(as far as I know, an early if not the first in a long history of InfoMullet posts on illegal immigration in the US addressing five topics: security, language, criminality, ‘job-taking’, and encouraging further immigration that remains contentious debates through today ed. 11-5-2023)
Got out of class two hours early this evening so I thought I’d post my thoughts on the Bush plan. I had 45-minute drives both ways to campus so heard a lot of commentary from Boortz and Hannity, both have totally missed the mark in my opinion. In real quick summary format responding to their biggest points:
1) Security – Granting amnesty for illegal immigrants will not decrease security in this country one iota. The false assumption is that terrorists have a hard time currently getting into this country and that by granting amnesty you’ll make it easier. The problem is that terrorists don’t have a hard time getting into this country. Folks need to face up to the reality that the twin oceans and two uncontested borders which have spared our country warfare for the last century and a half are now a liability. Anyone who proposes stopping terrorism at the border should drive the length of a single coastline and/or the Canadian/Mexico border and describe to me the logistics (of that 1/4th of our border) of how they would recommend keeping trained outdoorsmen with a backpack/boat of supplies and a minimum of survival skills from getting in. It is simply not feasible. This is why our best defense is to deny terrorists major avenues of destruction (check planes, trucks, and port of entry ships) and then go after them where they train and prepare overseas. By the time they reach our borders, it is too late, and this immigration policy has nothing to do with that reality.
On the contrary adding 5m-10m patriots (or even 1/10th of that number) who feel like they owe their new country something, and are out there every day in all walks of life seeing what goes on in their communities and noting discrepancies may add some eyes and ears to the “vigilance” that is supposed to be one of our best defenses.
2) Language – English is not the official language of the US. The US doesn’t have an official language, though when it came to a vote shortly after our inception it almost became German by a hair’s breadth. Get over it. Evolve or be bypassed. The free market and culture will determine the language of choice in business and our daily lives. I say this with full knowledge I’ll probably never learn how to speak Spanish, but that is to my disadvantage, I shouldn’t look to the government to enforce preferential treatment simply because I’m too lazy to keep current on my skillset.
3) Illegal Immigrants have Committed Crimes to get here – A valid point. Criminals are expected to repay their debt to society and thereafter (if a felony) often enjoy fewer rights as citizens. My belief in this regard is anyone signing up for the amnesty program is volunteering that they committed a crime, and their punishment is that they forfeit rights to Social Security and Medicare that they will be contributing to via payroll taxes. The influx of 5-10m additional contributors to payroll taxes (I do not think they will reach the level of paying income taxes) will help bolster these two programs, that they cannot participate will be their punishment. However their children should be recognized as US citizens, the first generation repays the debt to society by entering illegally and wipes the slate clean for their sons and daughters. My bet is if you offer this deal to illegal immigrants currently here 99% of them would agree to it. They, like the rest of us, never really expected anything from Social Security or Medicare anyway.
4) Immigrants are taking jobs from US workers – The jobs are still there if folks want to work in those jobs, the reality is many don’t, or if they do it’s in industries whose commoditization requires a labor force that is cheaper than what they were willing to work for. Again this is a free market force at work. When consumers are willing to pay more then wages as a whole will rise, if they are willing to pay less, wages will decline. If a business cannot continue to make a profit at the decreased prices it will go out of business. Our country’s growth has been in part built on the back of cheap foreign labor in industries such as agriculture, home construction, cleaning and yard services, etc. I’m not sure what the MPC is for an immigrant, I know many send money back to their own country, but my guess is it’s close to 70%. That means for every $1 of pay an immigrant generates $3-$4 additional dollars for the GDP.
5) This will encourage immigration – I don’t see any sign that immigration has been discouraged whether the US makes it legal or illegal. History in large part is written by the mass movement and migration of peoples, states’ borders have proven historically ineffective counters to population migration. The best approach to limit immigration is to help Mexico and other Latin American countries create a viable economy. That’s the quick summary, back to reading for the Africa study program.
In relation to needed workers that illegal immigrants might fill; how do you see abortion impacting this issue?
One of my professors at Reinhardt is doing an interesting thesis for his doctorate on the impact of legalized abortion on population decline over the last three decades, had abortion not been legalized Xgazzilions additional dollars would have been generated in GDP, paid in taxes, and the world would be better off etc.. I don’t agree with his viewpoint, there are some gaping holes he hasn’t answered yet, but it’s an interesting tact and one I’m interested in seeing the data on.