Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Immigration Issue: part 2

So how do we solve these problems? Well there are two schools of thought: Get all of the illegals out or make them legal. Most solutions boil down to one or the other or both. So which one is correct? Here are my thoughts on getting all of the illegals out:

Deport All Illegal Immigrants

This is the idea that the US House of Representatives seems to be favoring. The simplest plan is to build a wall at the border, get more border patrol agents, and pretty much seal off the border. Then, as a complimentary tactic, strictly enforce current laws about employing non-citizens.

Having a larger presence at the border and building a wall will slow down much of the border crossing but, by itself, it can't stop it. It's almost like sticking a band-aid on a corpse. People will find a way. The Berlin Wall had guards with machine guns, razor wire, and land mines but people still got over (granted not very many). This is why the real problem would need to be dealt with: demand.

In my previous post, I stated that it's all about supply and demand. No matter how high you build a wall, if there is demand, supply will come. Conversely though, even with no wall at all, if there's no demand, supply will dry up. If illegals couldn't find jobs here (no demand), they wouldn't come (no supply). That's why the second tactic of enforcing the laws against hiring non-citizens is crucial.

If the US were to increase funding and personnel to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and task them with busting every business that hires illegals, things would start changing in a hurry. As companies are increasingly fined and/or shut down for illegal hiring practices, the amount of work for illegals would drop dramatically and, as word got out that there are not jobs, the amount of illegal immigration would drop dramatically as well.

This would have the happy effect of allowing our border patrol to focus on drug smugglers and terrorists at the border instead of migrants. It would basically get our border back under control.

So is there a downside? Well, maybe. Illegals tend to work at lower wages. This makes services that they support cheaper. If there were no more illegals, there's a good chance that wages would go up. That's good. But this also means that prices will go up as well. That's bad. Services like restaurants, hotels, construction, landscaping, etc. would probably have to raise there rates. Some would probably have to scale back or go out of business altogether. The real question is would it just be a little bump in the economy or could it cause a full blown recession? Nobody seems to know. However, raising wages high enough so that it is possible to survive working in these low-wage jobs could eliminate a lot of welfare and unemployment issues and raise the standard of living for the working poor.

So, is this a good solution, a bad solution, or no solution at all? I don't know. There is a lot of good that could come of it but there is also a lot of bad. Someone smarter than me will have to figure out if the benefits outweigh the risks.


Anonymous said...

On illegal immigration--there is a solution to the supply and demand of laborers for low paying yet necessary jobs. Why couldn't American citizens who are homeless be required to fill those jobs? American cities are full of legal Americans who are destitute enough to live on the street. If the American dream is still alive, these people need an opportunity to work at an essential job even for a minimum wage. So many of the jobs being filled by illegal immigrants are basic to America's way of life. As legal Americans are hired into these positions, not only would the demand for illegals reduce, but the number of homeless might reduce as well. It sounds like a win-win case for America. Just a thought!

Jeff said...

That's an interesting idea, however, you can't compel anybody to work. Not even the homeless. However, giving the homeless an opportunity could at least fill some of the role that the illegal immigrant is playing. It would be an interesting experiment.