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Immigration: Enforce the Law the way we used to - Ann Anger

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  • Immigration: Enforce the Law the way we used to - Ann Anger

    We don't have an illegal immigration problem, we have an illegal employment problem and southern neighbors that are not great places to live for millions of people

    by Ann Anger

    I hear people are upset about immigrants today. Without them, who'd mow my lawn, paint my house or pour hot tar onto my roof in 110 degree heat? While my family's inside, asses on the couch in the air conditioned living room watching Survivor re-runs on CBS? My roly-poly kids aren't going to do it. They'd have heart attacks, they're so fat and un-athletic from playing Top Spin 2 on their XBox. That's a sports game. There's irony there.

    Most immigrants are not fat. They're too busy working their butts off doing things a lot of U.S. citizens either don't want to do or won't do for the wages these immigrants are happy to get. Jobs, wages and living conditions are better here than the place they came from. That's good. That means the U.S.A. is still a better place to live than a lot of places in the world. We have problems here, no doubt about it, but as long as more people are trying to get into the U.S.A. than get out, we're doing okay.

    Today immigrants aren't coming here first class on Virgin Airlines. We 're talking about spending millions to build walls and send troops to keep people from risking their lives to come here in the back of a tractor-trailer or walking through the desert or floating on a raft made out of inner-tubes across the ocean. People die trying. When's the last time you almost died trying to do something? Anyone trying that hard is either desperate to get away from something or desperate to get to something or both. Figure out why they're leaving the place they're leaving, why they're coming here and who they are and you're on your way to solving the "problem," if there even is one.

    Anyone who gets down on the U.S.A. needs to take a drive around the slums around Sao Paulo, Brazil. A lot of immigrants here that are supposed to be a "problem" are coming from there through Mexico, another lousy place to live for a lot of people. As long as there are plenty of terrible Get Away From places to live, with corrupt governments that repress their people and keep them in poverty and threaten them with jail or violence, and as long as the U.S.A. stays a relatively better place to Get Away To, we're going to have to deal with immigration. It's a good problem to have.

    The U.S. isn't the only Get Away To destination for people fleeing violence, poverty and corruption. There are plenty of people trying to immigrate to Europe and some of the booming economies in Asia. Most of these countries were once terrible places to live at one time or another, too. That's how the U.S. picked up waves of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, Russia, China, Vietnam and dozens of countries over the past few centuries. Most of these countries are like the U.S. now, Get Away To destinations for immigrants escaping Get Away From sh*t-hole countries. Good thing for the U.S., these countries have more restrictive immigration policies than the U.S. or else we'd see more competition for immigrants to tar the roof for $6 an hour in the summer heat. These other Get Away To destinations are suffering for it, especially Japan, with its aging population. Who's going to pay the income taxes to fund welfare programs for old, retired Japanese in twenty years? The U.S. could have a real economic problem if all these Get Away From countries improve so much no one wants to leave to come here anymore. We should be "worrying" about that.

    Second and third generation immigrants always complain that the latest wave of immigrants is inferior in some way to the previous one, aren't as well educated, criminals and so on. Well, neither were a lot of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents. How does it go on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty?

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

    Immigrants are rarely the cream of the crop when they come here, but the U.S. has always been a place where the cream can rise to the top if they work hard and get an education, including learning the language. It's a huge disservice to not teach immigrants English in U.S. schools. How are they ever going to get good paying jobs? Stupid.

    What do these immigrants want? To cook, rake leaves, build houses. The kind of things our parents or grandparents used to do. The next generation will be doctors, bio-chemists and nano-technologists. That's how it's always been.

    Immigrants built this country and always will, I hope. There are times the previous generation of immigrants gets pissed off about the new wave of immigrants. That happens during bad times when competition for jobs at the lower end of the wage scale is tough. For example, look at this chart. There were a string of three nasty depressions toward the end of the 1800s.

    So what happened? They didn't have TV or Lou Dobbs in those days to rally a political movement to make the immigration laws more restrictive. But voters elected politicians to change the laws.

    This from the Ellis Island web site: "A more comprehensive immigration law had been passed in the spring of 1891. In addition to the previously established categories of "undesirables," inspectors now also screened for polygamists, people with prison records for crimes involving "moral turpitude," and all "persons suffering from a loathsome or contagious disease." The Contract Labor Law of 1885 was stiffened to exclude immigrants who were entering the country at the encouragement of American employers; it was even illegal for American employers to advertise."

    Notice how the laws went after the employers. Jobs are the honey pot for immigrants.

    At the time, a lot of Germans were trying to get out of Dodge and get into the U.S. They couldn't get in through Ellis Island so they had to go all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and come in through Texas. You have a big German community in Texas to this day.

    Are times tough today for low wage earners? You bet. shows the wage growth trend and it's not pretty.

    This is the Frog in the Frying Pan chart. Long term pain, over 20 years. The trigger for the current political backlash against immigration is two things.

    One is the decline in real wages for lower and middle income families as shown in the chart above. The second factor is that the cost of living keeps going up, as this chart below shows.

    That's what's causing the immigration "problem" today. Without these income and expense pressures on middle and lower income families today, Lou Dobbs' audience would vanish.

    What does everyone focus their anger on? The illegal immigrants, the ones living in the U.S. without going through the process to become citizens. Previous waves of immigrants, our parents and grandparents, came on boats and entered the country legally. Just like today's, they came here under terrible circumstances. Fascism in Europe. Famines in Irland. Wars in Russia. But everyone who escaped to the U.S. then went through the legal process to become citizens.

    What's it take to become a U.S. citizen? Below are a few sample questions from the U.S. Citizenship Test:

    1. How many stars are there in our flag?
    2. What color are the stars on our flag?
    3. What do the stars on the flag mean?
    4. How many stripes are there in the flag?
    5. What date is the Day of Independence?
    6. Independence from whom?
    7. What country did we fight during the revolutionary war?
    8. Who was the first president of the United States?
    9. What do we call a change of the constitution?

    That's just starters. How many readers who were born here can answer all the questions on the U.S. Citizenship Test? I bet my kids can't.

    Mostly everyone's up in arms about the immigrants from Mexico or those who came through Mexico from other South American and Central American countries. They did not enter the country legally and are here illegally. Why not just throw them out? Because while immigrants are putting added pressure on lower and middle income families, businesses, especially in the construction industry, benefit. Workers willing to work for below minimum wage are good for the bottom line.

    Want to end the so-called "immigration problem"? Enforce the immigration laws. Raid the employers. Take away the jobs. Illegal immigration will end overnight. Who's going to risk their life to come here for nothing? It'd be like hitting a light switch.

    We don't have an illegal immigrant problem, we have an illegal employment problem.

    So here's the whole picture. We need immigrants for the same reason we always have, to bring in fresh blood to keep the country vibrant and competitive, and to pay our Social Security with their income taxes when we're old. It'll be a sad day when the U.S. becomes like some European country that turns away the very people who are the foundations of the economy and the nation's future.

    We need immigrants, but we also need to be a nation of laws.

    We have middle and lower income wage earners pushing one way and business interests pushing the other on these millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. What's the right balance?

    Ann's Solutions:

    1. Enforce the law. Raid the employers who break the law. End illegal employment.
    2. Change the laws so the U.S. continues to get the best (most motivated!) immigrants to build the country, as in the past.
    3. Turn Mexico from a Get Away From country to a Get Away To destination. Stop sucking up to Mexico's corrupt leaders that keep their masses in poverty. Create incentives for Mexico's leaders to make Mexico a better place to live so fewer people are trying to escape from it.
    4. Make every U.S. citizen take the U.S. Citizenship Test. Every citizen of the U.S. who complains about immigrants who can't pass the U.S. Citizenship Test gets sent packing. That makes room for the tired, the poor,the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, who can pass the test.

    Just kidding about the last one. I'd miss my kids.

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    Last edited by FRED; 06-25-06, 12:53 PM.

  • #2
    Government Services-Immigrants in 1800s and Today

    One thing you didn't touch on is the expansion of Government services to care for Illegal Immigrants today. In the late 1880's the Government Services provided to US Citizens or Immigrants was non-existent compared with today. Schools systems have used Illegal Immigration as an excuse to expand their Empire (increasing staff and buildings to educate Illegal Immigrants). Government bureacrats are happy to have more customers for what-ever Government service there department offers (education, medical, food stamps).
    The added Tax burden (in the form of Increase property taxes) and the increase cost of medical services to cover those who go to the E-R w/o medical insurance - erode the income for the low-middle income citizen.

    There is an incentive for the Government employee and elected official to look the other way and happily service a non-US citizen. The more funding and employees your department has the less likely the service will be discontinued.
    Although, hunting down all the business owners would be a great start - there are a alot of government employees and elected officials who should be fined or jailed for failing to perform fiduciary role.
    No one ever attempts the analysis of Economic benefit LESS the economic cost to all US Citizens.


    • #3
      Immigrants have been net contributors to the taxes/welfare ratios

      Overall, the NRC/NAS study’s main conclusion is that on average, an additional immigrant generated a positive net contribution to the country of roughly $1,800. Additional studies confirm these findings. The Urban Insitute found that on the national level, immigrants paid $70.3 billion in taxes per year and received $42.9 billion in services.

      According to a 1998 study conducted by the National Immigration Forum and the Cato Institute, “in their first low-earning years in the U.S., immigrants typically are net drains on the public coffers, but over time – usually after 10 to 15 years in the U.S. – they turn into net contributors.” This study determined that immigrant households and businesses provide $162 billion per year in tax revenue to federal, state and local governments. Immigrants clearly pay more in local, state and federal taxes than they receive in most public services.

      Above from

      (This is no different from Nativeborn Citizens, who are net drains to the taxpayers until they acheive a high liquidity!) Sort of like saying the poor are a drain to the economy! In general, immigrants do not rely as much as nativeborn cirtizens upon the welfare system, because the hurdles are far higher for them (immigrants,) than for citizens.
      Last edited by Rajiv; 06-23-06, 07:10 PM.


      • #4
        More up to date information...2005

        The states in Western and Central US States are being swamped by the economic benefit of illegal Immigration.

        Here is an exerpt from the article:
        "In Colorado, in 2005, 70 percent of illegal immigrants did not have health insurance, according to the Center for Immigration Studies, a nonprofit research organization which advocates controlling immigration. In addition, 18 percent of households headed by illegal immigrants had someone in the household who used a major welfare program, including food assistance or Medicaid, the CIS reported.

        State-level immigration reforms have had trouble from the beginning. In 1994, Californians passed Proposition 187, the first state ballot initiative to deny social services to illegal immigrants. The measure languished in the courts, costing the state a bundle in legal fees before a US District Court declared it unconstitutional in 1997 because it was considered too broad and trampled on federal jurisdiction."

        No Medical Insurance and 1 or 2 Kids in the Local school system (schooling cost $5000-$9000 per child). The economic benefit of an low illegal immigrant is looking like an uphill battle.
        So, one of us or both of us are getting our facts from a partisan source....but, that's the trouble with statistics... the source often dictates the results...

        My earlier posting is just what I observe from my understanding about economics and our tax system. Please understand that I have worked for a number of very talented legal immigrants who's ingenuity allowed me to make money and that I enjoyed working for. The number of us company's created my well educated and talented legal immigrants is huge. But, the immigration of low-no skilled workers/who often have no financial support network is the problem.


        • #5
          Sources of the studies

          The first part was from the National Academy of Sciences/ National Research Council, the Urban Institute, and the second was from the Cato Institute, which is a libertarian source. So I figured that there should at least be some semblence of objectivity.

          However, newspaper reports these days, are far from objective pieces of writing, and tend to be more colored by the reporter, or rather, editorial staff bias. Infact, a Financial Times reporter once told me that if he wrote what he truly observed, he would be fired -- and stated "I have a family and mortgage."


          • #6
            Piling on

            Good article, Ann. You hit it dead on by stating that we need to go after employers...hard. I would further that by suggesting that there be heavy fines for the employer (enough to cover the cost of the enforcement) as well as a sliding scale of fines that make a large dis-incentive for employers to risk hiring illegals. There should also be deportation of the illegal person(s) and the employer fine should cover that expense as well. Also, the repeated practice of hiring illegals should lead to fines not only for the employer in general, but also liability for individual members of the management chain in the company.

            However, in terms of the whole practice and policy of immigration, as a nation, we need to strongly assert that we (the citizens and governement of the United States) decide who to allow this country. Our immigration policy should not be decided in Mexico City or by hordes of persons streaming across the border. It should be decided by us through policy. If we as a nation want 10,000 people a day to enter this country, than so be it; let the lawmakers put that into law. However, we all should not turn our backs on the problem and allow anybody who feels like it to enter our country and stay forever just because our lawmakers and other officials are afraid to enforce the current laws.


            • #7
              Thanks for the really insightful article!
              Your point about the need for new blood, as productive contributors to the economy and as consumers, really struck home, especially in light of the upcoming Baby Boomer retirement.
              I had wondered why this question would become important at this time, given the relatively low level of unemployment, and was inclined to think it might be political. However, now I think it may be also related to stimulation of domestic consumption (without the need for debt!). I think there's been a threat of deflationary pressures in the economy.
              Interestingly, this article indicates economic healing from the 1897 depression due to immigration:
              About 1897, after five years of struggle, deflation eased. Prices in America started to rise again and the economy recovered. But not, historians say, because of the wizards in Washington. Gold was still the monetary standard. Among the forces that healed the economy: a steady flow of immigration to the US which created a new, cheaper labor force and a vast new pool of consumers. But even though the American economy righted itself by the turn of the 20th century, it was still vulnerable. Prices were falling again just seven years later.
              Link: http://news.minnesota.publicradio.or...hs_depression/


              • #8

                The accountability angle right on. Not just small fines but the cost of enforcement.

                Everyone talks about the Greenspan Put but what about the Congressional Put? Lousy immigration policy and enforcement is one symptom of it. As long as they can just print more money to cover any blunder, they can get away with it. If they had to raise taxes to pay for all this waste, everyone would go nuts, throw these guys out. Instead they tax by inflation and then lie about the inflation. What a racket. As long as the Treasury Dept. issues the bonds and China/Japan/UK pay the bills, taxpayers have no leverage. Every kind of stupid decision that costs taxpayers money needs to hit congressmen in their pocketbooks just like the rest of us. Then who'd want to be one? Hah!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ann
                  The accountability angle right on. Not just small fines but the cost of enforcement.

                  Everyone talks about the Greenspan Put but what about the Congressional Put? Lousy immigration policy and enforcement is one symptom of it. As long as they can just print more money to cover any blunder, they can get away with it. If they had to raise taxes to pay for all this waste, everyone would go nuts, throw these guys out. Instead they tax by inflation and then lie about the inflation. What a racket. As long as the Treasury Dept. issues the bonds and China/Japan/UK pay the bills, taxpayers have no leverage. Every kind of stupid decision that costs taxpayers money needs to hit congressmen in their pocketbooks just like the rest of us. Then who'd want to be one? Hah!
                  Everyone can bitch and moan til the cows come home, and it is not going to change the rotten mess that politics has become.

                  Desirous politicians are driven by egomania and if elected then by greed and egomania. The rules that they created for benefits for themselves are better than for the majority who elected them. Ultimately politicians are interested in ONLY two things: their own well being, and getting reelected.

                  Politics is the sorriest state of affairs that is probably not in the lifetime of whoever is the youngest person that visits iTulip going to change. My answer is DO NOT participate in the political process. It is a waste of time, unless you individually are seeking favor from whomever you elect-- in which case, such further adds to the corrupt nature of politics.
                  Jim 69 y/o

                  "...Texans...the lowest form of white man there is." Robert Duvall, as Al Sieber, in "Geronimo." (see "Location" for examples.)

                  Dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a chance for a healthy productive life. B&M Gates Fdn.

                  Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement. Unknown.


                  • #10
                    Ann ANGER

                    Your article is a good perspective. Is Anger, real or a nom de plume?
                    Jim 69 y/o

                    "...Texans...the lowest form of white man there is." Robert Duvall, as Al Sieber, in "Geronimo." (see "Location" for examples.)

                    Dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a chance for a healthy productive life. B&M Gates Fdn.

                    Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement. Unknown.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jim Nickerson
                      Your article is a good perspective. Is Anger, real or a nom de plume?
                      Not my real name. Got a day job :eek:


                      • #12
                        Great points.

                        A few things I'd like to add...

                        I think the recent announcements regarding border security are nothing more than this administration's finding the next opportunity to spend like drunken sailors, with enough public support to not look like crooks. Rove and Cheney are brilliant at making the public at large feel good and patriotic about getting their pockets picked.

                        I cringe everytime I hear someone say we should "round up all the illegals and send them home", and I hear it a lot. I truly don't think anyone realizes the impact that it will have on the economy. Even the illegals that are working under the table still contribute to the economy by spending the majority of their earnings here. They are even buying houses. On the other side we "benefit" from lower prices enabled by cheap labor.

                        I agree that ending "illegal employment" is the right goal. We should also be honest that illegal employment it is not solely an illegal immigrant problem. We have plenty of citizens that are getting paid under the table, and still getting the full benefit of government services.


                        • #13
                          Have to add this email letter to the thread...

                          "Loved it! Of course, it states what should be obvious, yet isn't to many. In a way, I'd love to see an enforcement of labor laws, for the same reason I'd love to see a draft. Nothing would pull us out of Iraq faster than a proposed draft ("No way in hell is MY kid getting shot at! That's for other people's kids.") But then with illegal immigrants if we impose the same principle and get rid of them all, then maybe when we're paying five bucks for a head of lettuce we'll figure out why we need them.

                          "One thing: not all Mexicans are immigrants. My family has been in Laredo, Texas for 200 years. We were there when it was part of Spain, then Mexico, then the Republic of Texas, then the U.S. We never crossed the border--it crossed us."


                          • #14
                            Illegals - the inflation fighting Super heroes

                            Too bad more voters don't get that the Politicians are happy to have the illegals here to reduce price inflation of many services and food items; illegals are the ultimate inflation fighting Super Heroes of the United States.

                            If we could only start using more illegals for Government Union Jobs - this would greatly reduce the pressure on Property Taxes, reduce the need for States and Cities to issue bonds to pay their bills, and you might then get the attention of the Politicians. ;-)
                            Crazy world where the same Politicians who want more low skilled labor to be imported into the US - also want to raise the minimum wage.


                            • #15
                              why has immigration become an issue?

                              round the world, xenophobia gets stirred up by right wing politicians whenever there is economic stress. malays get stirred up against ethnic chinese, chinese against japanese, hindus against moslems [and vice versa], serbs against bosnians, germans against turks, brits against pakistanis and jamaicans, the french against "polish plumbers." the whole jihad movement is more of the same - failed polities producing reactionary revolutionaries with their own brand of ethnic cleansing.

                              i forget how immigration got pumped up lately. [every once in a while immigration becomes an issue.] if times get worse i expect we'll be hearing more about immigration for some time to come.