March 28, 2006

Immigration. Again.

Dafydd has a short summary on the problem of illegal immigration.

The main problem WRT illegal immigration is that no one will budge an inch on either side: the free-market types won't concede that border control is a good idea in this day and age, and the border-control types won't admit that we depend on large numbers of immigrants to run most of the border states.

The problem can only be solved if the border is controlled, but legal immigration would have to be liberalized tremendously, and the extreme bureaucratic nature of applying for residency/citizenship would need to be likewise streamlined, so that legal immigration would become a realistic option for poor people in foreign countries.

In a world wherein it seems like a better bet to pay off a coyote and risk your life, versus entering this country through the front door, something is seriously wrong with our system.

And, no: I don't really want to pay $10 for a bag of lettuce. I really don't. We're writers in this house: our incomes are really unreliable.

And I'm not good at construction, so forcing the local contractors to hire citizens helps me not at all. Except that it decreases the likelihood that we'll ever be able to remodel—even if we're flush again—and strict controls on employers would mean that a lot of people in my neighborhood wouldn't be able to afford their gardeners any more, increasing the devastation during wildfires.

The problem needs to be attacked from both angles, but each side only sees through its accustomed prism.

UPDATE, 3/29: This would appear to buttress the notion that the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants pay taxes—and suggest that many do not take benefits out of the system. I understand that some people's observations are going to differ, but I'd really like to get an idea what the big picture is—beyond anecdotes. ('Cause we all like to extrapolate from our own experiences, and that doesn't appear to give us much clarity on this issue.)

Gotta run.

Posted by Attila Girl at March 28, 2006 05:42 PM | TrackBack

Bias aside, because, I’m Hispanic.

I think good look at the protests in France of the last few days compared to the “Marches” from equally numerous Hispanics protesting, is very telling. The Marches were peaceful, nothing was burned and no death threats were yelled*. Mexicans and Latinos in general have high family values and are obviously hard workers so I agree with Dafydd’s summary. However, for a plan like Dafydd’s to work we would really need a “Wall" ‘cause the cost of protecting this border and preventing the hundreds of thousands that will amass trying to get through will be astronomical.

*Michelle Malkin managed to drudge up some pictures of a few Hispanic marchers with what I consider to be un-American messages. These few people need to GO! By surveillance fotos, whatever, they need to be tracked down and If they are illegal aliens, spreading this kind of message, then they are persona non-grata and out they go. Rotten Apples!

Posted by: Yolanda at March 28, 2006 07:58 PM

Well, that's the shame of it all: each side's plan will only work if the other side's plan (streamlined legal immigration; a wall of some type) is implemented. And neither side will concede that any part of the other side's program is necessary, or even workable.

So it's a standoff.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 28, 2006 08:27 PM

Maybe, very small maybe a guest worker program akin to the Bracero program of the 50's might work (it was killed when Ike gave in to union aggitation).

HOWEVER, in the 50's there was little government freebies.

As much AG as you think you save by not paying $3 dollars/head of lettuce (I'll go hunt down the links, but IIRC the $10 figure is scaremongering) you are paying more in taxes and the huge strain in CA's infrastruction - insane waits at ER's, LESS ER's, crowded underperforming classrooms, almost erradicated childhood diseases making a comeback (whooping cough is being seen frequently at ER's now), higher incidents of TB and more scary, drug resistant TB, Hepatitus.

I don't blame many of the illegals who feel their only option is to come north. Mexico forces them here...a nasty, corrupt government that counts on remittances from the poor they drive over the border. And in a viscious cycle, so many of the labor intensive businesses find they can't operate legally against the businesses that hire illegals for cash under the table.

They do jobs no one else will? Well, they are something like 25-30% of the construction industry here in California. Skilled jobs like sheetrock, framing, rockwork etc at $15-25/hr.

If I had my druthers I'd immediately start busting contractors, confiscating their businesses and tossing them into jail. I'd make banks stop giving mort_gages to illegals.

Mexico has military troops that fire on US border patrol across the border in order to facilitate illegals, drug smugglers and others to get into the US.

This is a lot worse than a few strawberry pickers coming up for the season.

Posted by: Darleen at March 28, 2006 10:43 PM

How would you feel about increasing the number of legal immirants, though?

(I didn't say $10 for a head of lettuce; I said $10 for a bag. Right now I pay $2.50, and I figure it could go up fourfold without cheap labor.)

And I don't begrudge illegals jobs in construction, as long as they have the appropriate skills. After all, they pay taxes on that money.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 29, 2006 12:12 AM

The most important thing is to get these people in the above-ground economy. Well, maybe not those people, but tsome number of people who would fill the jobs. The oldsters amongst us are cpounting on it.

For those who favor some sort opf guest wsorker program, check out Europe. I remember discussing with a German their "Turkish" problem. It seems that many turks living in Germany are third generation, can't speak much Turkic. WQhen the economy tanks, they are the first to lose jobs. There has been some move to deport them all back to Turkey. Unemployment and discrimination can cause lots of problems.

So any form of guest worker program, or any dealing with undocumented aliens noiw uin the US MUST have a pathway to citiaenship. this is especially true since, unlike Germany, the children born here will be citizens.

I say we treat 'em just like we did the Germans, the irish, the italians, and so on. You know, we make fun of them, abuse them, underpay them (but legally) and so forth, IN THE FIRST GENERATION, and they can survive the exploitation because they know that their dchildren will be assimulated into American society.

Those talking about the wall should ask the Chinese how well it works. Those who think that one can keep things from being sucked into the vacuum of demand should examine how well the stop it at the border strategy has worked in the drug war.

Note that treating the present surge of immigrants as we did the others will fill the vacuum (that's how we should decide how many to let in) so that illegal immigration will stand outy more, and be easier to detect. There will also be less ways for illegals to make money, so there will be less incentive. it would also hel0p if we exported moe jobs to mexico, but one gets one's head torn off to suggest such a thing. You know, if the jobs are there, and uyou don't want Mexicans here, send the jobs to mexico.

Finally, i feel i always must point thyis out: anyone proposing anything as a solution to the illegal immigrant problem who doesn't start with polifcing businesses is ignoring the problem.

Posted by: Averroes at March 29, 2006 02:59 AM


IIRC the "amnesty" that Reagan granted to illegals in the 1980's was supposed to be a "one time thing".

And the problem is that so much of the illegal employment is underground. They are not paying taxes. They take much more in public benefits then they give back in return.

I have no problem with trying to work out some sort of legal modern bracero program. But the people really suffering right now in CA are the working middle class that are squeezed out of skilled jobs, have their children trapped in overwhelmed schools, watch their taxes being and can't afford to buy a shack.

I'd dry up the incentive to hire illegals by targeting all the businesses that use them the most. Make public examples of arresting and prosecuting the employers and business owners.

By law they have to have on file proof of the citizenship of their employees. Papers not in order? Sorry sir, you're under arrest. Your business is now hereby padlocked and ALL employees legal and illegal are out of work..

The wink wink nod nod has got to stop now or So Cal will soon become TJ, with only the very rich and the very poor in residence.

Posted by: Darleen at March 29, 2006 07:07 AM

So it's a standoff.

I believe that would be a Mexican standoff.

I'll be here all week, please tip your waitress.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at March 29, 2006 09:47 AM

And I don't begrudge illegals jobs in construction, as long as they have the appropriate skills. After all, they pay taxes on that money.

Really, where? keep in mind that they're here illegally, they're probably getting paid cash under the table, and there's most likely no record of them ever working on any given job site. The odds of them actually paying something like income tax is vanishingly small. I suspect that getting busted by the IRS is not high on their list of things to worry about.

Remember, that's what makes hiring illegals so tempting: no FICA tax, no benefits, no unemployment insurance and all the other little taxes that the employer is encumbered when they hire a citizen. Even if they pay 'em the going union-approved wage, they're still ahead of the curve.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at March 29, 2006 09:56 AM

My Significant Other went through several years of pure hell dealing with the IRS on her way to citizenship, so I can sympathize with those who feel that the process of naturalization and citizenship ought to be more efficient and less degrading. That being said, I still feel the necessary precondition for reforming citizenship is regaining control of our borders. Granting an amnesty in advance of tighter border security seems as dumb as announcing a “timetable for withdrawal” in warfare before you’ve achieved your military goals, and for similar reasons.

Posted by: utron at March 29, 2006 11:29 AM

And, obviously, I meant "INS," not "IRS." Although they're both pretty obnoxious.

Posted by: utron at March 29, 2006 11:31 AM

There is some employment that's under-the-table: baby-sitting, day-laborers, some cleaning jobs. But all restaurants, and all contractors, have to fill out paperwork that shows where their expenses (payments to workers) went, and needs to include a social security number or similar I.D. And taxes are due on that money.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 29, 2006 03:24 PM

But all restaurants, and all contractors, have to fill out paperwork that shows where their expenses (payments to workers) went, and needs to include a social security number or similar I.D. And taxes are due on that money.

I have little doubt that everything you wrote there is true. Of course the government wants their money (and now, if you'd be so kind).

Where does an illegal alien obtain a taxpayer ID number that doesn't raise a little red flag saying, oh, maybe illegal alien?

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at March 29, 2006 03:51 PM

Why, from the IRS, of course.

Posted by: CGHill at March 29, 2006 04:53 PM

well I think this is not something new the problem has grown like fire because.. it is so easy to get in ... I want you to think about what is happening, Hospitals are going bankrupt, the jobs that the school kids used to get at buger places is now taken by undocumented workers,hey I am hispanic but I speak english. And what is going on is that they are not coming hear and becoming part of the US they are coming hear and bringing the crime the murder the rape the theft all part of there culture. now I guess its true they do pick fruit and I guess no one wants to do it ,,, Hell I would do it if it paid ok.. but hey dont we got machines to do that... and they let them vote.. Yes America its true ,they are used as voting I think what I am tring to say is... Its kinda late to build a fence around the hen house ... All the hens are gone

Posted by: colorado at March 29, 2006 04:59 PM

Oooh. Dark. I don't buy it.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 30, 2006 02:53 AM

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