Friday, March 22, 2013

Kein Eier für Kinder

I first learned about Kindereier back in my high school German class. If you've never heard of them, they are chocolate eggs with little plastic toys inside. It was always a bit of a mystery why something like this never caught on in the United States, home of the Happy Meal toy.

But it turns out, there's a simple answer--toys in chocolate eggs are illegal. Here in the land of the free, our government believes we could not handle the shock of opening a chocolate egg to find a plastic toy inside. The toys are considered a "non-nutritive component," and thus are forbidden by a 1938 law.

Anyone with a lick of common sense can see that Kindereier pose no threat to anyone. Even though some of the toys have small parts, they are hidden inside the quite large plastic capsule. But common sense runs up against federal bureaucracy for people who try to bring Kindereier into the U.S. from another country. Attempting to import Kindereier comes with a $2500 fine per egg, and tens of thousands are confiscated by border agents every year. The two Seattle men in the linked story above spent two-and-a-half hours in border detention because they tried to bring six Kindereier into the country. That would've been a $15,000 mistake if the agents hadn't let them off with a warning. (Thanks be to the Border Agents, the Beneficent, the Merciful!)

So when you see reports from the bipartisan immigration reform group, or Rand Paul, or anyone else insisting on increasing funding for the border patrol before even trying to reform any of the other problems in our broken immigration system, keep in mind that this is what they're doing with the money they already have. Do they really need even more?

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