The control over the southern border of our country has been gradually reduced to shambles over the past 20 years. Mexicans have been pouring over the border to find work that is, for the most part, more lucrative than can be found in Mexico. As with any migration of this kind, the type of people that migrate differ from those who choose to remain at home. On the surface, these illegal migrants are willing to take risks and work harder to better their situation. Those who remain behind are more security oriented and do not want trade security for potential reward.
The above description of illegal immigrants assumes certain conditions await them. These conditions include hardship and uncertainty. If these conditions should be eliminated, the more security oriented and less work oriented segment of the population will also migrate.
The purpose of this discussion is to explore the issues that arise as a result of our policies with respect to immigration.
The condition of illegality for the Mexican worker puts them at a great disadvantage in the work place. The company that uses their services typically takes advantage of the fact that these illegal workers realize they are not protected by the law.
Verbal contracts are frequently broken and new responsibilities are arbitrarily added to their workload. The best workers often prefer a piece rate system. Many times they are hired on this basis, only to find they are later changed to hourly wages.
Minimal concern for worker safety is the norm. Employers may make up excuses for not making full payment to the workers and they have no recourse. At times, an employer may exclaim "La Migra, La Migra" (immigrant police) and the workers will flee without pay.
Much of the pressure for a "guest worker" program originates with the employers of these illegal immigrants. They see that they are getting a lot of work done with minimal cost. Regular U.S. citizens would only do this work at a much higher pay scale.
Unfortunately, there is a hidden subsidy for the employers. Illegals, as our current laws state, are entitled to almost all the public services that are available to U.S. Citizens. An illegal immigrant family of two parents and two children may receive about $33,600 in Governmental services. This includes everything from education, welfare, and medical services to national defense. If both parents each work 2000 hours/year, these services are equivalent to an additional $8 per hour. Most illegal immigrants pay little or no taxes so this is mostly a bonus to their earnings - a bonus that is paid by U.S. tax payers rather than the employers.
An even more insidious cost is the loss of technology - yes, the loss of technology. Our system thrives on advancements in technology. Low cost labor sidetracks this effort. There is hardly a job using hand labor that can not be done more efficiently with automation. If we are convinced that illegal immigrants are necessary for picking crops then look at the impact of NAFTA.
When NAFTA was first implemented, Mexico found that corn, grown and picked using automated equipment in the U.S., was producing a product more cheaply than the native Mexicans could in their own country. As a result, Mexico placed a high tariff on corn imported to Mexico from the United States. Other high labor farm jobs in this country, such as tomato and fruit picking, are in the process of being automated as well. Low wages will postpone this progress.
Of course there is an obvious consequence of uncontrolled borders - especially in these times of terrorist attacks. President Bush has been an irrational advocate of open borders with Mexico. To counteract the potential influx of terrorists across these borders, he has recommended the expansion of Governmental power to restrict the freedom of ordinary U.S. citizens. The best place to stop potential terrorists is at the border.
Beyond the obvious, why did we fight WWII? We apparently didn't want the Germans or Japanese to take over our country. The only difference between a military takeover and a huge influx of unassimilated immigrants is the time interval. We are like the frog in a pan of water on the stove. Gradually increase the heat and the frog doesn't realize what's happening.
Liberals claim that Europe is more socially advanced than the U.S. Little do these liberals realize that Europe is advancing in the wrong direction! Most European countries are being overwhelmed with unassimilated groups of foreigners. A writer, Frosty Wooldridge, recently toured Europe on a bicycle. He saw immigration problems in every country he visited. Here are his comments about France:
Southern France is now known as Northern Nigeria. Over five million Muslims own Southern France. They are not French, don't speak French, and don't respect France as French. They bring France new and unwanted problems as to women's rights, aggressive and violent religion and the loss of the French language as the immigrants out-propagate the French. Speculation shows France becoming France-Arabia within this century. They will either lose their country and language, or wall off southern France to the immigrants to save themselves.
His observations were backed up by numerous discussions with citizens of other European countries such as Norway and Germany.
The problem with Democracy is the politicians. Their primary concern is to be reelected, which translates into votes. Anything that may expand their constituency is pursued. Democrats are now in the process of promoting rallies against immigration reform. They are aggressively proclaiming that they are the champions of the illegal immigrants. See the posters distributed at a Texas rally on the right.
Unions are also on the take. Organized labor has been losing membership steadily over the past 20 years. If they can recruit a new segment of the work force, they will have access to more union dues. Of course, if successful, this will eventually lead to strikes and demands for higher pay. C'est La Vie.
If we can include 'unproductive manipulation to gain personal advantage' as politics, we should include the social elitists. These are people who find they must differentiate themselves socially from others who they define as socially inferior. These people thrive on class distinctions and welcome the arrival of groups that can be easily discredited and made to feel inferior. Formal class systems are in place in many countries.
We can see that our system of excessive governmental services will eventually attract not only the hard workers, but the slackers. It has already done that with many of our own citizens. Paying for these services must be borne by the productive segment who soon find themselves more and more in the minority. It's not like the earlier days in our country's history when immigrants were a valuable asset because they paid their own way - and then some. The hidden costs of today's illegal immigrants work against our free market system. They direct resources in directions that are inefficient and, in the long run, debilitating.
The politically correct diversity movement has also set us up for a fall. This concept is: No culture is any better than any other and they must all be respected. In reality, respect must be earned, and any attempt to award it to anyone who shows up is another form of welfare. The concept of the equality of all cultures has led to the lack of assimilation of the Mexican illegals into our culture. In fact, we discourage their integration by educating their children, posting notices, printing documents, and providing entertainment in their language. Anyone hear of the "Tower of Babel?"
If we look, even superficially, at the legislation being proposed by the Senate, we can see that it is nothing more than a sham. All the proposed rules and regulations are meaningless because there is no way to implement them. To believe that undocumented illegals are going to voluntarily register themselves, tell the truth about how long they have been in this country, and submit to a $1000 fine is pushing beyond the limits of credulity.
Ronald Reagan was opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants. However, after looking at the alternatives, he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. There are three elements to consider as far as how we should handle the illegal immigrants already within our borders:
Physical Deportation: The task of 'identifying' and then physically 'deporting' 11 million illegals is essentially impossible.
Political Consensus: The Congressional votes are just not there for any "drastic" proposal to be passed into law.
Ethical Considerations: The illegals aren't soley to blame for ignoring our laws. We are equally at fault by not enforcing them over many years.
President Bush presented the framework of a proposal this week which contains many of the provisions of the Reagan 1986 Act. It is more practical than the Senate proposals. It essentially allows the currently employed illegals to register for a Guest Worker Visa. Those workers who do not have worker Visas should not be employable. The workers with Visas may then apply for citizenship but they would not be put at the "front of the line."
Of course, none of these laws have any meaning without enforcement. There are two questions which must be answered in order to judge the value of these laws: whether they can be enforced, and whether they will be enforced.
Mechanisms are already in place for foreign workers to obtain a visa and Social Security number. This, coupled with tax returns should give us a good way to keep tabs on their activities and make them pay their share of taxes. Unfortunately, this is only an ideal. Employers and employees have been bypassing this system for years. Workers are hired and paid in cash - no tax, no paper trail. It is estimated that almost $200 billion in tax revenues are avoided this way every year. There is no strong incentive for illegals to sign up.
Taking those measures necessary to implement a comprehensive program requires willpower. This has been shown to be a problem as evidenced by a slow deterioration of support for security after 9/11. This occurred even though the 9/11 event was sudden and traumatic and therefore more likely to generate a strong response. The gradual influx of illegals is more likely to remain under the radar screen.
As usual, as our country becomes more and more politically liberal, we gradually lose touch with reality.
- Border security must be given more than lip service.
- We need spot checking and stiff fining of employers who hire uncarded persons.
- Governmental services must be refused for uncarded persons.
- There must be a detailed expose' of the situation in Europe to show what the future holds for our country.