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Mid-South: The Truth of Illegal Immigration
Posted by: CommunityEditor on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 - 09:37 AM
Community By: Benjamin M. Mitchell


As an Independent voter, I hold no allegiance to any party or politics. I believe in voting based on the facts. With that said I’m going to give you the facts and let you decide what effects illegal immigration is having on America. There are few if any topic that are in such hot debate as illegal immigration. Over the last few years this relatively unknown subject has been pushed into the lime light by people such as Lou Dobbs.

There are many different views and opinions to these people. And we must remember that these are people we are talking about and not some ambiguous nothing. These people come to our country in search of a better life and most live hard working law abiding lives. However, they live outside of the law. Few pay Federal Income Taxes and if they due it’s with forged documents. Their income level often means that they get healthy returns that middle-class Americans can only dream of. Now a lot of pro-immigration reformists claim that these “undocumented workers” pay millions in local sales taxes and perform labor that most Americans will not do. The opponents to these illegal immigrants claim that they lower pay for local labor markets and cost in social services far beyond what they pay in any type of taxes. So my curiosity was raised and I did some digging into the subject. And what I found was amazing.

Let us start with pro-immigration groups. These groups for the most part want to pretend that the border between the United States and Mexico does not exist. I find that the title that they claim “pro-immigration” is a bit misleading. No one I’ve talked to thinks that legal immigration is a problem. The only reason I can fathom for calling themselves pro-immigration instead of pro-illegal immigration is that the former has a more positive spin. I’m not a big fan of putting a spin on a subject. The facts should be able to stand on there own without any help from others. If it can’t then it’s simply not the truth. Pro-immigration groups such as LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) claim to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States. I fully support this effort and hope they succeed. I think that true to the constitution, all people are created equal and should have an equal opportunity to succeed. However LULAC is one of those organizations that bend the truth of immigration. They constantly refer to illegal immigrants as “undocumented workers” or simply as “immigrants”.

“Throughout our country's history, immigrants have contributed immensely to our culture, our economy, our defense and our national pride. Almost all citizens of the United States are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants and each new generation of immigrants has reinvigorated our nation with the values and work ethic that has made America great. Our common experience has demonstrated that immigration is good for America, whether your ancestors arrived before the Declaration of Independence or just a generation ago. LULAC calls upon Congress and the President to embrace and uphold America’s tradition as a nation of immigrants and pass comprehensive immigration reform that allows hard working immigrants and their families to become permanent legal residents of the United States.” – Excerpt from the LULAC website on immigration.

I do believe that legal immigration is a very important facet of our society. The United States has a very liberal immigration policy and one of the most progressive in this hemisphere. The Mexican Government on the other hand has passed some very strict immigration laws pertaining to both illegal and legal immigrants. “The Mexican constitution restricts non-citizens or foreign-born persons from participating in politics, holding office, acting as members of the clergy, or serving on the crews of Mexican-flagged ships or airplanes. Certain legal rights are waived in the case of foreigners, such as the right to a deportation hearing or other legal motions. In cases of flagrante delicto, any person may make a citizen's arrest on the offender and any accomplices, turning them over without delay to the nearest authorities.” -Exert from Mexico on the other hand is protesting our wanting to build a 700mile security fence along there border. They have threatened to take there pleas to the United Nations and due what ever is required to prevent this from happening.

Immigration reformists or those who oppose illegal immigration and want our immigration laws upheld by our Government come from all walks of life. Although some of these groups ethics are questionable, they as far as I can discern broken no laws in there protests or lobbying. Some groups simply want our border secured to prevent any further breaches and have formed organizations to help achieve their goals. One of the most controversial of these groups is the Minutemen Civil Defense Corp. They are probably one the largest and have the broadest support.

“It is the mission of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps to see the borders and coastal boundaries of the United States secured against the unlawful and unauthorized entry of all individuals, contraband, and foreign military. We will employ all means of civil protest, demonstration, and political lobbying to accomplish this goal.” So goes the mission statement of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp. The minute man made headlines recently when speaking at a Columbia University leaders of the Minutemen where attacked and verbally assaulted by students who rushed the stage forcing their way to Jim Gilchrist, Marvin Stewart and Jerome Corsi. These protests have been repeated through out the country. Often I’ve found anyone who speaks out against illegal immigration is considered a racist and the security fence is being compared to the New Berlin Wall.

The first thing I want touch on is the claim that illegal immigrants do work that American citizen’s won’t perform. I find this statement distasteful and just plain untrue. I have to agree with Lou Dobbs on this one when he said that Americans won’t do jobs at the wages being offered. Businesses often claim that by paying more for workers would dramatically increase the cost of everything form textiles to burgers. Economists claim that the total cost increase would either be non-existent such as with most textiles to so minor not to be noticed such as in the cost of a burger. I personally believe that the Federal minimum wage is grossly short of what could be called fair. Economists look to those states that have raised the minimum wage and actually seen improvement in those economies as proof that better pay is good for the economy.

The other side of this is the claim that low-paid immigrants decrease pay in an area. This has some basis of truth, but can’t be proven sufficiently to be taken as a fact. The argument goes something like this, Why would a business owner pay more when they can continue to pay the minimum with no benefits. Well they can pay the minimum, however most states are increasing those minimums and businesses must pay taxes on all employees, legal or not. So this argument is suspect, since I can’t find any record of this being the case.

Next let us look at the cost for health care, incarceration and other social services that we offer to all people in our country. The problem is that the very poor and illegal immigrants do not help fund these social services that they use. The greatest cost to our economy as for illegal immigrants is Medicaid ($2.5 billion), treatment for the uninsured (most illegal immigrants have no health insurance - $2.2 billion), food assistance ($1.9 billion), incarceration ($1.6 billion) and education ($1.4 billion). These may sound outrageous, but are actually conservative figures. Since we don’t actually know how many illegal immigrants are in our country at the time of this writing. The best guess we can come up with is somewhere between 14 million and 30 million. These numbers are based on assumption of around 14 million.

Through all my research I’ve not been able to find any financial reason to allow illegal immigration to go unchecked. On the other hand, it will be almost impossible to remove every illegal immigrant from our country. Not only can we not easily find them, but many have given birth to children who are citizens of our country. And no matter how much I believe they broke the law to get here, splitting up a family is not an option. So we are left with this problem that our politicians have heaved on our shoulders. The first step is clear; we must secure our border and then start the process of deciding what to do with the tens of millions of illegal immigrations that are currently here.