Just some thoughts on illegal immigration, particularly the movement of workers from Mexico and other places south of the border into the U.S. and what to do with them when they are caught — even years after being established in the U.S.
The first thought that springs to my mind is, so go ahead and let them become citizens and give them green cards or whatever they call papers for legal status these days in the interim — that is as long as they are law abiding.
We all know that employers knowingly hire illegal aliens both because they are willing to work and because they often work cheaper and are less apt to demand hire wages and better working conditions (not to say that some do not hold down fairly well-paying jobs in the terms of whatever work they might do). And I am sure that there are times when employers are fooled too. But the, oh, gee, we didn’t know, does not sound very plausible to me — especially when many do not even speak English. I’m not registering a complaint or putting anyone down — I respect people who work –but as a truck driver I often encounter and have to somehow deal with workers who speak no English. Now usually the language they do speak is Spanish. I only know some rudimentary Spanish (I took some classes in school and I study on my own from time to time for the fun of it). I have even witnessed truck drivers who do not speak English and don’t speak Spanish either. Some speak Russian or other Eastern European languages, or East Indian and other languages.
But what prompted this post was a story I just read in USA Today (I actually paid a dollar for the actual newspaper — I get most of my news nowadays off the internet or over the radio, but I find it impossible or at least cumbersome to haul my laptop around while I am doing a sit-down breakfast — I don’t even do that very often, sit down meal on the road, that is).
The story told of a woman who came here (the U.S.) illegally with her parents from Mexico years ago and still does not have legal status. Meanwhile, she has had children who are citizens because they were born here (and by the way I believe we should maintain that provision in the Constitution that gives automatic citizenship to all who are born within the boundaries of the U.S. — I just can‘t see any other way.)
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich made a hit with many, and made some hard-righters mad too, when he said he thinks it is only practical and morally right for us not to deport people who have resided here for years, have families, and have been contributing to the economy and the tax base (I’m paraphrasing what he said), have been law abiding, and often members of church congregations, and so on. He said he did not think Americans would want to deport 11 million illegal aliens (except those who had been involved in criminal activity, besides their own illegal entry). It would neither be practical nor moral.
The story in USA Today also noted that the woman was eventually arrested by authorities after she made the misstep of trying to get legal status — that alerted them to her illegal status. In fact, according to her, immigration authorities told her that President Obama’s new policy to zero in on criminals and leave law-abiding aliens alone was just a political fantasy. And immigrant rights workers were quoted as saying that there are frequent instances of law-abiding, but illegal aliens getting deported and separated from their families, and I forgot to mention that the lady in the story was one of those deported and her children were left here in the U.S. They don’t speak enough Spanish to handle Mexican schools and she can’t support them in Mexico.
Elsewhere, in the Opinion section, there was a piece that mentioned that farmers need the illegal workers because when they tried to hire U.S. workers most of them quit after a day or so.
Those for stricter enforcement say the illegals are drain on social services and thus on taxpayers and that they rob American citizens of jobs. It is a complicated issue. Illegals actually pay taxes and they seem to do work American workers will not or cannot do (I have often written in this blog site that really American workers have done these jobs and will do them if that is the only way they can get by and that if there is no work force available often mechanization takes over — and who knows? Maybe even better working conditions and better pay to entice workers, you think?).
In reality there is no easy answer. But it seems to me the more pressing problem is to keep out the bad actors. I would favor leaving the good actors alone.