To find an answer to this issue we have to understand why immigrants want to come to this great country. A couple of centuries ago it was to escape persecution in their native lands. As the United States started to evolve that motivation slowly changed into the “land of opportunity” and great riches. In the early days, these new immigrants were not at all welcome here and they had to force their will on the original inhabitants with guns and violence. The current patriots conveniently forget this bloody invasion of a country they acquired by force. The people they “colonized” are still here – The American Indians.
Getting back to the current immigration issue, we have to be clear why people risk their lives and leave their families behind, sometimes forever, in order to be here. It is because they can work here for a wage that they could never achieve back home. It is not to run a drug trade or use the entitlement benefits, as many Americans like to believe. I often say in jest that Mexicans don’t risk their lives in crossing the border, often never to see their families again, just to get their teeth fixed. They come here to work.
The proof of this statement is self-evident. The money sent back to their families in Mexico from the illegal immigrant population here is Mexico’s second biggest piece of foreign trade and amounts to almost $23 billon annually. This is why Mexicans come here illegally – to work. Not to sell drugs. So the solution to this problem seems to be staring us in the face and yet the patriots want to attack the symptoms and not the cause. At a heated debate once at Starbucks I asked the patriots to solve this problem – there is a huge swarm of bees hovering above a pot of honey at our table and we need to get rid of them (I used my empty Starbucks cup as a prop). What would you do?
The suggestions ranged from getting a can of bee-spray to calling the local pest control company. So I then picked up the cup and walked over to the garbage can and dumped it and said – problem solved. Everyone was looking at the symptoms (the bees) and not the cause (the honey pot). It is the same with immigration. Sending 3,000 or 30,000 troops down to the border will not solve the problem and is only a short-term political ploy to appear to be doing something. The problem is not the illegal immigrants. It is all the illegal American citizens who break the law by giving them work. It is simple. No work, no illegal immigrants.
Now we have even more proof that this is the core of the problem. With our economy turning south the illegal immigrant population is declining rapidly. Why? Lack of work. In fact the latest numbers show that 1.7 million of the 11 million illegal immigrants have returned to Mexico and the exit interviews that have been conducted by the press show overwhelmingly that the reason for this decline is that they would rather be at home with their families unemployed than here alone. So the first part of the solution is to crack down much harder on employers that provide work for illegal immigrants. These laws are on the books but never fully implemented. Increase the fines and punishment for the employers. Fine them $50,000 for every worker that is found to be illegal and then throw the employer in jail alongside the illegal worker. They are the true cause of this problem.
However, this is only half the solution. America is a land of immigrants and we will always need them, at all levels of society. Just as Intel needs scientists from China and Germany to fulfill its employment needs, so do the fruit farmers in California. The only reason a fruit picker in California is here illegally is because the US government has not created a visa for that kind of work. So start a simple work visa program for these types of workers. Charge them $10/month for this work visa so they can come into the country and return to see their families at the weekend and come back to work the week after. It would be better for everyone.
The US government would now know where these people are and create tax income, the employers would have a simple method of checking on their legal status and these hard-working immigrants would not have to destroy their own families and live a life of fear and trepidation. Without them we will have to pay more for our fruits and vegetables, having our houses cleaned and our yards and pools taken care of. That’s the downside the patriots will have to accept. More importantly, without them the population of the US will decline, and we will not have a core of willing, hard workers who will be paying taxes to support our social security and Medicare benefits as the rest of the aging patriots retire.
Don’t believe me? Well, in 2008 the median age of the (legal) Hispanic population was 27.7 years while for the rest of the population it was 36.8 years. In the same year, 22% of all children under 18 in the US were Hispanic. 25% for all children under 5. In 2008 there were 46.9 million Hispanics in the US making it the 2nd biggest in the world behind Mexico (110 million). The forecasts call for the US Hispanic minority to rise to 132.8 million by 2050 making it 30% of the total population here. So I would suggest it is time for the patriots to acknowledge these facts and embrace them as something good, not evil. They are becoming an ever more important part of the miracle we call “The Great American Experiment” whether we build a fence and add 30,000 more troops at the border or not.