Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reflection on Immigrants: Part II


Apparently this picture was taken while these young men and women were out demonstrating against the proposed new immigration laws. Now there's been little in the way of demonstrations here, and I haven't followed the media closely enough to know how common it is for people involved in these demonstrations to feel compelled to fly Mexican flags in their zeal to show displeasure with American immigration policy. I mean if these people love Mexico so much, and all the more power to them if they do, then stop demonstrating in the U.S. and go to Mexico where I'm sure they'd be welcome, though how gainfully employed they'd be I'm not sure. So is the purpose of waving a Mexican flag to show support for Mexico or to wave it in the face of Americans to let them know that the flag wavers, or someone they know, are likely to get their way here in the U.S. in spite of the fact that they're actually Mexican citizens?

The Times had the following article today, Crackdown on Workers Brings Dismay and Anxiety. I have to admit that it's hard to appreciate why a crackdown on something that's been illegal for so long is getting so much press, but then if you're cynical about it then some of the reasons for what's going on do come out in this article. Here's some grist from the article:

"What happened yesterday, I think, is a tactic that they are using to scare us so we don't keep on pushing to get rights," said Ms. Perez, 38, who came from Venezuela 10 years ago. She was referring to an announcement on Thursday by Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, that the stepped-up enforcement would continue.

I don't think Ms. Perez understands that she has no rights as an American citizen. Yes, she's here, and yes the Constitution doesn't quite explicitly say you have to be a U.S. citizen to be entitled to the rights of an American, but then it's ridiculous to assume that anyone who steps off a plane or ship from somewhere is now imbued with full-fledged American rights and privileges. Oh, and that would include someone who managed to sneak into the country 10 years ago and didn't get caught in all that time.

The following really got me as it's so typical of what is used to excuse what's going on right now with illegals that it's taken for granted:

Some employers also criticized Mr. Chertoff's plan, under which Immigration and Customs Enforcement will increase the number of worksite enforcement agents and efforts to root out businesses that submit fake Social Security numbers for workers.

"If we didn't have them, we'd really be in a bind," Roy Pace, a mechanical contractor in Austin, Tex., said of immigrant workers.

and then followed a bit later in the article with:

Billy L. Heller Jr., chief executive of Pacific Tomato Growers in Palmetto, Fla., said companies were not equipped to verify their workers' status, a task he said belonged to the government, not employers.

"Does this mean I have to have people spend the whole day on a government Internet site double-checking numbers?" said Mr. Heller, whose company grows
produce in Florida, California, Georgia, Virginia and Mexico. "We are not document police, and we can't discriminate. If folks present what looks to be reasonably legitimate, then we have to act as if it is."

"If we didn't have them we'd be in a bind ..." --- yeah, you'd have to pay regular wages, with decent benefits, or invest in machinery that would do the job more safely and efficiently, so yep, those illegals are a God send. By artificially, i.e. by not making appropriate technology investments and otherwise not paying a livable wage and benefits, holding down their costs they also help to kid the American people into believing that they shouldn't have to pay prices commensurate with supporting a livable wage because look how the value of dollar has gone up, in terms of what it can buy anyway, over time, especially when it's due to being dumped on the backs of immigrants willing to work for substandard wages.

And Mr. Heller thinks the government should be verifying documents. I'd guess that Mr. Heller is otherwise from the school of thought that the government should be as small as possible and he should pay as little tax, if not flat out no taxes at all, so kicking this responsibility over to the government is a sure way of sending it to a place where it'd never be properly overseen if the Heller's of the world (ok, I'm being a bit presumptuous here, but it's not so much Heller as the many who disenguously espouse this "dump it on the government" credo) had their way. One day to check documents really isn't a hell of a lot out of the number otherwise worked so forgive me for not quite appreciating the problem here. I mean I have to have police checks out the tail end to get a teacher's job, and many jobs come with some sort of rudimentary background check, and the cost is folded into the cost of doing business. I guess if you're a contractor hiring illegals or a farmer doing the same, you don't want that added expense for what's otherwise standard operating procedure anywhere else.

I don't know, maybe I'm just not getting it, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for 12 million people who are here who shouldn't be because they weren't invited in by the government (not that I'm a big lover of government invitations, but something has to be in charge here) nor did they become citizens during their time here. I appreciate that citizenship for these people isn't an easy thing, but then it's that way to help control immigration and indeed to make it reasonably difficult to become an American citizen. I also don't have any sympathy for those who employ illegals - yes, it keeps the prices down, and I'm sure I've been the beneficiary of this at some time in my life, but it's wrong and such employers should indeed be taken to task for their aiding illegals. I'm also not a fan of amnesties which seem to happen every 20 years or so - let's secure the border, hold Mexico to task for making it more attractive for illegals to come here than staying at home, and take anyone to task who assists the process on this end. That'd be a start, and we can see where we need to go from there.


Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Amen, pal. You said it perfectly-- and remarkably coherently for someone with a toddler and a newborn in the house. I'm amazed!

11:40 PM  
Blogger James said...

Ms. C, Thank you for the kind words, though I felt compelled to clean it up a bit this morning, when I ran into the Blogspot "unplanned" outage, leaving me to do my blog cleaning when I got home from school. Anyway ... back to the baby!

4:21 PM  

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