Seriously, Don’t Read This Post About Illegal Immigration

What follows are my thoughts on illegal immigration. There’s really no point in writing this. I won’t change anyone’s mind. And yet, I am writing it. Why? Cause this way I can “talk” about it and you can ignore it. Which you should do. There is no good reason for you to read this post. Either you already agree with me and you will only have your opinion confirmed. Or, you will be angered and feel like arguing with me.

Don’t bother arguing with me.

Mostly, I’m writing this because one of my family members sent a mass e-mail to me, among others, that was pro-Jan Brewer and anti-illegal immigrants, quoting Jan Brewer and her disagreement with the Phoenix Suns’ president who voiced his disapproval of the Arizona immigration law. My family member indicated that Jan Brewer should be president.

Please please please let Jan Brewer be Sarah Palin’s running mate! That would be so good for the Daily Show!

I am not in favor of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is a crime. However, I *am* sympathetic to people coming to this country trying to make a living and make a better life for themselves. You know, The American Dream? I look at one street corner and there’s that same guy there, selling oranges or cherries, in the sun. He’s wearing the same clothes, too. But, he’s working. Then, on another corner, there’s that same guy with the sign declaring he’s a homeless veteran that will work for food, but I never see him working, just taking handouts (I have to wonder if a real veteran would actually be able to swallow their pride and beg for money.) I also realize that illegal immigration costs taxpayer money. I am not arguing that illegals should be granted amnesty. I am arguing that the rhetoric is way overblown. I am arguing that people act like illegal immigrants are destroying this country when it was built by illegal immigrants (or did I miss where the Cherokee issued visas?).

I wonder what Jesus would have to say about illegal immigration? Would he say to feed his brother, take care of the poor, shelter the children… as long as their status is properly documented? I think Jesus had a lot more compassion for people than many of his followers do. Maybe this doesn’t apply to you, but I think it clearly does to some others. Republicans will go to great lengths to declare their allegiance to Jesus and then promptly ignore what Jesus taught them.

Mostly what I object to is that people say they want illegal immigrants out for economic reasons. Then, when it’s pointed out that undocumented workers actually add to the economy, too, that they do pay income tax in some cases, etc., they don’t care about all that. They just want the Mexicans to go home. Hmmm. Yeah, for economic reasons. Except when it’s not about the economics. Then we’re glad they’re not here bothering us Americans.

We like illegal immigrants to pick our produce, to wash our cars, clean our offices, do our landscaping and construction. But, when the economy is tough, all of a sudden, illegal immigrants are persona non grata. Really, they are taking jobs away from Americans?

We are all content to buy our products from China and Taiwan where the workers get pennies an hour. How is this different? Couldn’t those jobs be American too? What about those American jobs that went to India so customer service phone centers could cost less for credit card companies and tech support? Those could be American jobs, too.

The criminals are the companies that are making money off the backs of all of us. If there were no market for workers willing to accept awful work conditions, no benefits, and low wages then illegal immigration would drop to zero. But, people, mostly Republicans and Tea Party “patriots” (how many scoundrels have wrapped themselves in a flag to avoid detection?), would rather scapegoat someone who just wants to work, just wants to feed his family.

Then again, lots of people go around these days believing things, forming opinions, without letting themselves be bothered with facts.

I excerpted a section of a story from the Arizona Republic below to illustrate my point.

Kavanagh, a sponsor of SB 1070, said it is difficult to tell whether illegal immigrants are being driven underground by the economic downturn or the immigration law.

Tom Rex, who studies the state’s economy for the Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said immigration crackdowns, notably the state’s employer-sanctions law, have driven more undocumented workers from the aboveground economy into the underground cash economy.

The sanctions law, which took effect in 2008, requires all employers to electronically verify whether employees are legally eligible to work. That has made it harder for undocumented workers to use fake documents to get legitimate jobs, as many did in the past.

It also means less revenue for the state, since undocumented workers employed in the aboveground economy typically pay income taxes, unlike those working for cash.

On top of that, the state has lost sales-tax and other revenue from the thousands of illegal immigrants who have left due to the immigration crackdowns, further hurting the state’s sagging economy, Rex said.

The Pew Hispanic Center recently estimated that the state’s undocumented population shrunk by 100,000 people in the past three years, dropping from 500,000 to 400,000.

Such a large and sudden loss of people dealt a severe blow to the state’s economy, even when costs such as education and other services are factored in, Rex said.

As evidence, he pointed to retail sales, which plummeted 9 percent in 2008 and 10 percent in 2009. Rex called the drop unprecedented and said it likely resulted from an overall decrease in spending during the recession and immigrants leaving the state.

“Nothing remotely close to that has ever happened in this state,” Rex said.

Still, Kavanagh said the loss of more than 100,000 illegal immigrants opened job opportunities for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants at a time when the state’s unemployment rate is 9.5 percent.

“So losing 100,000 or 200,000 workers who were undercutting legal workers and depressing wages is a big plus, as far as I am concerned,” he said. “Good riddance.”

Clint Hickman, vice president of sales and marketing for Hickman’s Family Farms, the largest egg producer in Arizona, said sales to supermarkets and grocery stores that cater to Latinos dropped 20 percent in the wake of SB 1070.

“Eggs are not easily substituted, so it wasn’t that there was some other foodstuff that was being substituted,” he said. “It was a real loss of consumption because the people aren’t here any more.”

Kavanagh said the drop in sales suggests SB 1070 was a “very effective deterrent.”

“It makes me feel good,” Kavanagh said. “Mr. Hickman (will have to) have less hens. You don’t overproduce. I am not going to maintain a large population of illegal immigrants who drain our economy and cost us in benefits just so that Mr. Hickman can sell 20 percent more in eggs.”

(apologies for the videos.  I’m still learning how to format those.)


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