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More Immigration Reform

Filed under: Politics, Security — Jared @ 7:18 am

Scott C. made very good comments on my last Immigration post (¿Inmigración?), and it's similar to a discussion I had with a coworker the other day. I wanted to address them, but felt that it made more sense to do so in a new post. So, here we are. I'll tackle Scott's comment in pieces.

Although cheap labor is a good thing in the right dose too much of it kills the work force jared. I also believe that the difficulties that people go through to get into this country legally are a plus not a minus. For one it makes citezenship worth something, and for another it helps cut down the numbers that would be a drain on society(we already have enuff of those). Although it would be nice to live in a world without borders or the need for them these days call for it. America simply cannot sustain the amount of people who want to come here.

Too much cheap labor is bad, I couldn't agree with you more. This is one of the many reasons why immigration reform is so important (and, best of all, it distracts us from things like Iraq and Iran). And part of the problem with illegal immigration is that it creates artificially cheap labor; were those workers legal, they would be a lot more expensive even if they were willing to work below what the average American worker would take as a wage.

I also see the effects of cheaper educated labor on science. Academic institutions are in the habit of hiring Post Doctorates from other countries rather than America, because they are willing to get their foot in the door at vastly lower wages than the average American PhD. This depresses the salary of every PhD, and is one of the reasons I'm not seriously considering getting mine.

I am not, however, suggesting we hand out citizenship like candy. Even through legal channels, citizenship is very hard to get; the best a lot of immigrants can hope for (and what they're really looking for anyway) is a green card. That's why I don't think handing citizenship to the current illegals, or anyone who just walks up and asks for a job, is even remotely plausible (or a good idea). But I do feel creating a legal channel for guest workers, who have a place they plan on working, would be a boon to both our country and Mexico. We will never be able to defend that border; we can't even protect the citizens of Iraq. The workers will come, legal or not. So, give them a legal way to come, a way for us to track them, a way for them to pay taxes, and a way for them to get the services and protection that everyone in this country deserves.

I’m for deporting the illegal workers because they are taking the jobs away from the people who have navigated the system to get here. People have this wrong idea that if we deport all the illegals that our society will fall apart, this just isn’t so. People want jobs jared, there is a call for them. It’s true places that rely soley on illegals would be hit hard but they shouldn’t be doing that in the first place. The only reason they do is so they can pay a crappy wage to someone who can’t bitch or do anything about it. These jobs aren’t helping our econemy they are holding it back.

Emphasis mine. Those emphasized sentences are the reason I don't agree with deporting them. That is the crux of my argument. I want to see places that rely on illegal immigrants put out of business. Don't fool yourself, that will have a devastating, rippling effect on our economy. The prices of any goods and services in this country that depend on illegal labor will skyrocket. But I think that it is worth a little turmoil in the short term. I don't think our society will fall apart; on the contrary, if we supply illegal workers with a path to being illegal, I think it will be a major boon to our society. They are a large part of our culture at this point; I would like to see them live in the light, not the shadow.

People do want jobs. But I still don't think that the way to give them jobs is to deport illegal immigrants. The great thing about illegal workers is that they are a dime a dozen. If your workers get busted, you hire new ones, or take a bus across the border to pick more up. Again, this is like attacking drug users to fix the problem; the pusher will just find new clients. If you throw the pusher in jail, or take all of the ill-gotten money away from the employer (and throw him in jail), the illegal immigrants won't come, because there won't be any jobs for them. They don't come to stand around picking their noses; they come to work.

It’s true that illegal are blamed for alot of the woes of america and that they are used for a scape goat. But they are still a major problem. These people need to go through the propper channels in order to achieve there goals. The lines are long but worth the wait, cutting gains you nothing. This is the message that we as a country have to uphold.

Again, emphasis mine. Again, I totally agree. I just think the solution is different. I think to end the draw of working here illegally, the jobs must go away. That can only be done by punishing the employers. And I think we really do need the workers. So, rather than have them come illegally, I would provide an actual line for them to get in. Give them temporary admittance, so that they can come work as a temporary worker.

As for dealing with immigrants that are already here, that is more controversial. I don't think immediate deporting helps anyone. And I'd like to give them a chance to come forward; they are a big part of our society, our culture. They would leave many children behind, who were born here and are citizens themselves. They would take with them a decent chunk of our culture, and it would ravage our economy in the very near-term. Americans do want those jobs, I agree with you there, but they won't take them up immediately.

So, my plan? Give them a short period of time to come forward and get registered without fear of being deported. They have two choices: Be deported, or get into the reparation program. That program would do a bunch of things. First, it would give them a tax bill to pay back for the time they have been in the country. Not a small one either, but one they can pay over time. If they don't pay, they go home. Second, it would require that they take classes in English. They can sing the anthem in Spanish at home if they like, but we speak English, and they need to get with the program. Third, it would require that they have legal employment, and legal housing. Any family members without work here go home; they get to stay here to work, not just because Mexico sucks.

And, if they had the decency to drop the dime on their employer, they get a small chunk of the fine levied against said employer (say 1-10%) to put towards the cost of their tax bill, and said English classes.

I'm sure I'm missing other things that this program would have to do, but they evade my brain at the moment. And, if they don't come forward within a set period of time (I'd give them a month or two, contingent on the government being able to process them that fast), then deport them.

To sum up: I feel the immigrants are culpable, I just think the solution does not lie with them.



  1. Yes the places that hire illegal immigrants are more culpable then i think the Immigrants themselfs but simply letting all illegals stay solves nothing. It is sad to say but some of these people are just unwanted. They have no skills, they have no education, they can’t even read in their own laungue let alone speak or read ours. Some have long crininal records in their own countries and have come here for a “clean start”. America should be taking the best and brightest of these people not all that apply.

    I know this is cruel to say. I would like everyone to be able to live and be happy but that’s just not how life works. We need the people that come to this country to bring something unique to the mix not more poverty and crime (we have too much of our own). We don’t need a million new janitors or maids we need new programmers and doctors and we need them now not in 2 to 3 generations.

    All i’m saying is there needs to be a sorting process. Lets not keep them all.

    Comment by Scott C. — 06/05/5 @ 3:13 pm

  2. You’re right, and that’s why I’m not suggesting we give a free pass to every immigrant here. But the immigrants that are working here have skills; specifically the skills for the job they’re working. I heard an interview on All Things Considered (wish I had a link or something) where they were interviewing a employer who had illegal immigrant employees; he said that if the day came that he had to pay them a fair wage (because they were now documented), he’d still keep them, because they knew the job and worked harder than any American he’s hired recently.

    I’m not saying they’re all perfect, but I would bet that the majority of them are just looking for a job they can live on. I’m sure some have long criminal histories, but I bet a lot of them don’t.

    America should take everyone who’s willing to come here and work hard, regardless of if they fall in the “best and brightest” catagory; we built an economic powerhouse on barely educated industrial workers last century. There will never be enough jobs to run the economy on doctors or programmers (nor will there be enough people to do the jobs, although they will continue to form the upper-middle to upper class in our society), but we will always need janitors and maids.

    The thing is, I think you are missing the point I’m trying to make. If you just want to punish illegal immigrants (and I understand that feeling, really), then deport them. Just remember, a bunch more will hop the fence to replace them. If you want to stop them from coming here illegally, make it undesireable for them to do so; I think you do that by attacking the employers who provide them with jobs in the first place.

    I might be wrong about that, but I know that punishing the individuals in an attempt to get more not to come just seems silly and misguided; does the illegality of smoking pot stop the average casual user?

    Comment by Jared — 06/05/8 @ 7:38 am

  3. I understand that all illegals have some skills at the jobs they are working but that doesn’t mean that they are skilled workers. The reason they are hired in the first place isn’t because they are the top of their biz but because the’ll take 2 bucks an hour. Plus the jobs that the majority of them do are not that hard to learn, how much time will it take you to learn how to vacume or to wash a car? I think when it comes to actually paying a decent wage for the labor maybe the jobs might have a higher expectation.

    But this is all besides the point. I’m not trying to say that illegal immigrants are lazy or stupid or anything like that, what i am trying to say is that they are here illegally. My thoughts go along the line of if we cut the ones here a break and allow for citizenship what message are we sending to the world. What we are telling them is “Hey you broke the law, but cause you been here so long we’ll let you stay.” The message we are sending is if you can just dodge immigration for a while you can be a citizen. We want to encourage people to go through the system not around it. Allowing citizenship to illegals this way seems to undermine that idea. We need to punish all involved in this, the people entering our country illegally as well as the businesses hiring them. This to me seems the only way to fix the problem, blaming one party without making the other accountable just makes no sense.

    To use your analogy although making pot illegal has not stopped it, it has limmited it. After all it’s not something you can go to your local grocery store and buy(unless the bag boy is selling it on the side). I think eliminating illegal imigration is a pipe dream, it’s not a problem that will ever go away. By punishing all those responsible what we are trying to do is discourage it and limit the numbers that jump our borders.

    Comment by Scott C. — 06/05/9 @ 3:21 pm

  4. First, no one is suggesting handing citizenship to illegal immigrants. The most generous suggestions promoted by politicians has been to give them amnesty (i.e. forgive them for the crime of immigrating illegally) and allow them to apply for temporary work visas. I don’t want to give them citizenship. I have no intention of allowing them to vote, until they have gone through all of the processes required of anyone else that wants citizenship.

    What I do suggest is that while they are indeed breaking the law I do not believe deportation is an appropriate punishment. If that is the punishment deemed fit, so be it. But I believe it would be much more productive for us to fine them for the taxes they have failed to pay, and allow them to apply for a very much temporary work permit (provided they can prove they have work) so that they can continue to contribute to our economy, if they want to.

    I personally know of few people for whom the legality of marijuana is the deciding factor in their usage patterns. More over, I would argue that the government would have a much better time regulating immigraition (and probably drug use) if it took a more liberal stance on the issue, and made it more possible for people to make use of legal immigrant workers. If the intent is to punish the illegals who are breaking the law, that is alright. But it will be no more effective than police officers arresting a kid for having half an ounce of pot in his possession. It does nothign to stem the supply of illegal workers, and it does not address the supply of jobs. For all intents and purposes, there is an unlimited supply of workers in Mexico just waiting to jump the border. As far as I can tell, if we actually want them to stop coming, the only way to do so is to eliminate the jobs they are crossing for.

    Comment by Jared — 06/05/9 @ 9:27 pm

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