Sunday, December 18, 2005

There's a difference between immigration and illegal entry

Once again I'm treated to a headline at a news outlet that purports to be objective that shows a fine disdain for the facts and a clear bias. The Washington Post (yeah, yeah, I know) has an article headlined, "Analysts: Crackdown Won't Halt Immigration" with dire predictions that the recently passed immigration reform legislation won't do anything.

First, and primarily: the bill is not intended to halt immigration. The bill does nothing to the current levels of immigration or the process by which immigrants may legally enter this country. And that's my pet peeve about this whole debate: the open-borders bunch are talking about illegal aliens busting our borders, evading our customs officials, and generally breaking our laws from the word go and calling that immigration. They place these criminals - and that's what they are from the moment they decide to break our laws about illegal entry - on the same level and in the same category as law-abiding foreign nationals who get in line and follow the rules. That's grossly unfair to the people who adhere to the law and it's an insult to every single one of them. These enablers should be ashamed of themselves, assuming they actually have any such capacity to begin with.

The argument, as always, is that illegals are a critical component of our economy and that they "do jobs Americans won't do." Bullshit. They do jobs Americans won't do at 16 hours a day for $1.50 an hour with no benefits. They do jobs Americans won't do while the employer evades income and business taxes and social security payments because they don't declare the worker. They do jobs Americans won't do in the conditions the employer allows because adhering to safety standards might cut a profit margin from 20 to 18%.

I, personally, know Americans who clean houses and do janitorial work with no problem whatsoever. I know, personally, Americans who put in 60-70 hours a week loading trucks or washing trailers or walking a security beat or tarring roofs, pumping gas, laying asphalt - commercially, not for governments - and doing landscaping. You name the job that "Americans won't do", folks, and I'll bet you we can find one who does that very job in less than a day.

"Well, yes, but if the employers have to pay what Americans want then many of them will go out of business or pass higher costs to the consumers. The horror!"

I'd imagine there's all kinds of businesses who could cut their costs, stay in business, and offer cheaper prices if they'd just break the law to do so. All that pesky environmental regulation costs a lot of money to comply with. Think of the savings if we'd just break a few of those laws. And those product-safety laws? Man, if General Motors could just skip compliance with a few dozen of those they could keep those 30,000 employees humming along. Think that would help the economy?

Yes, it is the same thing. The employers who offer jobs to illegals are breaking the law to pay less money and therefore 1) stay in business and 2) keep their profits. Part of that recently passed legislation deals specifically with cracking down on such employers. Another part raises the level of the crime of illegal entry to a felony. That, in turn, permits local law enforcement to get serious about illegals when they're caught. The concept of "catch and release" has been the reality long enough and it needs to be changed. This legislation does that.

Until the open-borders people and others who don't support securing our borders get it right that there's a difference between immigration (which is legal) and illegal entry (which is not) this debate isn't going to go anywhere. If they're serious about wanting to change things, then they need to be honest about the problem first.