Opposing Immigration or Just Amnesty?

By Timothy Timothy | Posted at 10:52

At first glance, one might think that the fight over whether to provide amnesty to “undocumenteds” is a fight between those who are selfish and greedy and those who care about people desperately wanting to improve their situations. In the aftermath of the failed Senate immigration bill, one might be tempted to ask why a nation that was built by immigrants seeking a better life should shut the door on people searching for the same thing? Unfortunately, this viewpoint makes the issue look deceptively simple: what if by granting amnesty we actually failed hopeful immigrants and present citizens alike?

We must consider whether crusading for the rights of “undocumented” people is actually a caring thing to do when its ramifications are considered. If fighting to insure that those who are not actually legally permitted to live here can in fact live here hurts perfectly innocent people, are those actions really kind and caring?

The United States has limited resources. There are a limited number of jobs, a limited amount of space, and a limited amount of money in our welfare system. While it could – and perhaps should – be said that we do not allow in enough immigrants, one must still acknowledge that there is a finite limit of people who can be added to the rolls as citizens and legal aliens before the quality of life for all people, except perhaps for the very wealthiest, will diminish.

The problem with the whole debate is that it has focused on whether or not we should grant amnesty to illegal aliens as if that were an isolated decision. The larger question that has been ignored is how many immigrants can the US support without hurting other hardworking families and lessening the potential benefits for the immigrants themselves?

Often undocumented labor has not really filled jobs “nobody wants,” but reduced the going wage for jobs to the extent that they become jobs “nobody wants.” In many cases, “undocumented workers” willing to work for relatively little have replaced union laborers, or others, who once were able to earn a good wage for their work. Because these workers will work for less and have increased the overall “supply” of workers, the going wage for jobs such as roofing naturally will drop. The union laborers may still want the job, but not at what they can now earn doing them. Who worries about these people and their well being?

Likewise, we must remember not only those who wish to emigrate from Mexico, but also from the rest of the world. We do many potential Americans injustice if we ignore them in favor of one group that happened to live in a neighboring country and hence could cross the border relatively easily.

Our country was built on the determination and desire for a better life that led many people from around the world to come here. St. Louis itself is a testament to that fact. Obviously those who act as if we should seal our borders entirely misunderstand how critical immigration is to this place we live. But, those who blindly promote amnesty for “undocumenteds” in the country illegally also have too narrow a view of things. In their quest to help a certain set of hopeful immigrants, they ignore the fact that there are many others either already here or wanting to come here from other parts of the world that are surely just as worthy of a chance at “the American dream.”

The question is not about whether or not we should help the poor and the immigrant, but which poor and which immigrants.

Re: Opposing Immigration or Just Amnesty?

Tim hits on a key issue. The key is to maintain the quality of life for all Americans. Five decades ago, it was possible for a kid to grow up and have a chance at the “American Dream”. One could live in a decent, safe suburb, attend a low cost college and work your way through, and, have a chance for a job in corporate America. Or work as a nurse, teacher, policeman, near your home. Or work in the trades.

There were essentially four social classes. The upper middle class was largely the children of college-educated families, they went to the best colleges, and had the highest level jobs in corporate America, or government. Not that these jobs excluded others, they just required a diverse skill and experience set that usually only happened in a college-level home. The tradeoff was that these jobs were rarely 40 hours a week, more like 55 to 65 hours. And they rarely were local, they were commuter jobs.

The lower middle class came from non-college families, and these kids often were the first generation to attend college. And, usually these colleges were not “university level” (in the British or Canadian sense), providing a skill or trade, but not the out-of-classroom education required at the higher levels of any organization. This group had some options - they could either work 40 hours a week, or pick jobs requiring more hours. They could work close to home, or commute.

The upper lower class generally worked the trades and factories. Often the first generation in this country. But pretty much a stable income, and a chance to own a home. And a chance for their kids to enter a decent college.

The lower-lower class was often single, marriage was not an economic option. Jobs were unpredictable, often part time, and sometimes “pay” was in the form of a room in a house. This was the unskilled labor and, then, as now, there just weren't that many jobs for unskilled labor.

That “worked” for a few reasons. One was WWII. It gave millions of men experience and job skills that propelled them into a better life. They married later, owned houses, sent their kids to good schools, had stay-at-home moms, had 20 minute commutes, and visited grandma in the city.

Nowadays, we have the two income trap. Two hour commutes. Cops, teachers, firemen, nurses don't live in the towns they work in. Grandma is in an expensive nursing home. What used to be “free labor” is now something you pay for. And you “pay for” the long commute. You pay in dollars, and you pay in the form of wars for oil. We have inflated the size of our houses - and the lots they sit on. So suburbia sprawls farther out.

When I left college, I did not have the option of home ownership on the east coast, but I did have the option in the west. So, I moved to Texas, and stepped up. Then I could afford the coasts [and chose the left one :)]. It's still possible to do that, there are plenty of nice middle-America cities where one can live and save money.

Imported oil, drugs, crime, divorce, illegitimate kids, long commutes all add up to an economic mix that makes for few slots for unskilled immigrants. But, if immigration is the driving force for fixing all these paradigms, so much the better. However, in the grand scheme of all history, the second half of the twentieth century was an anomaly. Most of history is like present-day Baghdad, crime, strife, disease, uncertainty.

Posted by Mike O - Jul 15, 2007 | 14:35

Re: Opposing Immigration or Just Amnesty?

I think that there should be an Amnesty because most of the immigrants are the ones that work there butts off here so the country could be nice. There the ones that build the communities that we have and they all so are the ones that cook in the restraunts,and do the landscaping work most og all. So I think that there should be an Amnesty for us.

Posted by Chanthall - Aug 14, 2007 | 1:02

Re: Opposing Immigration or Just Amnesty?

Some of us once had dreams of our own. One of mine was to have three children.

The Unacknowledged Holocaust

Back in the 60’s the Federal Government came into the public schools and brainwashed us as little children with the message that the children we were about to have were unwanted because the population was rising so fast. They launched a program called, “Zero Population Growth”. They pushed Family Planning and birth control pills. I think you and I now both know that you only have to trick people for their few child bearing years and there is no going back.

Many of us never had a say in the future of our unborn.

I am the result of two living cells. One from each of my parents. They are the result of two living cells, one from each of their parents. I wasn't just born. I am a continuation of life. I am a living thing that reaches back into time perhaps 400 million years and the result of billions of joining of pairs of cells. It is possible that if you were to follow my cells back to my parent’s cells and beyond that my family tree touches every living thing here on earth. That is if we limit ourselves to believing life was created here on earth. If it rained down from the immensity of the universe it could reach back into that immensity of time and space, and who knows what relationships and who knows what species.

At least until I came up against the Federal Government and their plan to control the population.

I have seen the Federal Government do little else to control the population.

The open border, United States laws only apply to some, is a serious slap in the face. No, not a slap in the face, it reaches well beyond that. Maybe back to the beginning of time and stretch to the bounds of the universe.

Posted by Carson - Jul 2, 2007 | 14:19

Re: Opposing Immigration or Just Amnesty?

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