Mister Pterodactyl
Monday, April 17, 2006
I don't WANNA talk about immigration

But I guess I have to.

This ran in the Des Moines Register last week: "Her family moved to Waterloo from the Mexican state of Michoacan when she was a young child. Her parents worked in a meatpacking plant. Growing up, she went to Waterloo schools. She earned good grades and ran track at West High School, where she graduated in 2005. She dreamed of going to college and becoming a doctor. She felt no different from other people. She considered herself an American, an Iowan. But her most cherished dream is now on hold as Congress debates the fate of immigration proposals that could ultimately brand her a citizen or felon. Her life is on hold because her immigration status disqualifies her for federal student loans, grants and scholarships."
Well that sucks. She's illegal and it isn't her fault.

The rest of the article discusses some of the issues revolving around her situation, in particular a bill that would let people like her go to college. I'm all for that. This kid grew up American.

As for the rest of the document-challenged ... it just so happens that immigration was the topic of my very first post (after the 'here I am, this is my blog' post, of course) in which I paraphrased the great American philosopher Dennis Miller: I'm opposed to illegal immigration because, well, it's illegal. Go read the post so I don’t have to rehash it here.

Caution: the rest of this post contains very little that you haven’t read elsewhere.
I've been trying to find out exactly what a foreign national has to do to be able to live and work in this country. No luck so far. [But you said Google could do anything. Shaddap.] Anyone? Anyone?
I'm betting the requirements aren't that onerous, but there's probably an annual limit.

Now, I'd be wholeheartedly in favor of some kind of amnesty for other illegals, if (and only if) coupled with a raising of that limit and much stricter enforcement of the rules. But given that it would require considerable governmental coordination and additional costs, I'm not optimistic. [This is a topic that invites, even begs for, government-related cynicism and/or angst. Have you noticed that?]
Sadly, lacking that reform, I can’t support amnesty. Forgiving criminality only encourages more criminality. I feel for these people, and I’m aware of the difficulties in suddenly enforcing these laws more vigorously (see above comment on government-related cynicism). But I’m also aware that the laws weren’t being vigorously enforced in the first place and that’s why we’re going through this debate. Had they been enforced – with robust border defense, a more efficient prosecution process, and harsh penalties for employers, for instance – perhaps shortages in the labor force would have sparked changes in immigration law and a liberalization of them, which is what I was just talking about.

One more thing: I stated that I don't know what the requirements are to work legally in the United States. I also don't know what the requirements are to live and work legally in Mexico, but I did know once and they're a lot steeper. Think about that. I mean don't just think about it, think about it in terms of the free market. We have a product that is in high demand; so high, in fact, that it prodigiously outpaces supply. Our product, however, is priced at a much lower level than other, less popular products.
Of course I just got done saying that we should lower our price. Maybe some other sellers could take the lead here and lower theirs first. As a good example. Y’know?

UPDATE: This article takes a look at how Mexico deals with migrant workers.

"Undocumented Central American migrants complain much more about how they are treated by Mexican officials than about authorities on the U.S. side of the border, where migrants may resent being caught but often praise the professionalism of the agents scouring the desert for their trail."
"The nation of 105 million has legalized only 15,000 immigrants in the past five years, and many undocumented migrants who are detained are deported."
"Mexicans denounce the criminalization of their citizens living without papers in the United States, Mexican law classifies undocumented immigration as a felony punishable by up to two years in prison, although deportation is more common."


One more thing: "Like the United States, Mexico is becoming reliant on immigrant labor."
I'm not commenting on that one.
We deported you out of Wisconsin, and you seem to be doing all right. (Iowan complaints notwithstanding)
I wasn't deported, I migrated in search of economic opportunity.
Taking a job Iowans won't do?
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