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American Borders Forum

What should American immigration and border policies be? Submit your ideas to The American Borders Forum today.
Site updates each Wednesday


Undocumented Workers in America - Real Problem or Convenient Scapegoats?: Left of Center View

Are undocumented workers a real problem or just convenient scapegoats? Yes. It is true that the current system that not just allows but rather depends on undocumented workers is not one that is viable for the long term. On the other hand, simply attempting to put a stop to the flood of undocumented workers wonít even begin to solve the problem.

Undocumented workers tend to take the jobs that nobody else wants to do, and they tend to do it for a lot less than any most others are willing to work for. This does in fact take some jobs away from citizens that are desperate for the work. It also allows some businesses that could not otherwise survive a chance to compete in both the global and local markets. But a larger issue here is not just the hiring of undocumented workers. The problem is the cost of doing business. Every faction of the government wants a piece of the action. San Francisco levies a huge tax on all its local business, this in addition to the state and federal taxes they are already required to pay. And itís not just taxes, to do business with the City by the Bay, you have to offer health care to your employees and their domestic partners, oh and minimum wage is about a dollar and a half higher than it is outside of the fog. All of these expenses are passed on to the customer to the point that all of the non-tourist based retail businesses are suffering. But is it really fair to say that undocumented workers are to blame.

In major cities like San Francisco, the local economy relies on undocumented labor. Without it the entire system would crumble. There are various barter systems in place as well, all set up to get around government regulations. However, if you crackdown on these infractions you would in essence cripple the city. Itís not just San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago; they all rely on sub-economies, many of which are powered by the labor and wages of undocumented workers. Take away the workers and you also eliminate a lot of the work as well.

Tracking, deporting and processing undocumented workers is a major industry, granted most of it is government based, but still there is a lot of money that goes towards the problem. Really kind of a Catch 22 if you think about it. We need to raise taxes for the services that undocumented workers require, but at the same time have to rely on their willingness to work for sub-legal wages to power the very economy that blames them for the problem. Round up and deport all of the undocumented workers in this country and you will still have almost all of the problems they are blamed for. So if you remove the supposed cause of a problem and the problem still remains, is it not logical to assume then that what you thought the cause of the problem was may not have been the cause at all?

Here is the sticky part: there is no easy or clear answer to this issue. Both sides are right and neither even really has a proposed plan of action to achieve its goals. Folks fighting for undocumented worker rights and folks fighting to deport them; neither has a clear and declared plan of action that actually addresses the problem. So far we have one side suggesting amnesty, which will only serve to increase the problem by encouraging more and more undocumented workers to come and enter into a system that is already overtaxed and read to burst, and the other side wants to build a fence. Which is really ironic, since for the last hundred years or so America has been in the business of tearing down walls in the name of Democracy.

Scapegoats allow for an over simplified, knee jerk response to a complex issue. So before we waste any more time and money blaming letís spend those same resources solving.


Kyle Pesonen - Staff Writer | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Next week's subject: Language in the Classroom - "English-Only" Policies

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Last Week's View from the Left:
Should There Be A Citizenship Verification Provision In The Healthcare Reform Bill?

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Undocumented Workers in America - Real Problem or Convenient Scapegoats?: Right of Center View

The real problem in this situation is not necessarily the illegal immigrants themselves but the system that allows them to damage the American job market. Our government has failed in its duty to protect our borders and work to support the American people first. In the interests of getting more money from their donors with deep pockets members of both political parties have looked the other way and watered down enforcement of immigration laws for years. Letís face it some people make a ton of money off of illegal immigration. Those people who benefit from illegal immigration have lobbyists and can afford to throw ten thousand dollar per plate political fundraising dinners for the candidates who support their agenda. The American worker just canít compete with that kind of juice so we lose in the end.

Calling illegal immigrants scapegoats is also not an accurate depiction. The problems associated with people coming into our country without documentation are real. Americans do lose jobs and families are left without food, clothing and a roof over their heads as a result. We do need to stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming into America but the answer is not trying to round up all the ones that are here. We cannot afford to undertake the effort of rounding people up. We do need to find ways to deport more illegal immigrants and keep down the number of new illegals coming into the country but trying to hunt them down to remove them would cost billions of dollars we donít have. The answer may in fact be to use passive methods to let them come to the authorities.

With minor changes to how we offer public services and utilities to people we could identify people here illegally and remove them from the country. A simple requirement of identification verification when vital services are provided would identify illegal immigrants efficiently and provide a needed tool to immigration enforcement officials in addressing a major problem facing our nation. If you had to be able to prove legal status to have the lights, phone or cable turned on or secure a place to live it would be far more difficult to function for people not legally here. The system could be set up to identify people setting up residency and/or services at multiple residences and have them questioned if it appeared they were facilitating illegal residency activities. If we made it highly difficult to function in America when here illegally fewer people would try to get here illegally.

Beyond enforcement of immigration laws there needs to be a stiffening of penalties for employing undocumented workers and paying people less than the minimum wage. We need to pass laws that make employers afraid of hiring people to work that are not here legally so that they cannot continue to damage the job market for American workers. Whenever someone does not work within the confines of established standards it weakens those standards. When those standards are determining what is an acceptable wage for workers it hurts all workers by lowering the floor for wages. Employers who employ people at below the minimum wage should be jailed and fined heavily with those fines being used to increase the unemployment benefits for the workers that their disregard for the law adversely affected.

At the end of the day undocumented workers are trying to do what they think is best for themselves and their families like any of us but their actions still negatively affect American workers and must be stopped. The problem of illegal immigration is real but the people coming into the country illegally are only part of the problem. If there was no incentive for them to come here and it was nearly impossible to function normally when here without legal status then they would not come. Those who create the incentives for them to come here are the larger problem and are who really need to be targeted in immigration enforcement efforts to solve the problem in any real way.

The Realist - Patriot at Large | E-mail Comments on this column. | Click icon to Digg this article

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Next week's subject: Language in the Classroom - "English-Only" Policies

Send in your view from the Right to be our featured Right of Center View for the week.

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Last Week's View from the Right:
Should There Be A Citizenship Verification Provision In The Healthcare Reform Bill?

Reform America Articles Archive

A Legal Immigrantís Perspective

If you are not a Native American, you are an immigrant, so am I. I came legally to this country at the age of five with my parents who worked hard, paid taxes (even Jesus paid taxes), lived by the rules of this great nation and never took or accepted a penny from the government. We came seeking FREEDOM from a communist country. It was months before we were able to enter the US legally. I remember us getting medical exams, shots (small pox), background check, references, and going through numerous interviews once we arrived. I also remembered people coming to the US from all over the world who waited years since it was based on "Quotas". Read more...

Solving Our Immigration Problem

The major problem our country is facing with illegal immigrants today is because of the exploitation of these immigrants. We believe the solution to this problem is two-fold. First, we should allow more immigrants in this country to cut down on the number of illegal ones. Second, all immigrants should be educated about their rights at the expense of the government. Below, you will find an in-depth look at our suggested reforms.

Reforms for immigration limitations:

-New immigrants can't equal more than 1% of the US population in a given year (the population being from the last recorded census). That 1% will be further divided up to allow only a certain number of immigrants each month.
-Each country of origin for immigrants will be allowed a certain percentage of that 1%. No country could receive more than 10% of the total amount and no country can receive less than .1% of it. The left over percentage will be divided up between all countries as follows: Read more...

Do Elements Within the La Raza Movement Pose a Threat to America?

La Raza means literally ďThe RaceĒ in Spanish. The movement was formed in 1968 to promote the interests of the Mexican-American community. Like the NAACP and other affirmative-action minded organizations, La Raza has many members that are interested in being part of America and promoting equality for all Americans. The fundamental goals as stated by the movement are benign and represent the ideals of American diversity and cultural pride.

There is another movement affiliated with La Raza that has historically been more militant and still maintains documents within their organization that point to isolationistic views Read More

A Plan

The one major thing that seems to be lacking in the immigration debate is a real plan that addresses the legitimate concerns with illegal immigration. There are strong opinions on both sides and a lot of rhetoric but there isnít really any solid plan being promoted to address the illegal immigration issue in a way that is both fair and logical.

So, that being said here is my idea:Read More

Trucking Cross Borders

This is mainly a concern for the trucking business. If we allow these people to come into our country, bringing cargo that we in America have, and can supply, then we are saying that the American working people are not needed, and have lost all say to legally enforced DOT (Department of Transportation) laws.Read More



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