Monday, April 12, 2010

Interesting Immigration Letter

I was advised recently by Brad Klopfenstein that he was taking a letter to US Senator Dick Lugar, regarding immigration reform. Here's the text:
Small Business Petition to Congress for Real Immigration Reform

Dear Senator Lugar:

We need immigration reform that will protect American jobs; will require all immigrants who are in the country illegally to register with the government, undergo background checks, study English, and pay taxes; enforce our laws and protect our borders; protect employers; and provide local governments with the funding and tools they need to implement comprehensive reform. Small businesses need immigration reform to do our part for economic recovery and to ensure a stable workforce for Indiana. We, the undersigned small businesses of Indiana, urge you to pass just and comprehensive immigration reform this year. We must prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting undocumented workers and undercutting honest competition. We need you to move forward with a common sense solution that upholds our values of fairness and justice while securing the border, offering a
pathway to citizenship, and modernizing our immigration system.

The time for action is now.

I've long been of a mixed mind on this issue. At the core, I really want to see open borders. That's the idealist in me. But the realist keeps intervening.

It bothers me that non-citizens come into the country to frequently take jobs under the table, so they aren't paying taxes. Then, they often take advantage of services collectively provided for, such as schools or emergency rooms. I don't believe it just to provide services to non-citizens.

Could local employers not give jobs to illegal immigrants? Sure, but I understand why they do. The tax burden on employers is so high that they can pay someone off the books far more than they can someone on, and be money ahead. So, if they can pay an illegal way less than someone on the books, they get way ahead. There's the incentive for employers willing to take a risk. Those competitors not willing to risk running afoul of the law are at a comparative disadvantage.

So, the issue needs to be addressed. I'd like to see us get to where my own ideal can prevail, but we're giving away the store at a time when there's very little in the till anyhow.


Doug said...

Crime almost always pays better than obeying the law, provided the criminal doesn't get caught. In this equation, we have at least two sets of criminals: the illegal immigrant and the employer hiring illegal immigrants.

In most situations, I guess the illegal immigrant looks more like the guy stealing bread to feed his family than the employer; but both are lawbreakers.

Mike Kole said...

I don't entirely disagree, Doug. But the flow chart goes like this:

Public policy -> Employers react to policy to set their policy -> Would-be employees seek job.

We could arrest employers. That doesn't change the root cause that gives rise to the risk taken by some. Kind of reminds me of the drug war. We arrest dealers who exist as they do because of public policy. Arrests don't make either problem go away, because the policy is unchanged, and the policy is the root.

Strike at the root!