Immigrants & Hypocrits

I’ve really never gotten into the illegal immigration debate. For one, the hypocrisy behind sickens me to the point where I would just as well leave it alone and bash Bush. But it is topic number one this week so I might as well give my say.

First, I’m not one that believes in open borders and I do believe that it is the responsibility of the government to secure our borders. It’s matter of national security that common sense. There isn’t a country on earth that allows unfettered access through its borders. There is a matter of the economic strain illegal immigrants place on municipalities. Then there is a matter of not knowing the backgrounds of people entering our country. I support a secure border. How to accomplish that? I will have to leave that to people more experienced in such matters.

What I want to focus on is the hypocrisy of our immigration policy.

Corporate Hypocrisy: There is a reason that businesses are against the House Immigration Bill – they love cheap labor. The main argument is that many illegal immigrants are doing jobs that Americans won’t do. What they need to say is that Americans won’t do the jobs for the salaries corporations want to pay. But I thought this was a capitalist country? I thought we believed in market forces? If you can’t get someone to wash dishes for $8 an hour – I’m sure you’d find some that would do it for $12 an hour.

I did some subcontracting work several years ago and spent a lot of time on home construction sites. There were entire crews of Latinos. I’m not sure how many of them were illegal, but I don’t think I would be out of line to say half were probably illegal. Now the question is, how hard is it to find Americans willing to build homes? Not hard at all. But how hard would if find an experienced construction worker doing a job for $15 an hour when they would normally get $30 an hour?

The fact is that if we really believed in the rule of law and market forces, companies would simply pay the going rate for American workers. But it’s not about a salary. It’s about benefits, workers comp, taxes, safety regulation and exploitation. Corporations want to drive down the salaries for American workers and illegal immigration and outsourcing are mechanism to assist in accomplishing that goal.

Consumer Hypocrisy: Wal-Mart is not the biggest retailer in the US because of its corporate culture. The provide goods at an affordable price. How much would a bag of apples cost of growers had to pay livable wages with benefits to its picker? Are we willing to pay $8 for a bag of apples? No. We want cheap products, which means companies must lower the cost of providing those products. That results in outsourcing and hiring illegal immigrants.

And the same politicians that harp on illegal immigration has an undocumented woman for South America raising his children. Those cheap products come at a cost. When we change our mentality to a willingness to pay more because the person that provided the service or made the products has to eat - then we'll be ready to rid ourselves of the cheap labor provided by illegal immigrants.

Free Trade Hypocrisy: Remember NAFTA? That was supposed to be the tool that raised the standard of living in developing countries by providing jobs and lowering the cost of products in the US. So ask yourself a question. With so many companies moving their manufacturing to Mexico and other Latin American countries, why are they still clamoring to get to the US? Simple answer. It’s because American companies don’t go to those countries with the intent on lifting them up – they go there to exploit the horrific labor laws, corrupt governments and the despair of the people. I find it ironic that we are losing jobs to countries while at the same time fighting to keep their labor force out of our country.

And more hypocrisy on the way: The guest worker program is such a joke of an idea. They are going to ask people to reveal themselves, work for a number of years then return to their originating country to start the process for legal entry into this country. Does that make any sense? It doesn’t to me. If I’m here, working, raising a family, getting rooted in a community – why would I take a chance of being shipped back to Argentina without some indication that it wouldn’t take several years to return?

Then we have the fence and placing the military on our borders. It’s as though Americans are doing everything possible to become the next East Germany. If it’s that serious, why don’t we just hire more border patrol agents? I think it’s a waste of resources to have Marines sitting in the middle of the desert rounding up people trying to sneak into this country.

Conclusion

I have none. This may be a matter of national security, but you can best believe dollar signs will carry more weight. I imagine that in the end, corporations will win out of everyone else. It’s just the way it is.

Discussion Starters:

1. What are some of the pros/cons of illegal immigrants?
2. What would you do to secure the borders?
3. Do you support a guest worker program?
4. Do illegal immigrants impact our standard of living?
5. What should we do with the millions of illegal immigrants that are here now?
6. Would you support placing military troops on the border?

 

19 Responses to Immigrants & Hypocrits

  1. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    03 27 06
    1. What are some of the pros/cons of illegal immigrants?
    Pro:It is a way that they can better their lives. It is a way they can improve the economy of their own countries, it is a way for them to build wealth in America and benefit from that pursuit. It is a way for them to get free healthcare and childcare and other benefits.

    The cons: They inhibit the development of technologies because they do a lot of menial labor. Businesses are stifled by employing them because they don't sink money into R&D, contributing to low wage STANDARDS in many places (e.g. The Central Valley). Many do NOT pay into the SSI, Medicare, Workers Comp and federal and state tax systems. They and those who employ them are bilking our governments out of millions, possibly bilions of dollars! WE, as tax payers, have to pick up the tab if one of them is injured on their under the table job. As tax payers, we finance their education etc. A child of an illegal immigrant family that is born here can get free college, while the rest of the middle and working class have to go into massive debt via student loans. Major CONS!

    They form a parasitic relationship with us, not a symbiotic one.
    2. What would you do to secure the borders?
    A. Jacksonian gave really good advice on Bloviating Zeppelin's current post.
    3. Do you support a guest worker program?
    I don't know enough about the particulars of a gues worker programme, so you should define what exactly you mean. The way I think of it, is that a guest worker could legitimize his stay so long as he worked AND paid into the system. Hey, so long as someone works legitimately to earn their keep AND is subject to the same labor laws etc that is fine. I suspect that once these employers realize that they will get a big fat fine for every illegal worker they hire, that will impact us in a more beneficial way than a guest worker program though.
    4. Do illegal immigrants impact our standard of living?
    Yes, they inhibit the development of technologies and make sectors more reliant upon manual labor, hence driving down the price of local labor in a place AND they benefit from all of the social services that we tax payers fund. And they comprise a fair amount of jobs not only in agriculture, but in all of the service industries; taking away from Americans who could work those jobs. They contribute to cycles of local poverty in every area that they work. Just look at Modesto and the entire valley's economy to see while we are in a technological AND wage standstill; they are a big part of the problem as well as those who hire them!
    5. What should we do with the millions of illegal immigrants that are here now?
    I am still thinking about that. I think we need to send them all back, but I don't know how much ofa fiscal impact that would have on our economy. Perhaps it would open up more jobs, or perhaps more countries would leave to work in Mexico or any other country that has no labor laws.

    6. Would you support placing military troops on the border?
    Well yeah! I always thought that since 911 we were on lockdown, and sadly I was wrong! Good post.
  2. Miss Lady Ma'am Says:
    #1 - I'm still collecting info on that, but you've hit the nail on the head

    #2 - I would rather have the military here protecting our borders than fighting a war in Iraq.

    #3 - A guest worker program could work if it were modified.

    #4 - Absolutely! Not only that, but it's made us lazy. Why even bother looking for a job? There's none out there! And if there is, it's for pennies, right? I've heard that argument from family members and friends who live in areas where there are a lot of illegal immigrants living. The jobs these people are doing could be done by our homeless war vets, for example. The immigrants aren't putting the money back into society, most of them are sending it back to their family in their home countries, which is, in my opinion, helping to increase the national debt. If we stop giving jobs to illegal immigrants and paying americans instead, the costs of everything will have to drop or else we'll have more unnecessary homeless families.

    #5 - I don't think imprisonment is the answer. I'm a humanitarian of sorts. I don't think that refusing them housing, food, education, etc. is the way, either. Sending them back is the only way in my opinion.

    #6 - I would support military on the borders, but only if absolutely necessary. We need to get border patrol and Homeland Security to do their jobs before we think about military action.
  3. NEO, SOC Says:
    1. What are some of the pros/cons of illegal immigrants?
    Pros: job gets done!
    2. What would you do to secure the borders?
    Give Gatling Guns and ten tons of ammo, and thousands of concussion grenades to people living on the US border.
    3. Do you support a guest worker program?
    No!
    4. Do illegal immigrants impact our standard of living?
    Most definitely!
    5. What should we do with the millions of illegal immigrants that are here now?
    Deport them and have parents looking to adopt have the kids born here are Americans.
    6. Would you support placing military troops on the border?
    Yes and no! Yes, if our regular militia was overwhelmed.
  4. Rashid Muhammad Says:
    On the corporate side of things it's not so simple as paying people what the market dictates. As a way oversimplified example: if an employer has to pay $4 more dollars per hour to their workers and their unit costs go up $2 on a product where their profit margin was $1.75 it becomes a losing proposition. If the company goes under, then we lose those cheap jobs along with the ones that Americans will take.

    As for the consumer, with the cost of livable wages and insurance in the US, it might probably just be cheaper to import the food. The consumer doesn't care, that's not their function. All that the consumer wants is utility. Efforts to instill "principle" into the consumer generally only work on a small scale and introduce market inefficiencies which can drag on net gains from productivity.

    Lastly, for all of the complaints about corporate exploitation overseas, most of those workers are damn well compensated compared to the domestic employers so it isn't all bad.

    Man I sound like a corporate stooge.
  5. TheOneandOnlyInsanely Says:
    1.What are some of the pros/cons of illegal immigrants?
    Pros, they show us black folk how to stick together, collaborate our dollars and all of us can live well...

    Cons, diseases and lots of people saying, "No habla ingles",cause they don't wanna hear what you talking about....

    2. What would you do to secure the borders?
    We have millions of troops over there in Iraq fighting for???????

    Why don't we fight to keep our borders in order..

    3. Do you support a guest worker program?
    Yes, that would give them a means of working and taking their money back home to live better.

    4. Do illegal immigrants impact our standard of living?
    I think it does affect us, AAs, now we have to compete with them as well as everybody else..

    5. What should we do with the millions of illegal immigrants that are here now?
    They should become citizens or go back home, I think its not fair that AAs aren't even accepted and we been here since the beginning of corruption....but they can come and go HOME, willy nilly, not fair.

    6. Would you support placing military troops on the border?
    Yes..
  6. bold as love Says:
    Peace

    1. What are some of the pros/cons of illegal immigrants? No pros', all con's- any pro's some people see are short term/temporary

    2. What would you do to secure the borders? Attack the employers of illegal aliens.

    3. Do you support a guest worker program? Not with the current illegals- Only for mexicans that are in Mexico and willing to go through a proces

    4. Do illegal immigrants impact our standard of living? Hell yeah, Everybody talks about National Health care- imagine having such a plan and the impact illegals would have on it- they are already using emergancy room services for their primary care physicans.

    5. What should we do with the millions of illegal immigrants that are here now? Deport their asses- massive round ups, change the anchor baby loophold(that is where you are an illegal alien female and your child is born in america making it american and you able to stay because of the child's status- illeagal pergnant women should know thier children will be illegal also.

    6. Would you support placing military troops on the border
    No--- all we have to do is seriuosly penalized employers of illegal aliens- no jobs, no illegals.
    We either do the above things or--there is one more option that will solve all the problems- Make all mexicans US citizens- Yes, attack and annex Mexico.
    Later'
  7. stuffle Says:
    In generaly, I support making legal immigration easier, and making illegal immigration harder to do. The latter would include not only securing the boarders, but properly punishing those who manage to sneak over the boarders (which would basically involve holding them for a while and then shipping them back).

    I think that legal immigration makes our country and our economy stronger. The fact is that many immigrants will do jobs that many of the rest of us won't, and at wages below what we would take, which helps to keep our economy lean in areas where it needs to be lean.

    They come here, they work hard, and they make their lives better. This is in contrast to many native born people who sit on their asses and leach off of the government (IOW, leach off the rest of us).

    Illegal immigrants tend to do much the same, but because of their illegal status, they tend to end up stuck in those lower paying jobs, and thus can't make it quite as far, and end up being a drain on society rather than a boost to society.

    Given the good that comes out of legal immigration and the downsides involved with illegal immigration, I am all for making legal immigration as easy as possible (within reason), and making illegal immigration difficult, and something that has real concequences if people are caught doing it.
  8. Bullfrog Says:
    1. What are some of the pros/cons of illegal immigrants?

    Pros: The only advantage goes to the companies who decide to hire illegal immigrants as they have more profits with which to line their own pockets. Another advantage goes to Mexico as we are exporting billions of dollars across the border annually in the pockets of "migrant workers" (who are being paid under the table, so no tax benefit for the U.S. either). I suppose one could argue that higher profit margins for these companies result in a healthier economy, but I doubt this outweighs the money we pay out (see "cons"). One could also make the statement that these people are using some of their wages to pay for goods and services in the U.S. But again, does this outweigh the cons side of the argument?

    Cons: Where to begin. Fewer jobs that any American would be happy to do, in spite of what some would have you believe. As you pointed out, we aren't talking about picking strawberries, we are talking about jobs that can be used as a trade for life: construction, masonry, landscaping, etc.

    We pay billions every year in medical for undocumented workers. There are even special programs for illegals who do not have medical coverage so they don't have to pay. We also pay billions in education costs, including college tuition!

    I live in San Diego so am close to this issue. About a mile from my house there is a canyon where illegal immigrants choose to build camps. What they leave in their wake is mounds of human waste, charred earth where their campfires have gotten out of control and crime. People are reporting vehicle break ins, shoplifting, even rape reportedly by immigrants. The presumption is that these people are just looking for an honest days wage, but many are criminals. In the neighborhood where I grew up, there were gangs of illegal immigrants who controlled neighborhoods through violence, intimidation, and illegal narcotics. This still goes on in urban neighborhoods of San Diego. Near my Elementary school, there was always one older Mexican gentleman who would stand near the corner leaning against a fence for hours. He looked old enough to be someones grandfather, but he was standing there selling Crank or Crystal Meth, whichever you prefer to call it. In Los Angeles there are gangs with numbers in the hundreds, all consisting of illegals.

    The fact that a majority of illegals are committing crimes shouldn't suprise anyone, they had to commit a crime just to get here in the first place!

    2. What would you do to secure the borders?

    Build a wall, a BIG one. I believe this would do wonders to stem the tide. Opponents would tell you this option is "just too expensive", but I would bring their attention to the money we spend taking care of illegals once they successfully cross our "swiss cheese-like" borders.

    3. Do you support a guest worker program?

    No. I support the existing immigration laws. We make a way for ANYONE who wants to live and work in the U.S. to do it legally and indeed many follow this route and are rewarded with all the advantages we provide as well as a clear conscious. If the existing laws need work, then let's focus resources on that.

    4. Do illegal immigrants impact our standard of living?

    Again, billions of dollars, that definitely has an impact.

    5. What should we do with the millions of illegal immigrants that are here now?

    Find them and deport them. Some panic at this idea on the premise that this would violate their human rights or that it would create some huge void in the work force that they are filling. I believe these are both emotional arguments and are not valid.

    6. Would you support placing military troops on the border?

    Definitely, in fact, it is my understanding that the Mexican military is using it's forces to intimidate our Border Patrol agents. I believe it is the job of the Federal Government to protect our borders from invasion. Well guess what? We are being invaded daily by thousands who want to come here and exploit our way of life.
  9. Little Miss Chatterbox Says:
    Rebecca did a post today on her favorite bloggers and we both were on there. Thought you might want to check it out since she's leaving the blogging world. Sigh......
  10. Peace Says:
    If Bush wasn't spending over $200,000,000 a day in Iraq, maybe I could be more concerned about our immigration "problem." The $$ we spend on them if by chance someone gets hurt on the job, or the $ we spend on their children's education is so menial in comparison. It's hard for me to support anything that that bung hole suggests.
    I also think that migrant workers are essential in keeping the economy moving the way it is.
    I agre with 'bold as love' that we need to focus on those people that are EMPLOYING the workers - not the workers themselves. If the jobs are available - I say TAKE THEM. If the jobs were only available to citizens in the first place, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Classic Bush picking on the little people.
    Ew.
  11. The Best [ Ghostface ] Says:
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  12. The Best [ Ghostface ] Says:
    I want the demographics of America to change, this would be really good for the future because I am tired of this black and white thing. So lets get some new players in the game and see how they come out the new players are Hispanics more power to them. Yes some of them do create problems for America and other ethnic groups, but which race does not create problems sometimes. More power to Hispanics.


    Viva La Raza,




    Chance
  13. Timmer Says:
    Great post james...I pretty much feel the same way.
  14. P Says:
    J:

    I'm a regular on Jaimie's site.

    Everyone here has very valid point and I'm not going to try and touch them. (I've ran my mouth enough on Jaimie's topic this morning).

    SO

    1. There are those that are here illegally and are trying their damndest to make it right.

    2. There are those who are here illegally (British, Haitian, and yes, Hispanics) that are taking their time.

    For those that are legitimately over here in the process of making it right, It's unfair for them to be made felons; nor do I think that is what the plan is.

    BUT

    Let's be realistic here. We are not trying to exclude people out of this country. But we do have to have borders and guidelines. ALL COUNTRIES DO. Trust, if I had to go over to Canada, or Italy, I could NOT continue to be productive and receive services if I did not maintain some legal status.

    You will have those argue that this is what makes America America, right? WRONG. Truth is absolute, and rules and guidelines, whether you like them or not, are there for structure.

    James: What puzzled the hell out of me is. . .

    Why are the Latinos wrapping theirselves in Mexican flags saying "Viva Mexico".

    Nothing wrong with embracing your heritage, but perhaps that's not the best picture you want, consdering it's America you're trying to maintain residency in.

    At least both flags. . .yanno?
  15. Diane S. Says:
    I don't know James. You and I have very different perspectives on this issue. I find it very difficult evaluate people (or groups of people) and the way they should be treated soley in terms of their economic impact.

    I guess these are the thoughts I can bring to this conversation.

    1) Illegal immigrants are willing to do some jobs that Americans simply are not willing to do.

    2) Homeless vets are not homeless because of illegal immigrants. They are homeless largely because of untreated PTSD. The way America cares for her vets is a national disgrace.

    3) The realities of a post 9/11 world (and my teeth grind at using what has become a republican buzz word) have changed my views on immigration, but just to the extent that I want to be sure we are keeping terrorists out of this country.

    4) I think it's a very complicated issue, and I also think there's a lot of veiled racism that comes into play when people discuss immigration.

    What I'm certain of is this. In Texas, where I live, when people talk about illegal immigrants, they are talking about Mexicans. I've been blessed to have a lot of hispanic friends in my life, and I've learned a lot from them, and I've come to love a lot of their culture. It is, sometimes, very different, from the prevailing (usually, but not always white) American culture, and this inevitably leads to some clashes.

    Because of these friendships, and this love of hispanic culture, I'm somewhat biased about the whole issue, and I know it's hard for me to see it clearly.

    I'm used to having these clearly articulated political opinions. I maybe even pride myself on having clearly articulated political opinions, and being decisive on the issues. On this issue, I just don't know. I just want my friends and their families to be okay. I want a culture I love to be kept intact. And I don't know the best way to do these things. So I guess I want us all to chose with our hearts and not our minds.

    I don't ask for much, do I? Just to change the world.
  16. James Manning Says:
    Thanks for your comments everyone.

    Rashid, you do sound like a corporate stooge :)

    Dianne, I think we're the same on this. I don't see how we can have this debate and not notice how the US is hypocritical about it. We ask for cheap labor to exploit then get mad at them when the oblige. It doesn't make sense to me.

    If they were serious they would let the free market determine the wages but they don't want that. They want our immigration policy to align with the wages that corporations want to pay. And let's be real, things are a lot cheaper because of illegal immigration. Imagine if you had to pay $200 a night to stay in a motel 6. Well, you might have to if we had to pay $17 an hour for cleaning services - plus benefits and taxes.
  17. Diane S. Says:
    James, I just re-read my comment here because I wanted to pull some of it for a comment on another blog.

    I found, on second read, that some of what I said could be interpretted in such a way as to suggest that I was accusing you of racism. That was never my intent, and if you interpretted it that way, I apologize. To anyone else who may have interpretted it this way, I felt it was important that I go on record saying that I do not believe James is a racist, and I did not mean to imply this.

    What I did mean was this: immigration is a racially charged issue, and I think it's important to recognize that.

    My apologies to anyone who may have been offended, and my regrets for not expressing myself more clearly.
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