Recently we were sent an email dealing with illegal immigration. This email dealt with a cost analysis of legal workers vs illegal workers. It was compelling emotionally, but we feel that it missed the mark in some respects. What the article failed to mention was that legal and illegal workers are both working hard to support themselves and their families. It neglected to mention what the solution should be to remove this issue from the political landscape.
From an illegal alien standpoint, each individual crosses the border for a better life. This is not always possible, and they may have traded a horrible life for a life of indentured servitude possibly even slavery. Due to the nature of being illegal, the individual is relegated to lines of work that lend themselves to cash payments. These tend to be in the construction, industrial or service industries. The jobs themselves are often low skill, requiring the barest of ability. Hard work to be sure, but really only the lowest blue collar and never white collar work. The illegal has relegated themselves to this life forever. They will never be able to move up lest they be found out. The illegals only hope is that their children be born in the US and be given the opportunity to improve themselves and all future generations.
The debate of illegal aliens misses the mark in one key area. Our economy at this date appears to be significantly less robust than it has been in the past. Yet, the desire for immigrants to come here has not diminished (both legal and illegal). Understanding this concept should put into perspective how awful it must be to live elsewhere in the world. These illegals are willing to perform back breaking work for low wages with no chance of status improvement because it is better than where they were before. Think about that and determine if you would be willing to do the same.
No discussion of illegal immigration should ever exclude the one aspect that many gloss over. There is a legal way to enter a country and an illegal way. Choosing the legal way takes time and offers no guarantees. The illegal way caries risks of its own, but is often faster but limits the upward mobility. Illegal is illegal. We are a nation of laws (regardless of your agreement with all of them), and as such we are ALL required to follow the law. We can't selectively enforce the laws. We either enforce them all, or we enforce none of them. There can be no middle ground. IF a law is wrong, change it. We don't enforce the laws we have on hand and don't make the penalties enough of a deterrent to stopping the process.
From an employer perspective, penalties need to be restrictive enough to reduce the desire to break the law. Make no mistake that a company of a certain size could easily have some illegals working for it. When you have a large percentage of your work force with false documents then as a company you have made very little effort to abide by the law and in fact have tried to circumvent the laws. This occurs to save money. The company pays less to an illegal and saves money to keep their product or service at a lower cost compared to the competition and/or increases their profits. To make any meaningful change in illegal immigration, employers need to be held accountable. One proposal is to fine the companies in question a multiple of the salary they would have paid to a legal employee. That is to say that if you were to pay a legal employee $25,000.00 per year then you would be required to pay a fine equal to 5 times that amount or $125,000 for each illegal worker. At this rate, it becomes prohibitively expensive if a company gets caught. This will not stop all employers, but with this fine amount there is no way any employer can continue to function employing illegals.
By removing employment opportunities you will naturally reduce the number of illegals who cross the border since jobs will be harder to obtain and keep. No job equates to no money for the illegal and none to send home. The fined money could be used to strengthen the border through additional border agents and other control measures. For those already here illegally, the solution is simple but painful. Since we are a nation of laws, you are bound to be judged by those laws. You arrived illegally and will be required to return to your country of origin. As with any foreign felon, you will have a very limited opportunity to return. Your children (if citizens) have the option to remain, but you cannot stay to care for them. They will be placed in the foster care system until they reach the age of 18. This is the hard truth of breaking the law. This country has been soft on this topic for decades and therefore the problem continues and has increased. To stop the flow of money and resources from law-abiding taxpayers to take care of those law-breaking non-taxpayers, things have to change.
There is no solution that will make everyone happy. You would not think twice about a bank robber going to prison, but many feel sympathy for illegals immigrants (law-breakers) because the scope of the crime doesn't seem all that awful. We don't take this stance lightly, and we recognize that there will be much upheaval of lives and families. The longer we wait to make this change the more painful for a greater number of families. If you have a decaying tooth, it doesn't suddenly heal if you wait longer. It only gets worse. Does this problem need to get worse before someone in authority wakes up and realizes that there is no good solution only the best of the bad options? Encourage your elected officials to act to protect your rights as a citizen and taxpayer. Encourage them to act responsibly with the money they have removed from your paycheck. Nothing is free in this world and sooner or later we will have to pay the financial consequences of trying to avoid the pain of illegal immigration. We say start now before it is too late.