Many political problems appear more complicated than they really are. The reason, perhaps, is the media’s tendency to exaggerate the societal importance of issues and create public hysteria in order to increase newspaper circulation. Illegal African immigration is one of these cases.
If illegal immigration is dangerous, the problem can easily be solved by force. Illegals can be shot at the border just like any other infiltrators. If they claim refugee status, Israel can transfer them to UNRWA camps in Gaza and East Jerusalem. Aiding refugees is UNRWA’s reason for existence.
Still simpler, Israel can work with Sinai Bedouins to stop the illegal immigration. Bedouins earn about $600 per head for sneaking Africans into Israel. At the present rate of infiltration, that comes to about $12 million annually. Okay, we will pay the Bedouin clans twice as much to stop the trafficking and police the Sinai against infiltrators. That is negligible compared to the cost of dealing with African crime in Israel or building a Great Wall of China on Israel’s border with Egypt. The same approach can stop arms trafficking to Gaza.
But let’s consider the matter a bit more deeply. Why do we not want Africans here? They are unlike us; we do not want a culturally alien mob in our towns. They tend to be criminals because our punishments do not deter them: Israeli jails are more comfortable than most Sudanese hotels. They crowd Jews out of the low-end job marketplace. They may eventually naturalize and vote on Jewish matters in the Knesset. They place a heavy burden on social services.
These problems are easily solved. Grant all illegals temporary labor visas and withhold a significant part of their wages: they can receive the accumulated amount only if they depart from the country before their visas expire. If they are convicted of any crime, including immigration crime, their entire deposit is forfeited. If they go to jail, offer them the minimum living conditions comparable to jails in their native countries. According to the Torah and liberal theory, we must not oppress those who possess visas, but we need not treat them to the same perks (including very nice jails) granted to citizens.
The Africans―and indeed all labor immigrants―must live in separate communities. They are here to work, not to hang around. These are not labor camps; think of them as gated communities. In a very small country like Israel, isolated living creates no logistical problems.
Immigrant laborers must not be entitled to the Israeli minimum wage. Such a wage is the highest indirect tax consumers pay. It is a subsidy given to unskilled domestic workers. There is no conceivable reason to subsidize foreigners likewise. To pay the Africans very low wages and let them live in crowded conditions is not oppression: they are free to come here and to go back to their native countries. If they accept our terms, they are welcome to stay; if not, they are free to leave. By refusing them minimum wages we do not oppress them, but only refuse to subsidize them indirectly.
Naturalization must be closed to labor immigrants absolutely, as a matter of constitutional law. If they beget children here, we wish them all the best and deport them. They were allowed into this country strictly to work, not for any other activity.
Labor migrants must have no share in social services. Generations of Jewish taxpayers built these services for their children, not for African migrants. Free schools and semi-free hospitals are not really free. We allow foreign laborers here for our benefit, not for theirs. They must not be allowed even in our parks, which were built in the desert by our hands and our money. The parks are our property just like our homes; temporary migrants have no share in them.
All migrants must also be required to purchase medical insurance, which must be sold to them at private rates without averaging their high-risk occupations with less risky Jewish lifestyles. It must be a preconditions that the inability to work would be cause for deportation. Jews need not subsidize migrants’ health insurance by providing it at uneconomically low rates.
On such terms, labor migrants would be a boom to Israeli economy and politics. They will provide a huge source of cheap labor and crowd Israeli Arabs out of the low-end jobs. Even in a tax-free black market for employment, Arabs won’t be able to compete with Africans whose wages are not pegged to the minimum wage. A lot of jobless Arabs will find Israel too expensive a place to live, especially if unemployment benefits are limited sharply.
Even African infiltrators can be useful, if only Jews have the guts to make use of them.