Recently a Facebook friend and I got into a discussion on my page about illegal immigration. She is a huge Trump supporter and seems to believe that everything that comes out of that man’s mouth is plated with gold. Rather than again getting into the normal back and froth rhetoric on the subject, I decided to simply tell her how I honestly feel because in the last few years I have come to a new understanding of the situation and have experienced a change of opinion about illegal immigrants. Truthfully, I am still in the process of evolving on this issue. This is what I wrote in response to her today:
I wonder what someone like you would do if you were born in Mexico and had no better way to care for your family than to illegally enter the United States to find work. I used to think like you do, but gradually I began to appreciate that illegal immigrants are willing to work their butts off doing work that the vast majority of Americans simply will not do. I have seen these illegal immigrants toiling in the hot sun installing roofs and picking crops. A lot of these people come to our garage sales, looking for used goods at bargain prices. I used to be irritated that they didn’t speak English very well, often having to have their children translate for them, but eventually I had to admit they speak English a whole lot better than I speak Spanish or any other second language for the matter.
Don’t believe the Trump’s BS; overall a smaller percentage of illegal immigrants are involved in crime than American citizens – look it up. I would be careful too if even a traffic stop could result in my deportation and the breakup of my family. These folks are a cut above their countrymen in similar positions and a lot of lazy Americans as well. They are willing to take huge risks and work extremely hard to get ahead in life. They are the kind of people that if they were born here with our advantages, they would be among the most likely among us to succeed.
But let’s put all that aside and look at the situation selfishly as Americans. We are at what economists call full employment – there are more jobs going unfilled in our economy then there are people with the right training to fill them. (Trump should concentrate on providing training to those put out of work by automation and globalization so they can do those high paying jobs.) So let’s dispense with the notion that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American workers. That simply is not the case.
In addition, it would take literally trillions of dollars to round up every illegal immigrant in this country, send them all home and ensure that they are never allowed to return. However, even if all of this were to cost nothing and we accomplished that feat, the results would be that our economy would take a dramatic hit. Produce prices would spike to unmanageable levels because many of our crops would go unpicked and many meat production jobs would go unfilled. There would be a dramatic downturn in the construction industry because there wouldn’t be enough Americans to do all of the needed construction work. Finding domestic workers would become extremely difficult, etc. etc… The result would be high inflation. Our4 government would experience lower tax income. Our standard of living would suffer and the overall economy would take a downturn.
We have been lax on illegal immigration in this country for all of these years for a good reason. We may not have wanted to admit it, but it was advantageous for us to allow people to enter our country illegally to do the lower level jobs that mostly just require hard work.
The solution isn’t to throw all of these people out of the country. If we are smart instead of vindictive, the solution is to bring them out of the shadows. We need to provide them with green cards that have to be renewed on a regular basis. We need to provide them with a legitimate social security numbers, and make sure they pay taxes. If it is the will of the people, we also need to fine them on a one time basis for breaking the law and entering the country illegally. We should leave that whole controversial “pathway to citizenship” issue to be resolved, or not, for another day. If that never happens without them going home and getting in line for legal immigration with everyone else, I’m okay with that.
But understand this. This isn’t charity. This is not something we should do out of the goodness of our hearts. This should be done because it is in our country’s and its people’s best interest.