The so-called immigration debate is not substantive; once again ill informed politicians posture for their base. Immigrants, and natives all make decisions based on the rules & incentives that are in operation. We all do this in our daily life, why expect that others do not?
Businesses knowingly hire illegal immigrants because it is cheap. It is less expensive to hire illegal immigrants, and pay fines for doing so than to hire American workers. The minimal penalties associated in the past with this practice are a cost of doing business but cheaper than paying adequate wages and benefits. Punitive measures may be useful here, as overfed and complacent managers surely don’t want to have the fines come out of their personal pocket and they surely don’t want to go to prison. Right now, the managerial class suffers no punishments for their crimes.
Immigrants risk death, robbery and rape, to come to America. It seems to me that we can therefore reasonably conclude that further rhetoric about various punitive measures serves no useful purpose at this time. It simply serves politicians who wish to posture. The Left gets to talk about the heroic struggle of the idealized immigrant, and the Right gets to talk of the scary differentness of the immigrant. Meanwhile nothing changes and the basic principles are not discussed.
Do we want or need immigrants in America and how should we structure our policies to achieve our ends? I suggest immigrants should be allowed in as needed economically, on humanitarian grounds, and as we can absorb them. Any immigrants should have the prospect of American citizenship, based upon their actions in America, and a complete transfer of loyalty to America. I found it disturbing that the immigrant marchers in my town carried foreign flags, if they want to be Americans they should carry American flags. Divided loyalty is not OK.
No guest workers. The repeated failure of guest worker programs is a plain fact. Without the prospect of citizenship, there will be social unrest and corrupt means to bypass guest worker programs. Any immigrant should be allowed in if they have a job to go to. Should they not, immigrants can reside in border camps, until they have a job offer, or a specified period of time to be determined empirically. Corporations can recruit abroad if they wish, with the understanding they will pay the same wages and benefits to foreign workers as they would pay Americans.
To reduce the competitive labor cost advantage of immigrants, we need laws and policies that accomplish several things. First we have to raise wages and benefits to a minimum level wherein an American can do any given job and support themselves in doing so. Secondly, mandate that all employees regardless of other facts be paid at least that minimum livable wage and benefit package. Punitive measures should be directed at the managerial elite, who should both know better and have real choices. The measures should include jail time and personal fines. Corporate fines and Director criminal liability should apply when there is a pervasive corporate plan of illegality.
We may not be able to control the social problems that drive immigrants to flee their homeland, but we can have sensible policies at home. We can expect people to act on the rules & incentives that exist in fact. Once we allow immigrants practical rational means to enter, work, and obtain citizenship, we can then enforce punishments on others who still break the law. The law and policies as they exist now are absurd, capricious, and unenforceable. Generally speaking laws that are absurd, capricious, and unenforceable fail to accomplish their stated goal and have second order effects that include additional criminality, and corruption.
It would do us well to remember that each wave of immigration, has been accompanied by hysterical rhetoric, that we were going to be submerged under strange ethnicities and ways, that their would be a crime wave. Any American with other than Anglo-Saxon descent should think on that. We who have had the blessing of being born American, can both acknowledge that the wide open frontier is long gone, and yet allow new immigrants the chance that our own forefathers received. To do otherwise is to act out of ignorance, fear, and ingratitude.
The the corrupt Corporate/government system of ours however, follow their own rules & incentives. They have no sense or integrity and no true accountability. A choice of bozo A versus bozo B is not a real choice. That is why we need a new government.