Friday, May 18, 2007

Solving the Illegal Immigration Problem

I live in Texas and Texas has lots of illegal Mexican immigrants fueling the booming economy with cheap labor. I say "cheap" and mean that they are getting paid what the job deserves and combined, families make enough money to live and live rather well. Houston has one of the cheapest housing markets in America mostly because it's unregulated. Contrast Texas with California and you'll see the difference. I don't know how illegals fare in California.

Houston, like other cities with thousands of immigrants, suffers under the weight of the illegal immigrant burden. The health care system is suffocated with those who cannot or will not pay. A friend was outraged when he went to the hospital after getting in a crash and the people who had been in the accident with him checked in at the same time. They had no money and no insurance and they got treatment while he got out his wallet to pay his hefty deductible. He said to the insurance person, "Hey, I want to say I have no insurance."

"I'm sorry sir, but you already gave me your information, I have to show that you have insurance." My husband and I have a $6,000 deductible. We're self-employed (you know, rich doctors) and our inflated insurance premiums and billing subsidize the uninsured.

And then there is the imported "mind set". I have many Mexican friends and they all bemoan it, but it's a reality nonetheless. Mexican society is not a merit-based society but a family and classist society. One reason the Mexican government doesn't want the border stopped up is that the angry, unemployed (because of corruption) underclass would mutiny ala Venezuela. The U.S. government doesn't want this either. It would be a bad thing to have a civil war on our Southern border. The other problem, more insidious and less obvious, is that mind-set filters through here. It is impossible, for example, to get a job at the local Wal-Mart Distribution Center without a familial, Mexican, connection. It's a long story about why I know this, suffice it to say, I know. There is one employee there who "screens" all job candidates and guess what happens if he doesn't like the potential employee? The Mexican system isn't merit-based, it's relationship based. And yes, I am not so naive as to think that this kind of thing doesn't go on everywhere, but in the American system, nepotism has limits--it's called a board or there are rules.

The workers compensation and personal injury lawyers in Houston are fed clients through a family business (or rather a couple of family businesses) that are hispanic. The lawyers and doctors fed those patients are very deferential to these women. Very deferential. The families have the power to make and kill businesses and the doctors and lawyers know it. The patients are fed to certain doctors who will diagnose the right kind of injury to get the most money out of the insurance companies. Another way insurance rates goes up.

And then there is the unfairness educationally. An Anglo competes with lesser educated children of immigrants for spots in colleges. While I am no way in favor of an uneducated underclass, the notion of fairness in such a high-stakes enterprise as college illustrates the unintended costs of illegal immigration. Children of illegal immigrants are minorities and as such, are granted special favor in subsidized education. A friend's (now legal but started illegally) child has a full ride to college. And she didn't pay taxes on her house keeping business either.

To say that there would be humanitarian woe should all illegals be rounded up and sent back to Mexico is an understatement. Can this be averted? Yes, but this is a secondary question, really, and a red herring. It is a problem that doesn't need to be solved right now. The first problem is stopping the flow of workers from south of the border so we don't have this continuing "humanitarian crisis" in the future. But for economic and social reasons, Congress and the President have no intention of creating a secure border. The United States electorate would experience inflation again with a tight border. It's simple, really. Less workers, higher wages, businesses struggle to keep costs down, prices passed on to the consumer, rinse, repeat.

Once the illegal flow from Mexico is stopped (picking off drug runners armed to the teeth would be a nice start), the question of digestible immigration can resume. It is the height of folly to bring in a socialistic mind-set, subsidize it and then want it to discontinue magically somehow. The solution is an immigration system like when Ellis Island was active. It is almost miraculous when you go there and see how thousands of people were processed every single day. We need to do the same thing again. There is no question America needs more workers. What we need are engineers. America still draws the best and brightest from around the world. We need to make it easier to do legally.

Once the border is blocked and a more seamless legal immigration program is enacted, then we can talk about how best to help the illegal immigrants here intigrate into society. Whole parts of California acting as Little Mexico is anathema to me. What are we as a country without a culture, language, laws, and borders? We cease to exist.

For a differing point of view, The Anchoress.

Update: Does anyone believe for a minute that illegal immigrants won't continue to pour over the Rio Grande even after this sweeping legislation? Please. This is not a real solution. This is appeasement. As a political issue, I still maintain this topic hurts Democrats more. This issue is not a problem that only those on the extreme left and extreme right care about. At least, I don't consider myself extreme. I don't want the families involved hurt. I want the problem solved in the future. Passing out biometric cards will only interest law-abiding Mexicans, which, when it comes illegal immigration is an oxy-moron, isn't it?


Antoinette said...

McCain completely lost me with this bill. I so WANT to respect him, I want to vote for him. But this was the last straw.

MaxedOutMama said...

This is the best thing, bar none, that I have read on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Just watched this video on immigration. I don't know if you've seen this before. This article is excellent by the way.

Anonymous said...

Coying this link over did not work. Just go to google search - roy beck video on immigration. It's interesting and thought provoking.

Janette said...

Brilliant. Well reasoned and even handed, this is the best article I've seen on the subject.

Anonymous said...

According to morning drive-time radio where I am (Los Angeles, second biggest city in all Mexico), the Ku Klux Klan is booming based entirely on this issue, getting recruits at a rate not seen since the 1920s.

Don said...

Interesting post.

What amazes me is that I don't see bloggers connecting the dots between our government's failure to deal with illegals and the creation of what some call the North American Union (aka the North American Community) by the year 2010 by the Council on Foriegn Relations and its fellow travelers, namely the current leaders of the USA, Canada, and Mexico. If they succeed the sovreignty of our country will be almost gone, if not gone entirely.