The Church leaders urged Utah legislators to bring compassion back to the discussion of illegal immigration. What does that mean? I’m going to suggest what I consider to be a fairly obvious resolution to the immigration problem that is also compassionate by my lights. It is also fairly certain to actually work!
Let’s begin with the obvious. We can count on Hispanics to continue to flood across the U.S. borders as long as there is no work in Mexico and jobs are plentiful in the U.S. We can count on it because Hispanics will do what all good and decent people do — they provide for their families. They look for a better life for their children. Of course there are those illegal immigrants who who aren’t good and decent who come to traffic in drugs and commit crimes. But they are only a small fraction of the many immigrants who have sought to made the U.S. their home.
We can also count on unscrupulous employers to continue to exploit a source of cheap labor by paying unfair wages and avoiding benefits that they would otherwise pay for legal workers. Americans benefit economically from cheap labor by lower costs. However, the big problem is not the Hispanics who are only doing what good and decent people do for the most part. The problem is unscrupulous employers in the U.S. These employers benefit by reaping greater profits. They also foist onto the rest of the American public costs which they don’t have to carry for health care, auto insurance, schools, employer matching and other costs of legitimate employment. Health care insurance, schools, and other kinds of insurance costs are in crisis in the U.S. It is difficult for residents to get emergency health care because the hospitals must provide emergency care to illegal aliens whether they can afford it or not. The cost to educate children of illegal aliens in already overcrowded classrooms is billions of dollars. The cost of car insurance is much higher because those who have such insurance must cover the expenses of those who don’t have any care insurance.
All of these additional costs are avoided by employers who hire illegal aliens. These are costs that are usually picked up by employers that have been foisted onto the rest of the legal citizens in the U.S. by employers who avoid these costs and reap greater profits. So the rest of the population pays for these employers to reap handsome profits in the fast food, construction and domestic service industries primarily. The fact is that it is not difficult to know where illegal aliens work. Any construction site would be an easy target for the INS. It is also rather clearly unfair to allow one segment of the population to reap benefits and profits at the expense of the rest the population.
The solution? Heavy fines on U.S. employers to make it too costly to hire aliens illegally together with an auditing arm of the Federal Government that rivals the IRS. That would begin to solve the problem fairly quickly. No jobs, no illegal aliens. It’s really that simple. However, it must also be balanced by the fact that the U.S. economy needs the labor and diligence of immigrants, Hispanics and others, who have flooded the borders. It is imperative to have a program that allows for liberal access of employers to immigrant labor. A program that allows a matching of labor work visas is essential. The employers must also be required to pay a fair wage, benefits and insurance and an additional taxes for schools for each child of every family on a work visa. Of course the price of services will go up to compensate for the fair wage and the actual cost of doing business. However, who can argue that a fair wage shouldn’t be paid and the costs of foreign labor to society fairly reflected?
Let’s recognize the immigrants, primarily Hispanics but also others, who have come to the U.S. for the hardworking and very wonderful people that they are — for the most part. Let’s insist that employers pay a fair wage and provide essential insurance and taxes for schools so that those who don’t profit from unfairly cheap labor don’t pick up an unfair share of the burden. We don’t need to ship Hispanics back to Mexico or build fences along the borders; we merely need to control what is motivating them to come to the U.S. in the first place. Of course we need secure borders to insure that criminals and terrorists don’t enter the United Stated, but that doesn’t require us to keep Hispanics who want to work out. It means that we need to put adequate resources into policing employers who hire illegal aliens and providing adequate opportunities for employers to identify and hire aliens who want to work legally.