Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thoughts on Immigration & Other Social Ills

As most people know by now, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill to the main Senate for debate. The vote was 12 to 6 in favor of the bill which includes provisions such as creating a guest-worker program and giving illegal immigrants the chance to work toward legal status without first returning home. In order to gain permanent residency, illegal immigrants would have to wait six years, pay $2,000 in fines and any back taxes, undergo a background check and learn English.

It has been well documented on several government reports as well as independent investigations that illegal aliens are draining funds from public services such as healthcare facilities and schools. One of the better blogs on this subject that I stumbled across is Border Watch. While the proposed fine and payment of back taxes is an attempt to reimburse the states for these costs, it will fall far short of the actual costs that have been incurred.

NOTE #1: Before I go any further, I do not, like many people, have problems with people legally immigrating to the United States. Furthermore, I have problems from the standpoint of rewarding anyone for committing an illegal act. While I understand the reasons for Mexicans, Asians, and others to cross our borders in search of a better economic life, there is a better, although difficult, legal way to do it.

While the subject of illegal immigration drags on in our government, I have heard a sound bite that I don't think has been explored by many of the bloggers on my blogroll. Here it is:

  • Illegal immigrants are filling jobs that Americans do not want.

Hmmm...Why is that, do you suppose? I can think of several reasons...

The first reason that comes to mind is one that has been floated many years ago was that the illegals are in areas that are logistically difficult to fill. In other words, people are not where the jobs are. In some respects, I can see that, but in others, I don't. As an example of this, how many illegals are employed in the lawn care services based in large cities? There was a report done some time back in a Detroit area paper that stated around 50% of the workers in the lawn care industry were illegal aliens (sorry, can't find the reference). If true, then why?

Which leads to the second reason - The job (or the employer) doesn't pay enough. That's right, an employer would rather pay an illegal immigrant below minimum-wage pay and no benefits. Gee, I wonder why...because it's more money in his pocket, for one!

A third reason is that the illegals will show up to work on a consistent basis. Since they are being paid below minimum-wage they need to show up so they can live. Having been out there working for 25+ years, I have seen up to 15% no-show in some industries, even though some of these workers are being paid far above minimum wage. Employers will give the illegals the jobs because they will show up for work.

Which brings me to why Americans do not want the jobs that illegal immigrants take - we are too damn comfortable in our way of life to work for a living!!

In many respects, people would rather sit back & take unemployment or Welfare than go out & work. The typical person on welfare has a standard of living far above those people living in a country like Mexico. As I understand it, the typical Welfare recipient has a place to live, food stamps to purchase food, a clothing and furniture allowance, and cable TV. True, it's typically not the best place or way to live, but the basic needs are met without working.

NOTE #2: I am not talking about the aged, infirm, or those who are otherwise physically or mentally incapable of working. I'm talking about those persons who believe that Welfare is their God-given right & feel they are entitled to it, and are able to work for a living.

Where I think that both the illegal immigration and Welfare are tied hand in hand is that both are rife with blind-eyed corruption. The employers, out of necessity or greed or both, hire who they can to get the job done. The government, for whatever reason, allows cradle-to-grave Welfare recipients who are able-bodied but do not want to work, and allow the employers to hire illegals without too much fear of arrest or fines.

NOTE #3: The following solutions are simplified. In no way, shape, or form would they be comprehensive enough to cover all situations. Especially after the government gets through with them...

Since it appears that our elected representatives have decided to cave in to the radical illegal immigrant lobby, go ahead and put into place the measures listed above. Pay their back taxes with interest just like any other citizen of this country, and if they have used public services such as hospitals & schools, set up a payment plan for them to pay their fair share. Fine them the two grand (but it would be more if I had my way). If, after a certain grace period, an illegal is found, they are to be deported immediately to their country of origin. No more "do-overs" or grace periods.

Second, companies or employers that hire illegal immigrants would be fined and the company officers jailed. Period.

Next, seal up the borders so that even a jack-rabbit can't get through without being observed. Yes, observed. Electronic surveillance only goes so far - we need people out there that can take quick & decisive action.

State to Mexico under no certain terms that we will not be accepting any more workers that do not come through official channels. I read this over at Mike's America, and does it have me steamed!!

Last, reform the Welfare program so that the people who need it get it and those who don't won't. Welfare is not an entitlement, it is to be used only if you need help to get back on your feet.

Now I know that some of this is a rant, and some of you readers out there will pick this apart - I know there are holes in the above. I understand that's what some of you like to do. That's fine as long as you understand the message and intent of this post. And I hope you do, and comment accordingly...

UPDATE: Look at this post from Michelle Malkin. Is this getting out of control or what?

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