Sunday, March 26, 2006

Immigration Pt. 1

The topic du jour seems to be immigration, so I feel like I too should jump into the void and discuss it here.

Immigration is not just a current topic, but has been a sore subject to Americans for many, many years. This recent incarnation of immigration uproar seems to be focusing on those people coming from Latin and Central America. First let me start by saying that when I worked in Congress, I disagreed with the people I was working with and for. They believed that to allow amnesty for illegal aliens would undermine the traditional means for legal immigration.

While I respected their opinion on this I still felt it unfair to those who had fought so hard to make it into our country. I’ve heard people say things such as “If those people marching loved America so much they’d be carrying American flags, not their own countries,”(emphasis mine). This of course was in reference to the recent marches held across the country. Perhaps they were striving more to show how the people in the march came from such a variety of different countries and how wonderful that was? Besides the fact that, that argument is so very weak. Ask any person on the street where they’re from and you will get all sorts of answers that do not involve the words United States of America.

I have also heard arguments about the economics of large scale immigration. Many people are operating under the belief that illegal immigrants are a major drain on our economy. This belief stems from the fact that most illegal immigrants do not pay federal or state income tax. This is true to a certain extent. They of course do not have social security numbers or the right to work in the United States so they do not, in fact pay traditional taxes. They are, however, consumers and as such pay sales taxes. They drive, and as such pay road tolls. Also small businesses who employee illegal immigrants earn more money because they do not pay immigrants as much, that money is again taxed and usually at a higher rate. Immigrants are not a drain on the economy, in fact they are the exact opposite.

Throughout these posts I will mention three friends of mine, I’ve changed their names for obvious reasons; John, Jane and Josh. These three friends are illegal immigrants and used to work in the same restaurant that I did. I’m going to mention Jane first because of the next argument. Illegal immigrants receive free health care and “we” end up paying for it.

The second week I was working at the restaurant Jane hurt her foot while grocery shopping. Another shopper had run over her foot with a fully loaded cart and broken her toe along with some other damage. Jane ended up spending all night in the emergency room only to have them bandage up her foot when she really needed stitches, her toe was not set. Did Jane walk out free of charge? Nope, she was charged over $300 for some gauze and the advice to “stay off her foot.” I heard this story the next morning when I walked into the kitchen and she was standing at the stoves cleaning them with one shoe and one sandal. Jane did not receive free health care and we are not paying for it.

stay tuned for pt. 2 (here)


Anonymous Been There said...

If you remembered your American History, there never was an answer for this problem, and my guess is that there never will.

I do however believe that today's problem is emphasized by those leaders in the countries where our current "guests" are coming from. Our guests are a major source of revenue for those countries, who for a variety of reasons can't grow their own economy.

10:50 AM, March 26, 2006  
Blogger Shenanigans said...

That argument is a non-starter in my book. You too have forgotten your history, immigrants have been doing that for centuries from countries like Italy and Ireland. You may or may not know that Ireland is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe now.

Not to mention the amount of money that American companies are making off of those countries that our current guests are coming from.

Welcome to globalization.

12:15 PM, March 26, 2006  

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