Sorry, I know I said six but I went with my mother to the sari sari store. She was sending a remittance back to the Philippines. And that gets us to this post about immigration. This was brought up over at Kapitano's who noted that whenever the illegal immigration comes up it seems to fall into one of two camps: there being too many of them or there being a problem with "tracking" them. I'm going to venture that it is that and a lot more. In fact so much that I could do a whole other blog on the subject. But I want to write about illegal immigration and my take on it and then get into immigration to the United States to close it up.
My own take on illegal immigration? I'm against it. I think that any person that crosses our borders illegally needs to be deported and thrown into prison if necessary. It has nothing to do with who they are, where they came from, or why they are came but the simple fact that they violated the rule of law.
So to start off with there being too many of them. Are there too many? Illegal and legal immigrants put together are not much. But leaving just the illegals, it's plain to see that they are participating in our economy. The United States could easily absorb them and millions more. But the ability of this country to welcome more people doesn't mean that immigrants can ignore the law. There's a line. Go to the back of it and wait. There have been studies that show that illegal immigrants are a net drain when it comes to government services that they take versus what illegals contribute to the government. However when illegals are considered on how they affect the economy in the big picture, it turns out that they are an economic gain.
Proponents of illegals use the talking point that illegal immigrants do the work that Americans don't want to do. That they work for low wages in low skill jobs. I'm sorry, but is that supposed to make me feel better about having illegal immigrants around? Am I supposed to rest easy tonight knowing that the head of lettuce that I bought for 49 cents was obtained through exploitation? If the minimum wage is good enough for American citizens, why can't it be good for low skilled workers? Okay, so you're probably thinking, "But David, you're a Republican. Shouldn't you be favoring wages that are set by the market?" Sure, but then at least give illegals the dignity of playing on the same field.
The second was the tracking of them. Well, I'm going to have to ask, what does that mean exactly? Do we have a rough idea of how many are in the country and what they are doing? Yes. This comes up every now and again. Recently it came back up in San Francisco and that is providing identification for illegal immigrants. And that just strikes me as odd because if you can identify someone who is here illegally, shouldn't they be detained and deported? No, the thought process is that these IDs will help illegals participate more in society. Apparently if you give criminals identification, they become good citizens. Oh, if it were only true...
The problem with illegal immigration is this: there is no enforcement of the the law. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is underfunded, understaffed, and overly constrained. Agencies do not cooperate with each other, business hire illegal immigrants, and no one has effectively done anything about it.
During the Republican debates, I was laughing at one of the no-name candidates who made an extra emphasis on building "The Fence." A fence--even a double fence with motion detectors, heat sensors, missiles and god knows what else-- won't stop illegal immigration. It's a big fat piece of pork. A waste of tax money. Just so we're clear... I'm against a border fence.
I'm with Gov. Romney on this when he says that you need to stop the "magnets" that draw in and keep illegal immigrants. That involves getting tough on businesses that hire them and closing loop holes in the law so that businesses who want to do things the legal way are able to do so. (It's an issue because businesses can't effectively find out the legal status of a job candidate.) The next is cut services down to the bare bones for illegals (sorry, no subsidized tuition). And then the government has to dismantle protectionist policies of the various "sanctuary" cities and states. One way would be to mandate that police report any illegal they arrest to ICE.
When it comes to legal immigration, I'm a huge fan. After all, I am a child of immigrants. First generation American on my mother's side. Third generation on my father's. I watched as my mother became a naturalized citizen along with a few hundred others and I will tell you, I have never felt more proud to be an American. I was given American citizenship. They earned it. So to be quite honest, I believe that a naturalized citizen has a more meaningful status and it's something that I respect.
I will go as far as to be critical of my government for not opening up the borders even more to legal immigration. I actually want more people coming in and participating in this great experiment. As I see it, the US is horribly restrictive in who and how many they let in. I can only use my family as an example but take for example my step mom.
It took her, I think five years, to become a US citizen. It took her one year of waiting in the Philippines before she could get a visitors visa to even get into the United States. Then she had to change that over to permanent resident when she married my dad. Then there was a wait period for her to apply for citizen ship and that whole process took about three years I believe. And this was the "fast track" because she got married.
There is another "fast track" and that's working for the military. If I remember right on that, certain approved foreigners may enlist in the services and after three years they earn citizenship. Funny how they require three years when tours used to be two years long. So effectively, the military got at least four years out of those recruits.
To further illustrate how difficult it is to get here, take me. If I was a Filipino citizen--male, single, and in my twenties, it would be next to impossible to for me to obtain a visa to visit the states. So all you rich and western nationals out there... be thankful that all you have to worry about is having your passport on you when you get here.
My mother has a cousin that has been waiting to come to America through sponsorship by her mother. She's been waiting for thirteen years and only recently has she been given a visa interview. We still haven't heard whether she got the visa or not. Think on that.
To to make it short, I'm a big fan of immigration as long as it is legal. When you come from a family that has actually gone through the hoops (and some are still doing it), you really have no patience for people who cheat the system or the government that just stands by and lets it happen.
Oh and one thing. If there needs to be an amendment to the constitution, it shouldn't be about gay marriage. Instead, they should modify jus soli so that at least one of the parents is a citizen or, at the very least, a permanent resident.