On Amnesty & Immigration

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

President Obama has granted a blanket amnesty to millions of people who have crossed our borders illegally. Ted Cruz says that Obama has made it easier for people to come to our country illegally than legally.

While the flood of illegal immigrants is small compared to the number of people coming to our shores 100 years ago, especially as a percentage of the American population, the porous border is a huge problem that must be addressed.

Most, but by no means all, legal immigrants are a positive force for our country. They work hard, pay taxes, and follow our laws. They strive for a good education for their kids, and don’t expect handouts. Most of them.

New Citizens

But a significant number of those who have come to our shores legally are anything but model citizens. They don’t work, unless you count working the system. They’re content to let their kids continue the dole mentality, to be victims in their own eyes, to be racist and even hostile to America’s ideals.

And these are among those we’ve allowed in legally. So, what about the illegal millions?

I knew one many years ago named Jesse Padilla, who was a former bodyguard for Marcos in the Philippines. If he went back home, he was a dead man. Jesse was a hard worker, smart, and loyal. He was the kind of guy who I’d be proud to call a fellow American.

It seems likely to me that many of the illegals just granted amnesty also would make good Americans, and many (most?) could be called the scum of the earth. There probably is a broad array of types among the formerly illegals, just as there are among the legal immigrants. I don’t know.

I don’t hate them – I don’t even know them. But I expect some are the kind of people who would make good Americans, and some aren’t. So, a blanket amnesty, to me, is so wrong that it’s damaging to our country, and to me that makes it Treason.

Treason

Some people may hate all of them automatically, so let’s look at some of their arguments.

  • They carry diseases.” Yes, likely many of them do, so at the least, anyone crossing our border ought to have a basic infectious disease check. With the Ebola threat in Africa, we ought to reject anyone who has traveled from or through Sierra Leone or the other outbreak infested regions.
  • They crowd in and live 12 to a room.” Yes, many of them are dirt poor. When you’re poor – and don’t look for a handout – you live in lousy conditions while you have to, while you’re establishing yourself, while you’re trying to become self-sufficient. They’re just poor, they aren’t evil.
  • They go on Welfare and use a lot of services that taxpayers have paid for.” That’s our fault, not theirs. If we let them go on Welfare or Food Stamps or Section 8 housing, that’s us being stupid. Many of us would like to do away with these programs altogether, but so long as these programs exist, only Americans should be eligible. If the benefits are not available, many won’t come here.
  • They don’t pay taxes.” This is not completely true. For those who find jobs, like my friend Jesse, they do pay income taxes, and FICA. They also pay sales taxes, and as part of their rent, they pay property taxes. I expect that many people paying into Social Security will never apply for benefits for fear of being found out to be here illegally.
  • They take jobs away from Americans.” On the surface, this looks true. But if you dig deeper, you find that new jobs are created to provide for the wants & needs that their salaries now can afford. Many jobs have left our borders because labor is cheaper in China, Vietnam, India, and elsewhere in the developing countries of the world. If the new arrivals are willing to work for less, then some domestic producers will be in a better position to compete internationally, and that means more jobs in our country. And it means exporting fewer jobs.
  • They already have broken the law by crossing the border illegally.” Yes, and there should be a penalty for breaking the law. But there are other penalties available than just deportation. Let’s decide: Undesirable? Gone. On Welfare, Food Stamps,etc? Gone. Hard working? Pay a fine or do community service.

Scales of Justice

There a numerous other objections which can be raised, but I think the point has been made already: a blanket amnesty is a bad idea, but a blanket “get ’em all outta here” isn’t any better.

So, what would I do differently?

  • First, I’d seal up the borders. We need to be able to say who can come here and who cannot.
  • Second, I’d outlaw the practice of allowing illegal aliens to go on Welfare, Food Stamps, or Section 8 Housing programs. If you’re an American, working as a bureaucrat in a government agency, and you knowingly give benefits illegally, then you lose your job and go to jail.
  • Third, I’d overhaul our immigration system. We need to decide what kind of person we want in our country and what kind of person to keep out. Welfare mentality? Keep out. Criminal? Keep out. Diseased? Keep out. America hater? Keep out. Ambitious? We want you. Educated or wanting to be? We want you. Happy to be an American? We want you.
  • Fourth, on a case by case basis, review every single illegal immigrant, and decide what kind of penalty for breaking our border laws is appropriate. Do you deserve to be deported? Bye! Might you be a net benefit to our country and all Americans? Pay a penalty, but here’s a long road to becoming an American yourself. If we’d let them in legally, then let them “suffer the full benefits” of American citizenship – eventually.
  • Fifth, end the quotas. Those who look only at our metropolitan areas don’t realize just how big our country is, how sparsely populated the US is. Those who think there aren’t enough resources to share have given in to the Green, Club of Rome, We’re all Doomed mentality. The world, especially the US is NOT running out of food, is not running out of energy, is not running out of iron and other resources. Human ingenuity, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship can provide riches for all (if we can get the elected and non-elected bureaucrats out of the way).

As a start, we need to recognize that current policy is NOT OK. Then we figure out whet policy ought to be. Let’s stop with the irrational, knee-jerk reactions on both sides – amnesty vs deport them all – and figure out what’s best for our country.

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