March 31, 2006

If I Were President - Part 2 - Illegal Immigration

This is the current hot button issue in American politics. Illegal immigration has become the new Republican/Conservative mantra, finally overthrowing Gay Marriage on their list of battle cries. I of course, have my own opinions, so I might as well get on my soap box. First some background…

Who are the Immigrants?

First of all, let’s take a step back and look at immigration in general. The way I look at it, if you’re not a Native American, you’re either an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant. That means pretty much all of us (who aren't getting rich in casinos).

So, for anyone of us to say that people should not be allowed to immigrate into our country, in my opinion, is just plain hypocritical. America is a melting pot of immigrants, and there’s no way we can just put a huge fence up around the country to keep them out. They’re going to come in, one way or another, so why don’t we address the root of the problem instead of trying to lock down our borders and exhaust our energies to return them from whence they came.

The Smoke Screen

Conservatives like to rant & rave that the illegal immigrants are stealing American jobs and draining the economy. The truth is that American businesses have been outsourcing American jobs for years. By and large our jobs have been shipped overseas because the labor is cheaper and free trade agreements have unleveled the playing field by withdrawing import tariffs. So, if you’re really concerned about the loss of American jobs, you should be rallying for import tariffs and against free trade agreements (CAFTA, NAFTA, etc.). If you’re really concerned about the loss of American jobs, you should be buying products which are strictly made in America. If you're really concerned about the loss of American jobs, lobby your Senator, Representative, and President for Universal Health Care, which will help to 'level the playing field'.

However, big business, which we know manages, controls, & operates our government, is not at all concerned with the loss of American jobs. They’re concerned with making profit and they can do that better with cheaper labor. The labor is cheaper outside of this country (as well as with illegal immigrants whom they pay very low wages and often no taxes). The 'playing field' is not level.

If anyone should be concerned with illegal immigration, it's the American worker. S/he's the one whose payrate is as low as it is because s/he has to compete with people who'll accept payrates that are bottom-of-the-barrel because they're desparate.

The Real Reason

Illegal immigrants, as well as everyone else in this country, consume the benefits that our country provides. They are protected by our defense, they ride on our roads, and they’re arrested by our police. They learn 'the system' and scam it for free education, emergency health care, welfare, and a whole host of tax-payer funded services. The real reason illegal immigration is a problem is that they don’t substantially contribute to the commonwealth of our community. Simply put - they don't pay their fair share of taxes (if any at all).

Now, if you’re really concerned about people paying their fair share of taxes, there are many, many, many other people and entities you should be directing your attention to… namingly the umpteen thousands of companies which maintain Post Office boxes in the Cayman Islands, to funnel their profits through, in order to avoid paying US taxes. Ask George & Dick about that sleazy scam - they’re very familiar with it. If you’re really concerned about people paying their fair share of taxes, take a good long look at the Bush tax cut initiatives and how their strategic plan is to shift the tax burden from the rich to the middle class. And if you’re really concerned about people paying their taxes, take a good look in the mirror and think about the last time you hired someone to clean your house, cut your lawn, or baby-sit your children. Did Uncle Sam get his cut?

My New Illegal Immigration Plan

Instead of exhausting so much energy trying to keep these people out of our country, I would crack down on businesses to ensure that if they employ them, they’re doing it ‘on the table’ and paying appropriate taxes on the services provided. In fact, if these people don’t have Social Security numbers and aren't paying their own taxes, I would enact legislation to make sure that businesses pay both the payroll taxes and the income taxes of these guest workers. I would level the playing field. You can't just target and blame the illegal immigrants for this 'problem'. American businesses have created this problem by providing the market that attracts them.

Furthermore, I would enact a multitude of legislation to close the loopholes which enable businesses to get away without paying their fair share of taxes. This Cayman Islands shit has got to stop. As well, businesses should not be awarded with tax breaks after shipping jobs out of the country. My understanding of the Republican's "Trickle Down" economic plan is that helping businesses be more profitable and giving them tax breaks is supposedly good for the economic health of the county. However, that only works if those businesses keep the jobs domestic. If they're going to continue to outsource jobs, either overseas or to illegal immigrants, then it's America's workers and the American economy that suffers.

Finally, I would work with the Mexican government to seek out new and inovative ideas for building the Mexican economy. That's really the root of the problem - you don't see an illegal immgration problem involving Canadians, do you?

My point is that solving the 'illegal immigration problem' is not about cracking down on them or people who aid them. As I've preached before, you have to look beyond the effects of the problem and get to the root casue(s). The root of the problem is that Mexico's economy sucks, their government is corrupt, and their poverty & unemployment levels are high, while at the same time American businesses love to hire cheap labor to keep their costs down and their profits high. That formula is a recipe for immigration (legal or illegal).


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