Thursday, February 23, 2017
So, you enjoying your $16 Big Mac?
I've been watching with interest our rapidly accelerating efforts to find and deport the illegals here among us. President Trump seems to be deadly serious about building a Maginot Line*....er....wall and throwing every illegal he can find over it. Problem is, I don't think he understands the unintended consequences of his plan. In his view illegals are just here to rip off American taxpayers, sop up free welfare benefits, medical care, commit violent crimes, etc, and are a huge drag on our economy. The bigger picture says something very different, however.
Statistics show they commit no more crimes than native born Americans. They commit less, actually. Investigations have shown that if you stay at a Trump hotel, you're staying somewhere built at least partially (and cheaply) by illegal Hispanic labor. That new roof put on your home last year after our devastating hail storms was probably done with (some) illegal Hispanic labor.
That last restaurant you visited probably had illegal Hispanic dishwashers, busboys, and maybe even cooks. Did you enjoy your salad? Who do you think picked it? Whenever I drive by a new subdivision being developed I wonder how many of those Hispanic guys pouring concrete are illegal? And those Hispanic day laborers you picked up to plant those big trees in your yard were almost surely illegal.
The overwhelming majority just want to live here in peace, far from the crime and gangs they fled, and make a modest living for their families. Truth is, we need and depend on their labor.
Prez Trump seems to think illegals don't pay taxes. Not true. Look at all the Hispanics shopping the next time you're in Walmart. They're paying sales taxes. And their landlords pay taxes on their properties, and charge a prorated amount of those taxes to each apartment they rent out to illegals. Those tax revenues are shared by the cities, counties and states to fund street maintenance, police and fire departments, schools, etc.
Do some take advantage of our generosity? Do some sell drugs, pimp their prostitutes, and rob us? Yes! So let's round them up and throw THEM back over Trump's wall! Oops....there's even a kink in that plan. In recent years the Hispanics coming here are more likely to be Ecuadoran, Guatemalan, or El Salvadoran than Mexican. When our bus shows up in Matamoros and says "Here ya' go Mexico", they're gonna reply, "Nope, sorry, not ours. They're your problem. U-turn Gringo." Getting even the undesirables out will be much more difficult than we seem to think.
So should we just look the other way and pretend no one is here illegally? Should we just all meet up on the town square and sing Kumbaya? No, of course not! But there are options besides just what FOX News and MSNBC spout at the extremes. Just remember, you can't always play the poker hand you want....you have to play the hand you're dealt.
We need some courageous politicians (yeah, oxymoron, I know) to step up and codify a realistic plan to have illegals who have been here for a while register, without fear of deportation IF they have proven to be good residents. Criminals, cheats and bums need not apply. Then we'll know who's here, who's working and paying taxes, who's contributing, etc, and they can come out of the shadows (and yes, learn English, just like previous immigrants from Italy, Poland, and elsewhere did). In the meantime let's seriously protect our borders with aggressive, smart, flexible measures that won't piss off half our hemisphere.
We can make this a win / win situation. Right now we're rushing headlong towards a colossal lose / lose mess.
* The Maginot Line, a long line of concrete-and-steel reinforced gun emplacements, no more protected France from Germany than Trump's wall IMO will protect America from Mexico.
Just watch....right behind the construction crews will come the tunnel diggers and the pole vaulters. Wanna make a fortune? Sell 20' ladders in Mexico! We need to be smart and flexible, and not waste our money building a wall likely to be obsolete before the concrete cures.