It seems like it would be hard to craft a plan that would treat the people who are currently here illegally compassionately without encouraging a great deal more illegal immigration. I suppose you could grandfather people in who are already here, but that doesn't seem really fair to the people who aren't here but want to be.
Yes, the grandfathering is a problem. It's been done, but its impact on reducing illegal immigration was minimal in the long run. And it is highly unfair to people who are waiting on long lists for the illegals to be allowed to "cut in line." It's not an easy question, not by any stretch of the imagination, and you will note that, while I am pointing out the flaws in this proposal, I am not accusing anyone of evil intent in its making.
I don't have the answers - it's just that this is not the answer, either.
I can't see how anyone could afford $3500 for a visa. I've been here 19 years on a green card and I still haven't gotten the $400 or so for citizenship together.
OK, my infamous authority problem doesn't help, but every time I've gotten close to $400 in disposable income together a more urgent need has arisen. Guess that's life as a single parent :(
Exactly. And it's $3500 every three years. That's harsh.
Maybe it's borderline "conspiracy theory", but I think this is just the way they want it. A program that looks like it might do something, but in reality will do nothing.
Now, the reason IMHO is that many illegals don't work for minimum wage. They work for below minimum wage... and sometimes significantly so. At least when you're talking about picking lettuce in California or apples in Washington, the pay-per-ton approach means that some workers can be making in the $2-3/hr range.
If suddenly they're documented, well then they have to be treated the same under the law as a US worker. Meaning the cost of picking produce has just doubled (or more, depending on the state). Those costs go up even higher if you now account for employer-share taxes, workers comp insurance, etc etc etc. All of the regulatory dreck we live with in this country, piled atop what was previously a cash-only proposition.
And, of course, while its entirely unrealistic to talk about a guest worker program that doesn't account for families, we also don't want their families coming over. As you mentioned, if two guest workers have a child on US soil, that child is a US citizen. Now it's infinitely more difficult to deport any of them, since you have a child who is legally entitled to be here, belonging to two parents who may not be. That's the sort of thing that gets caught up in the legal system for years while, meanwhile, the illegals move across the country and fade into the woodwork until ICE agents stumble upon them again.
It's a more complicated problem than "How do we deal with illegal immigration." It swirls down to everything from business regulation to a patchwork of state statutes, to global standards on birthright citizenship... (Google anchor babies, jackpot babies, or "birth tourism" for a fine selection of vindictive rants on the subject.)
If we document 'em, we have to treat 'em like humans. A pillar of the illegal immigrant issue is that the private sector can basically treat them like slaves. Only the government (schools, etc) is required to figure out some standardized regs for treating them equitably. The Yuma AZ shit-farmer can pay cash on the barrel to any desert rat willing to haul burlap sacks for 8 hours a day.
So, you're right. This legislation will do absolutely nothing. I believe that's precisely what it was intended to do.
Truthfully, I wish they would be honest about it. They build fences and chase people down and lead to the incarcerations and even deaths of people who would be happy to just make their $3/hr for a couple months and then go the hell home. We're spending a fortune on interdiction while the economy demands that a blind eye is turned for enough people to do the underpaid work that all of us rely on.
Because if the price of lettuce tripled, the economy would suffer.
I too wish that most politicians would come right out and say what they really mean, committing political suicide in the process. ;)
Everyone realizes that the economy would suffer. But the unions want all the illegals as members. The hippies want them all to be guaranteed a living wage of $42,000/yr. The uber-conservatives want them all shot at sunrise.
The best way to be all things to all people on this one is by doing nothing.
What? The american people don't want to know the truth?!
It does seem, frequently, that any attempt to fix a problem would lead to worse problems, and the best plan is no plan.
There are a LOT, a LOT that work well above minimum wage. The savings to the employer is not paying taxes, social security, disability, workman's comp, etc. Many MANY illegal immigrants are making 10-20 an hour in construction and cleaning.
I know people who have gone to places that hire illegals looking for work and were turned down. Not friends of friends, my own husband. We suffered because of this. Six months without work I think? With actively going to job sites, looking for work. Sites that were sometimes raided so you can't say we made assumptions that they were illegal.
Need to get rid of the contractors that exploit these workers and hire them. At least we had a tiny bit of unemployment those months. Them? No work, no money. Accident? No workman's comp. So social security. Nothing. The ones making out aren't the American workers, aren't the immigrants, but the contractors/employers. They need to be punished.
Absolutely! Perhaps I was just too specific in my critique... I know that there are illegals making far above the minimum -- I was just using the stereotype of produce pickers out West as the example. (We have what I suspect, for various reasons, is a pair of illegals doing housekeeping at the hotel down the road.) But the point is still the same. A $10/hr worker, plus 12% employer-share taxes, plus worker's comp, plus ... still is probably a $13-$14/hr worker after you add up all the administravia. That's a 30-40% bump in labor costs.
I agree with your last statement, and think that they are doing a much better job with employer crack-downs lately. But that too is largely placebo -- it's to make some big visible examples of egregious violators so that people don't step too far across the line. But the point is that a 10% bump in hotel room prices, or 8% bump in the cost of manufactured widgets, or a 5% bump in the cost of janitorial services is still a significant increase. The cost of government regulation to producers is not something that will be quietly absorbed.
So it doesn't really matter how much or little they're making. The point is that if you legitimize these workers they will
become more expensive, regardless of their base pay. Prices will go up, regulation will tighten. Whether it's good or bad is irrelevant. The plain fact, as zoethe
correctly pointed out, is that the economy takes a hit when it costs businesses more to do business, and that's generally not a risk that ANY politician is going to willingly take on during their watch.
I think that we need to allow the free migration of HUMAN capital.
but don't you know that that would lead to ruin? The sky would fall, the American way would be lost forever. Dogs and cats, living together!!!
I read somewhere that the cost was going to be $1500 per year. Was that a mistake?
According to the article I sawa, it's $3500 every 3 years.
The main problem with the plan is, as you pointed out, that it's been drawn up by rich people to whom those sums are trivial.
The basis of the plan is a good one--making sure that people take steps to get legal residency--but the price is just simply out of reach.
Surely someone can figure out a way to do this in such a way that gaining legal status is affordable, and the process of re-applying through an embassy in the person's country of origin doesn't take years. Of course, that would require that the politicians get their mitts off it and hire someone who actually knows what he/she is doing. Fat chance.
Yes, but if you make them legal, you have to pay minimum wage. And there is an economy based on avoiding that.
Oh, definitely there is an economy based on not paying people minimum wage, because right now so many employers can easily get away with that. They're undoubtedly paying those workers under the table, too, so they're making a double score by not having to pay any taxes.
However, keep in mind that every time there's a proposed increase in the minimum wage, there is always a firestorm of protest about how the entire US economy is going to go to hell in a handbasket and people are going to lose their jobs and businesses are going to fail and yadda yadda yadda... and then if the legislators have enough nads to actually pass the increase, somehow or other the world fails to come to an end immediately afterwards.
I'm sure there would be considerable disruption if the newly legal workers had to be paid minimum wage--but it wouldn't be a permanent disruption. And forcing "Simon Legree, Inc." to quit breaking the law themselves might not be such a bad thing either, in the long run.
You know -- undocumented workers aren't all making $1 a hour, doing grueling work 16 hours a day. Many of them are making $10-$20 an hour and the employers are saving by not paying taxes, social security, disability, workman's comp, unemployment, benefits. These people should be able to come up with this money. People in these industries are construction and cleaning. They are making an OK living. And there are plenty of them.
Also, aren't many of the children born here? I saw that in the paper recently, how many born here, who are citizens, have parents awaiting deportation, and how sometimes the kids stay with friends, relatives, and other times they go back home with the parents, even if they don't know the original language.
Something needs to be done, though, nothing more frustrating than my husband, his family, going from job site to job site, getting turned down because they are citizens and are legal and may actually want to pay taxes and the like. So much for the BS that they do jobs no one wants.
Employers who hire illegals for jobs like that deserve to be hammered by the government. Your husband should be reporting them. That's unconscionable.
You are absolutely right that my comments do not address all issues of illegal workers. It's a huge and complex problem.
311 was on speed dial, but he would only call if he saw job site violations (which he has to know backwards and forwards -- that's the good thing about apprentice programs, you KNOW the rules). Illegals are harder, because they won't just go to a site because people are speaking Polish or Spanish -- and it is such a touchy situation.
But sometimes they would hammer a site, you'd find out OSHA was there, Dept of Buildings, City Planning, whatever the heck they call Immigration now, etc. A beautiful thing.
It seems to me that a big problem our country has is actually enforcing laws that are on the books. It is a problem that I have seen in industry as well - rather than enforce rules and procedures when a worker does not follow them, they make new rules and procedures to hedge around the old ones. If the person did not follow the old procedures, why do you think they will follow the new ones?
When it comes to illegal immigration, as with many other things, we need to enforce the laws that are there. If you are here illegally you need to be sent back home - period.
I have no problem with immigration, it is a good thing that has been a great boon to our nation. But it needs to be done through the legal channels. Now, perhaps our method of allowing legal immigrants into our country needs to be looked at to streamline it, but that is another discussion.
If our founding fathers had taken that approach we'd still be paying taxes to the Queen. It's lovely to think that if we just all played by the rules everything would be hunky dory, but that does not account for the real world.
LoL - if anyone is going to revolt it should be the actual citizens of our great nation against a government that doesn't enforce its own laws and is unable to be fiscally responsible no matter which party is in office lately. Your response would only apply if one thinks that our laws against illegal immigration are horribly bad ones in line with the way our country was treated by the crown at that time and I hardly think that is the case. We have methods of legally entering our country - use them.
The something that is being proposed, though, is mostly just a dressed-up version of "nothing."
(stage whisper) Which is something the Bush administration excels at!
The rush by companies, particularly of the high-tech persuasion, to apply for H-1B visas for next year has officially come to an end--only one day after it began.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said Tuesday that it had received 150,000 applications as of Monday afternoon for the controversial work permits, which allow foreigners with a bachelor's degree in their area of specialty to be employed in the United States for up to six years.
That's more than enough applications to meet the cap for the fiscal year 2008 crop of visas, which is currently 65,000, so USCIS said it would be accepting no more petitions. Up to 20,000 additional visas are available for foreigners with advanced degrees from U.S. schools, but USCIS said it hadn't yet determined how many applications fit in that category.
And yet getting an H1-B visa isn't all that easy these days, either. :)
The H-1B crisis is a giant headache for companies - and the worst kind of immigration policy.