Sunday, December 18, 2011

Secure The Borders

The GOP has spent quite a bit of rhetoric on securing the borders. Now their emphasis seems to be on the illegal immigrants crossing for jobs. Given that a border is the edge of a nation there is some reason to think it being an actual edge ought to mean something, even if it is just a line on a map. There are some issues with borders that aren't disputed, the biggest one being some form of smuggling, whatever that is including terrorism.

The job stealing aspect is another thing entirely and the most obvious consequence of porous borders. Well, thinking a border won't be porous is pretty damn optimistic and if the most obvious thing is jobs then why aren't you addressing jobs and employment? Let's be clear, legal hiring and illegal hiring are two completely different things.

Even if an illegal hire has proper taxes with-held they have essentially no recourse with an employer. Thanks to their legal status they cannot afford to stick their heads up and they're easily replaced by another. The consequence is low wages and a second class work force. Because business is profit driven a further result is lower wages in surrounding employment. In virtually every business endeavor labor cost is the one variable, material costs of whatever sort are pretty even as well as regulatory costs. The outcome of legal hiring is that prices on some products will rise, the real question is just how much. The crux is that labor costs are a much smaller piece of the cost of an item than most people realize and the real costs of illegal hiring aren't too easily quantified and some are not measurable by dollars.

The aspect that isn't dollar oriented but that has huge consequences is the creation of a second class group of residents. Try real hard to comprehend the soul crushing mind bending results of having your life in a place depend on never attracting the notice of the government. Throw in the disdain or even hate of large portions of the legal residents and tell me this is an outcome this nation can afford. And... the driving factor is cheap labor.

The point where correction can be made is at the root, not the border but at the employer. Employers do not care because the costs of infractions are so low. It is easy enough to claim Americans will not do the work, which is entire nonsense, what they will not do is that work for that wage. No, businesses cannot survive when there is a large wage differential amongst competitors. If the farm next to yours, or across a state line, has significantly lower labor costs; your goose is cooked because you do not have the margin to cover it. You cannot address this by "securing the borders."

This issue is entirely separate from the reality dealing with people who have been in this country for quite some time in large numbers. The only possible way to make any form of amnesty work, whatever the qualifiers, is to lock down employment into legal compliance. It will absolutely not work without that just as St Ronnie's amnesty didn't. It is simply an invitation to enter until the problem is once again unmanagable. You will not be able to do a thing about the greedy cheating employers unless they understand that they will be caught and the costs will be unsupportable and that the playing field is even, that 'my' legal hires will not be undercut by 'your' cheating.

This matter cannot be left to States to sort out, they will not do it well and the results will be entirely uneven. This matter cannot be left to simmer much longer, the American public already is getting unreasonable in its temperment and willingness to scapegoat. It is time to stop with the idea of a Berlin Wall around this nation and do something real. If the employment issue is fixed the qualifiers for staying will be met or unemployment will be the result.

I do not have the time or energy to start trying to set out what qualifiers need to be, other than that we have a moral and ethical responsibility to do something right by those who've tried to do the right things without that work visa.


SEB said...

I couldn't agree more! Unfortunately Congress will never act since they are in the pockets of those who take advantage of the illegal immigrant, therefore no level playing field!

Chuck Butcher said...

Site meter tells me some of the noxious anti-immigration outfits have nosed around here. too bad, no joy for them.