Prior to the recent economic turndown there was hardly a day that went by that the “immigration problem” wasn’t mentioned in the news. On the one side, the principally Republican side, illegals were vilified as law breakers taking employment from American citizens and posing a threat to our national security. On the other side, principally Democrats and immigrant advocate groups, illegals were being abused by unscrupulous employers and an immigration policy that was simply broken.
Unfortunately the moderate middle has been pretty quite leaving the conversation to the two extremes.
But now the problem has morphed into a state’s rights issue with many state legislatures creating their own immigration policies including the enforcement of federal law by state law enforcement personnel. Some want to deny the children of immigrants a public education. Almost all want to deny “in state” tuition rates at their universities for illegals. Some want to criminalize being illegal by charging them with trespassing. Others find themselves in the embarrassing position like Florida and Alabama of taking a harsh stand on illegals while at the same time absolutely relying on them to harvest their leading cash crops.
It’s time for a reality check
It seems while this passionate breast beating goes on neither side has taken the opportunity to examine comprehensive studies published by the Pew Institute in Phoenix or the Kauffman Institute in Kansas City. Together these research facilities have offered undeniable proof that:
Illegals do not take jobs from the native born because they don’t compete for the same jobs. Illegals have lower education levels and as a result fill the lowest job opportunities available.
- Business needs a stable source of cheap labor to grow. Growth means more job opportunities and greater tax revenue.
- Illegals pay more in taxes then they will ever receive in government benefits. The CBO actually includes the social security contributions of illegals when evaluating the health of the Social Security Agency. Illegal contributions will of course never be paid back to the illegal.
- Proportionately illegals have a far lower crime rate than native born citizens because they have more to lose. Illegals are hesitant to have any interaction with law enforcement to include reporting when they have been a victim of a crime.
And the list goes on and on.
The real issue is that nobody is willing to accept the reality that the illegals are here and they are an integral part of our economy and our communities. To grant blanket amnesty just rubs the American sense of fair play the wrong way. However there has to be a path made available to these people either to stay in the country under tight restrictions until they can obtain legal resident status, or be allowed to return to their homes where they can apply for temporary work permits.
But nothing will happen until…
But before anybody can even consider a plan like that, there is a huge challenge that has to be dealt with and that’s securing our borders. Ronald Reagan who signed the bill that allowed the last big amnesty readily admits that the Act failed because the government did not execute the border security elements of the Act effectively.
Without secure borders there is nothing that will stop illegals from seeking better opportunities in the US. Our borders are long and cover some of the harshest terrain in the country but so long as life in the US is preferable to life in other countries, people will continue to risk illegal immigration.
Eugene Jones is a principal in www.ImmiGreatNow.com.com which provides web solutions for family Immigration. Eugene is also a principal in www.connect4business.com a lotus domino manufacturing solution and www.nauvou.com.com web based solutions for customer support.