Thursday, July 29, 2010

Immigration follow-up: now what do we do?

On the twenty-first, I did a post about the Arizona Immigration law focusing on what I saw as the practical civil rights issues it presented.  Since then, a U.S. District Court judge enjoined enforcement of several portions of the law.  Both sides are spinning the ruling, claiming a win.  Then this morning I read an article at that talked about the economic realities of illegal immigration here in Georgia.

First, what does the judge’s ruling mean?  Depending on how you look at it, nothing or a lot.  She issued a temporary restraining order against Arizona’s enforcement of several parts of the law, most significantly, the “papers please” part.  Now that doesn’t mean that when all is said and done, the plaintiffs will win on the issue; but, it is a pretty good indicator as to how she will rule down the road.

Like it or not, she thinks Federal immigration law trumps state immigration law because of the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.  When the feds decide how something within the enumerated federal powers is going to go, the states can’t do differently.  “States rights,” the “will of the people” and that kind of stuff don’t matter.  (My condolences to you Ninth and Tenth Amendment fans.)


“Although Judge Bolton’s ruling is not final, it seems likely to halt, at least temporarily, an expanding movement by states to combat illegal immigration by making it a state crime to be an immigrant without legal documents and by imposing new requirements on state and local police officers to enforce immigration law.“

So, we are back to the status quo while the lawyers fight.  What does that mean for your average black or brown person?  Not much.  If you get pulled over, the police can but don’t have to ask for ID.  Will the police use racial profiling when they see a black or brown person?  Some will.  But at least its use isn’t institutionalized.

Still upset about all the illegals?  Want to do something about it?  That’s easy.  Take away their incentive to come in the first place and stay when they get here.  Why do they come and stay?  Money from jobs.  Go after the jobs.  It is a violation of law for an illegal to work in the U.S.  It is a violation of law for a U.S. person or company to hire an illegal.  Enforce the law.

Indeed, that is just what the Obama Administration is doing at a faster clip than the Bush folks did.  Step up assessing penalties to the employers.  In the current enforcement environment the employer gets a slap on the wrist and hires another illegal to replace the one that ICE carts away.  Cart the employer away with the illegals for a while and you will see fewer illegals working in your neighborhood.  Don’t like to see corporate execs in handcuffs?  Impose fines that make hiring illegals an economically stupid practice.

Or, maybe you want to be economically rational? has an article today about the economic effect of illegals in Georgia.  You can read the article for yourself, it covers a lot of ground.  But here’s a shocker for you.  Get rid of all the illegals in the state and there’s a $21.3 billion loss in economic activity (just under 7% of the state’s economy) and a loss of 132,460 jobs.  Don’t trust studies by liberal think tanks?  Don’t worry, the figures come from Americans for Immigration Reform, a business-sponsored group.  Greedy capitalists!

But wait, you’re worried about foreign terrorists, thugs, gang bangers and their ilk, aren’t you.  So Dave, you say, we need racial profiling to track them down, admit it!

Well, if you accept the economic reality that immigration helps, not hurts our economy and you regulate it; you can put your time, effort and money into grabbing the bad guys.  If a foreigner is attracted to the U.S. for the money a gringo offered job brings, the foreigner is going to be happy to sign up, go to the border crossing showing ID and paperwork and proceed to where the money is.  And that’s a nice bottleneck to check to see that the people coming in are indeed upstanding, hard workers seeking their part of the American dream.

Sure, you’re left with the bad guys wading the Rio Grande at two in the morning (along with “you name it” bombers trying to get on planes.)  But guess what, you now have some actual grounds for a reasonable suspicion that the river waders are up to no good; and, you can use the resources you’ve saved by regulating foreign workers to catch them and the bombers.

Still don’t like damn foreigners?  There’s a Tea Party chapter near you.


Hedy said...

This is fantastic, Dave. We were just talking about this last night. The trump card is always who's hiring illegals - they'd stop coming if someone stopped hiring them. Thanks so much for writing this. xo

Anonymous said...

Your post makes a lot of sense. I hope the Powers That Be do something along those lines.

Personally, I would like to see stricter enforcement of the laws concerning the hiring of illegal aliens just for the sheer joy of seeing Bo Pilgrim led off in chains. I really hate that guy.

j said...

So let me get this straight - its ok for a chicken farmer to ask for 'papers' but not law enforcement in the course of a legal encounter?

Stopping the hiring/demand to keep them away is the same logic used for drug traffic. How's that working out so far?

Dave said...

J, you know better than this. Yes, "papers" are a legit demand to get a job shoveling chicken shit and they aren't legit when demanded by a cop, except under some circumstances.

Want a job? You got to fill out the W papers for the IRS and thet means showing a SS number because you have no right to a job, at least not yet. Get pulled over and the cop says license and registration, again, you produce them because driving is a privilege, not a right.

Now let's address the subject of selective harrassment. I don't look Hispanic and the cop that stops me doesn't look beyond the license and the registration. Our late friend Tony gets stopped and he has to produce proof he's legal. All dealt with in more depth a week or so ago.

Drugs versus jobs? Hell, it might not work. Let's just quit now then, right? And I got a feeling our chicken farmer is going to be just a bit more cooperative with the fed demands than your average drug lord.

And your response to the guest worker need that seems apparent to me?

We argue better in person. Need to set that up.

Sonja's Mom said...

AMEN! One of our candidates for Governor is running on a platform to instill a law just like Arizona's. Your approach seems so much more reasonable and something that is enforceable.

j said...

Dave - thanks for the invite.
I am glad you point out the difference between the need for documentation in situations where no 'right' exists. Driving, Job etc.

You have just made my point. An immigrant (legal or otherwise) does not have a 'right' to be in the country and is thus subject to being questioned for documentation.