Yesterday, close to a million illegal immigrants and their supporters took to the streets in New York, Washington, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, San Jose, Atlanta, Denver, and countless other cities to rally together to protest proposed immigration laws — Congress passed immigration reform in December that makes illegal immigration a felony and calls for building 700 miles of security fence along the US-Mexico border.
About 7.2 million illegal immigrants hold jobs in the United States, making up 4.9 percent of the overall labor force, according to a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C. To accommodate this large potential constituent base, in response to the protests, the Senate is considering a proposal that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain legal status (and eventually citizenship) by working for six years, paying a fine, undergoing a background check, and learning English.
I am not on the fence on this issue, nor do I wish to provide an unbiased report in this case: send them all home (forcibly, if necessary), build a wall, and stop them from streaming over the borders. Use the vastly overpopulated prison system to replace the lost labor (instead of letting inmates watch cable TV and pump iron at my expense).
The only impact felt personally yesterday was that the neighborhood car wash was closed in support of the rally, thereby permanently losing my custom. The car wash is an impediment to traffic and safety on the busy street corner anyway, and it is environmentally unfriendly thanks to the copious amounts of chemicals that are leaked all over the streets and sidewalks.
When you have an illiterate, undocumented work force, all sorts of abuses by employers can take place. When you allow people to violate the law — either illegal alien workers, or the employers of such aliens — they will take advantage of it, or be taken advantage of. If we must suffer through having the car wash here in the first place, send in the INS, deport the illegal immigrants, and let legal high school and college students take over scrubbing cars.
The illegal immigrant cheerleaders at a topless car wash in Los Angeles, California, have frequently complained of incidents of harrassment and bullying of employees, workers being paid only in tips, hazardous working conditions, and a lack of break time.
That’s what happens when you’re an illegal immigrant worker illegally employed by someone who thrives on exploiting illegal workers.
Not that all such workers be topless or nude, but private, indoor, law-abiding topless car washes can provide lucrative income for young women without a college degree. There’s a big difference between a monthly welfare check and the $700 to $1,500 women can earn at a topless car wash in a week. A field reporter for Columbus Alive, Melissa Starker (not pictured), said that while it wasn’t an experience she’d choose to relive, there “was something safe about the physical barrier of glass and metal between washer and client.”
Author’s note: Anyone else find it amusing that the reporter’s last name is a British slang term for being “stark naked“? I wouldn’t make this stuff up even if I could.
Others I know personally share the same sentiment; I spoke with an immigrant last week about yesterday’s pending demonstration. Yuri immigrated legally from the Ukraine; after ten years of red tape and bureaucracy, he was finally granted US citizenship. Having millions of immigrants who are breaking the law by just being here and who have the gall to protest for free amnesty, angers him — he feels it cheapens the sacrifice he gave to have these whiners jump in line in front of everyone else who is choosing to follow the legal route.
Another immigrant, this one from New Zealand, expressed the same opinions as the Ukranian mentioned above. Also, Peter felt that cracking down on employers who are hiring illegal workers is a major part of the solution to the problem. Eliminate or at least significantly reduce the number of companies willing to pay illegal workers and the issue self-resolves.
A coalition of Hispanic-American groups held a news conference to stress that the protesters did not represent all Hispanics. Retired Col. Albert F. Rodriguez, a war veteran, said he understands the contribution immigrants have made to the United States, “but the difference is that we and millions of others like us did it legally. We’re all here today to tell all those illegal protesters, ‘You do not speak for me.'”
These rallies were perfect opportunities missed by the government to round up millions of illegal immigrants and kick them out on their åssës. Nobody with a functioning brain could possibly argue that someone who breaks the law to enter the country illegally should have any legal rights here whatsoever. And nobody with any notion of social justice and integrity would support a populace that, through their organized walk-out, sends the loud and clear message, “I’m here in the United States illegally, choosing to break the law. I’m here in the United States to work and not pay taxes. I’m here in the United States to get a free education at your expense. I’m here in the United States and I expect you to pay for my medical expenses. And I’m showing my support for my fellow lawbreakers by choosing to skip work, to skip school, and encouraging others to do the same!”
In the end, my stance is simple:
- If you are a legal immigrant, welcome! Stay, contribute, assimilate.
- If you are in immigrant here illegally, you are not welcome! Go home!
- If you want to come back, do it through legal means — and I will welcome you back into the United States with open arms…
[This message was also sent electronically in part to Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Senator Barbara Boxer, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.]
It’s been said people get more conservative as they get older, and I find myself somewhat proving that by example. I still lean liberal, complete with the knee-jerkish reaction to favor the down-trodden (Or those that I, with my upper-middle-class white-boy suburban upbringing, see as down-trodden. Yes, conservatives get offended for themselves while liberals get offended for other people. But I digress.) but on this I have to agree with the conservative view (albeit with far more reason and less vile rhetoric than “conservatives” tend to use).
The basic fact that always jumps out at me whenever I hear the “immigrant debate” going on is that they are here illegally. The use of the term “illegal immigrant” has become so common for describing the whole group of folks that the use of the word illegal just tends to get overlooked. Like realizing JohnWayne’s first name is John. You just hear the word as part of the larger whole so much that people seem to forget what the word means on its own. Illegal immigrants, folks. Illegal. Say it with me: Illegal.
You want them to have a path to citizenship? There is one already. Go back where you came from and follow the existing legal procedures to move here.
You concerned that we need the labor force to do “the jobs that Americans are unwilling to take”? Get off your high its-beneath-me-to-engage-in-manual-labor horse. I’m sure there are plenty of Americans who would fill the gaps. It’s not like we’re lacking for poor citizens.
Worried that the labor costs would go up if we had to pay Americans to get their hands dirty in these jobs? Welcome to the world of capitalism. Costs may go up, goods will get more expensive, the demand for the goods would go down, decreased demand and competitive pressures would stabilize things at a new price point. Life will go on.
And maybe a generation of our citizens will grow up less likely to believe that they are entitled to have things handed to them.
Personally, I don’t think the solution is a wall. You never really win by building walls or bigger armies. You just end up spending a lot of money (which makes the whole thing rather counter productive) and don’t solve the actual problem. You need to change things so people don’t want to come here in droves. Turn the attention away from the individuals coming over the border and toward the employers who provide the incentives. If nobody provided jobs to illegal immigrants they would have no economic reason to come here. Make it very clear to employers that anyone employing an illegal immigrant will be heavily fined and sent to jail because they are breaking the law, and the flow would slow considerably. Not overnight, but once word got out that there is no more work here than in El Salvador/Mexico/Pakistan/China/wherever it would be greatly reduced.
Of course, that would mean enforcing the law on Americans and I can just imaging the hue and cry that would arise from that! “How can you prosecute hard working Americans who are trying to build a business instead of those terrible immigrant foreigners?” Uh, I don’t know. Maybe because employing them is (say it with me) illegal?
You bring up an interesting point about the availabilty of poor American citizens. I’d much rather support the California Central Valley by trucking in and housing poor African-Americans from the impoverished areas recently stricken by Hurricane Katrina than grant illegal non-Americans work permits to do the same job.
In addition to discouraging suspect employers with fines and jail time, I still want a wall. Not only will it stem the tide of illegal immigrants somewhat, it could slow the influx of illegal drugs and — who knows — might make it just a bit more difficult for nondomestic terrorists…
Interesting commentary on NPR the other day (wish I could remember who it was so I could give credit where due) basically supporting the go-after-the-employers argument.
Main point: Objections are raised to illegal immigrants because of the social costs (medical care, education, etc.) involved with their being here. But the attraction that brings them here are the jobs that provide more than they can get back home. Corporations and businesses generally support efforts to allow these immigrants to stay because it provides them cheap labor, which is to say larger profits. In short, businesses are reaping the benefits of cheap labor while the costs of providing that labor are spread throught society. Illegal immigration is a corporate subsidy.
I didn’t even need to read this whole article to realize it was crap. The “prison population” doesn’t watch cable TV or pump iron at “your expense”. Obviously you watch cable and particularly frequent OZ, because your view of the inmate population of the US is disturbingly warped. Prisoners contribute a large percentage to the production of many things you happen to use in your daily life. The lingerie your wife bought at Victoria Secret was probably made by a non-violent offender in Block B of some maximum security facility somewhere in this country. Your view on immigrants are even worse. Are you a Native American? If not, you sir are a descendant of an immigrant. No person is illegal, no person should be regarded as a problem if they are looking for a work in a another country. There are even 18 year old kids dying in Iraq only to gain citizenship after their family receives a flag in the memory. Immigrants are not stealing jobs, they don’t wait in parking lots and approach with mask and gun and ask for you to give up your job. They are being hired because the opt for less pay. If you had to do the same to provide for your family you would. This is not an issue of rights this is an issue of your blatant prejudice.
Senator John Ensign is just one of the many government officials who states that “What prisoners are doing is watching cable television, getting high on drugs, lifting weights, and learning to be better criminals.” And what pays for that? Tax dollars. My tax dollars.
Contrary to your statement, one’s legal status is not determined on whether or not “they are looking for a work in a [sic] another country”. People become illegal immigrants in three ways. The first way is by entering the country illegally; they enter without inspection and at some place other than a lawful point of entry, usually across a land border. The second way is by staying beyond the authorized period after their legal entry, as some foreign students do. And the third way is by violating the terms of their legal entry; tourists become illegal immigrants by taking jobs here.
We are plagued with illegal immigrants, and you would be a fool to state otherwise. I agree with you that this issue is not about rights. It’s about legality, and people in a country illegally should be denied the rights afforded its citizens. At least you almost got something right!
Manny, I didn’t even need to read your whole comment to realize it was cräp. But I did read it all so that (unlike you) I’d know what I was talking about and any reply I made (unlike yours) would have some basis for being an informed opinion.
Significant portions of the prison population do pump iron and watch cable TV, often because the guards find taking away the TVs makes them much harder to control.
According to the tags, most of the lingerie my wife could buy at Victoria Secret is actually (no probably about it) made in various foreign locations. (Singapore, not Sing Sing.)
“No person is illegal, no person should be regarded as a problem if they are looking for a work in a another country.” Excuse me? The law says if you sneak across the border you are here illegally. You may not like the law (and I would support your right to try to get it changed to suit you) but that is what it says. It doesn’t make allowances for someone who snuck in to get work. An argument could actually be made they those who come her illegally to work are actually stealing jobs from others (citizens and immigrants) who are here legally. Would you suggest that it isn’t illegal for me to sneak into your house and take your TV because you have a better one than I’ve been able to find in my own house?
The one other thing that Manny may have gotten right is that Victoria’s Secret has used prison labor from South Carolina to manufacture some lingerie, but I’d be willing to bet that the overall percentage is insignificant. Doesn’t that prove my point exactly, that there is a sizable, mostly unused, readily available American workforce that can be tapped? Nearly 3 out of every 100 American adults are in prison or on parole or probation. Let’s put them to good use, stop opening our borders to migrate labor, and stop outsourcing low-paying jobs off-shore.