While people will be cheering or screaming after the President’s immigration speech this evening, we must put any personal feelings aside. Republicans (and some Democrats too) are only caring about the financial gain; not the welfare of the country as a whole. The rest is a façade. An emotional, reactionary as oppose to practical electorate just makes their job easier.
It’s not a secret that Republicans dislike like the IRS or business regulations. But in a realistic, pragmatic world all governments need revenue. While no one likes taxes, we cannot cut our way to prosperity alone. If you eliminated all your debt and didn’t increase your income, you wouldn’t become any more prosperous; you’d break even. Basic accounting principles apply to running a country as well. Corporations and individuals must contribute to the Treasury accordingly as the economy grows.
Many interests benefit under our current broken immigration system. From businesses that exploit cheap labor, private for-profit prison systems, to getting reelected. They all benefit while taxpayers end up holding the bag.
Businesses who exploit cheap labor have taxpayers subsidize their hard working employees in one way or another. The 80’s are long gone of generous government benefits. That’s a political scare tactic. However, these employees and employers still use our roads, schools, etc. which cost taxpayers money.
Moral issues aside, these same businesses don’t deduct taxes from their employees or pay their payroll tax to the Treasury because their employees are “off the books”. I’ve known folks who were turned down from a job because they wanted to fill out a W-2 form and pay into Social Security. Again this only hurts the employees and taxpayers. And those who are able to fill out W-2 forms contribute money to Social Security. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes every time they buy gas, clothes or new appliances. They also contribute to property taxes—a main source of school funding—when they buy or rent a house, or rent an apartment. The Social Security Administration estimates that half to three-quarters of undocumented immigrants pay federal, state and local taxes, including $6 billion to $7 billion in Social Security taxes for benefits they will never get. They can receive schooling and emergency medical care, but not welfare or food stamps.
Source: Tolerance.org: Immigration Myths
For private for-profit prisons systems our broken system means mucho dinero. At any one time there are 34,000 immigrants in detention due to a statutory bed quota at a taxpayer cost of $159 per day per detainee. Yes. A statutory bed quota to ensure a continuous flow of money to for-profit prisons.
Source: Immigrant Justice: Eliminate Detention Bed Quota
Source: BusinessWeek: Congress’s Illegal-Immigration Detention Quota Costs $2 Billion a Year
Corrections Corporation of America is a company that owns and manages private prisons and detention centers and operates others on a concession basis. It is one of the biggest campaign donors to Republican candidates who oppose any type of immigration reform that would cost them money. The same lobbying goes against any gun control or sentencing state laws that would reduce the amount of inmates. Watch their stock at the President’s announcement tomorrow. New York Stock Exchange: CXW
While Republicans complain more about undocumented workers, it’s an easy ploy to get reelected. In reality, cheap exploitable workers increase profit margins. It’s all about supply and demand. If Republicans were serious about undocumented workers, they would enforce fines on businesses that employ them. Gasp!
The current E-Verify is an Internet-based, free program run by the United States government that compares information from employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records. If the information matches, that employee is eligible to work in the United States. If there is a mismatch, E-Verify alerts the employer and the employee is allowed to work while he or she resolves the problem; they must contact the appropriate agency to resolve the mismatch within eight federal government work days from the referral date. The program is operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with Social Security Administration.
This program evolved from the “Basic Pilot” program of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) that required INS—which became part of DHS in 2003—to conduct the Basic Pilot, Citizen Attestation Pilot, and Machine-Readable Document Pilot programs to determine the best method of verifying an employee’s employment eligibility. The Basic Pilot program aka e-Verify had no chance of passing without Republican support because it put responsibility on businesses to verify employment status thus cutting into profits so it was tucked into a defense spending bill by Democrats in order to get passed. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/1996/roll247.xml
Now with all the hypocrisy aside, we do need a secure border for various obvious reasons. We need to treat the United States like your home. Would you fortify your home without knowing who the approximately 11 million individuals were residing in your home?
The “system” has been broken but we also have to be realistic and live in the present. Living in the past won’t solve anything. With limited government resources, money would be better spent facilitating incorporating those who are already here into contributing freely into society. The current system actually drives down wages to benefit a few. Currently many legitimate businesses have to compete with sweatshops and employers who pay less than the minimum wage. That is not fair to legitimate businesses that already face tough international competition from cheap labor. The Wal-Mart business model of the last 30 years can no longer be sustained in America. Instead of paying workers so little that you create your own customers has run its course. At a time when high end stores like Neiman-Marcus and Saks are enjoying record profits from 1% of the wealthiest Americans, so are dollar stores for the other 99% as middle class stores like JC Penney’s , Sears continue to struggle.
Acknowledging the workers who are here and allowing them to have permission to work will have a catastrophic effect on unscrupulous businesses. At first prices may go up and many will close, but remember these aren’t businesses that paid their fair share of taxes in the first place. It’s time for America needs to go back to the ideas of Henry Ford paying employees enough to buy the cars they made which created a huge middle class through consumer demand. Trickle-down economics has been a failure for 99% of Americans.
This is also were immigration comes in. Like many Western countries the U.S. has an aging population. An economy cannot be maintained or grow without a labor force. The United Sates is fortunate to have a young immigrant labor force. It should be embraced and not scorned.
Source: Pew Research
Now I know Republicans will be thinking with higher wages the United States won’t be able to compete with other countries. Again in an era of many multi-national corporations with American names only, times have changed. There is no loyalty to any one country. Ironically the protectionist trade policies used between countries in the last century need to be applied to “American” companies to protect Americans if we are going to put our welfare ahead of corporate short term profits.
The Republican’s secret push for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is another example of benefiting only the wealthiest and fleecing America . So the next time Republicans talk about job killing regulations, ask them about TPP.
The U.S. has the world’s largest trade deficit. The United States is the third most populace country and fourth largest in area country in the world. There is no reason for the U.S. to be an indentured servant to any entity other than outright greed. We have the consumers, the technology, the resources and the workers.
Source: OECD International Trade Balance
It’s time to develop a domestic economy again and immigration reform and labor is a crucial step in that direction.
Congressman, What do you think about all this?