When the current problems facing our country are discussed, generally they include the economy, the economy and maybe our international policies and foreign relations. However, living where I do in southern California the issue of illegal immigration is a very big and relevant one. The debate about illegal immigration is a complicated one, as illegals can both severely help and hurt our economy. However, the general consensus of people living in areas heavily affected is that this is a serious problem doing more harm than good.
The numbers and facts about illegal immigration are absolutely staggering. To begin with, American citizens have spent $52 billion towards educating the children of illegals. Over 1 million illegal immigrant households use one major welfare program (such as food stamps or Medicaid). 61% of illegals are working “unofficially” and getting paid under the table, meaning they never pay taxes on what they earn. I could go on, but I think you get the point. These numbers are essentially telling us that the majority of illegals are taking up as much or more American tax dollars as documented citizens, while putting no money back in the system themselves. With a struggling economy – and it is as bad or worse in California as in almost any state – we simply can’t afford to have nearly 10% of the state’s population using our money and resources without putting anything back in.
The response I get to that last sentence is usually along the lines of “but illegals do jobs no one else wants, and they improve our work force greatly.” However, last time I checked our country’s unemployment rate is 8%. That only includes “members of the work force actively seeking a job”. I don’t think the majority of that 8% would rather not work than do what some would call menial jobs in order to make ends meet. So in reality, illegals are actually taking away from the number of jobs available because they can be hired with no restrictions on minimum wage. And this argument even touch the fact that over 300,000 illegal immigrants are in American prisons – at a cost of over $1 billion per year to tax payers.
So to put it succinctly, I believe illegal is a major problem that needs to be addressed. The problem is, catching illegal immigration in the act is becoming increasingly difficult as smugglers find new and creative ways to get people across the border. Tunnels into nearby buildings, the use of small harbors and docks and the sheer size of the Mexico-US border provide significant obstacles. Basically, the “traditional” ideas to stop this problem will not be effective enough to actually accomplish much.
My modest proposal is this: instead of “punishing” the illegals that are discovered, we punish the people aiding and hiring them. If it’s found that 5 illegal immigrants are working for a certain business, then along with deporting the illegals, we “deport” the people responsible for hiring them.
Crazy? Yes. Realistic? Questionable. Effective? Without question. As a businessman, would you hire someone just because you can pay them $3 an hour less if you were at risk of being deported out of the US to Mexico? I really, really doubt it. Would you hire a group of illegals to do, say, yard work at your house if it meant you could get kicked out of this country for a period of time (say, 6 months). I can’t think of a bigger deterrent to hiring illegals, and if they can’t find work then the purpose of coming to this country is taken away.
Now of course, the biggest issue with this plan is the cooperation of other governments to accept our “deportees”. However, illegal immigration is as much their problem as ours. They have the capability of assisting us in preventing it, yet (at least in terms of Mexico) they do nothing because it helps their economy greatly. So if they don’t do anything to keep their citizens out of our country, then I say why let them have a say if our citizens get forced on them? And besides, we all know how much our government likes covert and secret operations. Who says we have to tell another government if we’re bringing people in?
It’s become clear to me that traditional methods of preventing illegal immigrations do not work. In order to make any headway against this problem, we have to attack the source – take away the reason that these illegal aliens come to our country in the first place. To do that, we must make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to find jobs and the best way to do that is to discourage employers from hiring them. By threatening US citizens with deportation from the country, our government will send a clear message that we want to stop illegal immigration.