Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Immigration Brouhaha: Missing The Obvious

Although I would prefer not to get into politics on here, I do want to throw this out there because it is an angle that is not being discussed as the immigration debate rages on.

It seems to me that all the ideas on the table are treating the symptom not the problem. If the goal is to stop illegal immigrants from coming here and working, it seems fairly simple. Step up and penalize the shit out of any corporations/entities that employ such people. The millions of jobs don't exist because illegals have come to the US; millions of illegals have come to the US because millions of jobs/opportunities exist. And who allows/encourages/exploits this? American businesses of course.

People come here because there are lots of jobs & lots of opportunities vis a vis their situation at home, and corporate america (and hell, mom & pop shops as well) loves paying shit wages + no benefits for their labor. If you want this to end then crack down from the employer end, fine the hell out of them, or make it a felony to employ them, whatever, but treat it on this end. Of course, in reality, businesses don't want this, and it would never happen considering politics in general and the current administration in particular. But everyone seems to be approaching this from the wrong end. It's like the bathtub faucet is running, the tub is overflowing with water, and everyone is trying to come up with the best way to either bail the water out of the tub or build a bigger tub. Hey, anyone ever consider turning off the faucet instead?

As an aside, the "they are costing the US billions of dollars by using hospitals/schools/etc" only tells one half of the equation. They also save US businesses & consumers billions of dollars in labor cost and savings on cheap consumer goods & food, respectively. Additionally, many also use fake SSNs to get jobs which means that they pay into the system (payroll deduction) but do not file a tax return to get that money back. Taking all of these things into consideration makes it much more difficult to definitively say what their cumulative net economic effect is.

Lastly, I have yet to hear a single real-world example of a job currently being performed by an illegal alien that an American would willingly work for the same wages, so the "stealing jobs" rhetoric rings a bit hollow for me. It is amusing that America as a whole wants all jobs to be worked by Americans at good wages, yet at the same time America wants to be able to buy Polo shirts at Wal-Mart for $5.99. You can't have both.

My guess is that some completely useless comproise bill will come out of this whose main purpose will be that it allows politicans to go back to their districts in the fall and tell the voters "I did something about this issue, so vote for me, blah blah blah", with the actual result of the bill having little to no effect on the original problem while costing the US taxpayers a boatload of money. Kind of like the Medicare bill. Check that, exactly like the Medicare bill.


Mike said...

I see politics in your future....

Great idea with the blog thing, just wish I had more time to keep up with one myself...

Hope things are going well for you in SF.

Talk to you soon!


Kanu said...


No political future for me, thanks. I'm not into being bought & paid for, which seems like what you have to accept if you aspire to anything greater than city council.

That, and the fact that if I ever made it big people like yourself could come out and ruin me with stories of mid-1990s debauchery in Athens. To quote you from that period: "Dude, bad situation."

Hope all is well in Dublin.

Solon said...

Devil, you Irish fool! I am about to get in touch with you--I've been meaning to for a while, actually--looks like I might be going to school at Trinity in a couple of years and I wanted to check in with you. Anyway, I'll talk to you soon. FYI, if you don't know who this is, I moved into 286 when you moved to Warner-Robins.

Kanu, you are spot on about the immigration thing. No one wants to piss anyone off, so they won't go after the most obvious target--because, as soon as they do, the other side will deride them as "anti-business" and "anti-consumer."

To some extent, the same thing happens with the abortion issue, where anti-choicers want to punish the doctors but not the women who have the abortions. They know that if they go after the women, it will turn off the non-zealots. All of which is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

OMAA said...


You and I definitely agree on most of what is here. The most poignant point you make is that the folks working on these problems are worthless. We could definitely solve the problem from a number of fronts, but that wouldn't be politically correct. We could tighten the borders, slap large fines on employers and deport illegals that are here. The thing that drives me batty about this whole thing is the people that keep saying that Illegals haven't done anything wrong. They may not have broken any other laws since coming in illegally, but that does not erase the fact that they are law breakers. The people that want them out need to look at the fruit they ate for breakfast, the house/apartment they are living in, and the other things around them that have been produced by illegals. Would you have bought that orange if the worker in FLA was an American citizen making $10/hour in the orange picker's union and it cost $2 instead of $0.50? Probably not.

However, this does not excuse the fact that they came here illegally. There need to be some controls. Lord knows we are already spending too much money in our government and this is not helping.

I guess the bottom line is: someone needs to nut up and say "tighten the borders, kick out the ones that are here, and fine employers that hire illegals." That would equally offend all people and might even have a chance. It sure would be refreshing.

Petrelli said...

You make some good points about the immigration issue. The fact is that the illegals are not taking jobs from white people. I have been a golf course superintendent for 18 months and in this time I have had one white kid come for a job. I would have hired him but he gave me the wrong phone number. In the same amount of time I have had at least 30 hispanics come looking for work. Why work outside in the weather when you can go work in the mall and make the same money? The current illegal employees all want to be legal and are constantly inquiring about what I can do for them. There is around a 3 to 5 year back up with the Dept of Justice in taking applications for green cards. When it is as simple as paying $125 for a ss card and green card, why not go that route? You are correct that nothing major will come of this immigration reform because we have an administration and congress that are pro business and won't allow legislation that kicks out 12 million that are already here. Illegals pay no taxes yet have little taken out due to claiming so many dependents but it is a cash cow for the government to look the other way and pretend to be serious about the problem when they are making money out of the present situation. You ask any border control people and the people that are caught on the border are not of Arab descent so terrorism and national security are not the issue.

Shabba said...

I definitely agree with you guys about the harsh punishments for the businesses that hire illegal immigrants (or migrants, since they didn't actually immigrate to this country). The businesses need to be threatened with stiff fines, loss of tax breaks, and/or jail time.

Along with that there must also be much tighter border security. Build a wall, put the military on the border, whatever.

The state senate and house in Georgia have come up with what I think is the best plan I've heard so far (it's still not perfect, but at least it's a step in SOME kind of direction). The bill is currently waiting for the governors siganture. It sets up harsh fines and penalties for employers who hire these workers. That way maybe some of the jobs that are out there will disappear. The bill also restricts the availability of government funded programs to anyone here illegally. By doing this there will not be as much incentive for the workers to be here in the first place. Hopefully this combination of punishing both sets of law breakers will improve things at least in this state. If the federal government doesn't have the balls to stand up to either of these groups then maybe each state will have to take care of itself (which is what the 10th Amendment says anyway).

I sure hope that something is done soon before it gets to the point where a state like Arizona, New Mexico, or even California has to declare bankrupcty just so we can cheap tomatoes and well manicured golf courses.

Mouthbreather said...

I hear there's some politicians trying to get all menus printed in Mexican. Hell, I can't even read Mexican. I do like them pinata things though. One time I broke one open on the first swing and got me a shirt full of stuff.

OMAA said...

Nice work Mouthbreather!

Mouthbreather said...

Back at the city we hung one of them pinatas in the computer room for Reggie's birthday. We were having a great time. Too bad Reggie knocked over the mail server, and it shut down. Our boss was steamin. You know them unix boxes don't like to be rebooted.

Kanu said...


At least that server wasn't located within 5 feet of a UPS. Then you would have had some serious trouble on your hands...

devil said...

If you're going to Trinity and want to see me you'd better hurry! They're going to revoke my green card soon since I can drink more guinness than the locals. It's unimaginable to them that an American can drink more than the average Dubliner...