Deport the layabouts, keep the illegals who work…

February 27, 2017
There is a difference between fake news and sloppily-reported news I think, although maybe there is a cross-breed thing that is partly true but also partly false because of what it seems to leave out or not emphasize. And it is no better than fake news.
And maybe it is because I have developed the bad habit of not reading the whole story that I get confused or misled. And if it is a video or audio thing it is easy to just get part of the story or only part of the story is presented anyway.
Well, what a long way to get into this question: are undocumented immigrants just being scooped up for no reason (well other than they are technically here illegally), even when they have had no previous encounters with the law?
Answer: so far I do not know. Maybe I should know, but I don’t. You see I caught some headlines on the web and skimmed through some stories that certainly at least implied such.
What was really disturbing to me is that I read of adults who had been brought here by their parents as children and were now being deported back to places such as Colombia. At least one person was quoted as saying that she did not know the customs (or language?) of her native country and had no money and no connections there.
Now, come on, that seems a bit harsh and a bit hard to believe someone would just be willy-nilly grabbed off the street and sent away, even if they were not technically legal to be here. It seems there at least had to be some contact with the law, even if it was a minor violation anyone might commit — a traffic ticket?
First of all, I do not think that anyone who was brought here as a child but raised here should suffer deportation just on the technicality that said person is without papers. Second of all, I think there should be some relatively easy process by which such a person could become a naturalized citizen without fear of deportation.
But anyone who knows what their status is, that is that they are not here legally, certainly should have the good sense to walk the line and stay away from trouble with the law. Now I don’t count minor traffic violations as trouble with the law.
Shoot! I guess I’m just liberal on the subject.
Seems to me the problem is that our immigration laws and regulations need to be simplified. I mean if you can show that you are a healthy and productive citizen you ought to be able to gain citizenship. It should be made easier to immigrate into the U.S. Would that not stem the flow of illegal immigrants? It would be a lot safer for the immigrants and a lot safer for the rest of us.
So, make it easier to become a citizen but keep up our immigration enforcement at the same time. Certainly anyone who commits a serious crime (and that just needs to be defined, but, say robbery, that’s an example) should be deported.
I’m not saying that we should just simply open the doors and let the world come in. There probably does need to be some control. Too many immigrants depress wages for workers and depending upon their income status, tax public services. So, yes, there is no easy solution in reality. Even so, I think citizenship should be easier to obtain. Work permits (green cards) should only be granted when a true labor shortage can be shown.
And why are employers not held more accountable for hiring illegal immigrants?
p.s.

Several years ago while I had the misfortune of a long hospital stay a young nurse who had just moved into my home area told me that she as a working woman had a hard time finding young men to hang out with. It seemed that they all lived with their mothers, had no job, and drove around in nice new pickup trucks. Well, to that, I say: why not send them to the army and let the hardworking illegal immigrants alone?

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Farmers: did you not believe Trump? (fears of labor shortages with no supply of illegals)…

February 11, 2017

I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry or be understanding or outraged when I read that farmers in California and elsewhere I guess, especially in the west, supported Donald Trump in big numbers but now they are chagrined to find out that he really meant what he said about clamping down on immigration.

You see, the story I read said they depend upon something like 70 to 80 percent of their field help who are illegals, or undocumented workers, most of these from Mexico.

This has been an open secret for ever since I can remember. Well actually when I was younger there was the Bracero program, originally began I think in WWII when there was a shortage of help due to so many men being in the military. Men came up from Mexico without their families. And the program continued on through the 1960s but at some point was discontinued. And I’ve recited this tale before but I recall picking prunes with my mom — and we did it not because we depended upon it but for extra money — and seeing poor white people working, who did depend upon it. But I think the white people participation petered out in the late 60s with the enactment of various social programs pushed through by President Lyndon Johnson in what he called his Great Society Program.

But farm workers were still needed, and to fill that demand people came up from Mexico, some had green cards that permitted them to work and some not. I do not know the process of obtaining a green card.

So if you are ever around the big farming operations in the west you will see that a majority of the help is Hispanic. Men and women do all kinds of work, everything from crawling through fields of strawberries to driving tractors with computerized controls, to working in the processing plants to loading trucks to working at the computers where it all is coordinated.

I haul produce for a living and have noticed that many produce outfits are run by Hispanic people. Many have had great success.

These are hardworking and often quite skilled people — really all the work requires skill and stamina.

But let’s get to the fact so many are here illegally. Why is this? If we know we need the labor why do we play this game?

Some would answer cynically that it allows big agriculture an upper hand in controlling labor. When you’re illegal you are not as likely to complain.

I don’t know what people think. I can only guess or surmise. But I think if nothing else it has just become an accepted pattern.

I don’t want to speak for farm workers because I don’t have to live their lives. But as a kid I saw some of the wretched conditions in the old farm labor camps — the ones I saw were for unaccompanied men, but they were crude and they were a shame.

I think big agriculture should take the responsibility and push for legalization of imported help. And if it does not, it deserves what it will get.

Yes, we the consumers are told we’ll pay via higher prices at the grocery store and maybe even by not seeing all the products we once saw.

So be it. We expect good pay and we expect tolerable living conditions for ourselves. We should expect no less for those who toil in the fields.

I have also written before that in some cases where labor shortages are acute, more mechanization will be added. Some things resist mechanization — but as we all see, in the end nothing does these days.

p.s.

LBJ’s Great Society was pushed through after documentaries showing the poverty among white people in Appalachia. But that was back in the 1960s. Poverty persists. Ironically, it is reported that many of these people voted for the billionaire Trump. I don’t know, you can only do so much through government action, whether it is social programs or incentives for business. Some problems have more to do with culture. In the end it seems to be up to the individual. But yes, if good employment can be returned, that would seem a positive — and I don’t think everyone can be or needs to be a computer programmer or wind farm designer. Hillary Clinton made a misstep when she promised to put coal miners out of business. Her words may have been taken out of context, but to make that mistake in coal country shows a lack of judgment. And I hate to pile it on her — sorry.

 

 

 

 


Solve the (illegal) immigration problem by revamping arcane and archaic law…

June 6, 2015

So I was just reading a super liberal blog (the Daily Kos) and there was something about supporting immigrants. But the immigrants they were talking about were the undocumented kind, often referred to as illegal immigrants. So it is kind of disingenuous to use the term immigrant by itself — I mean there has to be a difference in meaning between immigrant (assumed legal) and someone who crosses a border to reside in another nation without permission — and not making an instant judgment about the person him or herself,  just the designation for common understanding and discussion, since all this is in the news. I’m talking about the issue of people coming across the border and availing themselves of work (that conceivably could be done by people residing here legally — but probably at higher wages and better working conditions that likely would be demanded), and more importantly, social services paid for by all of us taxpayers residing here as legal citizens.

And before you assume I am against people slipping in here to better their lives — wrong. Not necessarily anyway.

I think the problem may be that we have complex, arcane, and outmoded immigration rules. Ideally, at least as far as I am concerned, we would let almost any honest, law-abiding, and productive potential citizens in — as space permits I suppose.

————–

UPDATE (6-6-15): In catching up with the news, reading past the headlines I skimmed during the week, I note public outcry about Disney, that most iconic of American enterprises, firing tech workers and replacing them with workers via an outsourcing firm in India, through a temporary visa program called H-1B (lots of companies do this). These workers are paid less generally than their American counterparts. To add insult to injury, the fired workers at Disney were instructed to train their replacements. Well I am in no way for that type of thing. That is separate from legal immigration.

——————

Now I do believe that we must do our utmost to ensure those new potential citizens buy into traditional American values and would support our democratic ideals and our government. And I think there ideally should be a requirement of some mastery of the English language — other nations require that naturalized citizens learn the appropriate language.

So since mostly we are talking about people slipping over the  border from Mexico and other Latin American countries, it seems to me if we revised our immigration laws and made it easier for them to become citizens then the problem could be resolved. As for what to do about those illegals already here — well amnesty (again) is probably the only logical approach, that is amnesty that allows them to apply for legal status (and in the meantime they stay here). And I simply believe that children who have been brought here have or should have won themselves citizenship — I mean as I understand it some have never even lived (for any length) in Mexico and don’t even know the lingo back home.

Or maybe we should be demanding some type of reimbursement from Mexico for supporting so many of their own people they don’t seem to be looking after.

But having work and the ability to sustain one’s self with a minimum of government support ought to be one of the requirements for new citizens.

The agricultural sector and other industries who use illegal labor so much ought to be pushing for easier citizenship and in the meantime ought to be prosecuted for knowingly hiring illegals — and believe me, they know what they are doing.

 

 

 


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?

 


All’s quiet where I am near the border…

July 11, 2014

Been off the blog for several days due to the requirements of my real job. But here I am today near the Mexican border, just north of Nogales, Az., at Rio Rico. All is quiet. Have not seen any refugee children from Latin America yet. Have not even seen any illegal aliens sneaking through the sagebrush or hiding behind cacti. I did pass the border check (several miles north of the border) at which all northbound traffic is stopped at least momentarily — I will go through this later today. Always tons of Border Patrol vehicles there, and many officers, many of whom just seem to be standing around. Do the illegal aliens dutifully go through the official border check? One would think they would skirt around that. I know they are looking for drugs too. Sometimes they have drug-sniffing dogs. I am usually not even stopped, just waved through, or maybe I get a quick: are you a U.S. citizen? On a few occasions officers have made a cursory check of my big truck trailer and maybe even peeped into the sleeper to see if I had any passengers

But seriously this issue of so many thousand children crossing into the U.S. unaccompanied is worrisome. Certainly it would seem to me that we have no choice but to provide decent quarters and decent food and water for them while things are sorted out. Some say what is really going on is that parents hope to follow them or other family members are already here. One Mexican-American I heard on a talk show even suggested that many of the children are actually poor Mexicans who are claiming to be from countries in Central and South America whose citizens we offer refugee status to because of the turmoil in their own nations. I would not know myself (and he probably does not either).

It would also seem to me that once each individual’s identity and status is determined that most of them should be sent back to their native lands. We just can’t take care of the whole world. We really need to talk to those countries and find out what their problem is, that is to say why they cannot take care of their own people. It is our business because it is affecting us.

We also are sorely in need of immigration reform. Our so-called political leaders only seem to care about the next election and which side of the issue to be seen on, and they try to be ready to switch at a moment’s notice depending upon which way the wind is blowing.

There are so many competing interests: On the one hand new arrivals offer cheap labor (although some of these may be a little young). On the other hand they compete for U.S. jobs in a wide array of areas, to include agricultural field and packing house work, food service, domestic services, and construction, as well as others. Does a politician try to craft a policy that benefits working people or businesses who favor cheap, vulnerable labor? So-called conservatives rail against our “open” or porous borders but they don’t always support sanctions on businesses who hire undocumented workers. Liberals call illegals “immigrants”, just as if they were people who had applied for citizenship and decry our treatment of them. But at the same time they complain that illegals lured in by business interests compete for jobs and bring wages down.

And just what is our immigration policy and why is it what it is? I have no idea, I must confess, but let me ask you this: do you?

And one more note before I close. Some of the photos I have seen of these refugee children show rather nicely dressed young folk. Poor people don’t look the same as they did in the past. Just an observation, nothing more. I confess I only saw the photos hurriedly. Maybe I should look again.

P.s.

A double check of news reports reminds me that most of these children are coming across the border into Texas. But there is a huge warehouse (complete with coolers) in Nogales being used to temporarily house some of these children, according to one report.

I don’t know what is wrong in Central America and other parts of Latin  America, but maybe all these years if we would have been trying to help the people and not just anti-communist strong men, things might have progressed better. Foreign policy is always a tough one.

P.s. P.s.

As I was leaving Rio Rico I saw the large “Homeland Security” bus at the truck stop with an armed driver. Could not see whether he had passengers. This border stuff is big business. Lots of people on the payroll.

The Border Patrol officer waved me on with a smile after I briefly stopped.


Illegal immigrants form a costly artificial labor market…

June 1, 2012

Whether it’s farm labor or motel maids or fry cooks or construction workers or whatever, depending upon an illegal labor force, that is undocumented workers, is a bad practice.

It deprives United States citizens of jobs, keeps wages down, and probably encourages a large portion of our own population to be idle and yet we end up paying for the social services of both the undocumented workers and our own non-workers.

And the old adage or truism (that is not really true) that our own citizens will not do manual labor is nonsense. When the handouts end or are sharply reduced people get more eager to work, although they may still demand a higher standard of working conditions than may be the norm.

This came to my mind after reading a story about mixed reviews on tougher immigration standards in places such as Alabama and Arizona.

I think it said that in Alabama unemployment rates had come down, but it may have been because there is a smaller workforce now that many of the illegals have fled.

This is a subject of which I have blogged about many times previous — probably not too many people interested, but it really gets me that the powers that be seem to tacitly accept the fact of the illegal workforce, even when they pander to racial prejudice and say kick out all the illegals.

Also it really gets me that everyone says most citizens won’t or cannot do manual labor, such as work in the fields or cleaning restrooms or whatever.

Now it is true that the people, no matter who they are — brown, black, white, yellow — who are stuck in these low-level jobs form an underclass in society. Others occasionally have ventured into their world but escaped and others began in that world and escaped.

The solution is to raise the standards of pay and working conditions in that world, partly by governmental regulations on health and safety (and this has been done over the years, thankfully), and partly by the free marketplace of labor itself. Of course those who hire illegals — and they know they are doing it; they can’t truthfully, except in some limited cases, claim, gee, we didn’t know — would say that is what they are doing, taking advantage of the marketplace of labor. But it is an artificial one. People who come into the United States illegally have to take what they can get and are not in a position to go to the authorities if regulations are broken. Meanwhile because they may earn only low wages, they must depend upon various forms of government support, which they get no matter their immigration status (new state laws notwithstanding).

If there were no illegals to hire, employers would have to do what they can to attract the existing citizen work force.

I have also written this before. In much of the farm harvest labor if employers had to pay hire wages and improve working conditions (and I am not saying necessarily the pay and the working conditions are all bad; it’s a matter of perspective or comparison) to attract our native population, they might find it a bit costly. But what has happened in the past is that mechanization has taken over. And mark my words, it would again. There are few things that cannot be mechanized (although there are some). In some cases, I suppose, some crops would not be raised if the labor force was not available.

I’d rather see it where no one has to resign him or herself to being in the underclass, so it would suit me find if a lot of those jobs disappeared or became so well paying that those who did them were no longer in the underclass. I mean in some places garbage men (and no offense to garbage men) are quite well paid.

I don’t think government controls on wages are a good idea, though. Health and safety, yes.

The market place of labor could solve the problem, but having the artificial element of an illegal workforce subsidized by our government (read taxpayers) and intimidated by its own immigration status, is not a natural labor market.

P.s.

In a story I read an Alabama farmer was concerned that he could not get his crops in without illegals. He apparently sees no personal responsibility towards his own society.


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.