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Friday, April 06, 2007

Immigration Policy We Can Live With

I got one of those e-mail petitions today against the idea that illegal aliens who pay social security taxes should be allowed to draw social security. Admittedly this is kind of a goofy idea. It's one law that contradicts a whole host of others. How do you pay social security if you're working illegally.

This petition is doomed to failure because it's an email petition. There is no way for it to reliably reach an elected official. I'm sure the president won't ever get one in his e-mail box. There's no way for the "signatures" to be authenticated. Because it's sent out scattergun fashion, most of the copies of this will have duplicate signatures. Who's going to sort through all those? The only reason for an e-mail like this is that it's an excuse to rag on illegal aliens and portray them as criminals, illiterates and sponges.

The only way you can effectively register such a complaint is to send a personal message directly to your congressional delegation, the presidents or heads of government agencies. Even then, you'll be speaking to an aid who counts them up as "for" and "agin" and informs his or her boss as to the tally.

It is true that the immigration reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate in May 2006 included a provision allowing undocumented immigrants to collect Social Security benefits accrued if they paid taxes while working in the United States. You may disagree with this bill, but characterizing all illegals as criminals doesn't solve that problem.

E-mail petitions like this are completely ineffective because there’s no way to collect them once they’ve got enough signatures. We still have to do things the old fashioned “hard way”.

As to the illegal immigration issue, I’ve seen precious few “illegals” living in the lap of luxury as described in some of these e-mails and pushing ahead of little old people to buy expensive name brand stuff while grandma (who lived through the depression) eats catfood.

There are 38 colonias in the 14 counties served by East Texas Council of Governments – cardboard villages where these people live without running water, sewers, transportation or electricity. The rose growers and nurseries send a pickup in the morning to pick up the men and take them to the fields and greenhouses. If their families are with them, mama pays $40-80 to get a ride to town to buy groceries - enriching an unscrupulous Americano who preys on illegals because they are vulnerable and afraid and don't have cars. These folks are living in their own depression right now and IT’S BETTER THAN HOW THEY LIVED IN MEXICO!!!

I’ve seen these guys work. Many are skilled and it's a myth that they don't want to learn English. When Peggy Lustig’s folks at Gateway to American Opportunities offered them a chance to learn English, 150 showed up for class the first night at one place. A bunch of them walked some serious mileage to get there too!

While I understand that some people feel they ought to be run out on a rail, I’m not so sure. If they’re working and staying out of trouble, give ‘em a green card and a fair shot at becoming a citizen. The gain is ours. In earlier immigration waves, we depleted many countries of some of their best people.

The problem is not with the laws anyway. The problem is we don’t enforce the laws we have. Writing new laws is a racket by which lawmakers convince you they are doing something about the problem so you will re-elect them. They don't intend that such laws will actually be enforced. We tie the hands of our border patrol agents, so they can’t stop them at the border. We hire them because they work cheap, so we encourage them to stay. I understand why they come across too. If you lived in the pesthole they did, you’d try and get out too.

Also, remember the great lie that liberals use to hold on to political power – the idea that the economy is a zero-sum game. We’ve been suckered into believing for all these years that if someone does well, he or she must be causing someone else to be poorer.

This is not true! An economy is healthy when it is active. The more people that work, the more money is moving through the economy. A business generating a million dollar payroll contributes about 7 million dollars worth of activity to the economy of its community as the payroll gets spent and respent in the community. The more people working and spending their earnings, the more money there is flowing through the stores and shops and services in the community and the more other people are working. Rich people spend money hiring people to do work for them. They create factories and jobs and businesses. In the same way, illegal aliens, allowed to work simply increase the activity within the economy. They don't really take anything away from us, whether we want the kinds of jobs they do or not. Working people create jobs, simply by working and spending.

I agree we shouldn’t be providing extensive support for folks who are in the country illegally, but from what I’ve seen, these guys aren’t looking for a handout. They’re looking for a job. They are very often religious, family oriented and hard-working. Those who aren’t can easily be taken care of simply by enforcing the existing laws that are on the books. They aren’t stealing from us by and large. They contribute to the economy. If we make it so that hard working Mexicans can come in as guest workers and bring their families, we won’t see the drain of cash going back to Mexico. When we had vast immigrant waves from China, Ireland, Italy, Germany and France, the influx of workers served only to deplete those countries of their hardest working citizens and to give our economy a badly needed kick in the pants. Not only that, but we got some great restaurants and nifty inventions from immigrants like ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, Chop Suey and Tex-Mex food.

I say, to solve the problem, we don’t need new laws. We need to simply enforce the ones we’ve got. We need to lock down the border and gently but firmly take anyone who tries to cross back to their own side. We need a generous guest worker program that allows them to come across legally. And we need a no hanky panky policy that deports anyone who causes trouble.

President Reagan tried that, but the strict enforcement part got watered down by the Democrats so badly, it didn’t work!

He had the right idea though. We just need to try the whole thing and that’s what the President has proposed this time around. If we want to help, we should send overwhelming numbers of letters to our senators and congressmen and to the president, stating we want enforcement, the border locked down, a guest worker program and a one strike you’re out policy for convictions for serious crimes.

Just one man's opinion...


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