Eden Hill Journal

Comments, dreams, stories, and rantings from a middle-aged native of Maine living on a shoestring and a prayer in the woods of Maine. My portion of the family farm is to be known as Eden Hill Farm just because I want to call it that and because that's the closest thing to the truth that I could come up with. If you enjoy what I write, email me or make a comment. If you enjoy Eden Hill, come visit.

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Location: Maine, United States

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Immigration Oversimplified

When was the last time you heard advocates for the wealthy say they wanted their immigrant workers to become legal workers or citizens? Ever?
The claim always floated around is that the illegal immigrants in the US, now numbering somewhere around 11 million, are having two negative impacts on the American economy.
1. They are taking away jobs for unskilled American workers.
2. They pay little into the system but are putting a strain on our social system, healthcare, education, welfare, etc.
It is argued that if these 11 million illegal immigrants were legalized, not only would that not solve the problem of them taking American jobs, but it would increase the second problem because legalized immigrants would be more likely to use social programs. I just heard one radio commentator suggest that legalizing the illegals would triple the cost of this second problem.
It's been difficult keeping informed about the immigration reform legislation being tossed about the halls of Washington this month. More than likely that is because the legislation isn't serious legislation. It's political. That means two things:
1. It can't offend the financial base of the Republican Party, namely the wealthy.
2. It needs to pacify the non-wealthy Republicans who actually do the voting.
In other words, any immigration legislation this year needs to be ambiguous.
I've heard from many sources that some proposed legislation would legalize 400,000 currently illegal immigrants. I say wow. While that is a significant number, what about the other 10.6 million of them?
Nobody can be fool enough to assume that we are going to round up and either imprison or expel over 10 million people who currently contribute to the US economy and make life much easier and more profitable for the wealthy in our country. Nobody who knows anything about the Republican party can actually believe that. Some of us can pretend it, but none of us actually believe it.
It is within reason to believe that we would be stupid enough to build a fence between the US and Mexico and then hire security firms to guard that fence. I'm sure the President and especially the Vice President have friends who would be glad to contract out those services at a considerable profit. So that option makes sense. And using that same logic it also makes sense to have privately run prisons offering the services of captured illegals to serve as low-cost laborers - slaves, in other words. That makes sense for some time down the road when we have assimilated ourselves to that sort of thing.
But the reality of today's immigration "problem" lies outside of all these concerns.
If the US really wanted to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US and encourage most of those who are here to go someplace else - which is what we claim that we do want - then it would be very easy to accomplish that objective. All we would need to do is send to prison anyone who employs an illegal immigrant. That same radio commentator I mentioned above said that in 2004, only four employers were actually fined for hiring illegals.
I read somewhere that there are 50,000 social security numbers which are all zeros. All zeros! I mean, 000-00-0000. Fifty thousand of them. And for some reason it hasn't dawned on the IRS to do something about that.
If the IRS and the US immigration service and the Department of Homeland Security can't deal with even just two duplicate Social Security numbers, let alone 50,000 obviously bogus ones, then one has to assume that someone with clout in government doesn't want the problem solved. But who with any clout in government doesn't want the problem solved?
Wealthy Republicans, of course.
Nobody is actually coming out and explaining it to the general public, but here's how I think it works...
There can be no doubt at all, no doubt whatsoever, that wealthy Republicans want low-cost labor. Whether they find it within the borders of the US or they have to go offshore to get it, they want it. It's a Republican objective.
There can also be no doubt whatsoever that wealthy Republicans want to minimize social spending. If you haven't discovered that by now you've been sleeping for the past six or eight decades.
Both of those objectives lead to more wealth with less overhead expenses for the wealthy who flock to the Republican Party because that is the party in the United States which is delivering what these people want, legislation encouraging lower wages and lower social costs. Republican legislation opposing those two goals is seen by these wealthy financiers as traitorous.
The current immigration situation works quite well when it comes to meeting those two objectives. If there is a problem, it is that liberals are having some success providing social services for these low-income workers and their families. But other than that, things are going quite well. There are 11 million people working for low wages, even below minimum wage in some cases, putting pressure on American workers to work for lower wages.
But in the eyes of these employers, something needs to be done to end the success of liberals to organize illegal workers and provide social services for them. It's not that we want the illegals to all go home. Far from it. What our Republicans leaders really want is a system where people who come to the United States illegally and work for low wages are afraid to use social services.
With that image in mind, now you are ready to understand immigration reform. Immigration reform is intended and designed to appease the American voter while increasing the fear factor felt by illegal immigrants, yet not discouraging large numbers of them from working for us at low wages.
That's politics.


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