Thursday night, Tucker Carlson had a segment on the migrant caravan. Part of the segment was a discussion with Tijuana municipal delegate Genaro Lopez who informed Tucker that approximately 280 members of the caravan have been arrested in his city since they arrived a few weeks ago.
“Things aren’t getting better, they are probably getting worse,” Lopez said. He explained that people living on the street has created a problem and at least one school in the area is closed because of the caravan. Last weekend the city of Tijuana was prepared to issue an ultimatum to caravan members to leave or face removal by force. But a priest who Lopez describes as well-known, showed up and encouraged the migrants to stay. By Sunday, the director of disaster relief for Mexico City had issued an order preventing the city from removing the caravan.
“So they’re still here; problems are still going on,” Lopez said. He continued, “There have been like 280 arrests. Before it was only for drug possession and being drunk in the streets. Now it’s for breaking and entering into the homes…The neighborhood is tired of them, the merchants and the schools.”
Asked how he knew the home break-ins were the work of caravan members, Lopez replied, “Yeah, there’s a video on Facebook and in the video, he says his name and he says he’s from Honduras.”
But while a city official from Tijuana is telling us in simple terms that there is a significant cost to hosting thousands of migrants, the American left keeps insisting that a) there isn’t much of a cost and b) even if there is, America can afford it. Case in point, yesterday Buzzfeed published an opinion piece by a woman who works for a progressive think tank. It’s titled, “America Has 14,000 Golf Courses And 6,000 Refugees Waiting At The Border.” Here’s a sample:
Though it may not feel this way to its many inhabitants who struggle to get by, the United States is a place of plenty, not scarcity. One illustration of the country’s wealth is the number of golf courses it boasts. There are, astoundingly, 14,794 golf courses in the United States, according to the National Golf Foundation — more than twice the number of the roughly 6,000 individuals currently in Tijuana seeking asylum.
Yes, there are enough golf courses in the United States for every adult and child asylum-seeker in Tijuana to have their own entire course — and there would still be nearly 9,000 left over.
…there is abundance on this side of the border — and not just an abundance of golf courses. A study from earlier this year estimated that there are more than 11 million vacant housing units across the United States — far more than enough to house the existing half million homeless people already here, and millions of displaced people around the world yearning for a safe place to call home.
This is a pretty dumb argument on the surface. I haven’t seen any migrants demanding golf courses, though they have been demanding $50,000 to go home. But obviously, the author’s point isn’t that we should give migrants golf courses. Her point is that we’re a wealthy country and we could easily accommodate a few thousand Hondurans. And that’s certainly true. In fact, I’m sure we already accommodate tens of thousands of Hondurans, many of whom came here illegally.
But her argument is overlooking a lot of important factors. For one, many of the 9 million people still in Honduras are facing the same problems as the members of the caravan. And life in El Salvador (population 6 million) and Guatemala (14 million) isn’t dramatically better. Life is decidedly worse right now for most of the 25 million people living in Venezuela. The point being, we don’t have nearly enough golf courses to give away to all of these people. Absorbing the cost of 6,000 needy people is doable, absorbing the cost of 6 million would be more of a challenge, to say the least. But once people learn you’re giving them away, a lot more will get in line to take them.
Secondly, the same applies to vacant homes. The study the author cites does say there are as many as 11 million vacant homes but it also says some of these homes are falling apart and may need to be torn down. Others are in such poor condition that revitalizing them could cost a tremendous amount of money to make them livable again. Who is going to pay to revitalize all those homes that the author seems to suggest we could just give away to interested migrants? She skips right over that, probably because it’s where her argument completely falls apart.
We didn’t get all these nice golf courses by giving things away. We got them through the free market. People who wanted some outdoor recreation were willing to pay money they had earned through their own labor, in the form of fees, to make those golf courses viable businesses. No one has the right to, in effect, seize all of that accumulated time and effort and give it away to someone else they think is more worthy. In fact, that’s what has already happened in Tijuana where a small baseball stadium was turned into a tent camp for the caravan for several weeks. Understandably, local residents aren’t thrilled about having the areas they’ve built to enjoy their lives turned into someone else’s bedroom overnight.
The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s golf courses.