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Unintendend Consequences

Division of Labour‘s Art Carden hits a home-run with this letter in today’s Wall Street Journal:

The problems identified in the article about organized gangs smuggling undocumented immigrants across the U.S. border and then holding them for ransom (“Immigrants Become Hostages as Gangs Prey on Mexicans,” page one, June 10) were created by a perfect storm of government intervention. The drug war has encouraged the development of international criminal syndicates and turned parts of the U.S.-Mexico border into actual war zones.

The war on undocumented immigrants has created opportunities for those syndicates to enter into the human-trafficking business. Cheap money and government policies aimed at increasing access to “affordable housing” created the housing bubble, and further intervention in the last year prevented housing prices from falling far enough to clear the market. This effectively created the “drop houses” in which criminal gangs abuse immigrants who have no legal recourse against them.

I expect that politicians will demand ramped-up enforcement, but this will be a mistake. The best way to proceed would be to end the war on drugs, end the war on immigrants, and scale back intervention in the housing market.

Art Carden
Memphis, Tenn.