Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The economics of allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S.

by Peter Stern

It is common knowledge these days that there are approximately 30 million illegal immigrants living and working in the U.S. Many industries, warehouses, manufacturing plants and private individuals hire cheaper salaried illegal immigrants for many and varied jobs over American citizens who expect more pay with benefits. By hiring illegals, companies or individuals do not have to pay the legal hourly wage, in fact pay much less, and also do not have to provide illegals with work related benefits, including health care benefits. Despite the fact that it remains illegal for anyone to hire illegal immigrants, it is done every day and despite the immigration laws has been done so for generations.

In addition, during the past several decades companies who provide money wiring services have made a fortune on sending the earnings of illegals back to their home countries, as payments to their families still living in the nations of their residence. In fact receiving money from Mexican illegals living and working in the U.S. is Mexico’s 2nd largest goods import.

Still, it is not all “peaches and cream” for illegals in the U.S., many of whom must still pay social security, Medicare and other taxes even though they are considered to be illegally living and working in the U.S. Furthermore, often the working conditions illegal immigrants work in are oppressive and degrading. However, despite the long-standing U.S. immigration laws there is little real enforcement of the laws.

One of the reasons the State of Arizona approved the recent legislation on illegal immigrants and the strict enforcement of it is due to the inability of the Federal Government to deal with the ongoing issues relating to what states like Arizona must deal with on a daily basis regarding the significantly increasing illegal immigrant population. The Governor of Arizona finally had enough of the inaction in Washington, D.C. and decided to “shake a few trees” on the issue.

It has been economically advantageous for government and businesses and politically correct to turn the other cheek with enforcing our immigration laws, but the time is now to deal with the issues and to find intelligent resolutions, which up until now, most states and the Federal Government have refused to do. Regardless if it is “good economics” to permit 30 million illegal immigrant to continue to live here illegally while gaining more and more status in proportion to the civil and human rights, jobs, education and health care that compares with that provided to legal citizens. Americans are angry about the government maintaining such a lax oversight of enforcement that permits the immigrants to keep their illegal status and yet live along side their American counterparts.

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