Monday, October 6, 2014

Hawsepiper on immigration

I'm going to post this one and leave it up for a while at the top. This is a subject dear to my heart, as it's one place in my little world where I have had the opportunity to live intimately on both sides of the issue. That being said, I probably should take more time and edit this before hitting 'publish,' as it's 3:30am, and I've got to try to get this done, some papers printed up, and a 10 mile walk, AND a good 4 hour nap before my next watch this afternoon.

I've always tended to be a conservative. I also tend to vote Republican. This might have something to do with my first day of lobstering, at 7 or 8 years old, when I put on a pair of adult-sized gloves and loaded bait spikes and was surprised by being given a $10 bill at the end of the day. The sternman on the boat told me to save it, as there were other people who believed that they should have some of my money, too, even though they didn't have to work all afternoon and crap in a bucket besides.

As a young adult, the immigration debate seemed pretty simple to me. Why don't they go back where they came from? I don't think I ever met an illegal until I was in my 3d year of college. I had taken a summer job to supplement my fishing income, working on a cranberry bog. The "Puerto Ricans" as the foreign gang was called, (They were Portuguese, Cape Verdeans and Hondurans) were paid 1/3 less than I was, and did the shit work- pulling weeds, digging holes, etc. But, on the other hand, I was paying 1/3 of my income in taxes, so I guess we were on par.

 It wasn't until I met my wife that I really had to think about the immigration issue. I was aware that her employer was hiring illegals, and Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I met at her manager's wedding, in fact. She caught the bouquet, I kicked the legs out of the guy in front of me to get the garter. A few months later, it was all over for me, but I waited 2 years to be sure she wasn't fishing for a green card. Which she was, of course. She just played a long game, and happened to fall in love, too, early on.

 So, my girlfriend was an illegal alien. She had a car, no license, but was insured. If she got pulled over, she smiled, pouted, and usually got asked for her phone number. No shit. I was following her to a shop one time when it happened. I've gotten ONE warning from a cop my whole life. She didn't get a ticket until she was 40.

 She and I talked a little about her immigration status, of course. She put the full-court press on to get me to marry her, and I eventually did, though I made her wait a damn while while I got my shit together and hemmed and hawed about whether or not I was being taken for a ride.

     After we got married, and applied retroactively for her green card, we went through the immigration process and it went pretty smoothly. Eventually, we got hauled in on the carpet and asked to prove that we were legitmately married- the barrage of questions, like the layout of our bedroom, and was the light switch on the left or right side of the doorway. At the end, we got a handshake and a form letter, welcoming my wife to the United States as a resident alien.
   Riding back home from Boston, there was traffic. As we approached a construction site, there was a detail cop directing traffic. I watched my wife sink lower into the seat, slowly, as we approached the cop's line of sight. When I laughed and said "Hey, you don't need to do that anymore," she surprised me by bursting into tears, crying near-hysterically. I had no idea how much anxiety being illegal brought on her.

 My wife's thoughts on illegal immigration have taken root in me since then. I guess my opinions have gotten more nuanced. As she's pointed out, immigrants do not take jobs from citizens. Citizens knowingly take jobs from citizens by offering them to illegals to cheat the IRS. If no citizens offered jobs to illegals, there would be no illegals.

 "Here the American national hypocrisy works to his advantage. The construction firm of course knows perfectly well that Pablo is undocumented. 
Companies love illegals. It means that they can pay him dirt, no benefits, no Social Security, and he can't complain without getting deported. In any contest between money and patriotism, money wins. American immigration officials catch just enough Pablos to keep the rest intimidated, but not enough to reduce the supply of cheap labor. It is a sweetheart deal for businessmen."

 From "Uncle Fred's Mexico; another take"  

         I've said (while holding court at a bar) something similar, distilled down to the idea that guilt is everywhere to be found, as is a solution to any 'crisis' on immigration. Enforce existing tax laws, and the problem is addressed directly. However, at that point employers would have to pay taxes on employment, and the Social Security/National Ponzi folks would have to give up on their free money, too. There are plenty of employers who hire illegals for minimum wage and require that they use a fake Social Security number. I would guess it's somewhere between 20-50% of all restaurant kitchen staff, to start with. So I'd imagine that the folks at Social Security might not like having their free money on tap plugged, either. It's not like all those kitchen workers will ever see a penny of it, and it's not like Social Security shares their free money with other agencies, so it behooves them to maintain the status quo. And, as a reward for maintaining this corrupt practice, certain politically-motivated individuals can take credit for being 'humanitarian' and 'caring' and get reelected without doing a goddamned thing. 

 You want someone to blame for the illegal immigration issues we face? Blame your contractors, your chefs, your landscapers, and get a mirror, too, if you've ever stopped at a home depot and picked up a brown-skinned, sleepy-looking helper to rake leaves in your yard. 



Anonymous said...

My problem is not with immigration per se. I'd be happy to have open borders so long as the welfare state was pared back to something reasonable. Or, I suppose, we can have an unreasonable welfare state and heavily restricted immigration. Either one would work fairly well or at least better than what we have now which is basically unreasonable welfare state and -- effectively -- unrestricted immigration which, as you point out, is a bad deal unless you own a construction company or a restaurant.

Murph Dog said...

Good post.