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Immig-Rant

It's in the news. Congress and the Rethuglicans are split on it, supposedly. The far right is whining about it, in a thinly veiled racist sort of way. The jerk on the radio was moaning "But they're illegal, they shouldn't be here!". They, of course, being Mexicans, what the jerks call the "brown tide." "They're trying to take over California!" bigots moan.

First, immigration - illegal, legal and quasi-legal - is more than just "mexicans". It's quotas, by country of origin, so we don't let in too many "brown people", unless they will indenture themselves to corporations with an H1b. It's a system that is currently broken, lumbering, and downright nasty.

Not too long ago, the discrimination wasn't against Mexicans, it was against the Irish. NINA - no irish need apply - was a common sight around the turn of the last century. Now some of the decendent of those Irish immigrants are wanting to keep the Mexicans out. In every region, there has been discrimination against one, or several "newcomer" minority. Irish, Chinese, German, Japanese, Slavic, etc. - you name it, it is, or has been, there. It's all hypocrisy. The only people in this country who aren't decended in part from imigrant stock are full blood Native Americans.

Now, the big moan is about taxes and services 'used' by immigrants. "Oh, these people pay nothing and use up everything" is the crap I hear. It's bullshit. Here's why:
  1. In California, we have sales tax, and not a trivial amount. The only thing we don't get soaked for is basic groceries. Even illegal immigrants need clothes, and other taxable goods. So they pay there.

  2. Illegal immigrants usually rent their housing. Their landlords pay property taxes out of the rent monies received. So, they pay, indirectly, property taxes just like the rest of us who rent.

  3. If the immigrant drives, they pay for gas. Gasoline is taxed out the wazoo, both state and federal. Even if they use transit, they have to pay.

  4. If they use a fake SSN to get a standard W2 type job, they have taxes withheld, just like everyone else. However, if the SSN is fake, they can't file for a refund, or even get an EIC. So they pay more in income tax than a legal immigrant or citizen making the same wage.

  5. Public services at hospitals - they don't use these any more than the rest of the working poor do. In fact, the homeless, disabled and welfare mothers use these more.
So, essentially, everyone who lives, shops, and works here pays into the tax system, illegal or otherwise. Therefore, the services funded by those monies should be available to them. They're not "taking" any more than a homeless person, or a uninsured WalMart employee does. There is no "theft" to get righteously indignant about.

Now, the real problem that these people have: they are not "white". In fact, "white" people are no longer a majority in California. Waaah, waaah, waaaahmbulance!!

A lot of immigrants these days aren't "white" - East Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, Jamaican, Polynesian, etc. Too bad, that's the way the world is - not everyone looks like everyone else. Most of the H1b and L1 corporate indentured servants are not "white" either. It doesn't stop companies from buying hiring them for the "prevailing wage" - in bumfuck Idaho - for a job here in the Silicon Valley! Let me clue you, $40,000 is not the prevailing wage for a software developer here in Silicon Valley!

Immigrants, regardless of paper status, are good for the economy from a "classic" conservative, pro-business viewpoint. They accept jobs that no one born here would consider, they have a strong work ethic (something that seems to have been lost in the last few generations born here), and work for less because they don't expect all of the yuppie luxuries that citizens seem to think they are "entitled" to (cable TV, or even a TV, is a luxury, folks.)

The worst misinformation is the smear that somehow illegal immigrants are all garbage, criminals just here to take our hard won pelf. They aren't. They're here to work, and build a better life. There are no more criminals among the illegal population that there are among the legal and/or citizen population, and maybe fewer.

Now, I mentioneded the quotas and the rest of our system. From About The USA
"The revised immigration law of 1990 created a flexible cap of 675,000 immigrants each year, with certain categories of people exempted from the limit. That law attempts to attract more skilled workers and professionals to the United States and to draw immigrants from countries that have supplied relatively few Americans in recent years."
It still is rigged against persons of color.

From Green Card Lottery Q & A about the 55,000 person "Green Card Lottery" -
Eligibility is determined by country of birth. Persons born in China, Taiwan, India, the Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Poland, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, or Jamaica are ineligible, regardless of their country of citizenship or the country in which their parents were born. Persons born in all other countries - including Northern Ireland and Hong Kong - are eligible."

Gee, looks like Mexicans and other brown folks aren't wanted. The other ways, and the only ways for people from Mexico, are either family relations (spouse or child), or employment as a skilled worker, having an advanced degree, being an 'executive', or (slowest) an unskilled laborer/domestic with no one else willing to do the work (the last takes about ten or more years to get a green card, and the quotas are low.) Also, large population countries like India, Mexico, China and the Philippines have the same total quotas (7% of total immigration) as a small country like Lichtenstein - so it's rigged against them, regardless of skills or need.

Maybe the person can go the indentured servant to a corporation route, and maybe the company might sponsor them for a green card. In the meantime, they are often stuck for all of the expenses of their indenture processing if they decide to quit because of the abuse that is prevalent in that kind of situation. As far as I am concerned, the H1b program is a fraud against the skilled citizens of this country who are displaced from jobs and those who enter into thinly veiled servitude for the chance to be sponsored for a green card by their corporate masters.

Now, how I would fix things:

  1. Do away with the H1b program. Let those people come here with green cards, as skilled workers, and compete on a level playing field against those already here. Yes, salaries will go up, since companies will no longer be able to retain these people for cheap by holding the H1 visa over their heads.

  2. Change the quota system. When assigning a quota to a country of origin, do it on a basis of percentage of the world's total population. Exempt asylum seekers from the quotas entirely.

  3. Make smuggling illegal immigrants a felony, if it isn't already. The "coyotes" often endanger or kill these would-be americans for money, and sometimes deliver them to essential slavery.

  4. Have an amnesty for all illegal and out-of-status people here - let them apply for a green card without prejudice. They have been screwed by the quota system, when we fix it, they need a retroactive way to get legal.

  5. Tax companies who bring over L1 and other workers for more than 6 months a "guest worker services" fee to replace the US income taxes that these people would otherwise pay if they were a green card holder. If they really need the person, it would be a minor expense.


America is a nation of immigrants. If someone wants to come here, work and build a life for them and theirs, let them. It's what my ancestors did.

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
just_the_ash
Apr. 13th, 2006 02:28 am (UTC)
I love you. May I link to this?
ravan
Apr. 13th, 2006 02:55 am (UTC)
Go right ahead. It's a public post.
jemyl
Apr. 13th, 2006 05:11 am (UTC)
Excellent Post! Please sent it to any and all of the Congressional persons you know as well as to the white House and anyone else in Federal and State government that you can think of. I know that you don't like to work within the system, must come from your Irish Great Uncle who came to this country by way of a jumped ship and a swim in a Canadian port followed by a slip across the border on foot whilst running, essentially, from the Irish Regulars since he was IRA. Some of your ancestors were born here, in 1750, so came on ther early boats from England, seeking religious freedom from the Church of England. Hmmm, I guess you have much in common with them too. LOL

This is the best, most well thought out and well written opinion and suggestion for solution to the immigration mess that I have seen to date. Well done! It is good to see you carry on the family tradition of political involvement and opinion writing. This needs a greater audience. Would you consider sending it to any and all of the newspapers in the Bay Area as a letter to the editor? Some of them have websites and accept such by email. I know our local paper does so. You have to state your name and address and phone, usually, but they will not publish all but your name if requested and might even publish with a nom de plume if requested as long as they could check that you did send it in and your real name was on file. (Hint: don't use a known nom d p.)

Love you! Gotta go put more drops in eyes. Allergies and virus? Peace and Hugs to you.
weofodthignen
Apr. 13th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
Put my more radical viewpoint in one of your friends' LJ's a while back: http://odanu.livejournal.com/260067.html

M
wulfmann
Apr. 16th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
From Green Card Lottery Q & A about the 55,000 person "Green Card Lottery" -

Eligibility is determined by country of birth. Persons born in China, Taiwan, India, the Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, Poland, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, El Salvador, or Jamaica are ineligible, regardless of their country of citizenship or the country in which their parents were born. Persons born in all other countries - including Northern Ireland and Hong Kong - are eligible."


Erm. I hate to contradict your government but Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland... so much for the "special relationship"...
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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