Tackling a Handful of Immigration Myths, Misnomers and Red Herrings

There’s no topic hotter in the body politic right now than immigration.

Everywhere you turn, especially in the blogosphere, somebody has an opinion. So, since illegal immigration is the topic du jour, it seemed like a good idea to address a few of the myths, misnomers and red herrings that seem to keep popping up like a kangaroo on a hot tin roof.

We need illegals to do the jobs Americans won’t do. There is no such thing as a, “job an American won’t do.” There are only jobs some Americans won’t do at a certain price. Most illegal aliens are from poor countries and they can make much more here working for minimum wage than they can at home. Add to that the fact that as often as not, they either don’t pay taxes or pay much less than they owe. Furthermore, they generally don’t buy health care and have no auto insurance. Put it all together and it’s no surprise that an illegal will do a job for much less than an American worker.

But then when wages are driven through the floor by a flood of illegals, the employers who are hiring them announce that Americans, “won’t do those jobs.” Well, of course they won’t do them. Would you stay at your job if your employer announced that he was slashing your salary and your benefits down to the bone because there was an illegal who offered to do the same job for peanuts?

We’ve got to bring the illegal aliens “out of the shadows?” They’re in the shadows? Really? I seem to remember hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens proudly announcing that they were boycotting American businesses as they marched in the streets, made demands in Spanish, and waved foreign flags. Quite frankly, I think most Americans liked them a little better when they were still “in the shadows.”

They’re “immigrants.” This is a rhetorical trick designed to lump in unwanted visitors who’ve entered our country without permission with legal immigrants, who are welcome here. But, referring to illegal immigrants as “immigrants” is like referring to burglars as “occupants” of a house. Yes, they may be standing in the living room, but they have no right to be there and calling them “occupants” confuses the issue. People aren’t up in arms about “immigrants.” They’re up in arms about “illegal immigrants,” and trying to muddy that distinction is intellectually dishonest.

There’s just no way to secure the border without instituting a guest worker program to help slow down the flow of illegal immigrants. That’s absolutely true—if you chronically understaff the border patrol and refuse to give them the resources they need to do their jobs.

Currently, we have 12,000 border patrol agents and President Bush claims that he wants to increase that number to 18,000 by the time he leaves office. Great, that would get the border patrol up to less than half of the 39,110 police officers that are in New York City alone—except that the border patrol agents aren’t just responsible for policing a single city. They’re tasked with stopping terrorists, drug dealers, and illegal immigrants from crossing 6,000 miles of border.

If your boat springs a leak, do you (A) just give up because you can’t bail the water out fast enough with a thimble or do you (B) grab some more sailors from topside, hand them buckets, and start working to make sure your boat doesn’t sink? Most Americans would choose (B), but that’s not how we’ve dealt with the situation on our borders.

There’s no way we can round up and deport 12 million illegal aliens. Who are these people saying that we should do that? Certainly they may exist, but I can’t name one off the top-of-my-head. Can you?

What people are actually suggesting is that we crack down on the employers of illegal aliens with fines and even jail terms, so that they’ll quit hiring “undocumented workers”. Then, if the illegals can’t get jobs here, most of them will leave. After all, they came here to work. If there’s no work, there’s no reason for them to be here. That means we won’t need to round them up because most of them will self-deport.

Illegals are an essential part of the economy. Actually, no, they’re not. Illegals only make up about 5% of the work force and they generally do low skill, low income jobs. If you add up all the government services they end up using—for example: school for their kids, illegals who fill up our prisons, money paid to illegals who have children on American soil, etc., they’re actually a net drain on our economy. The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that “undocumented workers” actually cost us $10 billion a year. Incidentally, that number would triple to $30 billion if the illegals became American citizens and therefore were able to qualify for more government aid.

We want to make illegal aliens “go to the back of the line.” The back of the line isn’t in America, it’s in the illegals’ home country where large numbers of other people are filling out paperwork, paying ridiculously high fees, and checking their calendars to see how many months or years they have left before they can emigrate to the United States. No illegal who is allowed to stay in the United States can fairly be said to be at “the back of line.”

I do not support amnesty, but here’s my plan that accomplishes the same thing. The majority of illegal aliens are coming to this country for the same reasons that legal immigrants come here. They want to get jobs or become citizens. So, if they’re allowed to stay here and work or become citizens, despite the fact that they broke the law, it’s an amnesty, pure and simple.

The only reason that politicians won’t call an “amnesty” an “amnesty” is because they have such a low opinion of the American people that they believe we can be tricked with weasel words. It’s not an abortion, it’s a “choice.” We’re not raising taxes, we’re asking people to “pay their fair share.” It’s not amnesty, it’s “earned legalization.” Any way you slice it, it’s the same piece of rancid meatloaf.

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