Monday, May 01, 2006

The Amnesty Dilemma

The issue of amnesty for people in this country illegally is not as easy to solve as simply giving them amnesty and a path to citizenship. In fact, doing these things might actually hurt the people who are here illegally now. Many people are "thinking" with their emotions and not using their brains. Let's think this through:

If I have a business and I hire illegal labor at low rates, what happens when that laborer becomes legal? I must now withhold social security tax as well as pay 1/2 of that worker's social security tax out of my own pocket. I must withhold federal and state income taxes, I must pay workers comp. and state unemployment premiums and finally, I must pay my worker the minimum wage. Any economic benefit of hiring the illegal has now evaporated and it is just as expensive to employ them as any other worker.

If the laborer is a day laborer, they must now file quarterly income tax as a self-employed person. They must pay both halves of their social security tax, fund their own medical insurance, plus pay all federal, state, and local taxes on their income and property. The effect of this is that they will need to raise their labor rate to compete. Again, the advantage of being an "illegal" and working for less money has just evaporated.

But the worst part is what comes next. By failing to secure the border, millions of new illegals cross and begin to work "under the table" forcing the newly legal workers out of their jobs and into the unemployment line. All amnesty has accomplished at that point is to create a new crop of illegals and increased unemployment among the formerly illegal workers who decided to "legal up".

This exposes the true goal of what the illegals really want. What they want is to be free from worry about deportation and they want access to all the benefits that come to people here legally but I do not believe they are wanting to accept all the responsibilities that come with those rights. Once they pay their share of taxes and employers must cover them with benefits, their economic advantage is gone. I really don't think that is what they want.

Until the border can be secured to prevent waves of new illegal immigration coming here to undercut the wages of the newly legal, amnesty has no chance.

We need a wall. Not a Berlin Wall with only a couple of checkpoints, but a border control wall with lots of manned checkpoints with multiple lanes so that legal immigration, trade, and tourism can flourish unimpeded. Closing off remote desert border access does nothing to adversely impact legal trade. The only people crossing in those locations are illegal migrants or people moving illegal cargo. Such a wall would stop both. Until such a wall is in place, there is no point to giving anyone amnesty as their gains will be short lived as their jobs are, in turn, taken away by a newer crop of illegal migrants.

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