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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Why not build a border fence? 


We have a lot of thoughtful commenters. Could somebody please explain the principled arguments against building a fence along our southern border?

I have read three. First, Mexico will be officially offended, and Mexicans will be individually offended. Well, if Mexico had bent over backward in the last few years to support the United States we might feel as if we owed it something, but it didn't. So we shouldn't.

Second, the fence might cost too much. Well, perhaps. Apparently it would cost between $4 billion and $8 billion. Is that too much? If you do not want the fence, any amount is "too much." If you want the fence, that strikes me as a pretty reasonable price to pay.

Third, the fence will not actually work. If the fence deterred nobody and slowed nobody down, then this argument would be true. How could that be true, though? In fact, the fence will "work" if it deters or interdicts a significant percentage of the people who would have crossed otherwise. Things like this do not "work" or "not work." They influence the odds of success. A border fence will do its job if it deters people from trying to cross and raises the odds that those who do try will get caught.

Are there any other arguments against building a fence along our southern border?

Regular readers know that I think immigration, even from Mexico and in quantity, is a good thing. I also oppose ending birthright citizenship. Finally, I think we need to develop a mechanism for legalizing -- eventually -- illegals who are already here and, no, I do not care that they will come in line before other supposedly law-abiding foreigners, who after all have not been here working our toughest jobs. We owe no duty to those other guys -- they're foreigners.

But -- and this is a huge "but" -- I do not understand why we cannot have all that stuff after we have built sufficient border security to reduce substantially the flow of new illegal immigration from Mexico.

Somebody help me out here.


41 Comments:

By Blogger Escort81, at Sat Jun 09, 07:08:00 PM:

As I probably have mentioned previously, my mother came to the U.S. in 1936 from Budapest, when she was about 11 years old, and became a U.S. citizen in the early 1940s. The 1930s were by far the toughest decade in U.S. history for a foreigner to move to the U.S., for obvious economic reasons. Anyway, being the son of an immigrant on one side of my family (the other side having been here a much longer time), I do not believe than I am anti-immigrant.

However, this issue is highly emotionally charged and is apparently quite complex. I think the reasons to not build a fence would be given as follows: 1) Mexicans will try to come anyway, and by making it more difficult, it in fact becomes a life threatening journey (it is already, but it would be more so), and the U.S. public would have to live with the idea that it increased the body count; 2) it makes us appear to be like Israel (different situation altogether, but appearances count) or East Germany (completely different situation, but again with appearances) 3) not particularly relevant to an executive in the medical device busineess, but there are some companies (restaruant, hospitality and homebuilding come to mind) that do not want it to be more difficult for fresh Mexicans to arrive here.

Furthermore, there are the obvious racial overtones and implications to the entire question, making it hard to put in any sound policy context.

I don't necessarily agree with any of the foregoing, but I think those are the reasons that would be cited. I don't know how helpful that is, since you were probably already aware of the above.  

By Blogger rufus, at Sat Jun 09, 09:00:00 PM:

You got it just right; What can I say?  

By Blogger Who Struck John, at Sat Jun 09, 09:00:00 PM:

A fence means nothing without enforcement. Look at what happened when an attempt was made to enforce the employer sanctions which were part of the 1986 "reform". When agents began busting large numbers of illegals in the meatpacking industry, political pressure was brought to bear on the agency to back off.  

By Blogger rufus, at Sat Jun 09, 09:07:00 PM:

I'm not anti-immigrant; but, I don't want to "Go To War" with my fellow Republicans/Conservatives, either.

I would like to see us Secure the Border, and then take a year, or so, time out, while we assess the situation.

The problem is, the prez, and the open borders congressmen keep pee'in on my leg, and whisperin in my ear about how warm the rain is. At first that made me suspicious, then I got "agitated," and now I'm getting danged close to all out Discombobulation.

I Want a Time Out!  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sat Jun 09, 09:27:00 PM:

the U.S. public would have to live with the idea that it increased the body count

The Palm Beach Post already whines about people falling off trains in Mexico and getting killed and having limbs amputated and how we should feel guilty about that.

Sorry, I just don't feel guilty, nor do I lose any sleep about those who get greased trying to cross today. Its too bad, but that's the way nature works. People who make poor choices don't get to die of old age.

There's an easy way to not get killed crossing -- stand in line like everyone else and do it legally.  

By Blogger OregonJon, at Sat Jun 09, 10:07:00 PM:

Fence? Hasn't anyone heard of boats? If there's a fence look for the Texas and California coastlines to be littered with abandoned rafts.  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Sat Jun 09, 11:15:00 PM:

I can't agree with "no fence" arguments. I want enforcement first. If we do that, I think a good enough number of illegals will self-deport. Then, we won't have 12-20 million illegal aliens to deal with. Once the government can prove to me it can stop the flood, then I might be will to listen to ideas on who to deal with the illegals that are here...

And the "fence = Berlin Wall" just doesn't fly with me...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Jun 09, 11:18:00 PM:

1- Mexicans will be offended? Pleeze. This is an attempt to "white guilt" America into excusing their violation of our sovereignty.

2- The fence might cost too much? I read in my local paper that California spends nearly 8 BILLION dollars per year educating illegal immigrants and the children of illegal immigrants. Nationally, the total is over 28 BILLION per year.

3- Everybody knows that if someone wants to break into your house, they will find a way to do it. Does that mean you should not lock your front door? If Mexico really believes the fence will not work, why do they object to it?

The immigration problem is never going to be solved if there are no meaningful border controls. Congressman Tancredo has stated that after securing the border, a crackdown on employers who employ illegals would result in many illegals voluntarily returning to their countries of origin. There are already laws on the books for the fence and employer sanctions, but they are not enforced. Remember the 700 mile border fence that was approved with much fanfare last year? Only two miles of it have been built.

BTW- illegals now remit about 20 billion of their earnings out of the country per year. This is money removed from our economy. This is money that they could use to buy safer cars, better housing, health insurance, etc. If they want to send their earnings home, fine, but then don't turn around and complain about living conditions here.

BBTW- some of the illegals apprehended on the border are from Syria, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, etc. The demented "immigration reform" bill would have legalized all of them.

Og Oggilby

ps- I am a foreign-born naturalized American citizen.  

By Blogger Redneck Texan, at Sun Jun 10, 12:27:00 AM:

Well, for starters, the Texas / Mexico border runs right down the center of the meandering Rio Grande river. Do you build it in the river, or do you put it on the Texas side? If you put it on the Texas bank you block Texas livestock from using it, and essentially cede control of the entire river to Mexico.

We could build the wall for far less money than we have pledged for AIDS in Africa, I guess its just a matter of national priorities.

And a wall is useless if you are not prepared to shoot anyone attempting to breach it. And if you're willing to do that you dont need a wall anyway, you just need some guard towers, sniper's nests, and strategically placed claymore mines.

As far as your views on allowing the migrating hordes to come here and then have the children of illegals become an electoral majority, I would suggest enrolling your children into a public school in a border town, to get the entire essence of what it means to allow a foreign culture to become the majority.

If you're resigned to the fact that the US will inevitably lose its membership in the Anglosphere, well then thats understandable, kudos for recognizing an irreversible demographic trend when you see one. But if your looking forward to the day the Anglos are an ethnic minority nationwide, like they have already become in my hometown, your really turning your back on our racist forefather's vision.

They were willing to commit genocide to gain control over the continent.....lets hope our voluntary displacement works out better for us than it did the native Americans. Maybe their mistake was to put up a violent defense.....since we are not, maybe we'll fare slightly better when the new socialism loving Latino mindset, the same one that keeps every nation from the Rio Grande to Terra Del Fuego a crime ridden, corrupt, economic basketcase, permanently wrestle electoral control away from us.  

By Blogger Escort81, at Sun Jun 10, 12:36:00 AM:

Oregonjon is probably right that boats would be the new choice for mode of transportation if a wall is built. On the Gulf side in Texas, it would be a reasonably safe voyage in sheltered and shallow waters, but I wouldn't want to try it on the Pacific side. That will make the Haitian boat trips look like a pleasure cruise.

Miss Ladybug, I agree that "fence = Berlin Wall" is wrong -- I meant to suggest that the visuals on it would inevitably lead to comparisons in the media, as the media is wont to do. Your linked post is a good one. I need no convincing of what the Berlin Wall meant -- my mother had relatives in Budapest after WWII and after the 1956 revolt, and we always tried to send them things in the 1960s and 1970s, often without success, since the packages would be opened and much of the contents confiscated. All of the Soviet-backed regimes were horrible, in my view. I am not sure I agree with you that a meaningful number of illegal aliens would "self-deport" if enforcement were stepped up. I infer you mean that they would realize that there was nothing here for them, and just go home. I don't know how realistic that is. In that situation, I would keep moving around and try harder to find something that paid me in cash, and go home only as an absolute last resort.

Og - Your reaction is what I think my mother's would have been -- you jumped through all of the legal hoops to become a U.S. citizen and would like everyone else to respect the same process (full disclosure: my mother's step-father had as his personal and business legal counsel a prominent Philadelphia attorney at a major law firm, who, in turn, had excellent contacts at the most senior levels of the U.S. State Department; nonetheless, it was hard to come here in the 1930s, and it's hard for me to feel bad about whatever stringpulling occurred, since I value my existence, which would not have happened had she not emigrated). Setting aside my mother's special situation of a long time ago, it would not surprise me that many naturalized U.S. citizens want others to go through the same legal process that they did.  

By Blogger SR, at Sun Jun 10, 01:07:00 AM:

Looks like the objections to securing the Mexican border come down to: WEE CAAA'NT! IT's JESSST TOOOOOOO HAAAAAARD!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jun 10, 02:17:00 AM:

For the record, I am neither a US citizen, nor I am residing in the US.

> Regular readers know that I
> think immigration, even from
> Mexico and in quantity, is a
> good thing.

That's not the problem. The problem is that the laws are broken. If the US needs that many new people, fine. But do it the right way, the legal way. If you decide to close your eyes on this type of law breaching, then you don't have the right to complain if others break the laws in different ways.

> I also oppose ending birthright
> citizenship.

Fair enough. This is where reasonable people can disagree. I don't really have an opinion on this question.

> Finally, I think we need to
> develop a mechanism for
> legalizing -- eventually --
> illegals who are already here

I disagree. This is again the question of breaking the law. Those people has proven what they think of the law (Mexicans don't cross the border because they would be killed in their homeland. They are not genuine refugees). They should be sent home.


> and, no, I do not care that
> they will come in line before
> other supposedly law-abiding
> foreigners, who after all have
> not been here working our
> toughest jobs. We owe no duty
> to those other guys -- they're
> foreigners.

Yes, you do owe duty those other guys. You set up your immigration policies, and those people who decided to honor *YOUR* rules, deserve being treated better than the law breakers. If not, then you have no right to complain if they will break the US laws in other ways.

Vilmos  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sun Jun 10, 07:34:00 AM:

I'm not persuaded that being a "lawbreaker" is absolutely disqualifying, or ought to be. America was to a great degree built by lawbreakers, and Americans do not necessarily believe that law and morality are identical (although they increasingly do). Virtually all Americans break laws routinely. We talk on the cell phone when we drive, we drive faster than the speed limit, we (not me!) do not report our cash income, we (not me again!) commit perjury about adultery, we (meaning government employees) leak confidential information to the New York Times, and so forth. The question that people are arguing over is whether immigration violations are "understandable" pecadillos or real crimes that should disqualify somebody. My feeling from talking to people is that the answer to that question really seems to turn on how one feels about the immigrants in question. One gets the sense that many people who argue about immigration really object to the results, rather than the illegality per se. Is it worse for a poor Mexican to sneak over the border in Arizona to pick our tomatos, or for the cute Irish girl to stay over her visa and work in a bar in New York City or Boston? If all our illegals were the latter, nobody would be having this argument (or if they were, it would be a political loser). Heck, if we had a huge number of Canadians who snuck over the border to help us bring in our crops and retar our roofs, would it be an issue? Somehow I doubt it. Unless, maybe, they were from Quebec.

My own view is that the passion fueling this debate is mostly about the threat Mexicans do (or do not) pose to our culture. Nothing else explains it.  

By Blogger Jim in Virginia, at Sun Jun 10, 11:43:00 AM:

We've had on average 4 to 6% unemployment- effectively, full employment- for the past 25 years. Over the same period we've had heavy immigration, legal and non. I don't see a lot of citizens on breadines, nor many willing to take second jobs just to fill the demand for workers. As long as we do not have enough legal residents to fill the economy's job demands, and there are jobs which will pay Mexicans in a month more than they could earn at home in a year, no fence will stop immigration.
I belive we need to control our borders. A national identity card and data base might do that. Can you imagine the civil liberties issues that would raise on both the left and right?  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Sun Jun 10, 11:50:00 AM:

Escort81~

Thanks for the compliment on my post. That's one of the ones I'm most proud of...

Tigerhawk~

I don't think we can afford all these illegals economically. We already know (through studies I've heard reported) that illegals are currently a net drain on tax dollars, and that would not change if they all instantly became legal. I had an interview in a small Texas town (population less than 1000) for a teaching position recently. The principal was very upfront about the challenges teachers there face. She told me it was not unusual for (Mexican) parents to sign their children out of school for a couple of months to go visit family in Mexico. These people don't value the free education we give them, so we are, by default, allowing the creation of a permanent underclass who will be un- or under- educated who will not be able to successed economically, by American standards. Another part of the problem is, no matter how poor they may be here, they are infinitely more well-off than they would have been if they stayed in Mexico. That is, apparently, removing any incentive to learn to speak English and assimilate into the larger American culture. We are allowing our nation to slowly be turned into a Third World nation by not forcing assimilation in some manner. (And, needless to say, if I get a call back from that district, I will decline).  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Sun Jun 10, 11:52:00 AM:

Jim in Virginia~

Then why do we still have so many people on welfare? Those are people without the skills to get "a good-paying job", precisely the people who would (or should) be getting the jobs taken by illegals (and employers who hire illegals don't pay payroll taxes on them...)  

By Blogger Jim in Virginia, at Sun Jun 10, 01:10:00 PM:

Miss Ladybug: "Why do we still have so mmany people on welfare?" Maybe because they can't or won't work. My liberal friends say the Reagan, Bush1, Clinton- Gingrich welfare reforms, and Bush 2 cuts in social services have devastated the poor, so there can't be many peopel left on welfare.
"We already know (through studies I've heard reported) that illegals are currently a net drain on tax dollars."
Illegals pay sales taxes. They pay property tax. If they get a job at McDonald's with a fake SSN, their employer witholds FICA and income tax. I doubt they can get any benefits with a fake SSN; and I wonder what the IRS does with taxes paid on a fake ID. (Benefits go with the SSN number and whoever it was officially issued to.) I don't know but I suspect many illegals don't file returns, even if they have tax withheld.
FWIW I am sure illegals are a burden on schools and hospitals. But let's be serious about whether illegals pay taxes. I suspect they pay more than a legal resident who gets a low paying job and gets off welfare.  

By Anonymous QuakerCat, at Sun Jun 10, 02:44:00 PM:

TigerHawk - you are dead on with your comments and I second your sentiments on all fronts!

Jim in Virginia - you are also dead on. I am one of the biggest fans of the Heritage Foundation but their latest study about the cost of "amnesty" to those who are here illegally is laughable. The assumptions made in that study that said our country would be a net negative $2.5 trillion behind were ridiculous (e.g. virtually no revenue upside to the contributions to either social security or to state and Federal Taxes.) I wish they would just come out and say they dont like legalizing these people because they would all become Democrats.

One last point about the "Latinization" (my word) of our country; the common lament from most immigrants is how the second generation has forgotten it's culture and has become "Americanized." So I am not too worried America becoming Northern Mexico.

QuakerCat  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Sun Jun 10, 04:47:00 PM:

I never said illegals don't pay taxes. I said they are a net drain on taxes, as opposed to being a net contributor..

As for the assimiliation, I think some areas (especially in CA) are havens for illegals, where all the residents and businesses do everything in Spanish. There is no incentive to learn English.

We need to stop the illegal immigration, and do more to encourage Mexico and other poor South American countries who export their poor to the US to fix their own economies so these people do not have to leave in order to make money to support their families.  

By Anonymous Phrizz11, at Sun Jun 10, 05:23:00 PM:

Instead of asking "how can we continue to afford to have illegal immigrants in this country," shouldn't the question really be "how can we afford to not have them?"

The illegals that everyone here loves to hate are doing the jobs that no one else wants to do - but that doesn't make these jobs any less vital to the economy, and they are doing these jobs for far less money than anyone else is willing to. If you forced employers to pay taxes on the work that they are doing, then I bet that would do plenty to slow down the precious economic growth that you are so enamored of, TH.

Cutting off the supply of illegal labor would devastate many small businesses that rely on it for their competitive advantage. What would happen if you built a fence, and then suddenly no one could afford to build houses anymore?
`  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sun Jun 10, 06:46:00 PM:

Jim in Virginia - then a wall might be the best solution, as it would only reduce, not eliminate illegal immigration. Redneck texan might think it not enough to only slow the tide, but it would at least be a start.

As to the jobs that other people won't do - if that is the case, we can always legally accept more immigrants from poor countries. Why should there be a special dispensation for folks from Mexico? Wouldn't it be more multicultural of us to have a greater balance between Eastern European, South Asian, and Latin American immigrants?  

By Blogger Papa Ray, at Sun Jun 10, 10:47:00 PM:

Jeez, I just love when people talk about immigration, both legal and illegal and the reasons for or against.

It's a good thing, and needs to continue.

But, people that really want to talk about this, mostly talk about the big picture...you know, numbers, percentages, plus this, minus that, and so on.

Well, I would like everyone who really wants to know about immigration from south of the border, not just Mexico come on down to Texas, not even the border. Come on out into the flatlands of West Texas, talk to the locals, visit around, maybe even stay a spell.

Then come back and tell us if your opinion of immigration has changed.

I'm sure interested in what you might have to say.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA  

By Anonymous davod, at Mon Jun 11, 07:18:00 AM:

Phrizz11:

So the cost of housing goes up by few dollars (Yes, that is all it amounts to). When the initial increase (if there is one) becomes the norm, everything will get back to normal. The interest rate has far more effect on the housing market than labour costs.

Likewise with the cost of farm labor. The cost of labor when factored into the actual cost of the product on the shelf is a minor factor.  

By Blogger Redneck Texan, at Mon Jun 11, 10:24:00 AM:

Heck, if we had a huge number of Canadians who snuck over the border to help us bring in our crops and retar our roofs, would it be an issue? Somehow I doubt it.

Oh yeah.... its a racist thing Tigerhawk....that was your point wasn't it?

It amuses the hell out of me to watch most rabid anti-illegal immigrant advocates I know deny that race is a core motivating factor. But they certainly dont get this emotional over indigenous law breakers.

Look, I've spend 25 years in the construction industry in Texas. For the vast majority of that time I was the only Gringo in a crew of falsely documented Mexican nationals. Some of my best friends are illegal immigrants. My closest neighbor is an expanding compound of Mexican nationals. There's three illegal aliens sitting up at the reception area of my office as I write this. I know a thing or two about illegal aliens.

If we were to enact legislation tomorrow that effectively secured the border, eliminated document fraud, and deported every Illegal here....I would be screwed. I would have dozens of contracts I could not fulfill due to industry wide manpower shortages. It would probably ruin me.......yet I would gladly welcome it.....because I know from first hand experience how these folks have altered the fabric of my society by bringing their cultural baggage with them from the 3rd world.

And its not the Mexican Nationals here illegally looking for work that scare me.... Its Their Legal Born Children, that are forcing the indigenous society into gated communities. Those people can vote.

You know when Bush thinks about Illegal aliens I think he visualizes a left-handed pitcher from Venezuela, and when a New Jersey academic interfaces with an immigrant it is usually one from a wealthy family that sent them here for higher education, but if you want to see the real impact of migrating hordes of economic refugees....and want to feel the true wrath of racially motivated violence, take a walk in South, West, or East Dallas some night.  

By Blogger Pat, at Mon Jun 11, 03:22:00 PM:

As a legal immigrant, I have no problem with legal immigration. I do have a problem with illegal immigrants breaking US law to enter the country. I have a problem with illegals getting free medical care at hospital emergency wards paid for with my taxes. I have a problem with illegals getting welfare paid for with my taxes. I have a problem with illegals running drugs across the border. I have a problem with illegals joining gangs. I have a problem with illegals murdering 10,000 Americans since 9/11. I have a problem with DUI illegals killing 10,000 Americans since 9/11. I have a problem with the Reconquista movement. I have a problem with Mexican murderers getting sanctuary in Mexico. I have a problem with the Mexican government exporting its poverty to the US instead of providing opportunities to its own citizens.

If the government enforced existing laws we wouldn't have a problem. The jobs that attract the illegals would dry up and they would return from whence they came.

Build the fence. If that doesn't work, lay a minefield on the US side of the fence.  

By Blogger GreenmanTim, at Mon Jun 11, 03:47:00 PM:

I do not suggest that we get into a polarizing people vs critters discussion, but TH asked for a principled objection and this is one.

There is actually a strong ecological - as opposed to economic - reason to oppose a border fence. They are great killers of wildlife.
They constrict ranges, eliminate migration corridors, and entrap animals. I've held a dying oryx in the last stages of dehydration that was caught in a border fence in Namibia and it is a particularly ugly death.

Ocelots and Jaguars that are near the extreme northern edge of their contiguous range today at our southern border may see their ability to reoccupy parts of the historic range curtailed by such a fence. Maybe Texas and Arizona is just as happy without them, but unlike whereas a DMZ can sometime produce conservation by default-

http://greensleeves.typepad.com/berkshires/2006/08/conservation_by.html

- fences that prevent the movement of species can have considerable ecological impacts. More on that here:

http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Ecology_In_An_Era_Of_Globalization_999.html  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Mon Jun 11, 09:25:00 PM:

I have to agree with a lot of what Pat said.

As for the "fence", it is my understanding that it is not going to be a "physical fence" the entire length of the border: in some places, it will be a "virtual fence" that wouldn't interfere with with wildlife migrations/movement, specifically in the mountainous regions along the border...  

By Blogger GreenmanTim, at Mon Jun 11, 09:47:00 PM:

I took the prompt and blogged on the environmental impacts of the Border Control Act at Walking the Berkshires. No silver bullet, nor clarity from everyone from Chertoff on down as to what will be funded, what type of fencing is possible, and where environmental impacts fall out in the decision tree - though there is a good deal of press on the topic, to which I have linked (and will link back here, natch).  

By Anonymous Phrizz11, at Mon Jun 11, 10:04:00 PM:

I find it very amusing to juxtapose davod's comment and the following one by Redneck Texan. I wonder whose opinion on this subject is better informed?

RT, you may be willing to endure industry-wide economic hardship for the sake of reducing the cultural impact of illegals in this country. But do you speak for the majority of people whose businesses thrive because of plentiful and cheap illegal labor? Somehow, I doubt it.

To put it another way, given the obvious antipathy toward illegals and their children, why are they still here? Because they are economically necessary. Until you figure out a way to get people who are legally American to do the necessary shit work for shit money, with no taxes or overtime or healthcare or benefits or any of that nonsense, any more discussion of the issue is meaningless. The powerful businessmen in Texas and California will use their influence and you will never see a fence. And if somehow there is a grassroots movement and you do see one, I would bet that the economic consequences would be pretty dire.  

By Blogger jj mollo, at Mon Jun 11, 10:12:00 PM:

Although I am in favor of the fence, I think we have to recognize that there are associated negatives. It will increase the level of sophistication among coyotes. It will up the ante of cost and violence. We know this from the War on Drugs. It will increase the level of corruption. It will hurt our relationship with Mexico. It will make illegals more desperate. This is, after all, an invasion. It will lead to loss of life among those who defend the border and among the invaders. It will damage Mexico's economy. It may lead to instability in the government of Mexico. It will make it much harder for US citizens to travel back and forth. It will inconvenience border citizens, ranchers in particular, who need access to the river.

There are of course a lot of positive features as well.

I personally think that managing the crisis by enforcing the employment laws is much more important.  

By Blogger Miss Ladybug, at Mon Jun 11, 10:16:00 PM:

Why should an ethical, law-abiding American businessman have to go out of business because his unethical, law-breaking competition hires illegal aliens? Don't say it doesn't happen - it's been documented (I've linked to in in some of my posts on this topic). Construction still pays well, even for illegals, from what I've read. Illegal alien construction workers (or electrians, or plumbers, or A/C techs) aren't doing jobs Americans won't do - they are in essence stealing those jobs from Americans because to have an American on the payroll would require the employer to pay additional payroll taxes.

If I have to pay a little more to buy my lettuce, or a hotel room when I (now rarely) travel, go out to eat, or buy that house once I'm settled into a new job, so be it. And I'll be earning a teacher's pay, so I'm not rich.  

By Blogger Redneck Texan, at Mon Jun 11, 11:51:00 PM:

RT, you may be willing to endure industry-wide economic hardship for the sake of reducing the cultural impact of illegals in this country. But do you speak for the majority of people whose businesses thrive because of plentiful and cheap illegal labor? Somehow, I doubt it.

The key, phrizz, is that it has to be industry wide to work. I cant speak for the residential or landscape trades, but I can assure you there are no medium to large commercial construction contractors in Texas that would risk getting caught knowingly hiring undocumented workers. If you dont have the proper documentation required by I9, you're not going to find employment. Now then it would be foolish for any one contractor to take further steps than are required by law to verify the legitimacy of those documents.....but if everybody had to "prove" it....it would be a bitch fulfilling existing contracts if everybody lost 50% of their workforce, and were locked into aggressive schedules, but those lessons could be incorporated into the next bid.

Even with the current lack of skilled legitimate workers, the market would correct itself in relatively short order. Schedules would have to reflect the new reality, but they're going to build that new school regardless the price.

Dont think for a minute that Construction business owners actually enjoy having a payroll full of illiterate, dont give a shit, employees that neither you nor your clients can communicate with. Other employers I've talked to are just as anxious to see a fraud-proof verification system as I would be. As it stands right now, if we question the legitimacy of the documents presented to us for employment, we run the risk of committing civil rights violation based on our "gut feeling"....ie: you dont look legal.

they are in essence stealing those jobs from Americans because to have an American on the payroll would require the employer to pay additional payroll taxes.

Like I said miss ladybug, I can only speak to the commercial construction industry, but a falsely documented worker cost the exact same in payroll taxes as a legitimate worker does, and they dont work any cheaper either, they are just more productive than their legal counterparts are. But if they are doing the work we wont do.....who's gonna do that work if we give this batch citizenship?

One thing thats not really widely discussed is what would happen if we did enact a fraud-proof document verification system, and illegals could no longer find gainful employment here? Do you think they are just gonna pack up and head back home?.....no work there.....and nothing to steal either. They will stay where the money is, and do whatever they have to to survive.  

By Anonymous Bird of Paridise, at Tue Jun 12, 12:45:00 AM:

Our politicians are not listening to us their too busy doing the will of sinister persons in the evil CFR its time for us to remove them all and get ourselves out of the UN and drive the CFR out of america  

By Anonymous Phrizz11, at Tue Jun 12, 03:17:00 AM:

RT, thanks for your informative post! You reminded me why I bother to read blogs at all...  

By Blogger Jim in Virginia, at Tue Jun 12, 08:06:00 AM:

Broadly speaking there are two components to illegal employmenr. There's the day labor market- you pick up a couple guys at the 7 11, pay them cash to paint a house. No documentation, no minimum wage, no payroll taxes- whether they are legal or not.

In the documented economy, you need an SSN (real or a good fake)to get a job; your employer pays minimum wage and files all the necessary paperwork with various state and federal agencies. With a 4% unemployment rate, x million illegal aliens in the economy (I don't know but I doubt that the day labor market gets counted in employment statistics), phrizz is right on his first point:

"they are economically necessary"

and half right on the second:

"Until you figure out a way to get people who are legally American to do the necessary shit work ...discussion of the issue is meaningless"

If we did not have the illegals the jobs would go unfilled. There is no one to do them. The solution is for Americans to have more kids-- 25 years ago.  

By Blogger Peter, at Tue Jun 12, 12:12:00 PM:

Hordes of cute, yet illegal, Irish girls here in NYC? Yeah, I could live with that.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Jun 12, 04:49:00 PM:

Jim in Virginia,

There is a problem with you analysis, and it is this, the unemployment rate is only at 4% because so many people have been dropping out of the labor force. As in, they are no longer looking for work and therefor not used in the calculation of the unemployment rate. For example, woman has a child and quits her job to stay home with her new kid.

For more information, see this link (pardon the lack of html skils).
http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2007/06/the_return_of_n.html

Also, you said: "Until you figure out a way to get people who are legally American to do the necessary shit work ...discussion of the issue is meaningless".

Uh, no. To paraphrase Field of Dreams - if you pay them well, they will come. They key being "well". Have you not heard of the concept of supply and demand? Well, it works for employees the same way it works for goods and services.  

By Blogger Robohobo, at Fri Jun 15, 01:32:00 AM:

"...I do not care that they will come in line before other supposedly law-abiding foreigners..."

Supposedly? Supposedly? Okay, it really is this simple - illegal means that they broke the law getting here. Legal means they did not break the law getting here i.e. they did the right thing. This is not moral equivalence just basic common sense. What the hell makes you think that if someone so wantonly breaks the law that they will all of a sudden get a conscience? I am not that naive, sorry.  

By Blogger Robohobo, at Fri Jun 15, 01:48:00 AM:

And one other point via two questions.

Q1: Who guards the southern border of Mexico on the Mexican side?

Q2: What happens to those who try to cross illegally into Mexico?

A1: The Mexican Army

A2: They are jailed, returned or asked to pay the bribe large enough to be transported and turned over to the coyotes at el Norte.

So, all of you bleeding hearts can be quiet. Come to live in a border state and see some of the chaos inspired by our newest bunch of future citizens. It is not without cost in crime, drugs and lives.

"Age eventually lets you see your own prejudices proved to be true."  

By Blogger Gaia, at Sat Jun 16, 01:23:00 AM:

A wall will cause major hardships to many endangered species, possibly causing many to become extinct. It IS a PHYSICAL wall being proposed.

It's actually 2 walls about 100-150' apart with all the vegetation destroyed between each wall and between the wall and river. I know few people have ever been to the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas so they have no idea the lushness of the flora here. This proposal will take a gorgeous area and make it look like the surface of the moon.

I live in a border town. My kids attend a border town school. Their school is one of the best in Texas. Not only does it test well, but my kids are thriving in this school. And they do this even with each grade having at least one bilingual class.

If you want to stop illegal immigration then do more than slap an insignificant fine on employers caught hiring them (how much was Wal-Mart fined? Something like 10 minutes of profits from their store?).

Honestly? I can't blame many mexicans when the come across. Have you been to a border town? Have you seen the kids selling trinkets on the dusty roads in the 100F heat? Have you looked at them and realized the ONLY difference between them and your kids is that your kids were lucky enough to be born in the US?

A physical fence? Will be breached by humans. It won't be by wildlife. This is an environmental disaster.  

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