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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Immigration

According to this Star Tribune story, Governor Pawlenty's immigration report stems from some concerns shared with him by residents of the city of Worthington in southwest Minnesota. Worthington, which has a large immigrant population due to its meatpacking plants, is one of the state's most diverse cities, and many of its problems are shared with other cities like Marshall and Willmar, which have burgeoning immigrant populations for the same reason.

There are some real issues with undocumented workers, such as the problems that fake IDs cause for law enforcement, schools, and medical personnel. However, there is even more ignorance. The story quotes Marlene Nelson who is a founder of an anti-immigration group called Steele County Coalition for Immigration Reduction, saying "They're not coming for the cold climate. It's the welfare." I'm so sick and tired of people claiming that illegal immigrants come here for the welfare. News flash, people: they don't get welfare. Illegal immigrants are ineligible for almost all public benefits. They come here because they can work.

Immigrant come here because both employees and employers benefit. Employees get a far higher wage here than they would be getting in Mexico or wherever they are from. Employers get workers for a lower wage than they would have to pay for non-immigrant labor. It's simple, and as long as those dynamics don't change, immigrants will continue to come here legally.

So Republican plans like building a huge wall or allowing local police to arrest people they "suspect" of violating immigration laws, like Rep. Gil Gutknecht supports, are going to work about as well as the War on Drugs (an aside to Rep. Gutknecht, I'll support such a law the moment you know the entire federal immigration code inside and out). There are really only two solutions to the problem of illegal immigration. First, you can require companies to strictly adhere to all labor laws, such as not paying cash for work, verifying the status of workers, paying a high minimum wage so non-immigrants will actually work these jobs, and so forth. Since Republicans aren't terribly interested in regulating their friends and political donors in business, I don't see this happening. Second, you could increase wages in the home countries of immigrants so they have no reason to come here. Something tells me that Republicans are even less concerned about wages in Mexico than they are in regulating business.

What will happen with idiotic ideas like building a huge wall, however, is that immigrants themselves will be exploited even more. If the U.S. builds a wall, for example, that won't change the economic dynamics one bit, so people will still come to this country. However, the "coyotes" who actually smuggle immigrants across the border will charge more for their services, indebting immigrants to them for longer periods of time and leading to further exploitation. Not to mention all the people who will die as a result of trying to make it across the border (and yes, even people with dark skin have lives that are worth as much as anybody else). These kinds of plans remind me a lot of those who want to make abortion illegal: abortions would not disappear, but a whole lot more people would wind up dead.

Non-immigrant Americans want to have their cake and eat it too: they are addicted to the low prices offered by places like Wal-Mart, but they don't want to face the fact that low prices mean that foreigners or immigrants are going to be doing the work. It is because of illegal immigrants that you can get your lettuce and chicken and turkey for so cheap, but is there any appreciation of this fact? If you want to change illegal immigration, change the economic factors that drive it.

5 Comments:

At 5:26 PM, December 26, 2005, Blogger LonewackoDotCom said...

Could you rewrite this post after doing a bit more research into this matter?

Because, I stopped after I got to the part where you claimed that illegal aliens don't receive welfare.

To those who are actually familiar with this subject, that's completely false when one discusses welfare in the general sense to mean public benefits.

For instance, illegal aliens can send their children to public schools. That costs a lot of money. They also use the roads, libraries, parks, and other public facilities.

And, they use emergency rooms and get other medical benefits. And, illegal alien advocates are even trying to get them discounted college educations. For every discounted college education an illegal alien gets, that represents one that a citizen won't get.

Here's an example that might make this a bit clearer for you. A county in Washington might spend $100,000 to cure an illegal alien who has TB. If you think that's a good thing, could you please pay for that out of your own pocket instead of forcing everyone else to do so? Thanks.

 
At 5:32 PM, December 26, 2005, Blogger MN Politics Guru said...

First of all, I am familiar with the subject. I have seen the immigration process firsthand: have you?

Second, all the things you cite are not welfare. Illegal aliens can send their children to schools, yes. But they also pay the property taxes, sales taxes, and income taxes that fund schools. They use roads, and pay the property taxes and gas taxes that pay for roads. They use parks, and pay the property taxes that pay for parks. They use public facilities like everybody else, and they pay for it like everybody else. Or are illegal immigrants exempt from paying taxes? Can they go to a store and say, "No sales tax for me, I'm an illegal immigrant!" Give me a break.

As for the $100,000 bill for an illegal immigrant who has TB, are you completely heartless? If your elderly mother was on public assistance and had a huge hospital bill, would it be okay for me to say "Screw her, and her bill" because I may not like her? Talk about compassionate conservatism.

 
At 12:36 AM, December 27, 2005, Blogger LonewackoDotCom said...

Generally speaking, illegal aliens shouldn't be buying property in the U.S., although some are encouraged to do so.

As far as the broad field of public welfare benefits, we agree! Illegal aliens get those benefits. And, so do their other, non-working family members.

And, because they work low-wage jobs, illegal aliens are never going to pay more than the services they receive.

In the case of the TB worker, if he were still working, and he turned over half his money to the state it would take him two years to pay back what they've spent so far and twenty years to pay back what they might spend.

There are no doubt millions of people in the world with TB. Everyone who's sane and intelligent realizes that, while those are sad cases, we can't invite them all here and treat them. The grown-up thing is to try to get them good treatment in their home countries.

Speaking of which, where's the state of Mexico? They have more millionaires than Germany, perhaps they'd be willing to take care of their own citizen.

 
At 9:30 AM, December 27, 2005, Blogger Kevin from Minneapolis said...

So just because they pay taxes means it's cool that they are also criminals? Most, if not all, criminals contribute tax dollars - let's give 'em all a free pass!

After all, people are only good for generating tax dollars, right?

 
At 5:53 PM, January 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just don’t get it. Illegal Immigration is costing the
citizens of this great country thousands and thousands of dollars.
The jails are crowded and over flowing with individuals who are not
citizens. The educational system is stressed, we have elder
U.S. citizens who can not afford their medicine and medical clinics in
our southern bordering states are having to close due to non-
reimbursement of treatment for illegal immigrates etc.
How can you seriously expect your readers to believe
it is not for the welfare and free benefits?
Maybe you honestly do not see what is transpiring. I personally
have worked in a dental clinic and provided treatment to those whom
you say are not here for the welfare. It amazes me that they all seem to
have automobiles and cell phones, but can not pay for a routine exam.
Please post Marlene Nelson’s contact information I would like to speak
with her about joining.

 

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