Customs &
Immigration

 

Your job has to do with letting goods and people in to the country, as part of border control. So we need to think what borders are for. Sometimes while waiting in line I ask my neighbor why we have to do this. Usually the reply is something like "to stop illegal drugs being imported." Seems not many people think any illegal drugs are grown or made in America! As for immigration to this land in which nobody isn't descended from an immigrant, the answer might be "so that no illegal immigrants enter the country." I am amazed at how many people fail to see how perfectly circular that is: only legal immigrants are allowed because there's a law forbidding illegal ones. Duh.

The thinking (if I must grace it with such a word) behind this is that through the power of government, which you wield every day, voters can decide who and what is fit to enter this Land of the Free.  There is indeed such power, but there is no such right.

In the early years of the republic, the Federal Government was funded mainly by excise duties, collected by Customs. (It then grew, far beyond the size that such taxes can support.)  That original idea made it more expensive to buy something from overseas, than to buy an equivalent made at home - so this quickly developed into a way allegedly to "protect" domestic manufacturers, to give them leeway to charge higher prices - which they did. Everyone loses from this (except government) - the domestic manufacturer loses because the stimulus of competition, which sharply promotes efficiency, is blunted; the foreign competitor loses obviously, for he is the target (and that has often meant that his government becomes hostile to ours, furnishing part of a reason to wage war) and certainly the customer loses, for we have to pay more than the natural, free-market price for both the import and the protected home-grown item.

As more and more people began to travel, in the 20th Century, the possibility of getting bargains overseas became obvious so a raft of laws were written to specify what "duty" had to be paid and what "allowance" was to be graciously "granted," on property purchased abroad and imported by travelers. Hence the objectionable job you are paid to carry out: to rifle through the private belongings of your neighbors in case some item is on a government list, and then to take away some of his money. It is a clear example of simple (though legalized) theft; and you are working for the thief. Is that honest? - Only if theft is honest.

Control over immigration is even more obscene, for it affects persons rather than property. A is allowed in, B is not. All such rules have been developed, twisted and turned to fit this prejudice or that, over many decades; it was virtually unrestricted until the 20th Century but right from the beginning Feds gave themselves the power (by writing in the Constitution, Article 1 Section 8, "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization...")  So immigrants can (and did) arrive and settle, then raised a drawbridge to hinder those who wished to follow. It's very deeply hypocritical. And you are enforcing these bigoted laws.

A border is an arbitrary line, delimiting the area claimed by a government as its domain. Customs and immigration workers like you are enabling it to steal money from those crossing it, and to prevent some crossing it at all. Thus, a human being born 100 yards to the South of such an arbitrary line may be prevented from offering his labor to a willing employer to its North; an impediment not suffered by another human being born the same day in identical circumstances 100 yards to its North. Neither has any control whatever on where he was born; the process is pure, savage prejudice and the objection that "if there were no immigration laws America could not hold the resulting flood" of people is total nonsense. Certainly more would enter at first; then the price of labor would equalize on each side of the border (assuming other laws that distort the price of labor were scrapped) and the incentive to move here would disappear; folk would then stay home, which is where everyone prefers to live, other things being equal. So you're employed to preserve inequality between neighbors, and once that becomes clear your self-respect will shrink close to zero. An honest job? - it doesn't even come close.

Self-esteem is a vital part of life. We all need a purpose, a raison d'Ítre, a way to feel pride in what we have been able to accomplish, a basis for ambition to achieve more in future. Working for government undermines your basis for self-esteem. Make a clean break; offer your skills elsewhere. Get an honest job - even if at first you have to take a pay cut. You'll not regret it; at life's end you will look back in pride and pleasure, and be able to say, "I helped build that!"

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