Citizenship by just showing up is not right, but maybe it should be easier to obtain for workers…

November 23, 2014

Does anyone know what our immigration policy is? I tried to look it up on the internet and on more than one site it said it is “complex”.

And why do so many have to go through a long and arduous process and prove they know more about our country than many native-born and others just show up and demand citizenship?

And you know those low-paying jobs that so many illegal aliens do could be performed by our own citizens, but if they were those citizens might demand better working conditions and higher pay.

But why do those who work and pay taxes have to subsidize American citizens who are not working, while illegal aliens fill the void?

And why do we chase down people who come here to work, albeit illegally, but seldom go after the employers who draw them in?

And let’s be honest, illegal aliens do not just take low-paying, low-level jobs. The have moved into the trades. In some cases the trade work has been dumbed down to make it possible to hire unskilled workers, and in some cases we all suffer for that.

It’s hard to feel bad towards those who come here to make a living for themselves and their families. I think there ought to be a way for them to get citizenship more easily by immigrating under a legal process.

But let’s stop using the euphemism of “immigrants” when we are talking about people here illegally. Immigrant puts in mind someone legally becoming a resident of the country.

What to do with the millions of illegals already here… the only thing I can think of is not much of anything until or less something comes up to bring them before the law, and then sort it out case by case.

But meanwhile we need a policy that is fair and practical and not so complex that few understand it.

I don’t think immigration policy by presidential decree is a good idea. On the other hand, the congress has thus far failed to act.

P.s.

I have not been able to decipher yet exactly what President Obama’s latest executive order on immigration does, but I understand it is a piecemeal approach and does not by any means address all issues concerning illegals or others involved. As an example, it gives children of illegals more time to stave off deportation but does not help their parents. And basically some illegals are helped and others not. The president has called upon congress to pass a comprehensive plan.

Also, there is the issue of legal highly-skilled foreign workers. That would have to be the subject of another post. But the question is: why are we so short of highly-skilled people?

 

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Let’s stop hassling hard-working, law-abiding non-citizen workers…

December 5, 2011

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.


Employers would pay more if cheap labor was not available, but then mechanization also becomes more attractive too…

August 27, 2011

BLOGGER’S NOTE:

The following is both a re-posting and a kind of hybrid post of one I did on this site and one I did on another site a day or so ago, but I am interested in the subject of whether there are jobs out there for people to do and whether some of those jobs are being taken by illegal aliens and whether anyone really wants those jobs, and what is practical in the job department:

I think when or if relatively cheap labor is not available employers will pay more for labor, but mechanization also becomes more attractive then too.

Watching the Mexican laborers (citizens some or all, immigration status, I don’t know and don’t care) hard at work the other day as my truck trailer full of potatoes to be processed was being unloaded, I was talking to another driver and we both agreed that unemployed people drawing assistance ought to have to check out these jobs.

Actually I have been there, done that myself once upon a time, or maybe more than once — not at the potato processing plant, but in the strawberry plant harvesting business, and elsewhere, to include harvesting worms out of ponds for tropical fish feed — and these were minimum wage or slightly above jobs.

Just a thought.

This scenario occurs to me: so there are no workers from south of the border to do low-paid or relatively low-paid labor. The government has now severely restricted various programs for the out of work. So out-of-work non-south-of-the-border people go to work at these jobs. Since they are so low paid and since many of them are seasonal, the government may well begin subsidizing them. But at least U.S. citizens will have some work. Also, mark my words, where it becomes impractical to find cheap labor, plants will turn to even more mechanization.

I have watched first hand a robot machine that stacks pallets of potato boxes quite nicely.

Okay, I originally posted this with the headline “There are jobs out there”, and maybe just by itself that was a bit misleading. There’s really a lot more to all of that, and of course low-end jobs that I was referring to don’t offer much hope and may not even be practical.

The key to getting jobs, as anyone would know, is having skill or skills at something or preferably many things. Young people need to know this and plan their lives accordingly. They don’t necessarily need to go to conventional college, but they need to do something. For the rest of us, we just have to do what we can do (I mean I attended the conventional four years of college, not all at once, and I drive a truck and am happy as can be to have a job at 62).

I do not think it has turned out to be practical to have the government through its various social programs be the guarantor of a certain standard of living for us all, that is not to say the government should not be there to help. Of course it should — otherwise what is it for? But we all have to take on personal responsibility.

Once upon a time, labor unions went with the attitude that labor is labor and management is management and it was solely up to management to makes things work economically so businesses could stay in business, but labor had to be guaranteed a certain standard of living. While I do think that employers do have a certain social responsibility, in the practical world they have to do what they have to do to stay in business. Labor has to do what it can to make itself worthy the cost. In this world of rapidly changing technology that can be a real challenge.

I could see in the not-to-distant future a situation in which the majority of people in the world have nothing to do thanks to technology. Now that will be a problem. We will have no practical way of distributing the tokens we call money. But that day has not come — even though it seems like it almost.

Right now the major economies of the West subsidize their low-end labor to some degree. They also subsidize or support many of those who do no work at all.

This is starting to bankrupt these economies.

One of the big problems in the United States is that not only do we not have enough jobs to go around (well that is debatable if we have illegal aliens filling many jobs), we have for decades now been encouraging young people to just take it easy, don’t make any decisions too soon, maybe go to college and find yourself, and so on (the smart and/or motivated ones don’t take this path). Well that doesn’t work so well. But this has led to what at times seems like a food stamp/welfare nation.

But even with all this, the fact is we need more jobs. That should be the number-one effort of the president and congress. Forget foreign wars and intrigue and forget prohibiting homosexuals from getting married, and mind your own business about women’s reproductive rights.

P.s.

But when I say forget foreign wars, I do no mean forget about defense and things happening around the globe that could affect our defense. The development of nuclear weapons by outlaw nations, such as Iran, cannot be ignored. But it is not practical, especially in the economic sense, either that the U.S. be in a perpetual state of war.


Lou Dobbs: ‘Fetch my horse Pancho’…

October 7, 2010

Can’t you just see and hear it? Lou Dobbs: “Fetch my horse Pancho, now what was I saying? oh, yes, we have to stop the flood of illegal immigrants across our nation’s borders.” 

So Lou Dobbs the media champion in the fight against allowing illegal aliens into the U.S. has now been exposed as being a hypocrite, hiring illegals to work on his multi-million estates to tend his horses and such.http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101007/cm_yblog_upshot/report-lou-dobbs-employed-undocumented-immigrants

This is what I just read on the internet. If this proves to be true, and I have no reason to believe it is not, it really points out two main things. One, there is a lot of I suppose you would call demagoguery in the illegal alien issue, that is to say, people looking to gain power or political support pick a hot button emotional issue and run with it, no matter what they do or believe themselves, and two, the elites with all their money are so far removed from the everyday working folks (and even the everyday non-working folks) that they cannot comprehend the plight of the average American.

Dobbs hid behind the mantle of journalism or news commentary when he was at CNN. I liked or agreed with a lot of what he said, but I also recognized that he came off as a little overblown and self-important, pompous if you will, and not a bit objective, and you had to wonder if he was not running for something. In fact, it had been reported that he was seeking some high political office, such as senator (or president?).

Undocumented workers seem to be an integral part of our labor force, most often doing jobs others do not prefer to do or doing jobs others might prefer to do but for less money and fewer to no complaints about working conditions. The main problem is that undocumented workers take from our social welfare system while our government deficit spends already, and worst of all they bring down or hold back the wages for legal workers.

But my whole point in posting this is not the illegal worker problem, but the demagogues who use it and other issues for their own ends, but provide no useful leadership in the process — be they fame and power seeking Lou Dobbs or power seeking Meg Whitman (running for governor of California), who  also has her illegal alien hiring (and firing) problem, they seem to be part of the problem, rather than the solution.

P.s.

I would have liked to give Meg Whitman a chance, even though it was unlikely that I could ever support her, but she seems to have shot herself in the foot over the illegal nanny or housemaid issue.


Whitman could have handled her nannygate problem better; the law on illegal immigration appears to be an ass…

October 2, 2010

I don’t know if Meg Whitman was essentially the victim of blackmail by an opportunistic and possibly disgruntled former housekeeper who was not in the country legally and a notorious media savvy lawyer, but I do think she, Whitman, could have handled things better — more nicely if you will.

And I think that illegal immigration or immigration law is a mess.

First, the latter point: I just read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about the pitfalls of hiring and firing illegal immigrants and it has made my head swim (and thanks to Gene Burns of KGO radio, San Francisco for pointing it out on his show). If accurate, it makes no sense — and it makes me think of that old saying (which I always get a little wrong) “If that is the law, then the law is an ass”.

If the story is true, it appears that federal law requires that you immediately fire anyone who is an illegal alien once you know that to be the case but on the other hand you could be hit with a discrimination suit or charge if you were to fire someone based on such things as a letter from Social Security questioning a worker’s documentation or if you were to even ask the worker about his or her status. Now if true, that is absurd!

You can read the story yourself at: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/30/MN931FME32.DTL

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ADD 1: And her is another good backgrounder: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/10/02/how-meg-whitman-was-ambushed-by-her-maid/

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And now to the first point: Whitman, who by the way I mention to non-California readers is the Republican candidate for governor of California running against Democrat Jerry Brown, said she fired her housekeeper after the housekeeper announced she was illegal and asked for help in getting a green card. Whitman has also said that she was sorry it had to end that way being as the woman had been like part of the family, having done nanny duties and such. The former housekeeper has complained that she was treated badly and I think she has said she has been cheated out of some money.

It seems to me that one could come to the conclusion that there is a little extortion going on here or at least an attempt what with a high-priced lawyer helping to put the candidate in a bad light and hoping for a big payoff. But at the same time, it seems to me Whitman could have found an amiable solution, either by, indeed, helping her former beloved member of the family get a green card or by helping her financially in any way she could (Whitman has the money).

Stiff penalties for hiring illegals is part of Whitman’s campaign platform (do as I say, not as I do).

The evidence so far in this affair seems to indicate that Whitman knew or should have suspected that the woman was an illegal immigrant if for no other reason than the broken English the woman uses (we‘ve heard her on radio).

Also we all know that it is the custom for folks with money (and maybe even folks of more modest means) to hire illegal immigrants to do relatively low-paid work — this is just a fact of life. But railing against illegals, especially in a time of high unemployment is great politics.

Oh, and there is that letter from Social Security questioning her housekeeper’s immigration status on which someone (reportedly Whitman’s husband) wrote a note to have the situation checked out. Whitman has claimed she never saw the letter.

I’m thinking that Whitman broke no laws, except for a moral law (or obligation) to treat an employee who was part of the family, so to speak, with a little more dignity and compassion.

Also, it has been reported that the woman received , I think, something like $23 per hour for 15 hours per week. Some would say that is not a bad deal. I suspect that she probably was in reality required to work longer and was not in a position to complain because of her illegal status. That is another reason some unscrupulous employers love to hire illegals.

My own position on illegal immigration is that it undercuts U.S. citizens trying to find work and make a living. I do not put much stock into the position that illegals primarily do work U.S. citizens will not do. I have lived long enough, done a little of the menial work myself, and know enough history to know that U.S. citizens, be they white or black or brown or yellow of skin, will do most any work, if that is the only thing available (and you can‘t get some kind of government check instead). In these modern times, though, we all may be a little more picky about working conditions and pay, so be it. 


My emotions are mixed over illegal immigration….

August 15, 2010

I have mixed emotions about the whole illegal immigrant debate.

And from the onset, I want to say that the current debate is essentially about Mexicans (and possibly some other Hispanics from our own Western Hemisphere, coming over the border to take our jobs and avail themselves of our social programs paid for by legal taxpaying citizens, but then again also many or most of those illegals via their withholding in their pay checks).

On the one hand, I have written many times that the oft-cited truism that illegals perform the work regular Americans (usually that means white folks in the context of the discussions) is nonsense — it is a myth.

The fact is that if you ask older people (of whom I guess I am part of the group at 61 — but you should ask others who are older) legal white folks (and of course legal black folks and all other kinds of  folks who are in this country, the good old US of A, legally) have done all kinds of work — dishwashers, maids, fruit and vegetable pickers, farm labor crewmen (and crew women), nannies, and the whole gamut.

In general, when any kind of work is available, the jobs are taken up by anyone, regardless of ethnic or even immigration status, who is willing and able to perform the tasks.

As I recall from my reading and from what my own folks told me, Mexican labor in the U.S. got its start primarily during World War II  when there was a shortage of manpower due to so many men (and some women) being in the military. At that time we had the Bracero program by which unaccompanied men came over the border to do farm work.

That got the ball rolling, and they have been coming over ever since, even though the Bracero program was discontinued. These days they bring their families.

I think that most of these people are hard workers and are far superior to those able-bodied loafers who may well be here legally, but by way of fraud draw on the government social system.

But among any group, illegals included, there are those who prefer to get something for nothing or who rationalize that since they have a hard time finding work, or steady or high paying enough work, or have other problems, that society owes them its support.

But let’s don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The fact that some people prefer to live off the sweat of others is just that, a fact of life. It’s one of the reasons I have never been drawn to the idea of communes.

But back to the subject of the blog post. On the one hand, I think border security needs to be enforced and I think legal citizens should get first crack at jobs, and furthermore, I think many who now draw on our social programs via fraud should make themselves available for work many of the illgals do now, although it is doubtful employers would want to hire the lazy louts, but maybe the lazy louts would change their ways it if meant survival because their gravy train would come to an end if welfare regulations were enforced. And that reminds me. Once upon a time my late wife worked for a time as a food stamp eligibility worker. When she first began the job, she actually went out and made house calls and saw what was up. But that aspect was soon cut out of the job. And I think you can see that is why people who should not be getting government help get it — there’s little to no oversight.

And at the risk of going off the subject, as I often do, I believe one of the biggest rip-offs of hard-working tax-paying folks is the program called Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

There are whole generations of welfare multi-baby producing moms who draw AFDC and turn it over to non working guys and there is little to no enforcement against this.

Again, back to the subject.

Regardless of what I have just written, the fact is there is a demand for labor, even in this Great Recession. Mexicans perform one heck of a lot of that labor and they do it quite well.

Case in point: For most of the past 15 years, primarily Mexicans have been loading and unloading trucks that I have driven, saving me the work, and making it possible to get down the road and make money (such as it is).

I don’t know which ones are legal (and probably most of them are) and which ones are not. And you know? I don’t really care. And you know? I think a lot of employers don’t rally care. They just want the job done.

A fact in all of this, I think, is that most of us realize that individual employers and employer groups may say they don’t knowingly or actively recruit illegal labor, but the opposite is true. Another fact is that the government is somewhat split on the matter, with the end result being that while there are some show raids of workplaces, in many instances the authorities turn a blind eye — I mean that has to be the case. If you and I know illegals are working here and where they are working, then the authorities have to know — so just go out and get them.

And that reminds me of an incident many long years ago. And I warn any faithful readers of my blog with a long-term memory that I may be repeating myself here, but here goes:

As a young man I was working for a farmer who grew sugar beets and beans. My job was to move sprinkler pipes in the fields. There were some Mexican illegals working on that place.

One day I was by myself out in the middle of a sugar beet field. I saw a Border Patrol vehicle pull up out on the public roadway adjacent to that field, and this was some 700 miles or more north of the border (and this was back in the early 70s, so I can‘t say immigration does not do some enforcement and they have been doing it for a long time). Anyway, a tall and fairly rotund man got out wearing what looked like one of those Southern sheriff hats, the kind of which the wearers of usually say: “you in a heap a trouble boy”. He walked way out into that field. At the time he came up to me I was bent over a water valve. I may have looked like a wetback (excuse the term), wearing an old felt hat with brim turned down, and my skin is somewhat dark. But when I raised up, he seemed to recognize the fact that I am not Mexican. He said to me: “you got any Mexican boys working here?”. I answered: “I don’t know” (and if anyone wants to arrest me for lying to a public official, maybe I did not know until after the fact, maybe).

I was also told by a Mexican kid, born and raised in the USA, that the Border Patrol raided his home across the street in a little enclave that was at that time my then home community’s only Mexican town (just a few modest cabins)and pushed folks around, no warrant presented (I’m told immigration does not need one — don’t know).

Fast forward to the present:

As I left a grocery distribution center in Southern California the other day in my 18-wheeler, the older Mexican security gentleman (whom I assumed to be a U.S. citizen) jokingly (I think) asked me if I had any “lumpers” (unloaders) in my trailer.

He further said: “They’ve been going somewhere … I think Oregon and Washington — they’re staying away from Arizona”.

By the way, by saying what he said, he made a tacit admission that illegals were working there. In this case, the grocery warehouse management has an out. The lumpers work for a separate outfit that is an independent contractor.

And so it goes.

P.s.

I have no understanding of the process of becoming a  U.S. citizen, having been born here. I don’t know why it takes so long and why some groups have an easier time of it and why some do not.

I’m currently thinking that it would be impossible logistically to simply kick out all the illegals and that the process of splitting up families is detestable and immoral.

Bureaucracy-hindered amnesty programs are inefficient and are simply a tool for blood-sucking opportunists to make money off of government programs, and they also simply draw in more illegals.

I’m thinking that anyone who can show he or she has a job, and perhaps a reasonable history of employment here, should be granted a green card and a quick path to citizenship.

If people come here to be productive and tax-paying members of society, why do we want to discourage them? There is strength in numbers.

We should go after those who are non-productive by choice and who are a tremendous drain on society, regardless of whether they are legal or not.

Non-productive illegals should be deported. Non-productive by choice legals should have their government meal tickets cut off. Hungry people tend to get motivated. No, they won’t just turn to crime. Criminals tend to commit crimes, regardless of the economic conditions. At times of desperation good people might resort to crime for survival, but we should continue our social programs for those folks (all of us but for the grace of God and the economy could find ourselves in that number).


Don’t repeal the 14th Amendment to deal with illegal immigration, heavily fine employers instead…

August 4, 2010

Some Republicans want to overturn the 14th Amendment because it gives automatic citizenship to children of immigrants (legal and illegal).

The 14th Amenmendment, enacted after the Civil War, primarily, I think, to guarantee rights to former slaves, does a lot of other things too. Interestingly enough, it was used as a basis, as I recall, for the conservative majority on the Supreme Court to rule that corporations have rights as citizens, just like real live human citizens, of free speech, so therefore are not subject to overly restrictive laws on campaign finance. So does that mean those Republicans who want to repeal the 14th Amendment want to cut down on those fat corporate campaign contributions?

I know we have a problem with illegal immigration, but I don’t think we have to gut our civil rights protections in the Constitution to solve the problem.

As my 99-year-old mom, going on 100, asks: “why don’t they do more to fine employers (who hire illegal aliens)?”

I think if it was not so easy for illegal immigrants to get a job, the influx would all but stop. Seems like common sense. The idea that employers who have large forces of illegals are innocently unaware is absurd on its face.

And I think that if you are lucky enough to be born in the USA you should get a free ticket to citizenship, no matter how it all happened, that is how you got here on American soil.

In ancient times if you were born in the King’s domain you had the right to his protection, and you had an obligation of loyalty to him.

Born in the USA, you have all the rights that come with it, and you have an obligation to be loyal to it.