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How Can Immigration Reform Cure the Nation’s Ills?

Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

Our nation was founded by immigrants and children of immigrants.  We need immigrants for our nation to grow both socially and intellectually.  Every immigrant I have ever met seems astounded by the things we take for granted.  The Mexicans I have met are some of the hardest working people I’ve seen.  I know there are always exceptions and there is a criminal element but I believe the majority of Mexicans, and all immigrants are basically honest moral people just trying to follow the American Dream.

So why can’t we just fence in the borders and keep the status quo?  Because it is not fair to keep the illegal immigrants living and working in the country now.  One of the main arguments for illegal immigrants has been the cost of goods and services produced by the illegal immigrants would skyrocket and become unaffordable.  Another argument has been the illegal immigrants do jobs that no one else wants.  If you look back in history, you will find these same arguments were used against freeing the slaves.  Are illegal immigrants today’s slaves?  Let’s take a closer look.

  • Slaves were ‘paid’ (given food clothing and housing) just enough to survive.  Illegal Immigrants are paid far less than their legal counterparts and usually less than minimum wage.
  • Slaves could not complain about their working conditions or they would probably be beaten. Illegal Immigrants cannot complain about their working conditions or they will probably get fired.
  • Slaves were only given minimal healthcare when it was life threatening because the owner might lose his investment.  The only healthcare illegal immigrants get is the emergency room when it’s life threatening.
  • Many slaves were given the dangerous jobs with little concern for their health or safety.  Illegal’s work in many unsafe jobs with little or no concern for their safety and no OSHA protection.

One more thing you might not know, the 3/5ths compromise was proposed by the Abolitionist Delegates not the Delegates representing the slave owners.  The reason is because of the census.  Although slaves (and illegal immigrants) could not vote, the slave owners (and today the districts where illegal immigrants live) would have increased representation in the House and the Electoral College due to the increase in population.  So is this why the Whitehouse took over the Census?  You decide.

Unfortunately we cannot just open our borders to everyone as we did when the nation was young.  Our infrastructure, healthcare and economy could not sustain the immediate increases in our population.   So what do we do about the Illegal immigrants already in the country?  We could just give them amnesty and make them all legal as many people propose, but that would not be fair to all the legal immigrants here and ones waiting to get in.  And it  would we be very difficult  to determine if a person had just crossed the border or has been here for years.  The bureaucracy would be a nightmare.  But we cannot just find all the illegals and deport them. No one know how many illegal immigrants are living and working in the country but it is has been estimated twelve million or more. Even if we had enough manpower to find and round up all the illegals; it would probably take years and cost a fortune.

So, what can we do about the problem?  We cannot just keep the status quo.  The only way I can see to relieve the problem is to make the illegal immigrants want to go home.  How do we do that?  The main reason people want to live in America is to have an opportunity for a better life.  How do you do that?  You do that by having a job and working hard.  So, the only way to get the illegal immigrants to leave is take away their job.  I know this seems cruel but remember; it is an unsafe job with no benefits and low pay.  How do we take away their job?   We can’t punish the illegals for working so we must punish the employers.  We need to pass laws that impose large fines and maybe even jail time for anyone employing an illegal immigrant. There is already a system to check the validity of their Social Security Number so we require every employer to verify each employee’s legal status.  It would be very easy to enforce with the IRS.  Each employer has to provide a W-4 and W-2 for each employee and a 1099-misc for each contractor.  Of course, there are some employers that pay ‘under the table’ but they are already breaking the law.  To cover most of these people we can enact the same laws for landlords.  Yes, there would still be some that fall through the cracks but that happens with any law. Others will say this will break up families who have children born in the US but don’t all laws break up families?  If a criminal robs a liquor store and is caught and sent to jail; doesn’t that break up his family?  This may sound cruel but all laws seem cruel to lawbreakers.

How does this cure a nation’s ills?  Well, if millions of illegal immigrants cannot be employed or rent a house they will eventually go home.   With all these jobs available, this should help the unemployment problem.   With the reduction of millions uninsured the emergency rooms will be less crowded and the cost of healthcare will go down.  Now, you may not agree with my hypothesis but you cannot deny something has to be done and this solution would be one of the least painful.

Our great country was built by immigrants and cannot survive without immigrants.  How many stories have you heard about a man landing on our shores with pennies in his pocket and building a successful business and life here, not to mention some becoming rich?  Many of our doctors engineers and computer geniuses are first generation immigrants.  We don’t need to close our borders, but we must regulate the flow and if we can remove the illegal immigrants then we can make room for more good honest legal immigrants.

2 comments to How Can Immigration Reform Cure the Nation’s Ills?

  • I have thought long and hard about this issue. I live in CA. The problem is extreme. My town, a tiny town on the coast just north of SF, might just have more illegals than legals by this point. I feel for their pain, and their desire for a better life, and yet, their presence has very much changed the tenor of my town, and how the non-illegals have had to change to accommodate our new situation (less housing, less jobs, more traffic, catcalls from illegals gathering by the library, etc.). One friend no longer sets up her crafting tables to vend on the streets here because she couldn't take the leers and whistling….I'm sorry, I'm a liberal, but also a realist – the illegals aren't perfect, and many of them are lecherous, and behave in a demeaning way towards women.

    I agree, that most of them don't seem to engage in criminal behavior. They just want to make a living, and send $ back home.

    I also agree, and have thought of those same laws – in fact – it's kind of madness that anyone can get a job withOUT a Social Security Card, isn't it? It seems that a good deal of the problem would be alleviated by forcing employers and landlords to only hire or rent to legal residents, then we'd only have the millions of employers that pay under the table, and the landlords already breaking the law with illegal units to worry about! But at least, the corporations like Walmart and other chains that hire illegals (where do teenagers find work, nowadays btw??) would be forced to stop.

    So I agree with your ideas for laws, it would help somewhat…but I think we need to look one step further…WHY is their country no longer able to support them?

    Have you done any research on the Farm Bill? I am not an expert, but from what I can gather, the US Farm Bill ONLY subsidizes 4 crops (this is why Organic produce costs so much, and produce prices in general have risen sky-high). One of those crops is CORN. The US subsidizes those who grow corn, and then dumps the excess in Mexico, for cheaper prices than if the Mexicans buy Mexican corn and corn products. I think that's the gist of it. Our abominable agriculture practices have virtually wiped out the Mexican farmer's ability to make a decent living. So we also need to address that – we don't want to wipe them out, and force them to leave, and go home to no job or monetary prospects…that's plain cruel!

    Better to build up Mexico, and other South American countries so the illegals have a reason to want to return to their native land.

  • Tara, I agree with you that we should help, not harm Mexico and it people and I think farm subsidies are a joke. They were put in place to teach farmers to rotate their crops after he dust bowl and to regulate the price of food. Anytime the government gets involved people find ways to game the system. My grandfather was a grocery store owner and screen door maker and repairer during the depression. He used to lease 1000 acres for $35 to $50 per year. He would then get $2,000 to not plant the land. Next year he would get a sharecropper to work the land and lease another parcel of land from someone else. Even though what he did was perfectly legal, he was taking advantage of the land owners who did not know they could do the same thing. My father was a young man and did not condone his actions, so he moved away and let his brother and sisters have all the inheritance when his parents died. With that said, you can see why I don't believe in government provided farm subsidies or any other government subsides. There is always some way to get around the rules and screw the little man.