Illegal immigration is a problem for this country.
There, I've said it. But it's not quite the problem some make it out to be:
According to a New York Times article on April 5, 2005, "...the estimated seven million or so illegal immigrant workers in the United States are now providing the system with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year....Moreover, the money paid by illegal immigrants and their employers is factored into all the Social Security Administration's projections."
However, since illegal immigrant workers are here illegally, and ostensibly presented fake ID to the US employer, they will never collect Social Security benefits. "For illegal immigrants, Social Security numbers are simply a tool needed to work on this side of the border. Retirement does not enter the picture," reports the New York Times.
The Social Security Administration remains solvent in large part due to deductions taken from the paychecks of illegal immigrant workers, yet Social Security will never pay benefits to those workers. The workers pay in, but they never receive back.
Wouldn't the federal government detect fake Social Security numbers? According to that April 6, 2005 New York Times article, "Starting in the late 1980s, the social Security Administration received a flood of W-2 earnings reports with incorrect---sometimes simply fictitious---Social Security numbers. It stashed them in what it calls the 'earnings suspense file' in the hope that someday it would figure out whom they belonged to.
The file has been mushrooming ever since: $189 billion worth of wages ended up recorded in the suspense file over the 1990s, two and a half times the amount of the 1980s.
But that's not important right now. Look, a government run solely by business interests will never, ever, do anything to control immigration. Want proof of this, as well as proof of Republican hypocrisy? Here it is:
Some conservatives are labeling U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison a traitor after she slipped an amendment into the federal budget bill passed last month that some say effectively kills the border fence.
The conservative radio world and blogosphere has been buzzing with outcry that the amendment — which removed the requirement under the Secure Fence Act for a double-layered fence and gave Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff flexibility in its placement — did just that.
Nationally syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin decried the "incredible shrinking border fence." Others called Hutchison "Benedict Arnold" and said the Texas Republican used the "cover of Christmas" to ram the measure through.
Hutchison, while a real conservative, isn't completely insane. She is, however, solidly in the pocket of business, especially oil companies. She responds:
"Border patrol agents reported that coyotes and drug-runners were altering their routes as fencing was deployed, so the amendment gives our agents discretion to locate the fence where necessary to achieve operational control of our border," she said.
Customs and Border Protection said it is committed to building the fence and this week announced plans to take legal action against 102 border landowners, including 71 in Texas who were not letting federal workers on their land to survey the areas.
Wait a minute. Who are the 71 landowners who refuse to let surveyors onto their land? Are they bleeding-hear libs, who welcome illegals with open arms?
Unlike other border states, much of the land on the Texas border is privately owned.
Local business leaders and politicians were incensed to learn in May that a map was already circulating showing a fence that could cut farmers from water, wildlife from habitat and cities from the river.
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said Hutchison wrote a good amendment that will allow environmental and property right concerns in border communities to be considered.
"It gives flexibility to the secretary to look at alternative means," he said.
Texas landowners just see themselves in the middle.
In Granjeno, residents say they have not gotten any threatening letters and are hopeful the government has decided not to cut through their town.
Landowner Eloisa Garcia Tamez, a professor at the University of Texas at Brownsville, said she'll fight to the end to keep the government off the last of her ancestors' 1767 land grant.
No, it's folks, some of whom might be truly conservative, who think, somewhat foolishly, that they actually have control over their own land. And that according to the Constitution's 5th Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Probably communists or something. After all, a true conservative would gladly give up all their rights to support Fearless Leader's Global War on Whoever He Says We're Fighting Today.
Seriously, unless the fence is the equal to China's Great Wall, it's stopping no one. If someone is willing to hike hundreds of miles to the border, they'll likely hike 10 or 20 miles around the small piece of fence blocking their path:
Fence supporters, meanwhile, feel the Department of Homeland Security has gradually been reneging on the plan, with initial plans for 854 miles of double-layered fencing in five locations whittled to 370 miles of what may be single-layered fencing, Kasper said.
Almost two years after the bill passed, only 5.2 miles more of double-layer fence has been built, in Arizona, with 70 more miles single-layered, he said.
Indeed. And the silliness of the whole fence movement is like trying to stop kids from grabbing candy from a burst piñata; as long as it's there, they'll dive and grab for it:
According to Catholic priest Dr. Daniel Groody, Associate Professor at University of Notre Dame and a director of the university's Center for Latino Studies, "If they make it across the border, most immigrants will work at low-paying jobs that no one except the most desperate wants. They will de-bone chicken in poultry plants, pick crops in fields and build houses in construction.
As one person in Arizona noted, 'It looks like entering the US through the desert as undocumented immigrants is some kind of employment screening test administered by the US government for the hospitality, construction and recreation industries.'
Willing to work at the most dangerous jobs, an immigrant a day will also die in the work place, even while for others the work place has become safer over the last decade."
And undocumented workers, grateful for any job, will work for lower wages and minimal or no benefits, therefore enabling employers to make higher business profits.
Cheaper labor costs and lesser working conditions equal greater profits for business owners.
How has the GWBush administration taken Big Business on regarding illegal hiring?
In 1999, under President Bill Clinton, the US government collected $3.69 million in fines from 890 companies for employing undocumented workers. In 2004, under President George Bush, the federal government collected $188,500 from 64 companies for such illegal employment practices. And in 2004, the Bush Administration levied NO fines for US companies employing undocumented workers.
The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.
Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department. The number of employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in 1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6 million to $212,000, according to federal statistics.
In 1999, the United States initiated fines against 417 companies. In 2004, it issued fine notices to three.
In other words, total and complete hypocrisy, and capitulation to the wishes of big business. Perhaps those in the investor class who feel immigration is a problem should take a look at their portfolios:
In March 2005, Wal-Mart, a company with $285 billion in annual sales. was fined $11 million for having untold hundreds of illegal immigrants nationwide clean its stores.
"The federal government boasts it's the largest of its kind. But for Wal-Mart, it amounts to a rounding error---and no admittance of wrongdoing since it claims it didn't know its contractors hired the illegals" wrote the Christian Science Monitor on March 28, 2005.
Who is invested in Wal-mart? Lots of people:
And inside the Republican Party, are they really true believers?
Major work-site crackdowns have run into trouble in the past. A spring 1998 sweep that targeted the Vidalia onion harvest in Georgia, and Operation Vanguard, a 1999 clampdown on meatpacking plants in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota, provide case studies of how the government fared when confronted by a coalition that included low-wage immigrant workers and the industries that hire them, analysts said.Right. Not in my back yard.
The Georgia raids netted 4,034 illegal immigrants, prompting other unauthorized workers to stay home. As the $90 million onion crop sat in the field, farmers "started screaming to their local representatives," said Bart Szafnicki, INS assistant district director for investigations in Atlanta from 1991 to 2001.
Georgia's two senators and three of its House members, led by then-Sen. Paul Coverdell (R) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R), complained in a letter to Washington that the INS did not understand the needs of America's farmers. The raids stopped.
From friend and co-blogger Ellroon in comments:
Deportee lyrics and some discussion of its history here.