Sunday, November 30, 2008

Illegal Immigration

The Miami Herald is running a three-part story on illegal immigration. The series is entitled Illegal Immigration: Changing Course, the initial focus being on the economic downswing in the United States and how that has effected the illegals. One of the articles in today's Part I, Funds at risk for families back home, contains the following information which I found amazing.

INTIPUCA, El Salvador -- For almost two generations, residents of this rural community who emigrated to the United States have sent back tens of millions of dollars to support their families and bring prosperity to their once impoverished town.

Officials of Intipucá, 120 miles east of San Salvador, were so grateful for those remittances that they built a park to honor migrants, with a statue representing the first resident to leave for the United States back in 1967.

In a report on the outlook of remittance flows from 2008 to 2010, the World Bank said that remittances to Latin America will remain flat next year in the best-case scenario, but that in the worst-case scenario, they will decline to $58 billion from $61 billion.

Is it really possible that the cleaning lady who sends $50 a week home and the day laborer who sends $100 can add up to $60 billion?

You guys who like statistics can put a calculator to that one, but I just call it amazing. This is another example of the tremendous impact America has on the rest of the world. I would say with that much power to influence comes a great responsibility. These illegal immigrants aren't animals of a lower species. They're people like you and me who deserve opportunity as well as respect. In my personal order of things I place them one step above the rest of us who have had it easy by comparison.

What's your opinion? Should we close up the borders and keep these people out? Does our own economic survival depend on that? Is there any truth to the claim that illegals take jobs away from American citizens? I never understood it really. Don't they do a lot of low level jobs that more affluent Americans shun? And for middle and upper level jobs wouldn't their numbers only increase the competition? What's wrong with that?

Please leave a comment with your opinion.


  1. Mike,

    First, I agree that illegal aliens are people, just like you and I, that deserves a chance. I think America is one of the countries with the easiest immigration policies around. However, I do NOT place them above those of us who "have had it easy". Because in order to try to better their lives, they start off by breaking the law.

    Sorry, but the law breakers do not rate above those that are law abiding. America has one of the highest rates of legal immigration, illegal immigrant say they don't want to wait, don't want to play by the rules that everyone else does....that does not make them worthy of respect at all. Most of them are hard working people, but come on, aren't just thinking the best of law breakers again?

    Another aspect of the illegal aliens is that often they continue to break the law once they are here. The most common crime is identity theft. Read of any of the ICE raids on meat packing plants, look at how many were using false or stolen social security numbers. Each of those stolen social security numbers was causing countless hours of trouble and aggravation for the legal citizen affect. Bad credit ratings, loans denied, in some cases being arrested for crimes committed by the illegal alien.

    From 2006, we also learn of some of the other crimes:
    Twelve Americans are murdered every day by illegal aliens, according to statistics released by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. If those numbers are correct, it translates to 4,380 Americans murdered annually by illegal aliens. That's 21,900 since Sept. 11, 2001.

    How about spending some time calling for control of the illegal immigration problem before you call for gun control.

    I think we should close up the border for safety sake. One of the biggest failures on the Bush administration was the push to legalize the current population of illegal aliens. Reagan did that in the 80s and did it stop illegal immigration or increase it?
    Our nations security depends on secure borders. I find it ironic that Mexico accuses the US of being cruel for putting up a fence, having border security. Have you ever read anything about what Mexico does on it's southern border?

    As far as taking jobs from Americans, that isn't a simple yes or no answer. There are illegal aliens filling jobs that need to be filled, yes. Because the illegal aliens are willing to work for cash off the books often, willing to work for lower wages; the employers aren't forced to pay higher wages to attract legal aliens or citizens.
    Thus illegal immigration is actually working against the law abiding by depressing wages.

  2. I want the law on paper to match the law as enforced. Immigration needs to be reformed--We should let more people in legally, but we need to do something drastic with the bureaucracy and petty regulations that law-abiding immigrants have to follow. This should be accompanied with stricter enforcement against illegals and their employers.

  3. The questions you pose about illegal immigration have a lot of grey areas. Bob makes some good points, but even though America has a high rate of legal immigration into this country it is virtually impossible right now for these specific immigrants (the poor from the Latin Americas) to gain legal entry/citizenship. No amount of waiting is going to help their cause. They simply don't have the money needed and our nation simply does not want these people. Legally.

    But you asked about the money sent home first. There are anywhere from 10 to 25 million illegal aliens in this country right now according to various sources. That's a pretty wide swing, but it is difficult to document an actual number. For arguments sake, let's say that 5 million come from the Latin Americas. A conservative estimate, if you ask me. Let's use your $100 a week that they send home. Another conservative estimate, I believe. That would be $26 billion a year in monies sent home from illegals every year. With both the number of illegals and the amount sent home being a little lite, you can see how this can rapidly move up toward $60 billion.

  4. Should we close up the borders and keep these people out? Does our own economic survival depend on that?

    of course not. by and large, all the money remitted overseas was earned by honest labor; that means whichever employers paid those billions out, all felt they received something of greater value in return. who cares if the money leaves the country? the value that generated it stays behind.

    Is there any truth to the claim that illegals take jobs away from American citizens? I never understood it really. Don't they do a lot of low level jobs that more affluent Americans shun?

    more affluent Americans shun working at the extremely low levels of pay illegal immigrants subsist at, often below minimum wage. illegals don't take jobs away from legal workers, they literally underbid legals; they have to, because they have no legal recourse when exploitative employers decide to pay them peanuts. what can they do, complain to police they aren't being paid what the law stipulates? they'd be thrown out of the country.

    which is why i think the USA needs a guest worker program. some way for these people --- poor latin Americans, as Earl said --- to get into the USA to do legal work here; a "working visa" of some sort that would take basically no effort or money to get.

    in return, the U.S. government gets fingerprints and names of legal guest workers, so we know who's here to do honest work. they can be tracked for law enforcement purposes, and we can feel reasonably sure they aren't breaking the law --- if they are, goodbye guest worker permit.

    then once that system is in place, we can start thinking about a one-time amnesty for illegals already in the country. again, fingerprints and background check, make sure those who we allow to stay have not committed any crimes other than entering the country illegally; the goal is to get as many current illegals as possible into legal, above-board work, and into the tracking system so we can make sure they stay on the right side of the law.

    in return, they get recourse to law enforcement if employers try to take advantage of them or abuse them; they get a chance to work for minimum wage or better, as opposed to less; they get to compete on a level playing field with full citizens.

    and once all of this is in place and the amnesty played out, we can start assuming that anybody in the country illegally is not just here to do honest work and feed their families, but rather have something they want to hide. that too is useful information.

  5. NOMEN

    Illegal aliens working in Texas doing construction and landscaping jobs tend to earn significantly above the CURRENT MINIMUM WAGE and don't pay taxes, unless you count sending money home and paying to bring more family up taxes.

    No such thing as peanuts wages. You can't find a Mexican around here that will swing a hammer or mow a lawn for less than $7.50 an hour.

    They are already, on average, earning MORE THAN MINIMUM WAGE, don't pay taxes, and get free medical care by going to hospital E.R.s which drives up my health insurance costs because it has to get absorbed somewhere.

    These are empirical observations I've made.

    Feel free to refute them at your leisure if you can come up with numbers. I can come up with numbers because I know people that employ them and have since I was 4 years old and the neighbor had a live-in wetback housekeeper.

    Think they'd be better off back in mesko earning one to five dollars a day or begging on the streets.

    I also live in a state that has had meskins since we were part of mesko. The new wave of immigrants of the past 8 years or so are different than the established mexican population of legals and are more inclined towards criminal activity and less likely to attempt to assimilate as Americans or even bother to learn English.

    I can take you down to the Hays County Jail and the barrio in San Antone and you can see for yourself.

    This whole thing about illegals being abused is horse shit.

    They've got a way better life here than they had in mesko, that's why they keep moving here illegally.

    I can take you to a entirely illegal alien trailer park about 8 miles from me and we can count the brand new Tacomas and Expeditions in their driveways and you won't hardly find a green card among them.

    Hell, I know, I sold two of the mobile homes to them in cash deals to legals and then they started bringing up more of their families before I realized their intentions.

    Calling them abused is beyond silly.

  6. Much of what I have to say has already been said better than others.

    One thing I would add is of the numbers cited, how much of that is money for the drug trade? Much of our illegal drug supply comes through our southern boarder, and it is a HUGE cash business, and much of it is run by illegal immigrant gangs.

    One final thing, I'll say that about 70% of my company is Resident-Alien workers. THEY are fantastic people, and THEY are good competition, as I can compete for their jobs, and can be beat out by their work ethic because the field is level as we're all playing by the rules and laws (The same can't be said about a person on welfare, or a student home for the summer looking for an unskilled labor position can't compete with under-the-table labor...and likely they don't even speak the correct language!)

    To look the other way or grant special treatment for people who have chosen to break our nation's laws is a deep disrespect to those who chose to follow the law.

    I see the same problem with gun laws when I read about a criminal apprehended only to have weapons charges dropped by the judge. It makes me ask "Why am I working so hard to follow the laws again???"

  7. I'm always surprised at how much talk there is about obeying the law. A couple of you guys seem to be making a big deal about illegal aliens breaking the immigration laws. Thomas is talking about their not paying taxes. I thought Libertarians were opposed to paying taxes in any case.

    Anyway, I guess I find it odd because I'm a big scofflaw myself. When we talked about the private transfer of firearms, which I think we've only scraped the surface of, I found it surprising that anyone would bother with what State the buyer came from. If it's private, shouldn't it be private? Why bother with receipts and driver's licenses at all?

  8. Mikeb

    I'm libertarian and wish for smaller govt but we have what we have. People using services and not pulling their weight is detrimental to those of us who are forced to.

    As to firearms transfers:
    INTRASTATE transfers are governed by your personal STATE laws.
    INTERSTATE transfers are governed by FEDERAL laws that are very clear. Breaking these laws results in prison sentences. Federal prison sentences do not offer time off for good behavior or parole. Most firearms violation sentences start at TEN YEARS. Remember, NO PAROLE. Would you risk a rather high probability of ten to fifteen years in prison to make a couple dollars selling a firearm improperly?

    Whether it's right or wrong, it's the law.

    Remember David Koresh?
    That enforcement action was taken by the BATF over a possible ten thousand dollar fine. Truthfully. Ten thousand dollars and the BATF killed near a hundred people and lost a bunch of agents.

    You don't poke a weasel with a sharp stick cos he just might rip your balls off.

  9. "I thought Libertarians were opposed to paying taxes in any case."

    Hilliarious. Now I'm curious why you were happy to read that I respect President Obama as my president, dispite not supporting nor voting for him.

    Not agreeing with a law is no reason to not obey it (Also it'll make you look like a damn fool when you use that defense in court)

    Not agreeing with a law is a reason to push for its repeal. All other actiivity is criminal.

    I do not respect criminals, so I will not choose to become one.

    So, Curious, Mike, as a "big scofflaw" what legal transgressions do you feel are OK?

    Maybe now we're getting somewhere with you bias against law-abiding people....

  10. I believe strongly in the rule of law, but the laws should be near the minimum necessary to retain liberty.

    Unenforced or unenforceable laws weaken support for the laws we need,give petty officials more power than they should have, and restrict the law-abiding far more than criminals. There are many laws I would like to see repealed, there are very few so onerous or immoral that I would support ignoring.

    I'm not opposed to the concept of taxes. I am opposed to the amount and variety of taxes. The amount they take from me is secondary, the bigger problem is the size of the government that is possible only because of the high tax rate.

    The current immigration system means we have a higher proportion of immigrants willing to break our laws, while the law-abiding are more likely to be turned back. I don't know the exact immigration policy we should have, but that certainly isn't the way I would select who gets to stay.

    There is a difference between legally requiring receipts and driver's licenses, and private individuals wanting them in their own transactions.

  11. Mike,

    I wonder if have you asked your Italian neighbors about illegal immigration or just generally obeying the laws.

    Would those neighbors appreciate you coming into their country illegally, they demanding class be taught in English and Italian, using a health care system paid for by them?

    As far as the obeying the law, this is something we've been saying all along. Gun control laws only affect the law abiding!!

    I'm sorry if this offends, but with people like you out there looking for any reason to take away our rights, of course we are going to obey the law.

    We can't afford not to.

    Meanwhile, we have Mumbia India; Ask yourself if the scum who carried out those attacks would/DID let laws disarming the population stop them?

  12. Gee Mike, We have nothing to fear even if we follow the law, right?

    The Delaware State Police have been conducting secret background checks of some gun owners since 2001, a process known as "superchecks" that may violate federal law.

    The checks have resulted in confiscation of weapons, some for legitimate reasons, but have subjected many citizens to a search of mental health records that in most cases police would be unable to access.

    Right to privacy violated by an illegal use of a "gun control law".

    In Delaware, when someone attempts to purchase a pistol or rifle, he or she must first sign a consent form authorizing a criminal and mental health check by the state Firearms Transaction Approval Program

    A sensible law, much like what you advocate to keep firearms out of the hands of some people.

    The FTAP program was created by lawmakers, and funded by taxpayers, to aid licensed gun dealers, but The News Journal found that more than 10 percent of background checks denied by FTAP were requested by state troopers, not by gun dealers attempting to authorize a legal sale.

    None of their superchecks involved gun sales and none of the people checked by state police had signed a written consent form. But all the superchecks, state police said, were gun-related.

    Gun owners are law abiding and shouldn't we expect our governments to be obeying the law also...or as a fellow scofflaw do you approve of the government being able to poke about your records without your consent?

    But an examination of the data also shows that many purchases were denied for reasons other than those provided in state statute, which prohibits the possession of a gun for residents with a felony conviction, a history of domestic violence or mental imbalance, or a PFA order.

    Of course, we gun owners are just being silly when we worry about our rights being violated or laws being later used to confiscate firearms, aren't we Mike?

    "Obviously, there is a right to bear arms, but the way this is being applied, basically they're saying it's a privilege, and they have a right to take away that privilege from people," Cathcart said. "I have a huge problem with this."

  13. Thomas is talking about their not paying taxes. I thought Libertarians were opposed to paying taxes in any case.

    well, i'm not opposed to taxation, and part of my suggestion is to make sure illegal immigrants will be able to, without being arrested for working illegally.

    they commit identity theft these days because that's the only way they can get a social security number or avoid the IRS. let's fix that by giving them work permits (of some sort) and taxpayer ID numbers, says i.

  14. Nomen,

    Might be nit picking here, but there is a way already on the books for illegal aliens to be able to pay their share of taxes.....all they need to do is not break the law.

    I would like to avoid the IRS also, but only legally.

    I agree that the USA needs to revise their immigration process to streamline it and speed it up, but that isn't an acceptable excuse for people breaking the law.

    I think that an alien caught breaking the law should be deported as soon as the trial is over, especially illegal aliens.

    America has to show that is it serious about enforcing immigration laws and yes, that does include massive fines and actions against companies knowingly employing illegal aliens.

  15. alright, i give. how does a person who's illegally in the country manage to legally pay their taxes without getting deported?

  16. Nomen,

    That is the point, they don't. They shouldn't. They should be deported.

    That is like asking how should a thief pay income taxes legally on the stolen goods (s)he's fenced.

    If the illegals are deported, stopped from coming to America; there will be a considerable number of legal immigrants that can be allowed in.

  17. that's the point, bob, they shouldn't be deported. for many reasons, the simplest being that we're already doing that and it's not working.

    they just keep coming back, because this is where they can make the money to support themselves and their families; deportation is a supply-side non-solution to a demand-side problem.

    and letting a large number of legal immigrants in is essentially what i'm damn well proposing. well, except that the guest worker system i'm for would allow even more people in, even more easily, than the real immigration system.

  18. Sevesteen said, "There are many laws I would like to see repealed, there are very few so onerous or immoral that I would support ignoring."

    I go for that.

  19. Bob said, "Of course, we gun owners are just being silly when we worry about our rights being violated or laws being later used to confiscate firearms, aren't we Mike?"

    First of all Bob, I never said you were "silly." I asked if perhaps you were being paranoid.

    The story you highlighted is a good example of why you should be glad Obama got elected. I see that kind of abuse of power, the violation of privacy, the manipulation of the law as part of the Bush Administration. I think we can reasonable hope for a bit less of that crap now. What do you think?

  20. "The story you highlighted is a good example of why you should be glad Obama got elected. I see that kind of abuse of power, the violation of privacy, the manipulation of the law as part of the Bush Administration. I think we can reasonable hope for a bit less of that crap now. What do you think?"

    I REALLY hope you're right. Instead I think many of the same abuses will continue (Have you noticed Obama has already backpedaled on Gitmo, Domestic Spying, and the wars?) and new Abuses will start. I suspect gun owners and private business owners will be at the top of that list.

    The abuses of privacy and constitutional rights are rife up here as well. It is HARDLY paranoia, Mike.

  21. Nomen,

    I disagree, we are not deporting illegal immigrants when we find them. We give them medical care, welfare, food stamps, free education when we find them but we don't deport them.

    What the government does it identify the illegal aliens and ask them to come back 4 to 6 months later for a deportation hearing.....wonders of wonders most don't show up.

    We have "sanctuary" cities like San Francisco and New York City that openly defy federal law and refuse to work with the federal government to deport illegal aliens.

    What we are doing isn't working because we aren't enforcing the rules, is it any wonder why some of them feel it is okay to break other laws, like murder, rape, drunk driving.

    You are right that they can make money for their families, I want to change that for the illegals. Make it costly for them to keep getting back into America. Close the borders and then it costs more to sneak in. Fine the companies for knowingly hiring them and companies won't hire them. Confiscate funds available to the illegals before deporting them.

  22. Mike,

    First off I don't hold out much hope for your vision, especially since the current Senator from Delaware is Joe Biden, our new Vice-President elect.

    The current governor of Delaware is a Democrat.

    In all honesty, I don't see this a political party issue. I see it as an abuse of power issue. The more power we give the government, any government; city, county, state or federal, to control our rights the more that power will be abused.

    Call that paranoid if you will or call it an awareness of history and psychology.

    As far as a reasonable chance for less crap, I disagree. Obama has shown support for gun control through out his political career. At a time when most scholars sided with an individual right to keep and bear arms, Constitutional scholar Obama has continued to support complete gun bans. Wants to make it against federal law to carry concealed.

    I've said it before, both political parties are trying to take away our rights. The only difference between the two is which rights they go after first and how fast.

  23. Another point that came to me nicely dovetails with this new line of discussion of totalitarianism (Weather left or right is really unimportant in the end) is this comment:
    "There are many laws I would like to see repealed, there are very few so onerous or immoral that I would support ignoring."

    No matter how onerous or immoral, ignoring them is hard to advocate when they are upheld by lethal force.

    And when you get down to it there are very few laws that are not upheld by lethal force.

    I once had the misfortune of being the victim of a clerical error by the state. A Fine paid was not properly recorded and the case (failure to register a motor boat, if that's important...also it might be important to know that I was only the operator of said boat, and the owner paid the fine, not me) and the case went to court without my knowlege, and the initial charge was extended to Failure to Appear in Court, and a bench warrent was issued. I only cleared the charged by cooperating with the system and putting a not-trivial amount of time and money into proving the transgression.

    But what if I had simply acted as an uncharged individual, and ignored anything untrue or unjust. I was notified of the warrent by an armed policeman, had I not cooperated that arm would soon be in my face, if I had gone further to not submit to a state in the wrong that arm quite likely would have been discharged into said face under the guise of "Resisting Arrest", all for a simple clerical error on a non-criminal that could be argued as onerous or immoral.

    Another good reason to remain above the law and allow all your activism to be within the law.

    Another great reason to support the 2nd Amendment, as within it supplies a moral and just angle to kill off a tyranical govenment that is neither moral nor Just. Our former countrymen of England are in the throws of an amoral and unjust govenment, yet they can do nothing but complain....until the govenment sees it fit to remove that right as well.

    Food for thought.

  24. Mike, would it be unreasonable to request that you not abandon discussion posts like this that are still obviously open.

    Seems like you enjoy the discourse here as much as we do....but it seems that most posts languish in a stub.

    Also what's with liberals and open discussion? Seriously, there are Liberals who read here, but they rarely comment...and even the Huff-Po where I first found your blog is dominated by conservatives posting comments.

  25. Weer'd, I'm trying to get to all the open questions and threads, really. Maybe, I need to sleep less.

    Thanks for what you said about liberals vs. conservatives as far as commenting goes. I've wondered the same thing.

    I always figured it was because you conservative types know you have the weaker argument and feel more constrained to keep defending it.

    About the illegals, I agree with those who suggest we find a way to regularize them. In most cases the laws they've broken are not serious. I don't believe for a minute that because they've broken immigration laws they tend to disregard others.

    How about this for a law? You're an American citizen living abroad. You've got every intention of staying there. You earn less than the $80,000 ceiling below which you incur no tax liability to the US. By law you must still file taxes each year.

    Now that would make a scofflaw out of anyone, IMO.

  26. "I always figured it was because you conservative types know you have the weaker argument and feel more constrained to keep defending it."

    Hah! That got a big belly laugh out of me! You're a card, Mike! : ]

    "How about this for a law? You're an American citizen living abroad. You've got every intention of staying there. You earn less than the $80,000 ceiling below which you incur no tax liability to the US. By law you must still file taxes each year."

    A bit silly, yes, but how does the US know you DO make less than $80,000? Also all US citizens must file every year, I don't see how location has any berring on that requirement.

    That's the price you pay to keep that US Passport and for the right to abuse loopholes in our voting laws : ]