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Illegal Immigrants

Righty: Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to see America overrun with hordes of unskilled immigrants who conveniently refuse to learn English. I’m not exactly keen on seeing them move into my neck of the woods and turning our downtown into a teeming barrio. But I’m realistic enough to recognize that the American economy needs all the able-bodied help it can get. Let’s be honest: we need uneducated, low-paid workers — and plenty of them — who are willing to perform the grunt-work that we overpampered Americans have grown too proud and soft to do for ourselves. Who else is going to pick our crops, stock Wal-Mart’s shelves, weed our lawns and scrub our toilets? First we need to make sure that all those illegals have a fair chance to become legal. Then we need to enact immigration laws that encourage hardworking people to enter this country and keep our economy booming.

Lefty: I’m loath to admit I agree with you on this one, Righty, but I do — for completely different reasons, naturally. America is a nation of immigrants, and we should stay true to our historic role as a welcoming beacon of opportunity and freedom from oppression. The inscription on our Statue of Liberty reads, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” How can we turn our backs on those huddled masses? We need to ensure that everyone who wants to start a new life in America has a right to live here. Anything else would amount to a betrayal of our national purpose. By what moral authority do we determine that some immigrants are “legal” (i.e., desirable) and others are “illegal” (i.e., undesirable)? It wouldn’t have anything to do with the color of their skin, would it?

The New Moderate:

I might be a little obtuse, but how is it that our friends on the right and left conveniently overlook the word “illegal” attached to the aforementioned immigrants? Illegal immigrants are, by definition, lawbreakers. They’ve entered the U.S. on the sly, find work on the sly, elude Uncle Sam at tax time but readily accept his generosity when they need a benefit or two. And their numbers just keep growing like some radioactive behemoth from a 1950s sci-fi flick.

That the illegals are predominantly Hispanic is almost irrelevant. The only Latino-specific issue that should concern us is the apparent reluctance of many Hispanic immigrants to learn English — along with our own feeble-minded attempts to support their Anglophobia by establishing Spanish as our unofficial second language. (See BILINGUALISM.) The New Moderate would be equally peeved if the illegals were Swedes or Hungarians who stole past the border guards and settled en masse in cities and towns across the republic, enjoying government benefits and straining our resources without contributing to the public till.

The recently proposed solutions to illegal immigration should strike any thinking moderate as outrageous and even nonsensical. Building a wall along sections of the Mexican border is a wasteful and ultimately absurd enterprise. Not only does it send a spiteful message to everyone south of the border, but it can only tempt the more resourceful outlaws to perform end-runs around our defenses.

The newly minted Bush-Kennedy gradual amnesty bill (when these two gentlemen collaborate, be very afraid!) must rank among the most shameless examples of governmental hornswoggling in American history. Formulated behind closed doors, the program essentially winks at the past transgressions of the illegals if they take a few cursory steps to legalize themselves over the next few years. (We have stiffer penalties for parking-ticket scofflaws.) The bill disguises itself as a moderate solution, yet it blatantly caters to special interests on the right and left. It serves Republicans who salivate over the prospect of low-wage workers flooding the land; it serves Democrats who covet the affections of all those brand-new Democratic voters; it totally ignores the will of the people. Our partisans ignore the will of the people at their own peril; Americans will ultimately rebel against a government that repeatedly snubs them. (Mr. Jefferson gave us permission, after all.)

So what do we propose as a moderate solution to the illegal immigration fiasco? It’s relatively simple: enforce the law. Nothing extreme about that. Impose penalties on illegal immigrants and those who shelter them. Deport all illegals with criminal records. Set term limits on “guest” workers the way we do for houseguests and congressmen. Make life considerably less inviting here for immigrants who sneak past the border guards.

Some would argue that we should sympathize with the plight of any people who want to make a better life for themselves in the U.S. We agree. Let them enter the country through legal channels, pick up a Social Security card, work and pay taxes like the rest of us. Then you can talk to us about sympathy.

Summary: Illegal immigrants flood the job market, depress wages, pay no income taxes and consume a disproportionate share of benefits. They’re harming our country, a fact our lawmakers conveniently ignore. Just as important, they’re lawbreakers and should be treated as such. The solution: simply enforce the law.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2009 3:53 pm

    The age-old pesky U.S.-Mexico border problem has taxed the resources of both countries, led to long lists of injustices, and appears to be heading only for worse troubles in the future. Guess what? The border problem can never be solved. Why? Because the border IS the problem! It’s time for a paradigm change.

    Never fear, a satisfying, comprehensive solution is within reach: the Megamerge Dissolution Solution. Simply dissolve the border along with the failed Mexican government, and megamerge the two countries under U.S. law, with mass free 2-way migration eventually equalizing the development and opportunities permanently, with justice and without racism, and without threatening U.S. sovereignty or basic principles.

    To learn more, Google “Megamerge Dissolution Solution”.

    • July 10, 2009 12:09 am

      I’m all for paradigm changes, but I can’t imagine dissolving the border without threatening either U.S. sovereignty, Mexican sovereignty, or both. I do agree that the border problem seems to have no solution. Maybe the U.S. will attract fewer illegal immigrants as it slides deeper into recession. I’ll have to do a little reading on “Megamerge Dissolution Solution,” though — thanks for the tip.

  2. Michelangelo Markus permalink
    September 22, 2009 5:56 pm

    I think I read something somewhere about a lot of traffic heading back into Mexico as of late. . .

    I think the main problem is the fact that the current laws are more geared towards individuals coming here illegally rather than businesses HIRING them illegally. What peeves me even more than people breaking the law to come here, is letting Americans break the law to bring/employ them here.

    I mean honestly, they come here for work. Like bees looking for honey and stumbling across an open honey jar. Instead of trying to track down all the bees why don’t we just put a lid on the @#$^ing honey?

  3. September 27, 2009 1:36 pm

    Good point! It would be a lot easier to regulate the employers than to track down every illegal immigrant who sneaks across the border. Of course, a lot of the illegals are self-employed as gardeners, housekeepers and so on. They’d still elude the system. But your suggestion is the right way to start attacking the problem.

  4. Taliesin Knol permalink
    January 9, 2010 4:18 am

    Where to begin? ILlegal = lawbreaker. Admittedly of our rather archaic immigration laws. We need a total overhaul of the system so it’s easier for qualified people to enter, rather than sneak in. However, most (who am I kiding? ALL) of the mexicans sneaking in are uneducated, and generally unskilled. They burden the American economy, (already burdened by Americans) and undercut American jobs. They are taking the easy way out, and trying a form of conquest (social conquest) instead of ficing their crappy country. Now they are trying to turn our country into the land they left? Madness! Stop sending them back 10 feet or so from the border, send them to Coloumbia, it’s a much cheaper form of punishment than prison, or repeated deportations. I hear Iraq lost a few million people recently, send them their to clean up the ULTIMATE American mess. Along with the employers that break the law by hiring them.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    September 7, 2011 1:20 pm

    I always thought that if Mexico and Central America were part of the US, it would be a lot easier to protect our water borders than it is to protect our land border with Mexico. Our borders would become the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Panama Canal. I friend of mine suggested we buy Mexico from the 6 or 7 families that own 70% of mexico, then offer a path to statehood for mexico. I say that before they become a state, they would have to meet certian requirements. They would have to make english their offical language, clean their water, upgrade their infrastructure, upgrade their education system, upgrade their health care system, and establish a new system of gov that is more in line with ours. They could have an improved constitution with the best of the 1st and even the 2nd bill of rights built into it. They can bring in consultants from the top ten list of best education systems and health care systems. 50 or 100 yrs from now, Mexico could be a great place to live. When finally come time to vote on statehood, if they vote for, they could make a good fit, if they vote against, they could make good neighbors. Either way, we wouldn’t have to worry as much about protecting our border with Mexico any more than we worry about Canada. Mexico is resource rich so there is no reason for it’s people to be poor. They can have democracy, jobs, a decent wages, education, heath care and quality of life. Don’t know much about the 7 central American countries resources, but they can be rolled into Mexico during the transition process. As for drug cartels….I think we should allow those cartels to transition into legal businesses. I don’t think marijuana is any worse that alcohol. It also has medical and industrial uses. If the cartels had a leagal business to protect it would be in their best interest to stop everything else they do, otherwise risk loosing that business. We can then tax marijuana rather than spen tax $ hand over fist to accomplish nothing much.

    All of the above I think would lead to a more stable Mexico and therefore a more secure America.

  6. Alli permalink
    June 25, 2014 9:08 pm

    Why does this article assume that all illegals “evade Uncle Sam at tax time”? This is simply not true and I would know because I have been involved in political activism regarding illegal immigrants and education. Just like legal residents, some pay taxes and others don’t. Speaking realistically, it would be easier to offer them a path to citizenship and to make education more accessible to illegal young adults. After all, what do we gain by deporting them? If anything, we end up losing an important portion of the work force. We should, I think, deport those illegals who have a criminal records and also close off the border so that we can isolate and focus on the illegals already here.

    This is slightly off-topic but, with regard to education, I believe we do a disservice to this country when we make it difficult for illegals to attain a post-secondary education. Look — I have been very involved with activism supporting accessibility to higher education for illegals for years now, so I know the obstacles that they face in trying to further their education. It extends beyond that of just being denied in-state tuition privileges as these people are put at a disadvantage the moment they seek higher education. This includes the inability to use FAFSA to prove their income status which then creates scholarship issues (and I’d like to note that I don’t believe they should receive money from the government via FAFSA but that it should serve as a gauge for income level) and limited scholarship options (most are not open to non-citizens/permanent residents).

    Many of these kids have lived in the same state for years and deserve to pay in-state tuition, especially when you factor in the fact that their parents probably do not earn well given their lack of work permit and social security number. That being said, undocumented immigrants pay taxes and if the problem lies in whether or not illegals pay taxes, I would like to reiterate that they do but that there are also those who choose not to (which is wrong and should be rectified). I know plenty of “Dreamers” who do and want nothing more than to do so in exchange for their right to get an education.

    There is a lot more I can say on this topic but I can say, from having seen many illegal young adults turn away from education because of the odds already stacked against them, we are doing a disservice to this country by making access to a college education harder. When we leave them with no other option, it (unfortunately) makes sense for these kids, frustrated, to turn to menial labor or crime or, in the case of a friend, suicide. In the end, it serves the economy to have intelligent people in the work force. Deportation, then, would do nothing to aid the U.S. but allowing a path for citizenship and making higher education more accessible would.

    As a side note, I would like you to note that most illegals did not cross the border but instead came via plane and simply stayed past their visa’s expiration date. Also, yes, I realize this article was written in 2009 but I felt like I should voice my opinion so I did.

  7. kaseyhanks permalink
    May 28, 2015 6:36 pm

    While I agree with almost all the positions stated on this website, I have to disagree with you on this one. I do agree that the law should be followed. The only thing is, the law as it exists now makes it nearly impossible for the average impoverished worker, Latino or otherwise, to enter this country through “legal channels”, as you put it. In fact, our immigration laws actually discriminate against the poor hardworking would-be immigrant. This is surprising since poor hardworking immigrants make up a large portion of most Americans’ ancestry. We’ve come a long way from “give me your poor and huddled masses.” To suggest that the government should round up these workers and that they should just try harder to come here through legal means without understanding how ridiculously complex and expensive (and therefore impossible) the legal means are is a surprisingly uninformed position for you to take.

    • May 29, 2015 6:17 pm

      You’re right about this. I wrote this opinion about eight years ago, and I’ve revised my thinking as I’ve learned more about the issue. I still don’t think we can (or should) absorb vast numbers of Third World people; what if half the population of Latin America wanted to seek refuge here? But no, we also can’t simply round up the illegal immigrants who have already started their lives here and are working to support their families.

  8. June Tavares permalink
    August 4, 2017 12:37 pm

    Agree. Illegal is illegal. Period. Whether they are good or bad people they choose an illegal method to enter the U.S. By law, a child born in the US is American. There are rumblings about this. Pick the battles. Mission: bipartisan review. The family has to decide whether to all move back home and the child can come back when they meet majority or leave the child with relatives. It’s tough and its sad but it was the parent’s choice to enter illegally. Mission review path to citizenship. Not change, REVIEW. Can it be streamlined: cost and process?

  9. April 1, 2019 2:50 pm

    Seems like there are a few on the left that are looking at the problem instead of attacking Trump concerning the issue.

    As this issue worsens, I am still saying that the ports of entry need to be opened and just let them in. If we can not come up with a policy that addresses this issue now, we never will. I am not “giving up” on protecting our borders, but when you have this many people entering, then there needs to be open border policies where people come, they spend a few days quarantined to insure they do not have an infectious disease, they are immunized for things like MMP, polio, etc and are tested for TB. Once cleared, let them go.At least they will be much heather and less likely to start an epidemic of some kind.

    Right now what we have is not working! And those trying to enforce an unenforceable law are the ones taking the blame, while those in congress that don’t have the balls or knockers to make a decision, sit on their asses talking the tax payer money while only throwing shit balls at each other about the issue. They remind me of apes in the zoo when they have their excrement fights.

  10. October 4, 2020 5:08 pm

    As a purple solution, what about a more comprehensive guest worker program? If we are going to spend the money to build walls, stop immigration, send immigrants back, and deal with drugs issues, why not spend that money (and probably less) on a guest worker program that does the following: Expedites a path to citizenship (to include legal immigrants), conducts background checks, tracks the progress and whereabouts of each. As an added measure, I would also suggest that it includes workplace safety measures them, which they seldom have.


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