"History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind." ~ Edward Gibbon
Are Immigrants the Problem?
Our politicians are at it again, trying to get electoral mileage from 'illegal' Immigrants. Depending on the demographics in your district, your Congressman is either howling about porous borders or harping on amnesty. From the rhetoric coming from both sides in our government, one thing is for sure: This issue will be exploited for years to come. One question looms large over all the cantankerous debates: Is immigration--legal or illegal--a problem?
The decision to uproot oneself--and in some cases one's family--from a familiar place in order to go start all over in a strange place is never an easy one. Why do people choose to immigrate? In the case of most of the folks from Central and South America making a beeline for the Rio Grande , it's due to dismal economic and living conditions where they live. Tyrannical regimes like the one headed by Fidel Castro in Cuba also put migratory pressures on people. Even fear of possible future tyranny or socialism will cause an increase in migration (see Venezuela , Brazil , and Peru ). War also causes people to look for another place to live (preferably one where bombs aren't dropping and bullets aren't flying).
Once the decision is made to immigrate, people obviously choose a place where they will be better off than where they are now. Guatemala 's congress won't be debating whether to put up a wall between Guatemala and Mexico anytime soon, nor is Guatemalan talk radio burning with anti-illegal immigrant chatter. Why? Because Mexicans have no desire to go through all the troubles and risk that immigration entails to end up in the same situation or worse (not to mention Guatemala has no Home Depots to hang out in front of). This is the same reason why most folks who migrate from New York (even those in Federal protection programs) move to Florida and not Michigan or Alaska .
Many talking heads, including Lou Dobbs (CNN's financial analyst), have come out against 'illegal' immigration. Mr. Dobbs and his compadres feel that these immigrants drive wages down and take jobs away from folks who are already here. It is probably true that immigrants make some labor markets more competitive, but is this a bad thing? Do all the displaced local workers (homies) go directly to their unemployment office, or are some 'bumped up' the employment ladder (Oye vato you got a promotion)? These new workers need supervision and training, you know. Maybe Mr. Dobbs should do a little more analyzing and a lot less talking.
A lot has been made by the anti-immigration folks about depressed US worker wages caused by illegal immigrants. This is in tune with the 'living wage' concept that intends to get folks out of poverty by paying more for doing the same crappy job they do now. So let's pay everyone who works at Taco Bell $10 an hour plus health insurance, but don't bitch when your next burrito puts you back $7.50. Rather than the minimum or living wage, why doesn't anyone propose the 'affordable' wage, which makes products and services affordable, or the 'freedom' wage, which leaves employers free to pay what they thinks is fair, while leaving workers the freedom to choose the best wage available to them? Unfortunately, this immigration debate is turning into wage warfare.
From everything that's been talked about so far you'd think that the only thing 'illegal' immigrants do is steal other people's jobs, go to public schools and hang out at 'free' government hospitals. The reality is that these immigrants also consume, therefore creating new opportunities within the economy. These expanded opportunities create new jobs and increase wealth for astute entrepreneurs, some of whom are immigrants themselves.
Yet some folks complain that these Hispanic (spics) immigrants are not assimilating; nothing could be further from the truth. The great majority of second generation Hispanics speak English as their primary language. Recently Univision Broadcasting (the US 's largest Hispanic broadcast network) has been put up for sale because current management forecast a drop in viewership, due mostly in part to a preference by second generation Hispanics for English broadcast TV (nothing to brag about). The people using the anti-assimilation arguments are probably descendants of the same folks who used that argument when the Irish (Micks), Italians (Wops), Chinese (Chinks), or Germans (Krauts) started arriving in noticeable numbers. Let's not discriminate against the Mexicans (beaners), Jews (Kikes) and forced African immigrants (Niggers) by leaving them out of the conversation.
So what is the real problem and how do we fix it? The things that made the United States of America great are not suffering because folks from all over the world are coming here. The US is being strangled by its own government (not Mexico's), The Department of Education (DOE), The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Income Tax (FU), The Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ), the Patriot Act (WTCHU), The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), The Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The Federal Reserve Board (El Fed) and (who can forget) the Department of Homeland Security (SS). These and many other bureaucracies and laws are what are violating the spirit of what was once America .
So what about the immigrants? Sure, we don't want some other country's criminals (and we don't have to accept them), but everyone else willing to work and progress should be welcomed with open arms. As Americans, we should not let ourselves be distracted by a bunch of charlatans, and concentrate on the real enemy. There is no Great Enchilada Conspiracy to take over the US , nor will the ghost of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata lead a mass invasion across the border. All we really have are a bunch of tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to hang out in front of Home Depot and maybe someday get a job at Wal-Mart or even open their own taco stand.