Saturday, May 15, 2010

Arizona and Immigration

Sorry for the recent hiatus on blogging...semester was ending and things are getting crazy on the campaign trail. But summer is here, and having fewer distracting (but awesome) friends around gives me a chance to punch out some more social commentary.

Oooo, things are getting so fun on the national level. Then new Arizona immigration law has a small minority of the country up in arms in disagreement to the bill. The rest of us realize that the bill explicitly states that lawful contact (speeding, etc.) must be made first prior to asking a suspected illegal immigrant for their documentation (which is required by law anyway if you are not from the U.S.). I know the illegal immigrants/open borders crowd would love to let illegals roam freely about, but this bill is a godsend for law enforcement and the families on the border trying to live lawfully in peace and not feel threatened or possibly shot on their own property. Local law enforcement can uphold the national immigration laws already on the books, which will help cut down on illegal immigration.

Some other thoughts.

1) I love immigrants. America's history IS immigration; that's how our nation was settled. Great minds from around the world flock to the United States for the freedom and opportunity allowed in our country. I have nothing wrong with having more legal immigrants and even raising the quotas of new immigrants allowed in, but the key word is legal. Not only are we a nation of immigrants, we are also a nation of laws. In the U.S. citizenship test that legal immigrants have to take, they are asked "what is the Constitution of the United States?", to which the correct answer is "the Supreme Law of the Land." We are provided with the ability to protect our borders within the Constitution and outsiders must respect the process for which we welcome people into our country. Do we really want to accept millions of people into our ranks whose first acts as citizens are to break the law to get here in the first place? I would prefer all who come here to be law-abiding citizens every step of the way.

2) Some try to make this a racial issue, which is a completely fallacy-ridden argument. It is important for the integrity of our country to know who is here and why. Simply because the propensity of illegal immigrants are from Mexico--which happens to have a large Latino population--does not mean immigration enforcement is inherently racist. What if it were the same situation, but Mexico was mostly people of white European dissent? The problem would still exist. Apparently I can only be pro-immigration enforcement if the individual in question is white.

3) Mexico's close proximity to the U.S., coupled with a corrupt government/country offering few opportunities helps explain the flood of illegal immigrants in the south. If Canada's citizens had zero chance of a good life, they would be flooding over our border as well, in which case, it would be important to have strict immigration enforcement policies in Canadian border states as well. Illegal Canadians should be deported just as much as any Mexican, and under the Arizona law when the illegal Canadian cannot show a valid U.S. drivers license or provide visa documentation for their right to be here, they will also be caught as an illegal.

4) The argument I hate most from liberals in the immigration debate is the "they do jobs Americans don't want to do" argument. I've never heard anything more dehumanizing and degrading in my life. So liberals are fine with illegal immigrants being used for all our farm, landscaping, and house cleaning labor in our country? This is nothing short of elitist snobbery under the false claim that no American will do these jobs. At its very least, this is just shoddy economics. It's called a labor market. If a farm or maintenance company needs a job done, someone will fill that job, and if no one is willing to, the company will offer a higher wage in order to entice someone to do the job. It might be a lower wage job, but there are people out there willing to do it for each wage rate. I'd make a fancy economics model, but I don't want to bore you.

Imagine this:

Southern California's schools are in terrible shape, with unruly students, astronomical dropout rates, etc. Picture a different California where these hard-labor jobs were filled with high school students in their first job wanting to earn a little extra money. Not only would they have something to occupy their time instead of gang warfare, they might learn a thing or two about work ethic! I don't think it's too much of a stretch to believe it might carry over into the classroom and help get the schools back on the right track. Rather than illegal immigrants being paid under the table sub-minimum wage, high school students could earn minimum wage (or more) and also bring some character back to the younger populations.

This is just an example, but it shows how there will be someone to fill these jobs. Just watch an episode of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. People will fill unpleasant job positions--for a price. It just looks like they're jobs Americans won't do because illegals can be paid under minimum wage. With our minimum wage laws, those of us willing to do nasty jobs for cheap are not allowed to do so because employers would run into legal trouble. Since illegals are more under-the-radar, they can fill those positions for a lower wage rate while the Americans willing to do the job for the same wage are snubbed.

5) Are you a legal immigrant to this country? How does that make you feel that you went through the process and followed all the rules, yet illegals are protesting against immigration enforcement to make others go through the same process you did to be here?

6) America is a melting pot, but in order for that to happen, you must be willing to melt. Over our history, people did not come here to recreate Ireland or Germany or Russia in the United States, people came and still come here for the freedom and opportunity to maximize their lives as they saw fit. Of course immigrants settled in Irish or German communities, but their expectation was not to make everyone else honor Irish or German traditions in everyday life. The beauty of America is that we take the best from all cultures and hodge-podge it all together in a new, unique culture that is completely unpredictable--essentially the definition of American culture. Taco pizza combines three cultures in one!

We all come from different backgrounds, but Americans and the immigrants that comprise our nation all have common values that unite us. Love of freedom, appreciation of the best the world has to offer, creativity, exceptionalism, neighborliness, entrepreneurship, charity, opportunity, and hard work are just a few ideals that we all hold close, regardless of what hyphenated-American you are.