Thursday, February 26, 2009

Illegal Immigration is NOT a Problem in the United States!

Former Republican presidential hopeful Tom Tancredo, The American Legion, Lou Dobbs, the Minutemen, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix AZ might try to tell you differently, but illegal immigration into the United States is not actually a problem. It is a symptom of the underlying problem: economic injustice. Estimates suggest that 12 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. Something pushed them out of their home countries. Something drew them here. To understand where the real problem lies, consider the push/pull factors.

Economic desperation pushed these people to the U.S. out of their own homes and countries and far from their loved ones and families. Free trade agreements like NAFTA contribute to the problem in North America. Yes, NAFTA created a half million Mexican manufacturing jobs. However, at the same time, it displaced 1.5-2 million workers. When there is no work, there is no food, no livelihood; workers must migrate to live. According to the World Bank, 53% of Mexico's population live on less than $2 a day and closer to 24% live in extreme poverty, less than $1 a day.

Thus enters the "pull" factor. In fact, Mexicans and Central Americans are willing to risk death for a chance to find employment, and they continue to take increased risks to cross borders. Once in the U.S., they will work at low paying jobs that no one else will fill.* Because they're willing to work at the most dangerous jobs, one immigrant a day will die in the work place. They will work for lower wages and for minimal or no benefits. They are, as the 2006 film title suggests: "Dying to Live."

Illegal immigration to the U.S. is not a problem to U.S. employers who maximize their profits on the backs of desperate people. Illegal immigration is no problem to the U.S. Social Security Administration that receives perhaps $7 billion annually due to contributions from undocumented workers who will never receive any benefits back from that system. And because the U.S. politicians want to ingratiate themselves with business and keep Social Security afloat, illegal immigration is no problem to them either.

Illegal immigration into the U.S. is not a problem. Rather it is the symptom of a much bigger problem. The real problem is economic injustice.


* From Pew Hispanic Center statistics: These industries have more than twice the representation of unauthorized workers than the whole labor force: Landscaping services 26%; Animal slaughter & processing 20%; services to buildings & homes 19%; Dry cleaning & laundry 17%; Cut & sew apparel mfg 16%; Crop production 16%; Private households 14%; Traveler accommodation 14%; Restaurants & food services 11%; Construction 10%; Groceries and related prod. 8%


claire bangasser said...

Very good post, thank you.

Strange how the 'other' threatens us even when that 'other' is so weak, one of Jesus' 'anawims' that we are asked to protect and care for.

You certainly are caring for them.

Thank you for inspiring us.

thailandchani said...

This is so true! Right now, the illegal immigrants are being turned into scapegoats because of the economy... even when they have typically done jobs that most Americans wouldn't consider doing. And those jobs are horribly exploitative!


Steph said...

Hold the boat. Illegal immigration is a huge problem in the United States. It's starts with greed. U.S. corporations got greedy when they realized that they could displace American workers with illegal aliens for half the cost. Without a doubt those companies who laid-off their legal employees and replaced them with illegal aliens, and put them to work in conditions that no one should ever be faced with, should be stopped and made to follow the immigration laws we have now. There should sanctions and fines for all of them and jail time for the most corrupt of them.

Here's the kicker though, the illegal aliens allowed it, welcomed it and sought it. Many U.S. citizens allowed it and denied that it was problem for far too long because it meant cheaper goods. Notice I said many and not all. There have always been U.S. citizens who have viewed this practice with disdain and have been working against it, and now many more U.S. citizens have joined the fight against it.

I will never buy the "poor dumb illegal who didn't know better, who only wanted to make their life better and now all these U.S. citizens are against them." That's a load of bull. The illegal alien is just as greedy as the next guy. No one forced the illegal alien to circumvent our current immigration laws and come to our country illegally to take these jobs offered. These illegal aliens knew that by crossing our border illegally they would ruin their chance at becoming a legal citizen, but a great many of them didn't and don't want to become citizens. They only want the U.S. dollar. It's their own greed that causes them to seek out the coyotes and to take the often times dangerous route into our country. No one forced the illegal alien to keep working for wages far less then legal citizens are paid, many times in archaic and dangerous conditions.

No one forced the illegal alien to send billions of U.S. dollars out of the country to feed the coffers of their foreign lands, most often at the urging of their foreign governments. No one forced the illegal alien to have anchor babies as a way to stay in U.S. through the corrupted 14th Amendment. No one forced the illegal alien to buy stolen identities to take the jobs. No one forced the illegal alien to use those stolen identities as a way to receive welfare and help that does not belong to them. No one forced the illegal alien to march against U.S., with their demands and displays of hate and racism (flying their foreign flags high while dragging the U.S. flag on the ground behind them, or burning the U.S. flag, chanting and yelling out threats to us in their foreign languages) while demanding rights that don't belong to them.

No one forced the illegal alien to use their stolen identities and lie about what they make to purchase a subprime mortgage. And now these same illegal aliens are crying foul because jobs are disappearing and their lives have to change. Get in line with the rest of the U.S.

Conditions are in dire straits throughout all of the U.S. and there is no way out unless we drastically change things. The U.S. can't sustain illegal aliens; it can barely sustain its own citizens. One change is going to have to be the removal of illegal aliens. Their constant demands of rights that don't belong to them, their law suits against U.S. citizens by their numerous "Pro-Illegal Alien Leagues" is what is keeping the attention on them and that constant reminder is starting to spawn a new wave of resentment against them by legal U.S. citizens. Things are going to change in all sectors of life in the U.S. because they have to change.

Border Explorer said...

Claire..."anawim"--so true. Thanks for your kind words.

Thailand Chani, I agree: things look ripe to become uglier.

Steph, you're a good writer and ought to consider posting your own blog. Responding to your comment would take more space than I have here. Greed is the basis of economic injustice, but then after that you lost me. I'm not sure from your comment that you actually read my post (or just the headline). Clearly, we have differing opinions.

Steph said...

Differing opinions are good. It causes debate and many a good things come from debate. My opinion that illegal IS a problem in the U.S. differs from yours, but that doesn't mean I don't understand what you wrote.

Sorry I lost you, that wasn't my intent. I believe I read your blog correctly. What came across to me was the absolving of illegal aliens for the responsibilty of their criminal actions. I disagree, somewhat strongly, with that. It's more complex than saying U.S. businesses are at fault. The whole system is fraught with fault on all sides and pointing out just one failure is disingenious at best.

Nobody forces U.S. businesses to find a way to make their goods cheaper at the high cost of American jobs. Nobody forces Americans to go to Walmart and buy cheap goods. And nobody forces an illegal alien to do any of the number of things outside the letter of the law we now have on the books.

Right now, we as a nation are reaping what has been sowed, right or wrong, and I don't absolve anyone involved from that. I choose to stand up for what I think is right, and in this case I believe in sanctions for businesses that break the illegal alien no-hire rules and the removal of illegal aliens from U.S. lands.

VinhLe said...

Illegal aliens displace legal immigrants, and illegal immigration benefits Latin Americans 30 times more than non-Latin Americans.

You are supporting anti-immigrant racism. If you want to help the marginalized, do it in Mexico and Central America.

VinhLe said...

Illegal aliens are not immigrants, they are foreign intruders. Immigrants are lawful permanent resident aliens. You insult and offend real (legal) immigrants by calling illegal aliens "immigrants".

Border Explorer said...

Steph, we're in agreement that the immigration situation is symptomatic of a much deeper problem (greed). Yes, the symptom is problematic, but that problem is not fixed for reasons stated in the post.

There is no legal way for the vast majority of undocumented persons to immigrate to the US lawfully. Until that is reformed, it is pointless to blame them for being willing to die to survive.

Feel free to email me. I don't care to turn this blog post into a dialogue.

Border Explorer said...

Vinhle, thanks for the website. A cursory look through it makes me think that we would both agree that the U.S. immigration system badly needs reform. I choose semantics that reflect my perspective and mean neither you nor any immigrant group disrespect. I appreciate your assuming a Blogger identity to contribute here. I'll return to learn more at the Immigrant Rights Foundation website when I have a chance. Right now, I can't say I see things the way you do.

VinhLe said...


There is no legal way for the 2 billion foreigners who want a better life in America to immigrate here.

Why do you only focus on Mexicans and Central Americans? Is it because you are a bigot?

Border Explorer said...

Vinhle: re statement #1--this illustrates the thesis of this post, that economic injustice is the underlying problem.

re statement #2--I blog about my life on the U.S. Mexico border, but I work with immigrants from around the world. If you hope to win support for your point of view, suggesting that your dialogue partner is a bigot likely won't help. Feel free to email me.

Steph said...


Thank you for the offer to take this offline and use email, but I respectfully decline the invitation for two reasons:

#1 - like it or not, you do show a bias by saying that this is your life and your opinion, but you want no detractors or aren't willing to have a meaningful conversation with differing view points in a public forum.

#2 - taking this discussion behind closed doors, as it were, is only perpetuating the problem; open forum and public discussion of all sides is the only way something postive can happen and change can come.

I do believe I will start a blog, though. So your advice is well accepted.

an average patriot said...

Hi B E
It is not a problem anymore as Our economic crisis is making them leave

I use to get upset because I figured wanting a better life is fine but come in the front door don't sneak in my house.

Border Explorer said...

Jim, you're right on both counts. I've read that the numbers are down by 50% on this border. And newcomers deserve a proper place in this country, not relegated to fugitive status. The immigration system needs overhauling.

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eProf2 said...

BE, I was going to comment on the Decreasing number of undocumented workers now in the US due to economics and the lack of jobs. I'm glad you've started the discussion on immigration as now is the time to do something about immigration, building walls, hiring of thousands of border patrol agents, the drug war and a whole slew of related topics. One of the disadvantages of the blogosphere is that there isn't that much "space" to cover every nuance of the issue. You were very kind to Steph in offering a bigger venue, albeit email, which she quickly rejected. Perhaps she will, indeed, start her own blog and link it to Lou Dobbs. Keep up the good fight, friend, you are on the right side of history and humanity.

Border Explorer said...

Vincente, thanks for your support. That is mighty ugly reality you monitor. Do take care. Bless you.

eProf, thanks for affirming the immigration topic. We as a nation will have to address it eventually, although very complex. My experience today engaging the conflict helps me be more compassionate to the politicians who fold on this subject. (Loved your humor, thanks for the smile!)

Carol said...

Thanks for the post, B.E.

Regarding some of the comments you've received: I find the term "illegal alien" offensive. I don't believe that any human is either "illegal" or an "alien". Most people break a law at some point in life, but we don't call everyone "illegal" for it.

You have a good heart, B.E.

bob said...

This website got all the information about the US visas issues who are responsible for the harrasment of many travellers of US.

bro paul said...

bro paul
I feel very strongly about people coming to this country illegally. It has been said that no one is illegal. That's like saying that no drug is illegal.This country for a century has been the bread basket of the world and I understand that to the underprivileged this is the promised land.I believe in Christian charity. If I choose to reach in my pocket and help the less fortunate that's the Christian thing to do but when the government decides to reach in my pocket to help people that broke the law to get here, that's tyranny. I might not be politically correct but I am morally correct. The good book teaches us to 1st take care of our own.Our forefathers fought for our freedom and prosperity. Let the citizens of other countries do the same.We are a nation of laws. If we choose not to enforce them we will have anarchy.The first thing you have to do when you have a leaky roof is fix the roof, then repair the water damage. Good fences make good neighbors.

Border Explorer said...

Bro Paul, your comment stunned me, and I keep returning to it in my own mind. I am Christian also. I read the same Scriptures you do. I have come to some very different conclusions from those Scriptures. I have never seen such a striking example of this in my life. Thanks for writing.

MikeFrizzi said...

In discussions like these i think it is important to mention positive things related to immigration. There is a little known visa callled the eb5 green card that is allowing immigrants to enter the country and immediately start businesses and create jobs for both IMMIGRANTS and native citizens!! These are immigrants who have money and could go anywhere, but choose to start their business here and bolster the economy and create jobs. I know these types of immigrants are a huge minority, but they are still immigrants and their positive impact on the nation deserves to be held in the light!

Crazy Baby said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dom said...

Mike is absolutely correct. The eb5 green card program is responsible for well over a billion dollars and tens of thousands of jobs being added to the US workforce. One hundred percent of that stimulus is thanks to immigrants. Not ninety nine percent, one hundred!