Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Illegal Immigration - Our Cross to Bear

Immigration will be the issue that determines the fate of the tea party. Arizona’s newest law is the litmust test:

The law makes it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It also requires local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal immigrants; allows lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws; and makes it illegal to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or knowingly transport them.

I’m in a minority here with my view of illegal immigration. I disagree with the “round ‘em up, ship ‘em out” folks and am against this law for two broad reasons: For one, the so-called “threat” of illegal immigration is illusory when one looks at the numbers. They are not a bunch of violent criminals and terrorists – in fact the numbers show that they commit crimes at a lower rate than legal American residents because they fear deportation. Secondly, economically, they are a net benefactor to the country. Their work has the effect of reducing production costs and overall increasing the American standard of living.

Illegal immigrants are an albatross of the American political psyche, scapegoats for our frustration with the welfare state. The problems we hear about hospitals losing money because of illegal aliens using emergency rooms are really caused by bad healthcare policy. We forget about the myriad legal residents who use hospitals the same way. The same goes for the bad economy and the recession. The real enemy during a depression is not people who are willing to work for less, but a government that puts so many burdens on employers that qualified people cannot find a job.

The second broad reason as to why I’m against the Arizona law has to do with what such laws force us to become.

PHOENIX—Arizona’s governor vows the state’s tough new law targeting illegal immigration will be implemented with no tolerance for racial profiling..."We must enforce the law evenly, and without regard to skin color, accent, or social status,” she [Governer Brewer] said. “We must prove the alarmists and the cynics wrong.”

That goes right into the “who are you kidding” file. What the crap does she actually expect cops to do? Examine body language and clothing? See if people smell like tacos? Brewer is not five years old. She has to know that sheriffs like Arpaio with an axe to grind against illegals are not going to be patting down Norwegians. In practice and in statistical reality, the first clue of illegal status is going to be Hispanic ethnicity and a Spanish accent.

The appropriateness of racial profiling as such is another debate. I can see it being justifiable in specific circumstances. But let’s not kid ourselves about the consequences of the Arizona law. Arpaio, using his county as a laboratory to create the model for Arizona’s new law, has cost his state millions in settlement money for wrongful deaths, been the subject of multiple federal investigations, lost accreditation of his jails for inhumane conditions, improperly cleared numerous real crimes like rapes, and by a study he himself commissioned, was unable to improve recidivism rates. Anyone think he managed all of that by being race-neutral?

You might expect a black guy from NYC to take issue with cops using skin color to determine who to question and detain, so let’s forget profiling for a sec and consider some more basic issues. Do we really want to be a society that demands people always carry their “papers” with them for fear of being arrested? Do we really want local and state police enforcing federal laws at their whim (I’m talking to you, pot legalizers)? Do we really want not only illegals, but Hispanics and people of color throughout the state to be even more mistrusting of cops, refusing to cooperate in investigations of other crimes? Do we really want battered wives and rape victims to fear going to the police because they might end up having their lives uprooted?

Isn’t our side supposed to be the one that is suspicious of increasing government’s size and power? You think 16,000 IRS agents is bad, imagine what we would need to locate, capture, and expel 20 million illegals. You will need to expand the scope and authority of the government on a MASSIVE scale. Estimates put it between $10,000 and $25,000 to process just one deportation. Toss in the usual bureaucratic inefficiency and you’re looking at a trillion dollars or more. Is it worth that much debt just so you can pay more for your produce? Look at the local communities that passed anti-illegal immigrant ordinances and became ghost towns not long after. Arizona is already billions in the red and this new law is going to cost a ton in litigation and implementation. Is that where we want to go?

To me, illegal immigration is a largely victimless crime analogous to speeding. 99% of the time, driving over the speed limit is harmless, and actually increases economic efficiency by allowing people to get around faster. We drivers are all “criminals” in that we knowingly break the law expecting it not to be enforced and tacitly understanding that police usually are wasting our time when it is. If we tried to get the police to crack down on all speeders, we would need to dramatically increase their number and authority. It would also choke local economies by reducing transportation speed and requiring lots of new government spending.

The same is true of illegal immigration. There are victims, to be sure. No one is defending identity thieves or murderous drug runners. But we are kidding ourselves if we think more raids and deportations are going to do anyone any good. They won’t, except for maybe helping the sort of competition-hating union thugs we complain about here. Getting rid of illegals won’t reduce crime and will only hurt our economy. I agree with securing the border and doing everything we can to keep criminals out. But ultimately we need to be intelligent about the people that are already here and dispense with this ridiculous fantasy that it is even possible to deport them all. They are not hiding in the shadows stealing children. They live here 20 million strong because Americans willingly hire them, house them, trade with them, and live with them. We should accept the fact that we admit far too few legal immigrants and Americans, in their daily lives and explicit actions, show a de facto demand for more immigrants, not fewer.

Posted by The Contrarian on 04/24/10 at 07:24 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/24/10 at 11:18 AM from United States

Great post!  Not much to add to what you’ve said.

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 11:33 AM from United States

I agree with securing the border and doing everything we can to keep criminals out.

I’d love to see the states take a more proactive approach to republicanism and stop depending on the federal government to handle everything, but I agree that this law is not the way to go about it, for many of the reasons you state. However, I’m not surprised it passed, or that Brewer basically told Obama to go pound sand.  It’s the consequence of people perceiving that the government isn’t just merely avoiding its responsibilities, but is actively looking to subvert the safety of those it is supposed to protect.

I think the passage of a law like this is indicative of how reactionary people are going to get if they think the government isn’t actually doing it’s job or addressing the concerns that citizens have about flashpoint issues--you end up with laws that are far more draconian than might have previously been considered.  The murder of the rancher in southern Arizona was simply the final tipping point for a lot of people in that state, which has had HUGE problems ever since the housing bubble burst.

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 12:25 PM from United States

Isn’t our side supposed to be the one that is suspicious of increasing government’s size and power? You think 16,000 IRS agents is bad, imagine what we would need to locate, capture, and expel 20 million illegals.

-sigh-

Posted by Ed Kline on 04/24/10 at 12:32 PM from United States

I live in Las Vegas, and the children of illegal immigrants are just wrecking the public school system.( its very expensive to teach ESL kids) I’d like to see that somehow addressed. Otherwise I pretty much agree with you. Illegal immigrants are a phanton boogeyman...or in more relevant and modern parlance ‘the took our jobs...de dook ur durr’.

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 12:36 PM from United States

Contrarian,

Great post.  You really have made me examine my stance on illegal immigration.  I’ve got some thinking to do. 

That said (and you briefly touched on it), you mentioned that illegal immigrants are a net economic benefit to our society.  Are people that take from the public coffers, work on US soil and enjoy the benefits of public transportation, etc. criminals because they don’t pay anything for those benefits (no taxes, no SS#)?  Or is it OK because they often make less than minimum wage to do it?

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 04:40 PM from Germany

I have to totally disagree with this post.  I actually hear on NPR the following Statement, “Just be cause they are here illegally, doesn’t mean they are breaking the law.” YES IT DOES!  Being here illegally is illegal.  Weird how that works. 

Illegal immigration is not only ruining the public school system, it’s ruining the LEGAL immigration system.  We could easily let more people in legally if we didn’t have so many coming in illegally.

This law essentially says, “Enforce the law that’s not being enforced” Period.

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 05:20 PM from Germany

My version of immigration reform is this:

1) Your children are not citizens.  Being born here doesn’t mean shit if you aren’t citizens yourselves.

2) Fucking pay taxes like the rest of us.

3) No freebies from the government.  Those are for citizens - you aren’t one, so go suck off the teat of your country.  You’re here to work, not be a leech.

4) No Spanish (or any other language, except as a class) in the schools, or anyplace else for that matter.  This is America, we speak English here.  If you don’t like it, sneak into Quebec and see how they treat your ass.

5) Any of that Aztlan shit means we get to fuck you up bigtime before we ship your ass back across the border.

6) We’re perfectly happy to have you come up and work on a visa for a period of time, but when your time is up, your ass heads home.  You don’t get to live here permanently unless you want to fill out the paperwork like everyone else.

7) There is no amnesty.  Leave.  Now.  I don’t give a shit how long you’ve been here, you’re a ciminal.  You can come back later when your paperwork is on order.....maybe.....

8) You break the law, prepare to have your ass permanently deported once you’re sentence has been served.

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 05:44 PM from United States

Let’s see how this plays out between now and November.
It appears that Lindsey Graham (McCain’s amnesty butt buddy) has pulled out of Cap-n-Trade because the administration wants amnesty dealt with first.

Sand in his vagina over two issues that any conservative should be against. Illegal means against the law, always has, so if your vagina is a bit sandy too get behind Obama, help him push his agenda. Cause we all know he’s just lookin’ out for the downtrodden.

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 10:35 PM from United States

Illegal immigration is not only ruining the public school system, it’s ruining the LEGAL immigration system.  We could easily let more people in legally if we didn’t have so many coming in illegally.

No. Bureaucracy and bloated government is ruining the the legal immigration system. Illegal immigration was not a big issue before the 1980’s, and started on a large scale roughly 10 to 15 years earlier.

Since 1965, the Hart-Cellar Act (lifted country-of-origin quotas), the Immigration Act of 1990 (increased the total quota by 40 percent), and 7 amnesty bills have been passed by Congress, all of which made it easier to enter this country legally.

You may ask, “Since all of this stuff was done to make it so much easier to get here, why the hell did everyone start coming illegally?” This is because, in the same time period, the government bureaucracy that processes immigrants has exploded. The amount of regulations, red tape, and paperwork has drastically increased. The cost to immigrate legally has sky-rocketed, and the backlog for legal immigration is humongous. Who is really to blame?

These people are coming here to do something about their third-world shithole situations (likely caused by too much government intrusion in their lives and their economies). I don’t blame them. They likely don’t want to have to go back into those shitholes until they are ready, if at all. If it was easy to come here legally, why the hell would they take the deportation/criminal risks associated with coming here illegally?

Don’t worry, though. After the assclowns who are currently running the country achieve all their goals, illegal immigration will be a bigger problem for Mexico and Canada than the US.

Posted by on 04/24/10 at 11:02 PM from United States

We could easily let more people in legally if we didn’t have so many coming in illegally.

And if you want to get less technical about it....

The illegal immigrants make it a whole shitload easier to let people in legally because they bypass/lighten the load of the obese bureaucracy that lets people in legally.

Posted by on 04/25/10 at 09:43 AM from United States

1) Your children are not citizens.  Being born here doesn’t mean shit if you aren’t citizens yourselves.

Be careful what you wish for in this area, SO. It’s taken me quite a while to come to this conclusion, and I’m still pretty uneasy about allowing anyone who is simply shat out on our soil to automatically be a citizen myself, but consider this. If the illegal immigrants’ children who are born here are not born citizens, then they are born illegal immigrants without SSN’s and without taxpayer ID’s. Unless we can find all of these children and expel them, that just means there are that many more illegals here taking advantage of services and not paying taxes. Considering the trouble we are already having finding and expelling the illegals who are already here, I don’t see much hope in the way of expelling all their additional illegal children.

If these children are born as legals and assigned SSN’s, they get the distinct honor of paying taxes on every single fucking thing they do in life, just like the rest of us. Indeed, illegals (especially hispanic illegals) are creating new taxpayers at a much higher rate than other citizens are. Millions upon millions of new people paying taxes couldn’t hurt our deficit/debt problem, as long as we limit the growth and expansion of government and spending in the mean time. If we could get rid of the leftists we have in charge right now, we might be able to spread the tax burden around a little, rather than spreading the wealth around.

Posted by on 04/25/10 at 10:57 AM from United States

Considering the trouble we are already having finding and expelling the illegals who are already here, I don’t see much hope in the way of expelling all their additional illegal children.

We have never seriously tried so we simply don’t know how muc htrouble it will be.  This step in AZ is a first swing at it.

If we really wanted to be serious about it, we would enact a monster fine for employing illeagal immigrants (say $10,000 per day per worker).  After a few showcase prosecutions (including a nanny employer or two) then no one would want to hire them-problem solved.

Posted by Miguelito on 04/25/10 at 11:22 AM from United States

If we really wanted to be serious about it, we would enact a monster fine for employing illeagal immigrants (say $10,000 per day per worker).  After a few showcase prosecutions (including a nanny employer or two) then no one would want to hire them-problem solved.

Exactly.

The thing I keep thinking about this whole issue is that if the federal gov’t would just enforce the damn laws we already have on the books, then none of this would be a big issue.

Posted by on 04/25/10 at 01:08 PM from United States

We have never seriously tried so we simply don’t know how muc htrouble it will be. We have never seriously tried so we simply don’t know how muc htrouble it will be.  This step in AZ is a first swing at it.

Agreed. However, federal laws are already on the books, and it’s not getting done. Getting the agencies who are supposed to actually enforce these laws to start enforcing them is exactly the trouble I’m talking about. If an administration decided to actually start enforcing them, it wouldn’t be hard to find most of the illegals. Hell, they could offer a $100 reward for the location of illegals and they would be turning each other in, but if you listen to Congress and the past few administrations, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell of this happening anytime soon at the federal level.

If we really wanted to be serious about it, we would enact a monster fine for employing illeagal immigrants (say $10,000 per day per worker).  After a few showcase prosecutions (including a nanny employer or two) then no one would want to hire them-problem solved.

I don’t think monster fines are even necessary to stop employers from illegally employing illegal aliens. While the current fines are pretty low--$100 to $1000 per illegal--it’s the possible prison time already in the law that, if enforced, would be very convincing. If we catch Nanci Pelosi hiring (non-union, of course) illegals to do housekeeping in her hotels, we should send her ass to jail a year for each illegal, like the CFR already says we can. I think that would put a stop to the nonsense.

Posted by on 04/25/10 at 05:15 PM from United States

The other effect that no one ever seems to want to discuss is that illeagal immigration makes poor Americans poorer while making middle class and wealthy American richer.

Illeagals overwhlemingly work i low wage low skill jobs.  Increase the labor pool and you decrease the wages.  This also increases welfare and public assistance costs as well. 

We middle class and up people get the benefit of cheaper labor costs-whether we hire illeagals or not.

Posted by on 04/25/10 at 05:48 PM from United States

I think illegal immigration is one item where I can’t agree with the libertarian view completely. There should be rules for coming into this country, there are, and for new comers, the last thing they should be doing for their first act is breaking the law. While I think the current system certainly needs to be altered because it’s over bureaucratic and ridiculous like most government systems, there is no reason why someone should be able to blatantly break the law and roam here with very little consequence. Not a damn one of us would be able to break a law just on the fact that we think it’s stupid, so no one else, especially those that aren’t even under legal residence should get that luxury. It’s an insult to those who attempt to enter here the right way, and for illegals from the south, those that live right on the border are powerless to keep trespassers from going right across their property, and have to foot the bill for the damage.

Posted by on 04/25/10 at 06:01 PM from United States

In 1953 Eisenhower enforced the immigration laws that were already on the books. History tells us that there was a mass exodus across the southern border for two years.He did because then, as now, they were a burden on the infrastructure. This was also a time of great economic growth in the US. It seems we did just fine without artificially low illegal wages being paid.So that argument would seem to be moot.
Now if you were to be realistic,do you think the left’s push for this version of amnesty to be anything but political ammunition for November?Yanno more votes and more vote fraud.

I see that many of the folks apposed to the Arizona law are the same whiny little douches that two years ago wanted to teach the GOP a lesson by either voting for Caligula or not voting at all. Tell me how’s that workin’ out for you?
The real question may be- are you a “useful idiot” or a “closet socialist”? Neither of which used to be libertarian principles.

Posted by HARLEY on 04/25/10 at 09:03 PM from United States

Moving the boarder south to Guatemala would solve a lot of problems.

Posted by on 04/25/10 at 10:04 PM from Germany

Most people pay an illegal to to do their yard work.  I pay a white guy with an all legal crew - the cost is the same, but I actually get more for my money as he has the needed licenses and permits to do more than just drop off two or three Mexican guys with a cheap-ass lawn mower and an edger for 20 minutes.

He’s also bonded - which your typical illegal is incapable of doing.  Don’t kid yourself into thinking that these people are doing work that nobody else will do, it’s just not true.

Posted by Miguelito on 04/26/10 at 10:43 AM from United States

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that these people are doing work that nobody else will do, it’s just not true.

Yeah, I’ve never bought that argument.  With all the unemployed we have, it’s just a load of crap.  If you change it along the lines of “at repressed, and often below minimum wage levels” then it might make sense for some of them.

Not to mention illegals flooding the low end have hurt teens getting a first job a lot.  Even George Lopez started joking about fast food places being mostly staffed by people that can barely (if at all) speak english several years ago.  That used to be the major place for most teens to get a first job, now most can’t.  Of course, it doesn’t help that so many teens are lazy bastards anymore.

Posted by on 04/26/10 at 01:56 PM from United States

Even George Lopez started joking about fast food places being mostly staffed by people that can barely (if at all) speak english several years ago.

The only high school kids they hire any longer tend to by the one manning the drive-thru windows.  The kitchen line is typically Hispanic, particularly at Taco Bell (which doesn’t actually serve Mexican food).

When I was a kid fast food was pretty much 90% of the job market for teens.  Now they just get a bigger allowance from their parents.

Posted by Miguelito on 04/27/10 at 08:07 PM from United States

I’m enjoying seeing people that are all for Obama/Pelosi/Reid-care, which took away some of our individual rights.. are going ape-shit over the law in AZ because it might lead to profiling or (dun dun dun) violet someone’s “civil rights” (how exactly is asking to see ID against civil rights?).

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If the fed’l gov’t was just enforcing the laws on the books regarding immigration, then none of this would even likely be an issue.  But let’s keep burying our heads in the sand.

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