Vail Daily column: Choices not always so clear cut |

Vail Daily column: Choices not always so clear cut

Richard Carnes
My View

Imagine a scenario where Mexico erupts into civil war, its government going head to head against the drug cartels.

Hundreds of thousands of innocents are caught in the crossfire, many are slaughtered but most seek refuge wherever they can and the vast majority head north.

They are no longer “sneaking across the border to steal jobs from lazy Americans,” but quite literally fleeing for their lives and the lives of their family.

The world watches as the U.S. is now stuck in the middle of the largest humanitarian crisis our continent has ever witnessed (in modern times).

There are those convinced that the Mexicans should stay and fight for their country, help shape it into the nation they want it to be. Sure, forcing people to fix their own country might seem tough, and even cruel to some, but our forefathers had to do it that way, so why can’t they? Besides, change never comes from running away.

Others are convinced there are sound economic and social reasons for the millions displaced by the conflict, and they are deserving of our help. They are human beings forced into a desperate position against their will, and if the tables were turned we would be looking for all the outside help we could get.

So what would we as a country do, and how would it help us understand what the European Union is currently experiencing?

Would we build a wall like Hungary is doing at this very moment?

This is apparently what Donald and all the Little Trumpettes wish to do.

Should we adjust our immigration laws and welcome hundreds of thousands of refugees into the country like German Chancellor Angela Merkel is doing at this very moment?

This is apparently what all the liberal American bleeding hearts wish to do.

This is an election year, so of course the choices will be split right down partisan lines.

To be perfectly honest though, I’m having a difficult time reaching my own conclusions, much less what we should do as a nation.

How many of the Syrians are real refugees, how many are economic immigrants pretending to be refugees, and how many are Islamic jihadists juggling for a position in a predesignated country in accordance with their imam for future terrorist’s attacks?

And why should the people of the EU be forced to accept Muslim immigrants when oil rich Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey refuse to do so? If the fleeing refugees were forced back to their own country then others would not bother trying to leave, but if they are allowed to stay in a host country then more will come. Provide food, clothing, education and medical care and many, many more will come.

To paraphrase economist Milton Friedman, “You can have open borders and mass immigration or a welfare state, but you cannot have both.”

Yet helping others is one of our top two human traits (sadly, killing one another over supernatural beliefs is the other), so the most sensible approach is to help the refugees until the conflict is over and then assist in their return home. Supplying generous amounts of aid for safe zones close to their home country is easily the most cost effective method.

Either way, freedom always comes with a price, so I suppose the best we can hope for right now is that Mexico never has a civil war.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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