Monday, April 03, 2006
I Hate Them Because They're Greedy Corporations, or, Immigration, Parte Dos
My good friend and fellow watcher of Latinamerican happenings Bryan Pitts beat me to the punch with his comment on my recent post...I was just about to post an "upon further reflection" post on the immigration issue when he posted his thoughtful opinion...
I have to admit that, in the words of a repeat-offender Mexican immigrant, immigrants are "like cats" who will find a way over or around any physical barriers. Recent newspaper articles--as well as this book Audra and I are currently reading--have, over the past weekend gotten me thinking that incentives, however great or small they may be, are the key to solving this (and most any) interpersonal problem...and that physical barriers on our southern border are, in this case, an ineffective incentive for illegals to stay out of the US.
Why is this? And what would be a better deterrent (or, at least, a better solution) to the economic and logistical problem posed by illegal immigration if a physical wall would do little to no good?
I think, as does Bryan (yes, that sounds schizophrenic), that "until we come up with a reasonable and enforceable temporary worker system that requires [illegals] to pay taxes on their wages, it is going to keep happening like it is now." I would be more specific, however, that a part of said worker system must include stricter regulations on American businesses as they stand now. Many American industries--namely, the stereotypes of lawncare, maid services, construction, farm working, etc--almost fearlessly maintain a good part of their workforces via illegal immigrants, and go largely unchecked by the government. The fact that they are doing so (and going virtually unchallenged) baffles me a great deal -- it only comes in second to the fact that, by and large, this fact goes largely unreported by the press. My immediate reaction would be to link our government to their big-business bedfellows, but I digress...
Regardless, heavy penalties to deter businesses seem to be in order to send the message that the hiring of illegal immigrants for cheap labor will not be tolerated...as I said, though, you won't find this component of immigration reform in most newspaper articles.
Truly, until images like these are no longer the case in the United States, we will have no one but ourselves to blame for the problem of horrifically disinfranchised latino workers doing the only thing they know how to do to survive. Their incentive to come over here must either be taken away through government pressure, or their work in this country must be counterbalanced with appropriate tax deduction from their reasonable (by American standards) wages.