addition to the Customs and Border Patrol agents and checkpoints the immigrants must now find their way through the country side to a targeted State. While on their journey through the country they must travel many miles to their destination. State Troopers are currently monitoring highways and pulling over vehicles. The vehicles may or may not have illegal immigrants hiding in them. The State Trooper is able to request that everyone in the vehicle prove their identity and any persons who suspiciously appear to be illegal immigrants (cannot speak the language, are dressed strangely, or otherwise do not fit into local culture, etc) can be detained until they are able to prove their identity and produce paperwork stating they are in the country legally. In addition, the same State Troopers are being notified by citizens that a person of interest has been spotted traversing the country side in a strange manner (crammed into the back of a box truck, getting in and out of a car trunk, hiking the desert with a haggard appearance, etc) and the State Trooper is on scene to investigate.
State offered services are equipped with the tools to notify law enforcement that someone who cannot prove their identity and produce paperwork showing they are in the country legally are not permitted to use the services (excluding medical services of course). Law enforcement is informed of the person’s presence who will attempt to arrive in time to question the suspected person.
Any illegal immigrants or drugs/equipment that made it past the Federal level of security must now reach their final destination. Depending on the targeted locality, this could be a few miles to a couple thousand miles. Throughout the journey the persons and equipment are under the scrutiny of those around them and are asked to produce documentation that they have entered the country legally. Illegal immigrants are not permitted to obtain driver’s licenses, use public school systems, etc. because these services are denied to people who cannot prove their immigration status. Medical care is made available, but authorities are notified immediately that these persons are at the facility. During apprehensions by police, thousands of pounds of drugs are kept off the streets of local cities freeing local police to focus on violent crimes. Schools are released the burden of a population increase of the non-tax paying illegal immigrant’s children who were not projected to arrive based on the prior Census. Still some illegal immigrants continue to leave amongst the population and are a damper on the local economy and some are causing crime.
The purchasing agents of the company have inspected the meat packing facility and determined that the meat is in good condition as it is packed and put on trucks to be delivered to our restaurants. The meat trucks are inspected by a national regional distribution center to guarantee they are free of rodents, insects, and that the refrigeration is working correctly. The trucks reach their local regions where the meat is delivered and parted out to the individual restaurants. The boxes are again inspected prior to being loaded onto other trucks and then delivered in a timely manner to individual restaurants. The meat arrives at the restaurant but is NOT inspected further and is placed into the restaurant refrigerator. Failure of local managers to inspect the meat storage room does not reveal that the meat shelves have been lined by cardboard which has been soaking up the juices of previously stored meat, which have been thawing due to inadequate refrigeration. The meat is grilled anyway and delivered to restaurant patrons. Some of the patrons become violently ill.
Local Control vs. Individual Restaurant Control
In this example the Nation’s borders have been secured at major points of embarkation/entry. The remaining areas are monitored by technology and both types are staffed by the good men and women of the US Customs and Border Patrol agency. In addition, State Troopers and State Government officials have made it difficult for any illegal immigrants, equipment, or drugs to make their way to their local destination by denying use of public facilities, checking identification of suspects as they make their way and responding to good Samaritan tips.
The last onion layer includes the local level. At this level, local police enforcement are able to inquire about the immigration status of suspicious individuals and are required to check the status of anyone who is being charged in a crime. They are also able to enforce laws that are aimed at reducing the ease of gaining work by targeting the methods illegal immigrants use to find work (i.e. stopping cars on busy roadways that appear to be picking up strangers). In other words, now that the illegal immigrants have made it to their destination, they are now under daily scrutiny to prove their immigration status.
As illegal immigrants attempt to enter the country each level of protection thins the numbers that are living day to day on the streets. While not all illegal immigrants are caught, the clear and vast majority are apprehended and returned to their country of origin. The deterrent effect is also felt as fewer and fewer attempt to cross the border because the realization is made that the chances are being caught are much higher and no longer do the benefits outweigh the risk. Illegal immigrant caused crime is all but eradicated and the flow of illegal drugs is reduced sparing precious manpower and resources from drained DEA officials and local law enforcement. Local schools return to manageable class sizes and the risk of illegal immigrants driving without a license is diminished significantly. All previously over run public offerings return to manageable day to day activities. Local workers are now able to ask for fair wages since they no longer have to compete for the non-tax paying illegal immigrants who were willing to work for less, but did not have to pay taxes. See this article for an example on how that is damaging to legal workers throughout the country. As the number of illegal immigrants is reduced to nominal levels, police forces lax the constant checking and a balance is reached.
The meat has been inspected before leaving the packaging plant and multiple times en route to the restaurant. It has been dropped off at the restaurant and is inspected by the restaurant manager prior to acceptance, the employees as it is stocked, and later by the chef before it is cooked. The refrigerator is checked for operation and repairs are made to ensure it keeps the freezer cold enough so the meat does not spoil. The racks in the meat storage room are checked for cleanliness and that no cardboard is left behind. Insects and rodents are kept out of the storage area. Prior to delivery, the waiter inspects the visual look of the food to ensure it looks OK. The customer then looks at the food and then takes a bite, tasting that all is fine, and finishes consuming the remainder of the meal.
Due to all the checks at this point it is near impossible for spoiled meat to reach the customer’s mouth. Food poisoning at this restaurant is practically unheard of. All of the restaurant stakeholders (everyone who holds a stake in the restaurant – customer up to CEO) are all happy that the food arrived unspoiled.
The preceding example is just that, an example. Any reader will be able to find someone who can tear apart this article stating that there are more checks on the Federal level or dig up someone who worked as a cook that can say they never once checked their food before they cooked it (I’m not eating at your restaurant!) But no one can argue that the best protection is offered at the largest level.
The best protection is always layered so that if the initial defense doesn’t stop the damaging element, the next one will, and if the next one doesn’t, the one after that will, and so on. The State’s choice to add another layer of protection is not out of animosity or the desire to harm a specific people; it’s to protect the state. Like a bullet proof vest, the State is adding layers to ensure it is not penetrated by a damaging object. Or, like in the burger analogy above, it’s ensuring that “all of the meat” is as it is supposed to be.
And that is how Border Control is like Burger Control.