This land is your land

July 1, 2006
Former Vice President Al Gore will never make a movie about it. Hollywood activists, singers, and songwriters will never raise their trained voices to

Former Vice President Al Gore will never make a movie about it. Hollywood activists, singers, and songwriters will never raise their trained voices to stop it. And our “please everyone” politicians want nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, the lingering problem of illegal immigration continues to chip away at our safety, freedom, and standard of living.

True, there have been some positive steps in this battle. Border patrols are getting in place, illegals are being deported in greater numbers, exploitative employers are coming under heavier pressure, and the “amnesty bill” has been halted. I believe we can do better than that, however, and in the process, rediscover one of America's most basic principles.

In the late 1800s, when the United States wanted to settle the western frontier, it gave land to its citizens and, along with it, the responsibility and power that come with ownership. Up sprouted cabins, farms, homes, churches, schools, businesses, and more. In that model — where individuals exercising property rights are the generative and stabilizing force — lies the answer to our border problems today.

Illegal immigration is our problem, and we, the people, must take ownership of it — figuratively and literally. In fact, it's the only way it will be properly fixed.

Government's role in the matter should be limited, and mainly administrative. What it should be doing — instead of building fences, installing surveillance cameras, creating a national ID act, and expanding our prisons — is parceling the land along the Mexican border into smaller, more manageable plots and giving them to freedom-loving individuals who will take up residence there. Think of it as resettling the southwest.

Granted, we will have to find the right people and give them the right powers and protections, but I'm confident they're out there and ready to serve. First dibs, naturally, should go to veterans. Anyone who's protected our country by serving in the military should be given priority, and I would grant them their piece of America without charge or taxation. As these people then go about protecting their property, they will be protecting our border and making the U.S. more secure in the process.

It's a win-win proposition and makes as much sense as anything I've heard so far. It also re-institutes a uniquely American principle: Let people empowered with ownership, rather than aristocracy or Big Government, confront and solve the problems of the day.

This people-empowered solution would also make for a great project for Habitat for Humanity or a related group. Volunteers could help build homes for the brave souls who step up to the call of duty. What better way to help others, and what better way for Americans to help themselves?

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