by John Hawkins | January 13, 2004 12:01 am
There are three myths about illegal immigration that I’ve seen repeated numerous times of late during debate of Bush’s disastrous new immigration reform policy. Even some of the people who are against Bush’s reform have been accepting these myths as fact and I thought it was about time somebody set the record straight…so naturally, I decided to take up the challenge.
Myth #1) There’s no way to get rid of the 8-12 million illegal aliens who are already here so we might as well give them some sort of legal status: What a load of tommyrot that is. Getting rid of the majority of illegal aliens who are already here is actually fairly EASY.
Now, why do I say that? Because the illegals aren’t coming here to see the Grand Canyon or because they like the climate, most of them want to get WORK. So, if we get serious about enforcing the law, lay down a few massive fines or better yet, put a few flagrant violators who knowingly hire large numbers of illegals in jail, and that’s all it’ll take to get the rest of the business owners in line. If you crack down on the people who are employing the illegals, the jobs will dry up, and most illegal aliens will self-deport. That’s just common sense.
Myth #2) If we actually got rid of the illegal aliens who are here, the economy would take a major hit: I don’t buy that for a second. First off, while illegals make up 3-4% of the work force, the unemployment rate is currently 5.7%. So for every job currently held by an illegal alien, there is an out of work American who can fill it. Now some people will tell you that Americans “won’t do those jobs,” or that rising wages in those positions would cause huge price increases, but as Mark Krikorian points out…
“If the supply of foreign workers were to dry up (say, through actually enforcing the immigration law, for starters), employers would respond to this new, tighter, labor market in two ways. One, they would offer higher wages, increased benefits, and improved working conditions, so as to recruit and retain people from the remaining pool of workers. At the same time, the same employers would look for ways to eliminate some of the jobs they now are having trouble filling. The result would be a new equilibrium, with blue-collar workers making somewhat better money, but each one of those workers being more productive.
Many people fear the first part of such a response, claiming that prices for fruits and vegetables would skyrocket, fueling inflation. But since all unskilled labor — from Americans and foreigners, in all industries — accounts for such a small part of our economy, perhaps four percent of GDP, we can tighten the labor market without any fear of sparking meaningful inflation. Agricultural economist Philip Martin has pointed out that labor accounts for only about ten percent of the retail price of a head of lettuce, for instance, so even doubling the wages of pickers would have little noticeable effect on consumers.”
Even if you didn’t buy into what Krikorian is saying despite the fact that it’s little more than economics 101 in action, we could always implement the “guest worker program” in Bush’s reform and bring workers in legally. One way or the other, we can fill those positions.
On top of that, you have to consider how much money we spend dealing with crimes committed by illegals, educating kids who shouldn’t be in America to begin with, health care bills for non-citizens, and government assistance that goes to a staggering 25% of all illegal aliens.
In any case, claiming that cracking down on illegals would hurt the economy just doesn’t hold water.
Myth #3) Our borders are just too vast to be properly guarded so there’s no way we can stop illegals from pouring in. Oh please, how can anyone believe this? As Tom Tancredo pointed out in my interview with him,
“The marines did a little (exercise) just North of Idaho. One Hundred marines with three drones and two radar stations controlled 100 miles of the most rugged border you ever saw in your life. While I was there, just one week-end while I was there, they intercepted four people coming across on ATVs carrying four hundred pounds of drugs, we got a light plane trying to come in under the radar, and so it can happen. We can control our borders, we just choose not too.”
Folks, If we allot the proper amount of manpower to the job, put fences & watchtowers in certain spots, set-up radar stations, use predators, and aggressively enforce our laws, we can reduce the number of people sneaking across our borders from a flood to a trickle at worst.
Heck, if we were to implement some other common sense legal reforms like cracking down on employers who hire illegals, tossing “coyotes” who bring illegals across the border in jail for a decade or so, and making anyone caught trying to sneak across the border permanently ineligible to get a guest worker pass or to become a US citizen, we’d discourage most people from even trying to enter the country illegally in the first place. As an added bonus, we’d make life immeasurably harder for terrorists and drug runners in the process.
So don’t let anyone snow you, we have the means to effectively deal with illegal immigration — we just don’t have the will.
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