So the country’s gone a little nuts in recent weeks. Activist groups are turning out the masses to protest a lot of different things regarding immigration and/or breakin’ the law. The Republican controlled Congress doesn't know what it wants to do, and Democrats aren’t really helping matters either. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has declared itself defiant of U.S law, joining the City of San Francisco in the current rebellion. Why is it so hard to get some coherency out of this mess (despite the usual reasons)? Well, on the political side, many immigrants who get here illegally are family with immigrants who are here legally. That means cracking down on the law-breaking variety = making the voting variety angry. On the religious side there is the Christian call to charity (which I’m all about), but it also helps when those warm bodies fill pews and collection plates on Sunday morning. Then of course, you have the left-left (this country was built from immigrants, people who oppose immigrants of any variety are racists, & we should give California back to Mexico et al) and the right-right (these people work for slave wages, undercut minimum wage and labor laws, won’t sue for sexual harassment or workers comp & do jobs that ‘Americans won’t do’) on the same-same side: let everybody in.
I guess that leaves us down here in the land of really-real to figure it out, hunh?
Glenn Reynolds, has been all over this issue. He brings us letters from legal immigrants to America (and most of them are none too happy with the illegal variety). He also makes a modest proposal that the United States go ahead and annex Mexico (or at least force them to reform their government to grow their economy). Today, he interviewed US Rep Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) and wrote a very good article about how neither Party has consensus on the illegal immigration issue. (Your own humble blogsite, hurricane_radio, did an article on Rep Ford Jr. here.)
One of my favorite commentators, Fareed Zakaria, talks about his own (legal) immigration story, and how Europe’s guest worker program and failure to assimilate immigrants led to discord in Europe.
Athens Politics has a rather long point by point on the issue of immigration, and Safe As Houses tackles some of the issue’s complexities.
DADvocate goes after the issue here and takes on Senator Ted Kennedy’s (D-Mass) rhetoric.
My take on the situation?
1. There is a difference between being anti-immigrant and anti-law breaker. I am all for immigration. I don’t like many law-breakers.
2. I am all for Christian & charitable organizations helping the poor, no matter if they are law breakers or not. That’s what the big guy asked us to do, and if feeding the hungry is aiding and abetting, we’re in trouble.
3. This country was built from immigrants in a very, very messy past.
Most of the concern from Americans about immigrants has very little to do with race. There are some exceptions, but for the most part we are worried about the law & national security. Economy comes in second.
4. If we gave California et al back to Mexico, we’ll be dealing with this same problem in 20 years in Oklahoma and Kansas (-Glenn Reynolds). If all these illegal workers are such hard workers, why isn’t Mexico a world economic power? (-Bill Maher) Oh yeah, because the Mexican government and ruling classes can get away with it. Why don’t these folks in the streets go down and protest in Mexico City instead of Los Angeles?
5. Instead, people are protesting in the streets of Los Angeles for the right to be paid slave wages, with no benefits, with no rights for ‘jobs Americans don’t want (to be paid $2 an hour for).’ Boy, that will help them out in the long run.
6. The only people who truly benefit from illegal immigration are bosses who hire folks for slave wages, and who get to undercut US Labor Laws. They get to pay next to nothing for hard work, and the legal taxpayers front most of the cash to send the worker’s kids to school and to the hospital.
7. I don’t blame illegals for coming here. It is a better life than they have at home.
8. I don’t blame businesses for hiring illegals, everybody else is doing it, why can’t we?
9. I do blame the IRS and Departments of Labor for NOT enforcing the laws of the land upon the businesses who hire folks illegally. Businesses are NOT above the law.
We should give ever business six months to prove that all their workers are legally here and submitting payroll taxes appropriately. After that, these folks who break the law by hiring illegals should be thrown in jail. We have to force Mexico to reform the way their country is run. We should invest in South American nations so their economy isn’t based off oil and cocaine. We also need to streamline the legal procedures for immigration, and open the immigration quotas. All of these things can be done, and all will work more positively to solve this problem than any half – assed guest worker program or amnesty.