According to News America Media,

Businesses rely on immigrant workers for their existence as viable enterprises, argues Jacoby. It is nearly impossible to hire U.S. workers for many jobs (as farmhands, meatpackers, dishwashers, etc.). Unlike in 1960, when about half of all American men dropped out of high school, today nine in 10 graduate. Without a critical mass of unskilled U.S.-born workers, there’s a labor shortage in many sectors of the economy.

In the introduction to her 2004 book, “Reinventing the Melting Pot: the New Immigrants and What It Means to Be American,” Jacoby refers to this problem with the same unsentimental pragmatism that characterizes her general approach to the debate.

“Of course, however hard they work, many poor, ill-educated immigrants who start at the bottom of the ladder remain there throughout their lives,” she writes. “This is not particularly surprising, and it may seem to vindicate those who claim that the United States today is importing a new lower class.

“But that’s part of the point of our immigration policy: America no longer has this kind of working class, and it turns out that we need one.” That’s why Jacoby says employers are passionate about this. “Who’s going to be telling their representative how to vote on this? The people who have a real stake in it, and that’s small and mid-sized business.”

Yet, as the current system works, American employers seem to be facing a choice between growing their business and obeying the law. According to Jacoby, the government issues about one million work visas a year, when the market’s real need is probably closer to 1.5 million.

Her organization calls for tougher enforcement at the workplace and along the border. Jacoby is against the border wall, calling it “ridiculous” but adds, “I think we need a virtual wall, we need to know who’s crossing the border.”

76 thoughts on “A Conservative Argues for Immigration Reform

  1. TWINAD

    Michael,

    I didn’t say sending money home will stop illegals from becoming illegal. I said it stops the need for other family members to come here because they can have an opportunity in their home country by being able to finish school instead of being sent out to whack down sugar cane at 11 years old. The vast majority of Latino’s have very strong family ties and it kills them to be separated from their families and parents. They come here to make lives better for themselves and to help the ones left behind. Sorry, I just don’t see that as “immoral” and I think there needs to more visa’s issued to come here legally…the number of visa’s granted needs to match the number of jobs we have available. As MH said, no one wants to be “illegal”. What is the upside to it? I know people say they get paid in cash, get free healthcare and food, but of all the “illegals” I know, no one has had anything handed to them! If a guy busts a leg during the soccer game on Sunday, all the players on both teams kick in $10 or $20 and many of the spectators pitch in so there will be enough money to pay the bill. When you know 100 people that are willing and able to come up with $10, it add’s up fast.

    I have to tell you, I’ve been floored by the things I’ve seen “illegals” do to help each other out over the last 8 years. ” It takes a village” actually has some meaning in their culture.

  2. Michael

    Elana, I have seen this report before. I believe he is only partially right, the drain would be temporary, but only because “illegal” immigrant wages are already so infused in our economy, and we have already suffered the loss of future wealth and capital as a result of it. This “correction” would be brief, with a significant increase in free market competition and higher wages that comes with fair competition. “illegal” immigration, negatively affects a free market, because of its unfair competition, and
    “skirting or the law”. THat is why he does not tell the entire story, only a small truth in a larger problem, affecting the concept of free market and national wealth.

    It is kind of like the effects of removing state controlled assets in Russia, the US or England, an initial decline in wealth and slowing of the economy, then a significant period following it of free market wealth and prosperity. That is what will happen in Arizona, as fair wages catch up with free market competition for those wages and products.

  3. Michael

    Twinad, OK now I understand. But it does also cause more to be encouraged to come into the US “illegally” so they can support those at home, I guess we don’t get “all” of them, only “more” than if we enforce “illegal” immigrant law and force those here “illegally” to go home. I doubt the ones we send home will cause those who stay to suddenly decide to come here “illegally”. Maybe they will be more encouraged to follow the law, that will let them come here legally, in turn and with fairness to all, including the majority of people here in the US affected adversely by “illegal” immigration.

  4. Michael

    Yes, I have seen “it takes a village” through my wife, most of which is unethic and illegal, I have also seen a great deal of this “ethnic centric cooperation” affect jobs, hirings, loans, housing prices, zoning, identity theft, foreclosues, undercutting of legitmate business, Insurance rates, hospital bills, and many, many activites the village does that are “actually” illegal and black market operations that undercut our economy.

    I’m not talking about the “village” “having the cousins over for dinner”, and “sharing rides” and credit cards kind of community help.

  5. Emma

    MIchael, you are so right that sending money “home” can have a negative impact here. The fact that a foreign leader (Fox) would actively encourage remittances and admit to his country’s dependence on them was one factor that enabled corrupt governments like Mexico’s to continue doing business as usual and to ignore the needs of the people. I can understand the desire to help one’s family back at home. It is problematic when a government begins to depend upon that money more than the profit from its major exports. It’s a double slam to this country when that money makes its way out of this country without ever being taxed.

  6. Alanna

    Michael,
    Just to be clear, there really is no case by case basis except in cases of extreme hardship which I will discuss later. But, basically, in April 2001 it became this rigid system that absolutely does not handle things in the manner that you suggest. My spouse too adjusted status in ’96 and we went through the required INS procedures; however it did not require leaving the Country or any substantial punitive measures other than perhaps an increased filing fee.

    This difference between the two policies is part of the reason why many people are so outraged. If Twinad & spouse had married April 30, 2001 it would have been barely a slap on the wrist. However, if they married May 1st, 2001 and he remained here longer than 6 months then the 10 year penalty applies. The only case by case would be in cases of extreme hardship and Twinad explained her and her spouse have 1 child and are doing well financially, so an extreme hardship plea might not be well received by an immigration judge.

    If you haven’t dealt with immigration issues lately, well I think you’d be surprised. I hear many people claim well they’ve been here long enough, if they were interested in becoming legal they would have done it already. This is no longer true and many people are not aware that it is no longer the case.

  7. Michael

    Twinade I do make a clear distinction between moral and “immoral” behavior as I have posted many times. It is the greater “immoral” and unethical side of “illegal” immigration that so adversely affects the rest of us majority who are “not illegal”. This is why I do not support it, and want it stopped.

    We have a fair and legal way to do this, that does not hurt us as badly as “illegal” immigration does.

  8. Michael

    Alanna, I disagree in part, I married way after April 30 2001, the difference was my wife did not illegally cross a border, she came in legally, and then decided to stay “illegally”. The law makes this illegal action less of a punishment, because she at least went through a legal process to get here. There is obviously a difference in the eyes of the law on the “process” you take.

    She and I would have been FAR BETTER OFF if she had simply done the “legal” thing and re-applied for a new VISA. Many of her friends did, and for work permits, AND THEY WERE GRANTED.

  9. TWINAD

    Michael,

    Honestly, I don’t know what kind of “village” you were talking about, but what I was talking about is everything I have seen that has come from compassion, friendship and empathy…not underhanded, illegal dealings. I’m talking about 100 people pitching in $10 to pay a medical bill (have seen this at least a dozen times) and last time I checked, I didn’t think that was illegal or underhanded.

  10. Michael

    Alanna, I’m STILL dealing with “illegal” issues, and the immigration law. She has to have a temporary condition removed from her Permanent residence card. We will do this legally too.

  11. Michael

    Twinade, LIke I said I am not opposed to this kind of “village” you admire, I simply point out their is a very dark side to the “village” too, one that deeply affects all of us in some many adverse ways. Removing “illegal” immigrants is the only way to reduce that affect.

  12. Michael

    I don’t think you are really reading what I am posting and making assumptions beyond what I say (a common problem here).

    I try to be very explicit in what I mean, so it is clear what I am against and what I am for.

  13. Michael

    I am pleased we are able to have a civil discussion, without the “wackos” wading in. I appreciate all of your comments and ideas, I hope you will think about and appreciate mine. Unfortunately my beautiful wife, is asking me to come home.

    Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.

  14. Michael

    Well said, Emma, good night all. Again thanks.

  15. TWINAD

    Michael,

    I read this: Yes, I have seen “it takes a village” through my wife, most of which is unethic and illegal,” so that is what I’m responding to. I didn’t think these words left much up to “assume”. You are saying most of what you’ve seen is unethical and illegal. I’m saying what I have seen is no such thing, it’s been people helping people out of a jam.

  16. Alanna

    Emma,
    Anytime you give money to a charity or other form of bureaucracy very little probably trickles down to the people who need it. If the alternative is to increase foreign aid to Mexico where the result is that the money never makes it into the hands of the people that need it, well then that’s not a viable solution. A robust temporary work visa program would absolutely be better than throwing more money at the problem in that manner.

  17. TWINAD

    Leila,

    Thank you for the kind words posted at 21:30. Me, too!

    And thanks, Elena.

  18. Alanna

    Michael,
    With all respect, not too long ago, you spoke of ‘illegals’ being unethical. How do you reconcile that with the fact that your wife was illegal?

  19. Elena

    Great question Alanna!

  20. Moon-howler

    I have read, and re-read, and am still confused, Michael. I don’t understand how you can speak in vague generalities and argue with Twinad about what amounts to moral vs immoral behavior. Twinad has given us many examples of how remittances work in her husband’s home country, using family members’ examples. She has explained that the remittances probably cut down on illegal immigration. She has told us of 100 guys chipping in a little to pay for an injured player’s medical bills. I know Mr. and Mrs. Twinad and I know she isn’t making this stuff up.

    Pick up any book dealing with first hand stories of immigrants and I think you will see similar stories. Are some immigrants bad? Sure. Are most immigrants bad? No. Do you think it is the status that makes the person bad or would you subscribe to the notion that some people just aren’t real good people. If you adjusted their status to make them legal, they wouldn’t be better human beings.

    I am afraid you are going to need to be a little more specific before you convince me. I also see nothing new. Immigrants have sent home money to the ‘old country’ since they began flocking here centuries ago.

  21. Elvis

    hey moon I post this question to yours above:

    how many currently illegal residents would choose the path to american citizenship if they were given a full amnesty and allowed to continually work here in the united states, regardless if they sought citizenship?

    My answer to this is not a whole lot…….This question has been posed to many of them (I even asked one myself not too long ago). it’s just too much trouble for them, they really dont want to be citizens at all.

    the bottom line is they sing the “we love american” theme but they really dont want to be americans, they just want to come here and leach off the economy to support their families back in mexico.

  22. Elena

    Michael,
    Apparently there are gradations of illegal. Your wife isn’t one of those icky unethical “illegals” because she is only guilty of overstaying her visa, not crossing a border. I appreciate you sharing her circumstances, but I wonder if you see the hyporcrisy.

  23. DiversityGal

    Something to think about…

    How many Europeans (and Asians, for that matter) in the 1800s and early 1900s would have possibly chosen the same path as those who go illegally across the border to the US, had there not been an entire ocean to separate them?

    So many people say their ancestors came to America “the right way;” is this argument valid if both the time periods and the geographical opportunity are completely different?

    Maybe a bit off topic, but I found the idea (which I recently heard in a presentation) quite interesting.

  24. Michael

    Alanna and Elena,

    My wife was not “ethical” either as an Illegal immigrant, and still is not about this issue today. She thinks it was and still is perfectly OK for “illegal” immigrants to overstay their Visas, and to cross the border illegally. I do not agree with her, because she does not see all the hundreds of widely documented problems it has caused and the impact on the rest of the majority of people affected by it.

    I find it VERY INTERESTING however that her and her friends DISCRIMMINATE and HATE people of other ethnic groups, not like her own. Again I’m trying to re-educate her in American values, and see the goodness in her in spite of her cultural ideology. That is why I tolerate what I would normally never be able to tolerate.

    Because she has the capacity to “break the law” in this way, she still has the capacity and does do similar “illegal” activities with her friends, bosses, and her friend’s bank accounts, her employers and our general financial welfare, that make me cringe. I can do nothing about it, except ask her to stop and explain why it is a major ethical and legal issue. It is for this reason I completely separate our financial holdings and I have a pre-nuptual to protect me from her previous and present lack of ethics in those areas that our legal system has clearly defined as unlawful, but her home country DOES NOT ENFORCE due to the criminal corruption of her home country political structure and general cultural mentality.

    She and her friends do the same unethical and illegal things here that they did in their former countries.

    What do you want me to do about it, report her and all of her friends to the police?

    I can only wait for law enforcement to catch them in the act and try to convince her to learn our legal system and community ethics to remain lawfull in a new culture she is not familiar with.

  25. Michael

    It is because of what I saw of the “illegal” community, and the extend of how they have changed our basic cultural and ethic value system in the past 10 years and negatively impacted DEMOCRACY by what they do to our political infrastructure, business culture, and what they do to our american value system (Discrimminate, lie, cheat, steal, extort and threaten), that I am TOTALLY against any “illegal” alien remaining in this country.

  26. Moon-howler

    Michael, Why don’t you send her away then? If you feel so strongly about it then where is your sense of ethics? How does your family differ from a man from El Salvador, here on a tps visa (thus making him legal), who has snuck his wife across the border? Or, let’s just have the wife over stay her visa..

    Would you be willing to send that man’s wife back to El Salvador?

    I have heard you speak of your wife’s situation before. What is her country of origin?

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