Saturday, March 25, 2006

Illegal Immigration

So, talk about the illegal immigration "problem" is heating up again. I really hate how some people will refer to illegal immigrants as simply "illegals," as if their very existence were illegal. If you ask me, the only problem is with the system that makes immigration illegal. Illegal immigrants get scapegoated as being a scourge on society, when in actuality they're an essential part of the economy. Why not spend our time, money, and effort trying to keep out criminals and terrorists instead of guys looking for jobs?

Of course, that's the crux of the thing, isn't it? Employers need cheap labor. "Cheap Labor" here is still better than in Mexico or Central America, so people still come up here. But these workers who come here illegally don't have any rights. If their working conditions are unsafe or their treatment is unfair, what recourse do they have? None. Anybody who complains can be sent to the INS to be deported.

So how about letting in as many people as the market will bear, under some special status that will keep their basic human and civil rights intact but with a lower minimum wage? Wages would still be high compared to what they are south of the border, they would be low enough to be employable and not turn employers to a black market, and the many many low-wage workers in this country would no longer live in a state of legal limbo. A system could be put in place to transition these guest workers to a full legal status, while at the same time guest workers who aren't working could be deported.

In other words, you're welcome to come here and live legally as long as you're contributing to society. The only people deported would be criminals and freeloaders, not hard workers.

What do you think? Would this be a humane and fair system? What problems do you foresee in it?


At Monday, March 27, 2006 at 9:12:00 PM PST, Anonymous Joshua said...

I'm not sure this would address some of the main concerns some people have about illegal immigration:
1. that illegal immigrants are willing to work for lower wages than citizens, and thus tend to depress overall wages in the USA;
2. that illegal immigrants are taking American jobs and contributing to unemployment among citizens.

If employers are specifically allowed to hire foreign persons at lower wages than citizens, I would expect those problems to be exacerbated.


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