So Arizona just passed a law that punishes employers who “knowingly” employ illegal immigrants or the “undocumented” as we now call them, as though all that separates legal immigrants and illegals is that the illegals misplaced their paperwork somewhere.
Proponents of the new Arizona law say it will cut down on crime and abuse of taxpayer-funded entitlement programs. Opponents say Arizona is going to destroy their economy by removing the people who make up about 12% of it. Some people say it’s immoral, but we’re not going to go there.
So here’s a solution that everyone can live with but which seems to get precious little airtime–make legal immigration easier.
I’m not just talking about highly skilled workers either, although that’s a huge part of our immigration policy problem. We currently accept students from all over the world who come here, get good educations, and who would like to stay here and be productive members of society, but they can’t, so they have to go home. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. After all, they go home, improve their home country, raise the standard of living there, which causes demand for products and services from the US, and it raises the tide for everyone.
But I think that’s a slower process to widespread prosperity. I’d rather see the cap on work visas for the highly skilled completely removed. Let companies hire as many of them as they can. The stats seem to show that there are many, many more of these types of jobs than there are applicants to fill them, so putting our own citizens out of work doesn’t seem to be an issue.
But that’s a tangent from my main point. I say let’s make it easier for the unskilled to come here. I don’t have a problem with people coming here as long as they are productive. I don’t have a problem with them using social services as long as they pay taxes. I don’t even have a problem with them “taking” jobs from Americans. I’m not sure I buy into the idea that they’re really doing jobs that “Americans won’t do” but if they are then that’s fine with me. I’d like to see the average waiting period for a guy from Mexico who wants to come here legally so he can do construction work in Arizona’s 110 degree weather lowered to six months from the 7-10 years it takes right now.
I’m even fine making it easier for immigrants to become citizens. But here’s what I’d also like to see on the flipside.
1. Less entitlement programs. Not just for immigrants, I mean for everyone, citizens and immigrants alike.
2. Abolish the minimum wage. If people want to work for $2 per hour because it’s better than $6 per day in Mexico, let them.
3. No free healthcare. I don’t know exactly how to go about it, but make people pay for healthcare. It’s not a necessity. Nobody had it 150 years ago. Yes, many more people died much sooner than they do today, but nobody said it was the government’s fault.
4. Strict enforcement of immigration violations. If you’re an immigrant and you get a DUI, you get deported. If you commit a felony crime, you’re deported. If you try to vote before you’re a citizen, you’re deported.
And…probably some other things too. The point is, if we made it easier for people to come here legally, I think our economy would boom. We’d collect more tax revenue, businesses would have more customers, there would be more demand for housing and basic services, etc. I’m not in favor of amnesty in any way. If someone is here illegally I think they should have to sneak back home and then apply legally to come in. But right now there’s no incentive when you’ve got a 7-10 year wait.