Saturday, December 1, 2007

Illegal Immigration

I have chosen not to speak out on the subject of Illegal Immigration up until now in this blog for no particular reason that I can think of, but I have strong feelings on the subject. In going back however, I realized that I had spoken out on the subject in the past. Unless you subscribed to a certain national newspaper at the time however, you may not have noticed it. I decided therefore, to share with you a letter that I wrote to USA Today, which was subsequently published back in March of 2007.

February 23, 2007

Dear Editor: I would like to put forth a question concerning the debate over amnesty for illegal aliens. Have I missed something, or are we only discussing this as it relates to Hispanic illegal immigrants from Mexico or Central America? Do immigration laws only apply to non-Hispanic peoples seeking a better life in the US or should we open the floodgates to people in African nations, Eastern Europe, Asian citizens, or areas of the Middle East where political and religious persecution, as well economic depression are facing the local populaces? Are we only to be concerned about our nearest neighbors to the south, or should we also open our borders to Canadian citizens who might wish to join us? First and last, the United States has always been a nation of laws. The underlying principles that established this nation tell us that neither the populace nor the government may choose to ignore any of those laws which they find inconvenient or politically sensitive. If the citizens do not like the current laws, they have the right and the obligation to change them. They do not have the right to flaunt them without consequences. We have chosen in our very founding, to believe that “All Men are created equal” and that “no man is above the law”. If these principles are to mean anything, then consistent interpretations of these principles and laws are essential to keep this a place that people from other countries will want to become a part of.  

It appears however, that laying the case out as clearly as I did was not simple enough for those involved. Instead, they chose to seek a different solution to the problem. That solution was to build a wall to keep the illegal immigrants out (substitute barbarians here if you want to), or in their own country if you prefer. I hate to be the naysayer here, but this philosophy has been tried a couple of times, and it seems to me unsuccessfully. 

China and Berlin strike me as great examples of the idea that if you build the wall; they will find a way over, under, or around it. Let's face it folks, building a wall would be nothing more than another monumental government project showing just how creative that we have become in throwing away tax dollars to symbols instead of solutions. No, the only way to solve this problem is to attack the cause. So let me lay it out for you. If employers were punished severely for hiring illegal aliens, we could begin to actually solve the problem(s).  

What, you say! How would that solve the problems? If there were no jobs for the people coming over, they wouldn't come, and we wouldn't need a wall to keep them from joining us. How about all of those low paying jobs that no one who want to take, what would we do about that? Well my guess is that if no one fills them, they won't stay low paying for long. Get the wages up, and I expect that they would fill fairly quickly. Every other decent paying job seems to.  

Wouldn't that drive costs up for businesses and thereby drive prices up? Probably, but this could be offset by savings achieved in government programs that could be put back into the pockets of the taxpayers funding them. The truth of the matter is that we are already paying these higher prices, but not to the businesses. Instead we pay taxes that go to government support programs to help people not making a livable wage. Take away the pricing artificially supported by low wage labor, and the market would compensate.  

Oh by the way, more people making more money would generate more overall tax revenue as well as more prosperity in this country. The last time that I looked, that was something I thought that we were trying to achieve. It might also give us some relief from a government which is too large by an order of magnitude. At the very least, we could save the millions of dollars that we want to spend to build the wall.  

As for the term "illegal aliens and the discussion as to whether it should be used with regards to these huddled masses, yearning to be free; I remember reading a Letter to the Editor from the Kansas City Star from September 21st, from Gene Wolenski. I have cited this letter previously, but I think that it bears repeating and puts the entire legal discussion in perspective: "I can understand Ascension Hernandez disliking the Minutemen, but let's face it, calling an illegal alien and undocumented immigrant is like calling a drug smuggler an unlicensed pharmacist." 

Let's try to keep in perspective that no matter how compelling the reason or noble the purpose of these people, they crossed the border of the United States without the proper documentation or permission, and that violates the laws of this county. That makes the act that they committed illegal, and makes those committing it criminals. 

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