We need to take an honest look at immigration holistically, looking at the causes, rather than simply being stuck on the effects. Being stuck on the effects seems to be a tactic used by the anti-immigrants in order to keep the debate away from any sort of humanistic feel.
Before this country had its western laws it had immigrants. The lack of laws made the country wide open to anyone that wanted in. Today, however, we have laws to keep too many people from entering the country because we’ve done all the taking we needed to – now it’s time to put up walls.
One problem with most debates on immigration is they focus on the victim (whom I believe to be the migrants themselves) rather than the reason. Another problem is the fact that misinformation continues to plague the news and the debate itself.
Those purporting to ‘solve’ the immigration issue makes it seem as if coming to this country is like sneaking into a movie theater. In this analogy their solution is to take out some of the seats and make the movies so terrible nobody would want to watch them in the first place.
In a recent article from The Ledger titled Three Goals For Immigration Reform we see this.
One way to do so is to make coming here illegally less attractive. Taking away the allure of jobs in this country is a good way to do that. If residents of other nations can’t expect to get jobs here, they won’t come.
First we have to realize the fact that not all undocumented immigrants arrived here “illegally.” Many arrived here on visas and simply stayed longer than they were supposed to. So will we deny visas to those wanting to study here? Will we deny visas to those wanting to work here? Will we make it illegal for people from other country to go to school here?
Next, the use of the word allure is somewhat odd to me. Rarely does one see the word allure alongside the mention of work. If nothing else this only exemplifies the desperation and determination of those looking to support their families. Work, as it is referred to here, is not some button pushing desk job; rather it is generally a low level minimum wage employment at the types of places that hang “help wanted” signs on their doors.
The relationship between jobs eluded to with the favorite expression “Americans don’t want” and the pay they offer should be no surprise considering they often exist in areas where the output is expected to be cheap. If there were no dollar menus or super-sized gluttonous portions Americans wouldn’t frequent the fast-food establishments no more then they’d shop at Wal-Mart if the clothing section was priced like an Express or Macy’s.
It is this “I want it cheap” mentality that fuels the underground workforce and contributes to both the need to leave one’s country and the availability of work in the US. When shady businessmen meet with a drooling consumer base the two can often meet in agreement while the workers suffer in the malaise of hard work and marginalization. Who cares about the workers when products are cheap? This is where the problem with undocumented labor begins. Not only does this desire for cheap create the market domestically, but it also fuels the economy abroad which brings people here in the first place. Why not come to the destination where you can be paid more for the same type of work and get more for your money?
If a true patriot wants to see how much influence they have on the rest of the world they need only look at the labels of all the items they own, from their car to their underpants. Because the world thrives on consumerism and buying power we are all influencers of how workers here and abroad are treated. If you want a one-dollar bag of tube sox because you like to wear them only once, you can have them, but at a price. That price takes its toll on another human being – a person you’ll probably never meet, never see, and probably can’t even smell, over all the chemicals, on the very item they made for you.
Some politicians have said that if illegal immigrants are denied jobs, they will go back to their native lands on their own, but that’s unlikely to be a complete solution.
If illegal immigrants are denied jobs? Well, they’re not and they will never be because our economy depends on them – the American way of life depends on them. Why not simply treat each other as human beings and not deny anyone the ability to live their lives? How can we dispose of a system that brought in the very people that built this country?
Illegal immigrants have come to this country in violation of our laws. It’s reasonable to expect them to pay a penalty for violating our laws before they can be allowed to stay. And, once they are allowed to stay, it would be reasonable to expect them to make a contribution to this nation before they are allowed to earn citizenship.
Again, we need to remember that not all undocumented immigrants entered this country illegally. As for the penalty, haven’t they already paid enough of a price by wanting too much to provide for their families and having to live in the shadows?
This article suggests that undocumented immigrants should pay into the social security system without receiving benefits, as a punishment or fine for being here without permission. However, they already pay into this system without receiving benefits. How much more must they pay?
Until politicians or reporters will speak about this issue without messing up the facts and leaving out important data we’ll get nowhere. When we approach this issue from a humanistic perspective we will see the light begin to shine and we’ll get closer to a world where everyone can work together, have a beautiful life, and get along.