Illegal Immigrants: The U.S. Must Act

The government should stop businesses from hiring workers who have entered the country unlawfully and fire existing immigrant employees using phony Social Security numbers. Pro or con?

Pro: Punishing Law-Abiding Employers

Since 1986, honest employers who have obeyed immigration laws have placed themselves at a disadvantage to unscrupulous competitors who have hired illegal aliens at lower costs. Because of 20 years of nearly nonexistent federal workplace enforcement, many of the law-breaking companies have driven the law-abiding owners out of business or into lower profit margins.

Fortunately, the voluntary federal electronic verification system—now known as E-Verify—provides the employer with a “rebuttable presumption” of innocence if the system discovers an illegal alien has conned his or her way into a job. Unfortunately, owners have little incentive to use the system when they know their law-breaking competitors can hire as many cheap illegal aliens as they want.

The Bush Administration’s recent enforcement announcement is wonderful news for the majority of American business owners, who prefer to hire legally. Companies doing business with the federal government will be required to use E-Verify, assuring that every firm competing with them for federal contracts has to screen out cheap illegal workers, too.

Congress should pass a law requiring all businesses to use E-Verify. But in the meantime, President Bush will help level the playing field if he holds all companies (not just federal contractors) accountable when they receive “no-match” letters identifying workers whose submitted Social Security information contains discrepancies.

Because every worker will be subjected to this process and the checking will be done by the government instead of the business, employers won’t have to make themselves into document experts or carry the burden of most issues regarding discrimination in general. Fortunately, the system has so many layers of protections for clearing up discrepancies that legally authorized workers need not worry about being labeled unauthorized and then fired.

President Bush is finally offering honest business owners a way to achieve confidence that they have met the law’s requirement and that most of the employees of their competitors will once again be legal workers.

Con: Shooting Uncle Sam in the Foot

The business community understands and supports the enforcement of immigration laws. However, we are particularly concerned about the “Social Security No Match Letter” regulation. It dictates that if the discrepancy cannot be resolved, employers must fire a worker upon receipt of notice that his or her name and Social Security number do not match.

The potential termination of many hundreds of thousands of people in the workforce threatens to destabilize it and worsen current labor shortages in many industries.

The regulation would needlessly create uncertainties, disruptions, and dislocations throughout broad swaths of the workforce. Many industries that contribute enormously to the economy and rely heavily upon immigrant workers would lose revenue and tax dollars.

Moreover, the regulation would foster anti-Hispanic bias and discrimination against immigrants in general, and would rely upon a database—Social Security—that makes for an ineffective tool in work-site immigration enforcement.

Merely changing the administrative enforcement rules employers must follow doesn’t solve the problem inherent in our immigration system. We need a comprehensive approach to immigration that will allow much-needed overseas workers to enter and exit the country legally, and realistic laws that give the U.S. a mechanism to stabilize the existing workforce.

Enforcement standing alone, unaccompanied by realistic fixes to our dysfunctional system, will jeopardize our national and economic security. Overall, undocumented workers contributed about 1% of the total U.S. wage bill in 2004, or $64.9 billion.

The removal of undocumented workers from states with relatively large undocumented populations would result in noticeable effects in the short and medium term. Tax revenues derived both from undocumented workers’ incomes as well as their spending in these states would decline.

And certain sectors of the economy, including farming, cleaning, construction, and food preparation, would take an especially hard hit.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

Linda

Do we want to shut down every restaurant, lawn service, cleaning service, home improvement business, and construction company in a lot of states? We don't need that kind of economically disastrous and inhumane enforcement policy. We need a guest worker program, so that the hard-working immigrants who are already here can stay here legally.

David Wang

Maybe we can create a yellow card instead of the green card for those people. They could work hard to get promoted to green-card status and one day achieve the American dream.

gary

I was just quoted $165 to have my car detailed by a legal. The illegal (I suspect) who shows up at our office charges $65. All the idiots who hate illegals better be prepared to see their cost of living absolutely go through the roof. A solution that no one seems to embrace is to change laws so that children of non-citizens, born in the United States, are not granted citizenship, but remain citizens of the parents' country. This would reduce the incentive to immigrate, and might slow the influx and allow us to arrive at a legal worker program that works.

Michelle

I lean more toward the pro side of this debate, but I think the con side arguments should be taken into consideration and that safeguards should be placed. We have guest worker programs in existence. Debt is what is killing us. Buy now, pay later. The bill is due. Illegals don't have debt, not yet. Wait until they do, and then what? We are so short-sighted, and we lack basic sense. We have to at least sometimes go against our intuition and act on reason, sound logic. We need to work together, because as the Japanese say, "None of us is as smart as all of us."

Matt

Disagree, the learning curve will be steep and quick. Implement stronger enforcement.

Robert Dozier Jr.

There is a specific process that people must go through whether they're from Mexico, China, India, etc. If people go through the appropriate steps, then fine, welcome to America. Why are we so concerned if Company A saves on labor costs, for example, on a landscaping company? If you want to hire immigrants, that's fine. But hey, they need to be here legally-- period.

CHRIS

I'm against the illegal action of both illegal immigrants and the businesses who hire them. If we need more worker visas, then that's what the government needs to do. Offering citizenship or protection to millions of illegals who don't want to be Americans hurts everyone, especially those still waiting for their chance at the American dream.

Geo

If you don't have enforceable borders, you don't have a country. Pretty simple. Forget about terrorists and terrorism. Immigration has to be orderly and of benefit the society as a whole. Letting in millions of unskilled workers so you can get your car waxed cheaply now is going to negatively and severely affect your retirement and your children's lives in the future. A country needs immigration to bolster its standard of living--not denigrate it.

Ken

We are not the only country with a need for low-cost labor. Japan/Taiwan/Hong Kong have foreign worker programs. Filipino maids and nannies are prevalent there. They get paid less than half local minimum wages, but paid better than wages in their home countries. Contracts are always for less than three years before the foreign worker must go back to their home country. Every foreign worker must be accounted for by the employer. If we have this program in the U.S. who'd want to hire an illegal?

Sandy

No one is asking how much this costs the American taxpayer. Americans need to get their heads out of the sand. How much more can the American taxpayer stand before our government bankrupts us all? While illegals now have the jobs that the unskilled Americans used to, the American taxpayer carries the burden of both the illegals and the unskilled Americans in support of food, housing, and health care. We pay all the way around. It is time to change America.

Kenya

For taxpayers, it's not fair to see illegal immigrants not pay taxes. My family struggles every day to make ends meet, but then again I know immigrants personally who pay taxes and file returns. How messed up is that? The government did this, and now it needs to fix it. As long as immigrants were producing and working for low wages, everybody was fine. Now that they want to be citizens, we have a problem. The government needs to come up with a solution to benefit everyone.

"the unwanted"

In South Florida, some 30,000 condo units were built, mostly on the sunburned backs of illegals over the last few years. They were built by the rich, for the rich. For condos that sell for more than a million a piece, ironworkers (mostly Mexican) were paid $14/hr, drywall finishers (Chilean): $10/hr, carpenters (from Honduras, Nicaragua): $13/hr. They worked hard, sometimes weeks on end, with no medical, and in some cases no overtime pay. They even died (stucco - Guatemala 2006)and now the work dries up - those entitled to the so-called American dream insist they leave, their sweat and blood worth nothing. Now the condos stand high and shining as symbols of how great America is. This is repeated across the great nation in your backyards, fast food places, your meat factories. Hard work, blood and sweat, no reward, no apology, repatriation. Didn't Abe outlaw something similar a while back?

ron

Those who worry about getting their car detailed cheaply should consider the following: How much taxes does an illegal pay to support hospitals, roads, schools, airports, etc. and our national security? Illegals aren't making less than their American counterparts when you subtract the following: federal tax, state tax, medicare, social security, liability ins., workers' compensation insurance--all of which most illegals simply aren't paying. I once was solicited to get my roof replaced by a group of Hispanics, out of which only one person spoke English. When I asked about liability insurance and workers comp., they hung up. Ever think of washing your own car? That's what truly made America great. We used to pride ourselves on doing things on our own, now too many Americans are too lazy to cut their own grass.

Rob

Gary said: "All the idiots who hate illegals better be prepared to see their cost of living absolutely go through the roof."

Does that mean Republicans are illegals, too?

Thad

I am a product of US legal immigration, who came to this country over 20 years ago. The Immigration Act of 1986 granted amnesty for over 3 million illegals in this country over 20 years ago. This country simply can't keep giving amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants coming into this country on a daily basis. Sure the illegal immigrants pay taxes, but the benefit they get from social services, health care, and education far outweighs what they pay in taxes. Look at what illegal immigration has done to the public education and health care systems in California! The public schools are so jam packed with thousands of children from illegal aliens that the quality of education has dropped significantly. Heck... ever wonder why a lot of Americans have fallen behind other western countries when in comes to education?!

Q

The people who want to save money on low-cost manual jobs need to consider the following:

1. Health care costs for illegals.
2. High school education costs for illegals.
3. The impact of uneducated and unmotivated illegals on American kids.
4. Crimes committed by illegals.
5. Gangs composed mainly of illegals.
5. The social unrest that ultimately results from the massive number of illegals.

Of course, there are many more hidden costs cf illegals that are not being considered (or are refused to be considered) by many people in this debate. Who pays for these?

DeeBee

Mandatory prison sentences for business owners employing illegals after a certain date. Use Erwin Rommel's handbook for border security. Begin mass deportation. Use the National Guard as a National Guard (imagine that!). Allow states and municipalities to pass laws that will in effect demagnetize themselves.

Don

I have no issue with legal immigration, and would even support some type of guest-worker program, if designed properly. BUT, it is very idiotic to base this discussion on what will happen to service costs if illegal immigration is curbed. The reason why illegal immigrants provide lower cost services isn't because they are willing to do work that no one else will do. It is because they don't have to pay taxes. Gary -- if a non-taxpaying person or group competed with you, would you be in favor of that? This isn't about hating illegals, it's about enforcing laws and actually reducing societal costs. We have to prosecute businesses that support or hire illegal immigrants because it is illegal, and costs a lot more than the $100 to have a car detailed.

Ray Hannon

The absence of a widespread guest worker program is economically stupid and morally cruel.

Finn

We have immigration laws on the books that only need enforcement.

For too long this problem has been winked at; in the meantime, illegal immigrants break our laws, add strain to U.S. taxpayers, and require long and elaborate educational modifications.

If we need farm hands to bring in crops, these people should be screened in Mexico and brought in legally on temporary visas.

C. Wm. ornelssen

It's not about cheaper prices, it's about our way of life. Money isn't the end all!

Ramesh Lakshminarayanan

The US Govt has given up on enforcing laws, at all levels. In fact they are trying to benefit from this phenomenon. IRS is facilitating the illegals to pay income taxes, using ITIN # instead of SSN. IRS Commissioner confirmed this in his statement to the Senate Ways and Means committee. Read all about it :

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/hearings.asp?formmode=view&id=5171

Except for some vocal opponents, many US citizens do not object to the presence of illegals. Many common people are utilizing the illegals for all kinds of work, rent their properties and sell stuff to them.

Both major parties are not acting on this issue, since they still do not feel the pressure from the people.

Otherwise, who can explain the growing number of illegals, estimated at 12 million now. If the (law-breaking) American citizens are not employing them, then who is ?

Kathleen Knese

Have you noticed that there are some jobs that even the illegals won't do? When's the last time you saw immigrants picking apples or tomatoes? They'd rather take the high-paying manufacturing and construction jobs than push a broom. Heck, I would too given what janitorial services and farm labor go for these days. If the immigrants won't pick apples and do the jobs we don't want to do then why should they come in and take the good jobs? We have native born people who need jobs, too. As far as charging $65.00 to get a car detailed, I know an unemployed man who'll do it for $50 and he's not illegal.

Dave

I applied for a job and got an interview. The job was blue collar. I asked how many people applied. I was told there were 45 resumes (faxed). There might be amnesty for Mexicans in Mexico. The U.S. refused to let Iraqi translators who risked their lives by serving the U.S. military in, so why reward migrants for using forged identity cards and denying U.S. sovereign borders? There ought to be a way to prevent identity theft. If they grant green cards to anyone who can get here by plane, car, or foot, how quickly will the hospitals have people in waiting rooms dying while waiting for service?

who cares what his name is just read

I'm 15. I have plenty of friends who are illegal, because their parents are illegal. And I wish for them to stay because they can damn well understand the country's problems just like I can. Bush is a jerk, and the war is pathetically retarded. But that's besides the point. These teens' parents, the illegal ones, are all working at McDonald's (I hate that place) or they have a yard work company or maybe the dad is a gas-station employee. The point is that these people fill a role in our economy. Without the poor, the rich have nowhere to stand. End of story.

Don

I wonder why it is that we had a more prosperous, more secure, and happier country before we decided that globalizing our workforce and economy was such a great idea? Could it be that the U.S. is a big enough market that it is more suited to meeting its own needs with its own people?

Bremmer Mandrake

For many years, we sent our jobs overseas; then we had people come here and take the few jobs we had left. Now you hear that these are jobs Americans won't do. Then you hear that 300,000 of such low-income new jobs were created. Well, where I come from, people live on those low-income jobs--sometimes two or three of them at minimum wage just to make ends meet. And some non-citizen is making $22 per hour.

Gabsters

I can't believe how dumb people can be. Almost everyone here thinks illegal immigrants join gangs, that illegal immigrants do this and do that. They are generalizing. I know about illegal immigrants who pay their taxes. I know of illegal immigrants who break their backs to do something for the "Americans." Have we all forgotten that everyone in the USA is an immigrant? Only Native Americans are true citizens of this country. Whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, etc., are all immigrants. Making all illegal aliens disappear is not the answer; the answer is to find a solution for the struggling countries that make these hard-working people come. And as for the people who have been saying it's not true that these aliens do work that Americans don't do: Don't even go there. I've seen some lazy Americans not doing anything. I'm not generalizing about anyone, but treat others as you would like o be treated by them.

andrew

It seems like pros talk about cheaper labor for American consumers, and cons don't feel safe with the border so porous.

Maybe the solution is to swap out Americans who are disenchanted with people who still view America as a great opportunity...or at least a one-year exchange program. Then, perhaps we would focus more on the positives than the negatives.

Anaivis

As a legal Cuban immigrant to the United States, I am extremely thankful for being here. This topic is always in dispute. Here in the U.S., we all have the right to our own opinion, and even if I don't agree with you, that doesn't mean that I don't have an open mind. Immigrants have to go through many dangerous challenges to get here, regardless of whether they are Jamaican, Cuban, Mexican, ect. Why can't we treat all immigrants equally? If they come here struggling (con una mano a lante y la otra atras) with nothing but the dream of becoming someone, why not give them the chance? On the other hand, if you're an immigrant doing illegal things here, get out. Those are the ones who don't deserve our help. This is the United States, a free country we call home. It's unfair for all of these hard-working people to get treated like this. It's inhumane. World peace. Thanks.

bill

Send them all home, and do your own damn work. By the way, send Bush with them.

Concerned

Illegal immigration must be stopped. It's not fair to the hard working legal immigrants. The USA is made up of immigrants. No one can deny that, but do it legally and pay your taxes like everyone else. I don't believe for a minute that the cost of living would go through the roof. I am Native American, and it just gets my goat every time I hear people complaining about immigrants. You are all immigrants. Who are you to tell someone else he or she can't have the same benefits that you and your parents have enjoyed all these years? At the same time, do it right and become a legal immigrant so you can benefit from this free country. Get rid of all the illegals and give our jobs back to those who work for and deserve them. I think you would see our poverty levels decrease with the decline of illegal aliens.

carlton

Illegal immigration is a totally ridiculous argument. I'm a high school student, and even I know that they violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The immigrant wave overcrowded our schools. They take away from everything that we Americans do and will work for. America needs to stop being so damn afraid of the outcome (good or bad) and send all of the lawbreakers home. They claim to want to be Americans, so they need to step up and do it the American way.

Cesar Cerrato

I am located in Honduras. I am against any people who travel to the USA illegally and work illegally. I spent most of my life in the U.S., and I remember the first thing that my father told me--that once you are there, you report to emigration to apply for your resident status. Now I am here, paying for my mistakes. I regret everything I have done. I still love and respect the American people, because for all the time I was there, I always treated people with respect and love and never had a problem with any police. It has been now seven years. I miss my mama, my friends from school, my job, my entire life. Thank you, America. I still think of you as my home. God bless America and the American people.

I regret my mistakes, and hope I can be forgiven and allowed to come back home.

Best Regards,
Cesar Cerrato
God Bless You.

Ames Tiedeman

One of the bigger things that kills me about this whole immigration movement is the argument that Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, etc. were somehow "stolen" from Mexico by the big, bad, evil USA. Oh, because, that's right, Mexico was such a peace-loving utopia with the most magnanimous leaders this world has ever seen until the U.S. provoked it into finally taking up arms (and, they would have us believe, they did so grudgingly). Give me a break. Ever heard of the Constitution of 1824? Where was your peace-loving Utopia when Santa Anna decided to wipe his ass with that Constitution? If any nation was ever a war-mongering, land-grabbing nation it was Mexico, and Spain before it. We stole the southwestern states? Go cry me a river. Apparently history began when Mexico lost its land. Bull.

Jonathan

I would gladly pay more for any product that had a sticker saying, "Our employees are legal." If I knew e-verify was used.

jmogadishu

If Mexico's wealthy and elite were not so selfish, greedy, indifferent, dishonest, and socially backward (aka corrupt), perhaps they could actually develop, establish, and carry out some real democratic principals within the government they control. The nation's aggregate wealth is controlled by a very small percentage of the population (still, the general problem throughout all of Central and South America). The driver to illegal aliens entering the U.S. is the economic condition inside Mexico.

The Mexican government is simply not doing enough to combat illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. Could this have anything to do with the vast remittances that are sent back to Mexico annually? These remittances are the equivalent of free money injected into the Mexican economy. The government has expended zero resources to generate such a windfall into the country. Nice $18 billion ring on the central bank's cash register annually. That $18 billion should be circulating in the U.S. economy, and accounted for in the U.S. GDP.

It's amazing just how weak U.S. politicians are on this critical issue of confronting the Mexican government's resistance to curbing illegal labor migration into the territory of the U.S.

Does anyone recall the New York Times article that explained how the Mexican government advised its citizens with a 32-page how-to guide, describing in comic book fashion how to enter the U.S. and their "rights" as an illegal alien once in the U.S.?

For starters, maybe the U.S. government should bill back to the Mexican government expenses incurred by U.S. taxpayers for health care, education, and any criminal activities caused by Mexicans entering the U.S. illegally.

Tim Zack

I have no sympathy and only contempt for Maureen Torrey. She is part of the problem of our country's going into the toilet because of these illegals. She is concerned about herself and her business (profit). Look at the big picture; illegals are draining the infrastructure of our nation. Sanctuary cities now are complaining their economies are dying. Crime and disease are rampant. Illegals not inoculated are giving rise to new diseases. Federal and state governments should be fired and charged with crimes. America is not America any longer.--Fed up in Ct.

margaret

We are all immigrants to this country. Unless you are a Native American, your family came here from another country. So why should we now stop these people from coming here when they are doing the same thing our ancestors did, trying to provide a better life for their families? Yes, there should be laws governing immigration, but if it wasn't so hard to come here, there wouldn't be illegal immigrants. For the ones here illegally, why not let them become citizens as long as they have had no problems with the law?

John Mosier

I lived overseas for 27 years as a private businessman starting a company there. (My wife and I are both native-born American citizens.) I was not aware of all the immigration laws there. I gave a person from outside that country a reference for him to be able to go to his homeland and see his mother. Then Immigration knocked on my door since they had no proper papers for me in their country. I quickly complied with their immigration laws and annually had to pay a fee and appear personally to keep my immigration status. There was no question of automatic rights for me. Nor would the company I labored for be responsible for my status.

I learned their language enough to have my own two-minute TV program for the last seven years there. My kids benefited from my learning that language. All government forms were in the native language.

All the regulation was done by the government. I know of at least five former workers of mine who came to the USA illegally. Why? Because of opportunity and historically for the last 25 to 30 years, there was no guest worker program and the government did nothing to those entering illegally. The rules and regulations need to be fixed. The illegal entry has to be stopped by the government. The government has to step up and find a legalizing solution to most of the illegal residents here now. Weed out the bad and send them out. Cut off all automatic citizenship rights for USA-born illegal children until the parents are legal. That includes schooling and health-care guarantees. Force the issue.

There are many-times more good illegal aliens than bad. Those good ones should be able to have a resolution to their situation. And after a period of years, they accumulate rights to government. services. They should have access to Social Security and other government programs to which they contribute and have it be retroactive to their initial contribution period.

If they are employed and contributing to the tax system at their level, schools for the kids could be available. But social welfare sustenance programs for the (American) poor do not give the kids access to the schools and services provided by law-abiding tax-paying citizens and legal residents.

A good legal record is imperative. And the reins should be short to qualify for that. Since they are not legally here yet, they do not have the rights of a citizen until they prove themselves as being a positive entity in the society. That includes citizenship for progeny until the parents are citizens, not residents. If there is no citizenship for the parents, the kids have to go through some immigration process to qualify.

Had I committed any serious infractions overseas, I would have been locked up and the key thrown away there. Or immediately deported. And it would not have been pleasant or PC. Had I flown the American flag and flouted my status, I'd have been a target for bad things and resentment.

There is no other country with lines at their embassies all over the world seeking entry to that country. Only the USA. It is the best there is to offer. We have to restrict the opportunity to those who will be a positive entity, whether rich or poor. Both should be welcomed--with strings attached.

shadow

We're the only country in the world that has such a severe immigration problem. Also our disease rate is increasing more than any other because so many illegals have diseases and pass them on to more people than we can account for. Before we know it, we'll have an epidemic. We're just real lucky we haven't had a serious outbreak that killed thousands.

Also illegals add to the security risk we have; something better be done soon before we have another 9-11 or worse.

Taxpayers are paying untold dollars to interpreters and extra education programs for non-English speakers. Does anyone here think any other country would do this for any U.S. citizen? Not!

I don't have the answer to the problem, but in the short term it's still cheaper to find and send as many illegals as possible and send them home. Perhaps we should use the army reserve to patrol the borders even more than we do now.

I don't hate immigrants, I just think we have to make sure that the number we allow to immigrate here is sustainable in our economy and they go through all the proper steps to get here legally--that means we're sure they have a reasonable chance to support themselves instead of the taxpayer's putting out more and more money.

I know lots of people here think we aren't helping poor nations enough, but honestly no other country in the world gives more than we do, and we just can't afford to pay more and more taxes. We will be taxed into a Third World country. I hope our politicians see it before it's too late.

Oscar

I hope you people out there arguing about illegal immigrants never have to go through what they do. They come here for a better life like your ancestors did, risk their lives for a better life, do jobs that you won't do, work with fake IDs, and pay payroll taxes like you, but they will never be able to receive any benefit. They pay taxes every time they buy something, food, clothes, etc. Not all illegal immigrants go around and harm America. Most of them work hard and help this country more than you think.

Nune

I like this Web site.

Bill Pender

Ames,
Well said. I have said this myself for decades.

Diane Rambow

I should think the legal immigrants would be up in arms about the illegals issue.

I also think that since the earlier immigrants (go back to 1620, for example) didn't get to come here with the promise of getting a bunch of freebies, neither should those who manage their way in and benefit from a nation that's already productive and prosperous.

In California, we bid on a computer system that was costly; it was to filter out those who were attempting to collect money when they weren't entitled. It's a high-cost condition when such instrumentation has to be implemented to try to conserve the welfare money for those who truly are eligible and deserve it, when millions are figuring out ways to get this supplement without ever having paid into it.

It reminds me of the poker game called Up and Down the River. Everyone has to pay for a card; then more cards are dealt, and the dealer gets to remove money when specific cards are turned over. Yes, it's a fun, simple-minded game, but when our country is being cannibalized by such tactics, it has to stop.

I like the idea of a working card, keeping it simple to get. At least we can set up the conditions such that we can monitor the number of working visas being issued. We need the names in the system; we don't have to frighten them with being returned to their homelands, but they also have to come into compliance with the terms by which we'd issue such a working opportunity.

We all know that people from other countries have come here to earn bigger dollars and send the money back home, and the money they send puts money into that country's economy because that's where purchases are made.

Given the disparity of import/export, this simply adds to that dilemma.

Up until the 1900s, most who came to this country had to start out by committing to add to the well-being of the economy; they provided their services and skills, but it was what helped build up our nation.

Current immigrants often come in to serve the rich, because the rich are just basically too lazy to serve themselves. As to skyrocketing costs when someone can't get a car detailed for 50% less, then do it yourself. Our lazy ways are the doorways for those who will do something we think we are too good to do.

I think I could write a great deal more, but suffice it to say those who will post (or already have) will certainly touch those topics and examples, so I'll leave it them. Thank you for the chance to post.

mike vale

It is funny how all of you are crying about this immigration thing, while we have more than 300,000 illegal American immigrants in Iraq, terrorizing people in the name of peace and friendship.

It's the same thing this country has done to all in the name of greed. Now we are paying for the failed policies in Mexico and Central America, and I say let in all who want to come, and let all who don't like it go back to their ancestral homes. Most of the people crying are a whole bunch of spoiled brats that have no real sense of life. I'm an American Indian, and my people have been screwed since the beginning of American time. I am also a doctor, and I prefer to treat Hispanics than the obnoxious Americans.

Carlos Norberto Mugrabi

The illegal are citizens who give jobs to those who lack the necessary documentation for work. The legal status of the latter should be another topic.

Karla

Yes, it's true that some immigrants don't pay their taxes. But they don't have to, they can't, and how will they? They can't even get IDs.

I bet that if the U.S. government was more giving to the immigrants (ID's, work permits, all of that), there would be more control over them.

Not all people are here to progress; some want to feed off of the government The women have five kids here and go on welfare. Ha. Even some lazy Americans do that.

Others come here with dreams of buying a home and brand new car, and having the freedom of traveling.
By having more control over the immigrants, the government could throw the ones who aren't doing good for this country or themselves out, and give the ones who are already here and doing well an opportunity to live their dream.

It's better than just kicking everyone out, no? I think so.

Leighton L Smith

We are allowing the government to frame the immigration problem for us. We must consider that in some cases, such as here, the government is not acting in our own individual best interest.

Thus, the term "illegal" associated with "alien" or "immigrant" is one of the government's invention.

What we as individuals must do is look at the problem from our own perspective. It is my understanding that this has not been done very often and has not been heralded very effectively.

The reality is that foreign nationals are in every recognized nation worldwide, creating a nearly fully integrated polyglot. To somehow require all these people to get their "papers in order" with respect to the local laws of each country is crazy.

There has to be a better, more accommodating, and global solution. Like a national identity card that is accepted worldwide. This should be different from a passport and should be a smart card with various data on it relevant to the bearer and the country he or she hails from.

Take a look at the end-to-end treatment of the immigration problem that has been prepared by Trigon-International Inc. This is actionable, affordable, and feasible, and more aptly it addresses the problem in situ, meaning that the fix goes in without having to reset the pieces on the game board.

Kenny

With all the problems with the economy, why is it that no one is addressing the huge problem of illegal immigrants in this country? Unemployment is at a 14 year high, so they say. But, a large part of the information to determine the unemployment rate is gathered from employers. How many employers are employing illegals (which are not reported of course)? Causing the number of unemployed to be far greater than what tax paying American Citizens are being told. If that number is off by just 10%, then we are at a 20 year high in unemployment in this country. And that could be off by a couple of years.

In 2005, Bear Stearns determined that the surveys conducted by the Census Bureau undercounted the number of illegals (20 million) by far more than 10%. This being the case, there are, conservatively, 22 million illegals in this country. 22 million is an extremely conservative number.

If just 10% of illegals (22 million) are working "under the table" for minimum wage (an average of $6.50 per hour) at 40 hours per week, that equals 143 million dollars per week that the government doesn't get to collect taxes on. That is a 30 million dollar per week loss for the federal and state governments. Multiply this for the past 3 years and the number is staggering. A whopping 22.308 billion dollars, in cash, has been paid out to illegals. That’s also 4.68 billion dollars in revenue lost. And these numbers are VERY conservative.

Now, it has been said that illegals send 75% of their income back to their own country to their families. But, recent economic difficulties have dropped the percentage to 50% of wages being sent back to their own country to their families. Whatever the number is, it’s too much. The Times reports that Directo a México, a service sponsored by the Federal Reserve, "allows customers without Social Security numbers to wire money through the Fed system to Mexico's central bank at little cost."

In September, according to the Times, "the Fed expanded the remittance program by allowing immigrants, legal or not, to open accounts at participating banks and credit unions in the U.S. or Mexico. About 27,000 transfers are made through the program each month. According to Jason DeParle of The New York Times, about 300 billion dollars a year is sent out of the United States. How much of the 300 billion is from illegal, non-tax paying people is unknown. But, again just say 10% is attributed to illegals. That’s 30 billion dollars per year.

With this being said, about 580 million dollars per week is being sent out of this country at just 10%. (5.7 billion dollars per week at 300 billion) This is outrageous. It must be stopped! Who is going to have the backbone to report on this? I certainly haven’t read or heard anything about this by any news agency.

That’s not all. Think about the strain on local municipalities, schools, roads, gas/fuel, health care, law enforcement, social programs, etc. Law abiding, tax paying citizens are picking up the tab.

If just 10% of illegals own cars and drive, which we know they do, an average of 150 miles per week with fuel consumption at 20 miles per gallon (again, very conservative) that’s 7.5 gallons per week. Multiply that by 22 million and you get 165 million gallons per week being consumed. That’s 25.74 billion gallons over a three year period. No wonder fuel prices are so out of hand.

Healthcare is untouchable by millions of tax paying, law abiding American Citizens! A large part of this problem is attributed to illegals overwhelming the health care system and not paying for health care. In 2002 illegals cost the federal government alone 26.3 billion dollars. (This was in 2002, what are the numbers today?)
Also in 2002, 1.9 billion dollars is attributed to illegals for food stamps and other social programs meant for US Citizens!(Redundant… What are the numbers today!)

Crime is going up. Bureau of Justice Statistics say that illegals commit 6.1% of crimes at a cost of 24 billion dollars a year to tax paying citizens. This leads to prison overcrowding, more correctional officers and a slew of other things. Now I know that crime has always gone up in this country and the United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other country, but illegals do have an impact. And it all comes down to money.
Schools are being expanded to accommodate the children of illegals at the tax payers expense. In 2002 federal aid to schools was 1.4 billion dollars. (Again, this was in 2002, what are the numbers today?)

Our roadways are taking an extra beating. I guess it would with an extra 22 million cars on the road. All picked up by the tax payer which leads to pollution, and I could go on and on and on. I’m sure you get the picture by now. Everything has a price tag attached to it.

Why are we just standing by and watching this happen? I don’t blame the children, but, their parents committed a felony by crossing the border illegally. All should be sent back to their countries, including the children. Just because the children were born here doesn’t make them citizens. Any child who is born in the United States of America to legal citizens of this country is automatically a citizen, Not the children of someone who broke the law and bypassed a system that is all too easy to work with. Besides, we don’t know where they conceived. Get your passport and visa and apply legally. It’s that simple.
I haven’t even scratched the surface yet, but I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from.

Why am I writing this? Because I am in the construction field and have watched jobs that my company and I should be doing being done by illegals. Now I’m in a world of hurt with everything I’ve worked so hard for being repossessed and taken from me because there is no work for me. And you could argue that I could drop my prices to compete with the illegals, but that is not an option. Illegals live 3, 4, 5, and even 6 or 7 families to ONE house. They do what is called “Hot Cotting” and rotate their schedules accordingly. The bed never gets cold. That is a standard of living that I will not choose. And I shouldn’t have to. This is America, we have a certain standard of living in this country and none of us should have to compromise it.

A lot of problems could be solved if the illegals weren’t here. And a lot problems wouldn’t even exist if they would come here legally. Illegals are costing the United States hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars. We could totally get rid of the national debt and have a surplus in a very short time. This country would be great again.

Now I don't have all the stats and numbers, but, the ones that I do have make it clear that the United States would not be in such bad shape if it weren't for the illegals in this country.
So, in closing, when is someone going to report on this and say to hell with political correctness and do what is right for the tax paying citizens of this great country?


Respectfully,
Helpless without your help

CIN

Stop blaming illegals for this country's problems. Tell me how can illegals take away from Americans when we don't get food stamps or section 8 or Medicaid, and we don't have credit card debts or mortgages.

Jose

All the idiots praising how cheap illegal labor is, are going to blame who for their big fat tax increase to support these people (who pay no state, federal taxes)?

Who is paying for their 10-12 children to go to public schools? Health care? Infrastructure damage?

Cheap short-sighted ignorants worried about saving a few pennies now.

How bout the tens of thousands of Americans murdered or killed by illegal aliens each day?

Moreover, at what point do we start deciding which laws to enforce and which ones we let slide?

Upward of 30 million to 40 million people are walking our streets, in our schools with diseases we have no idea of.

We spend billions worrying about the border security of other nations when we can't even protect Americans in their own country.

Enough. I am mad, and there are hundreds of millions of Americans just like me.

Judy Pruitt

I agree with Q, because it isn't fair to the Americans if the illegals can think they can cross the borders. I think it is better to get the border fence up--this way it will make it much harder to cross. And if the employer knowingly hires a immegrant then he or she can get a big fine and go to jail.

Mitch

I'm sick of people saying that without illegal aliens nobody would do the work that they do.

If dishwashers weren't illegal, they would demand better wages. If the restaurants had to up the price of a plate of food because the dishwashers demanded more money, let capitalism take its course. Dishwashers would find themselves out of a job if they demanded more than the customer would pay if they had to absorb the cost of the dishwasher's pay.

There will always be a compromise between customers and workers. There will be a happy (well, grumpy medium) medium.

Screw the illegals. Our forfathers entered through Ellis Island, not sneak accross the border.

Jim

We thoroughly understand what this is causing small business as we have been hit with unfair competition from other companies. It is so unfair to businesses that have all U.S.-citizen employees and pay all their dues to society and then there are other businesses that are cheating by illegal labor. We hope Congress will do something to save America from unfair business practices.

Matt

I say don't let them in. They just take tax dollars from us and then we have to replace that money. So I say build whatever you have to, do whatever you have to keep these illegals over the border.

alex

I think that we should stop worrying about illegal immigrants and start doing something about it instead of sitting down and listening to what's happening.

Sincerely,
Alex

Canadian

Blah blah blah, Americans have their heads so far up their asses.

You probably still all think that the war in the Middle East is because the U.S.A wants to help. You people are all sheep and are all asleep. Time to wake up and see how barbaric your government really is.

Pete

(Source Wikipedia)
2006 Statistics - Number of illegal aliens in USA and where they are from.
Mexico 6,570,000
El Salvador 510,000
Guatemala 430,000
Philippines 280,000
Honduras 280,000

disappointed

"They" actually do not take away taxes--if you consider it logically, "they" truly pay the same sales tax as you, as well as paying payroll taxes and income taxes. The funny thing that you seem to forget when calculating how much you should hate "them" is that "they" cannot file tax returns each year, which means that "they" do not receive any refunds like the rest of "us" who file every year and expect that return. Honestly, without the money taken from the "illegals" in the form of taxes, the US would have had many more tax-paid program problems before now, especially Social Security.

And really, can any single one of you look back into your heritage and tell me that your family did not immigrate here from somewhere else? There are very few who truly have a leg to stand on, as far as being indiginous goes, so I would think before I threw anger and hatred at those who are only a repetition of your ancestors' actions. At least "they" are not giving "us" blankets of smallpox or the modern equilavent.

Oh sure, you can argue the illegality of it, as compared to when your ancestors arrived, but then, of course, you will have to factor in the idea of colonization, growth and development, etc...which only shows that these people are simply trying to better themselves and their lives. Would you honestly, truly prefer that they return to a country that has no jobs, no money, and literaly no food? If there was not a good reason, they would not need to come here. I am disappointed that we feel that we are so superior and developed, yet we cannot extend a kindness to these people and help them grow and flourish like our country did so long ago.

jim

The ocean of illegal immigrants is overwhelming systems all over America. it is my belief and I am not alone in this is.

Now is the time to tell our leaders what we need done about this subject. The lies told at the El Paso speech were unbelievable.

I realize that this is bold and will cost but not as much as it costs now.

Legislation to make English the official language of the US. Change the anchor baby clause to read that there has to be at least one parent who's a US citizen.

Legislation to arrest and enforce fines/conviction of all employers that hire illegal immigrants.

Legislation to arrest and deport of all illegal immigrants no matter when they arrived or how old they were.

Legislation to stop the giving of divers licenses, health services, education, and welfare no matter what age.

These are things that have to be done now. The time of coddling the illegals is over.

Join the Debate

 

Participate More!

Please send us your ideas for new Debate Room topics. If you're an academic, association officer, or other industry expert and would like to write a Debate Room essay, send us a query. Questions? See the

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!