Almost no one I know (I live in West Los Angeles, CA., and run a factory in South East LA) wants to forcibly send home 8,000,000 or 20,000,000 individuals who have come to live in our country by means outside of our laws. This includes the very conservative company that I keep that overwhelmingly opposes illegal immigration. There are, I believe, several obvious and not so obvious reasons for this.
First, as the liberals like to point out, those horrible Republican industrialists need these poor unfortunate folks to exploit in their businesses. Putting aside for a moment the likelihood that many of the industrialists who are doing the exploiting in industries like entertainment, hotels, electronics, and the rag business are most likely liberals, there is a great need for workers to do the jobs our teenagers won’t. Unlike President Fox's assertion, there is no one racial or ethnic group that is avoiding dirty or tedious work. Rather, as any society improves its standard of living it becomes harder to find workers for dirty industries.
So, it isn’t the captains of industry that need these workers, it is the economy itself. A quick look around the globe and at history will show how rich nations import poor workers seeking to improve themselves to take the jobs that the well-to-do locals no longer want or need to do. If we send back even 1,000,000 or 2,000,000 of these workers in the next 12 months, our economy will take a major hit.
Moreover, no one can claim (except teenagers) that these workers are taking their jobs. We have had almost full employment for all but a few dozen months since 1983.
Second, the opinion leaders commonly have a vested interest in one or more of these undocumented individuals. They may be working for the family as a maid, nanny, or doing elder care. The person in the family charged with finding reliable employees for these kinds of duties would be hard pressed to let “their illegal” go home.
Third, almost everyone has at least one personal friend or relationship with someone who is here illegally. It may be an employee, a coworker, a school friend of the kids, someone at church, or a relative. Even if all the "others" were sent home, it would be heartbreaking if this “good” undocumented friend had to go, too.
Less obvious, the average American isn’t replacing himself through his children. Like Japan, Europe, and Russia, the population of those born in America is decreasing. The only reason our overall population is increasing is because of immigration. For the two thirds of the population whose most significant nest egg is their home, there would not be these increases in values, therefore net worth, if it weren’t for the demand created by 8-20 million folks who need a home.
There! I’ve said it!. Nobody else will. Even the most wild-eyed anti-illegle-alien ranters know deep down inside that were not sending anyone back. Or, if some are going back, it will be those who overstayed visas, not those who came inside the trunk of a car.
That having been said, it may or may not be realistic to continue this level of border crossings indefinitely. Maybe there has been some kind of study done that would show whether or not we can sustain 1% growth per year through legal and illegal entrees. If so, I haven’t seen it or seen it mentioned. Certainly, even Hillary agrees that the process needs to change so that we don’t have 5% or more of our population hiding from the law.
Therefore, I would propose that the first step in this process needs to be an all out effort to plug up the holes in our borders and our procedures. Unlike others who want to round up people or fine business owners, the crucial beginning must be to keep the problem from getting bigger. Amazingly, I think that if the hyperbole and angst could be tamped down for a minute or two, almost everyone could agree to a massive effort to crack down on border crossings.
The technology is there. Between motion sensors, laser fences, unmanned drones, and other available methods, the job can be done. It would take money and resolve, but it just seems that such an effort would get overwhelming support.
If we can control our borders there would be a monumental sigh of relief, followed by an ability to discuss in a reasoned way what to do about those who are here. It would be totally pollyannic to believe that the most rabid of the alien haters would suddenly decide its ok to do amnesty. But from my hearing of the talk shows, reading of the blogs, and talking to other conservatives, the only real argument against amnesty is that it will act as an incentive for more illegal traffic. Stop the traffic, end the argument.
How to approach amnesty? Another day. Maybe another commentator.