Yesterday and in the past I have been hearing about the possibility of an illegal immigrant amnesty in the USA.  There is an estimated 12 million such people in this country.  The idea of an amnesty would be that for a limited period and through a limited process such illegals could become legal immigrants and maybe even legal permanent residents.

I recently met a person who was a recipient of such a programme during the Clinton administration, this man had been illegal for some 7 years prior to this, going as far as creating his own social security number and paying taxes to a government who knew his number was a self made creation but didnt care as long as he paid his taxes on time. It was a differnt time as now this would not be possible, as applicants for a SSN must hold a Visa that permits work and be cross checked by Department of Homeland Security.

But what I really want to talk about is the idea of an amnesty, I say this from a position of a non US citizen but a Visa holder working in the US who has gone through the due process including several thousand in lawyer fees, some undesired days spent in Canada waiting on a new Visa application deliberation and several lengthy inquisitions from Customs and Border Protection…being and going legal is not easy.

The idea of a process for a Visa application, which includes finger print scans, photos, interviews, paper work ,background checks, and even medical exams (for the Green Card) is to deter unsavory and sketchy people from entering the US (granted the rules need re-working as it can pretty arbitrary as to who gets in and who does not).  The idea of an amnesty is to deal with the problem of illegal immigrants and the poor treatment that these people get from US employers who do not need to grant these people the same rights or payment that an American would demand, because these people are not even here, they are not on any record as even existing. There is another factor here as well, if we kicked all the illegals out, could the American economy survive without all the muscle and hard work provided by illegals?

So if we make them legal then employers will have to deal with granting them better labour conditions and we will keep the cheap labour in the American economy.  But, will this really happen, will employers not just fire them and hire an illegal in their place? Also we need to ask why are people coming to the US, from say Latin America in the first place? Also what message does it provide to in fact reward people for their crimes with Visas and Green Cards? Being illegal is a crime, is it ok to ignore these federal offences, while at the same time making it pretty hard and expensive for people to come legally?

Also how much would such a amnesty cost, my friend that I met paid around $10,000 in fees…how many illegal immigrants have that money? Would such a costly system deal with the poorest people in this group? What happens to them?  You may have realised that by now I am against an amnesty, I think!  I think that there is  a problem with the system that we have in place,  a system that i think is driven by fear…a fear that  if we makes the doors more open then terrorists will flood in or more skilled more educated or cheaper people will steal American jobs.  But if you want to deal with an illegal immigration problem, the solution is not building a wall or a fence or creating an amnesty its dealing with foreign policy and the economies in poorer countries…

Most illegal immigrants are from poorer countries, who have less freedom, rights and money. Most of these people are here to make money and have a better life. Granted some of my fellow Irish are here illegally but the vast majority of the illegals are not from Western, affluent countries. If we deal with poverty there we will go a long way to dealing with this problem here.  Illegal immigration is fueled by poverty and injustice…in dealing with these we will also lower our need to fear terrorism…

It is easy for me to say this as am legal, and white and reactively well off, but being illegal is largely a choice (unless we are talking about people trafficking…which is not a choice…) and when we make a choice we have consequences and when we break a law we should be willing to do the time as it were…i have a hard time with amnesties as I understand them as they reward people for being illegal with becoming legal.

Tell me your thoughts please.


3 Responses

  1. First, let us remember the “illegal” part of being an illegal immigrant. Most Americans don’t seem to have problems with legal immigration, however it only seems fair to question the value of any additions to our country who already show no regard for it’s laws upon arrival.

    Second, it seems far too easily forgotten that one must be an U.S. citizen in order to warrant the rights afforded to a citizen. That should be the end of discussion.

    Third, legal immigrants working alongside native born citizens have made this country what it is. We have thrived on the contributions of immigrants and will usually need them, though to varying degrees, throughout most sectors of our economy. The problem is that we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to those who enter illegally, ignore our laws and seek to subvert our culture and national values. We welcome those who follow the rules, learn the English language, and respect our sovereignty. As illegal immigrants, it is not only offensive but also ridiculous to ask for rights, which they have not earned nor are entitled to.

    Let’s secure our borders by building the fence so we have an effective and controlled immigration system at the same time as we enforce our currently existing immigration laws. During this interval we encourage illegals to depart (attrition through enforcement). Once our borders are secured and we have a grip on a functional system of immigration, we move against those illegals that have refused to leave. We should never ever grant amnesty.

    We tried ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ in 1986. We gave amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens in exchange for the government promising to secure the borders, conduct workplace enforcement and enforce immigration law. It didn’t work because the government lied and did nothing other than process the amnesty paperwork. Due to that folly, we now have 20 Million or more illegal aliens here demanding amnesty.

    Don’t you think it is far beyond time that we engage in Comprehensive Immigration ENFORCEMENT rather than Comprehensive Immigration Reform?

  2. After careful review, anyone with a even a modicum of logic can come to no other conclusion: illegal immigration must be halted, illegal immigrants here now must be deported and legal immigration needs decreased from the approx. 2 million allowed in per year currently.

    Please review the following report on the FISCAL COST OF IMMIGRATION by economist Edwin Rubenstein released in April 2008:

    A partial summary of the report:

    The impact on 15 Federal Departments surveyed was: $346 billion in fiscal related costs in FY 2007.

    Each immigrant cost taxpayers more than $9,000 per year.

    An immigrant household (2 adults, 2 children) cost taxpayers $36,000 per year.

    Legal immigrants were not separated out from illegal immigrants for the fiscal impact study, but if they had been, the fiscal cost per ILLEGAL immigrant would be even more shocking than the figures quoted above.

    The most extensive and authoritative study, prior to economist Edwin Rubenstein’s “The Fiscal Impact of Immigration” (April 2008) , is the National Research Council (NRC)’s The New Americans: Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Effects of Immigration (1997).

    The NRC staff analyzed federal, state, and local government expenditures on programs such as Medicaid, AFDC (now TANF), and SSI, as well as the cost of educating immigrants’ foreign- and native-born children.

    NRC found that the average immigrant household receives $13,326 in federal annual expenditures and pays $10,664 in federal taxes—that is, they generate a fiscal deficit of $2,682 (1996 dollars)per household.

    In 2007 dollars this is a deficit of $3,408 per immigrant household.

    With 9 million households currently headed by immigrants, more than $30 billion ($3,408 x 9 million) of the federal deficit represents money transferred from native taxpayers to immigrants.

    Our national immigration policies have to work for the United States. While improving the plight of the world’s poor is a laudable goal, the finite resources we have available to fulfill that goal would be swamped if there wasn’t some orderly and manageable system in place to limit entry into the United States to what this nation can actually support. The more illegal aliens that are permitted to subvert the immigration system, the fewer immigrants we can accommodate who might actually produce a positive benefit for our country.

    The more we become a nation of illegal immigrants, the deeper we fall into anarchy.

  3. Who cares how hard it is?
    Life’s hard. The more difficult it is become a legal immigrant the more it might be appreciated. An illegal invader here right now should NEVER be allowed legal status!

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