Immigration is a HOT topic throughout the world and this article is not meant to anger anyone. Read the information, analyze the options and look up the actual statistics and then make a decision on how you feel about our immigration situation. Many people want to deport all those that are here without documents and that is one of the options. If you decide on that option then we need to make a plan and look at all the consequences of doing do. We need to consider the effects of taking any action before moving forward.
protesting causes conflict which may be needed
The issue is more complicated than most people understand. Let’s look at some facts you may not have thought of and then move toward something that would be reasonable.
Many times the truth is too boring to learn and hard to accept when complaining is easier. Arguments such as pro or against gay marriage, immigration, welfare issues, abortion, the death penalty and these arguments are written by one side or the other that leans too far one way so it bends the truth to their convenience. We may not like reality and what is happening may not be ideal but we deal with it. Most people really don’t care about the real issues. They want low prices and if Walmart uses child labor in other countries people may care alittle bit but not enough to buy elsewhere at a higher price and the same goes in this situation.
Professional tile installers in TX can make around $17 dollars an hour and make a living except people come across the border and do that same work for $5 dollars an hour undercutting the company that is insured, licensed and has professional installers that pay workers compensation etc….. The homeowners and general contractors want to keep the bottom line low so they can make or save money so they don’t care and someone ends up paying the price for it. This hurts the people that are trying to do things legally. So yes there are negative consequences to Americans for allowing undocumented people to work here but for the most part the US does not care and does not want to deport them all because it would cause an even larger economical mess.
All to often businesses use undocumented immigrants to do the work so they can undercut the competitors. In most cases these companies do not pay overtime, vacation or benefits to these worker and often they will pay below minimum wage. I personal know people that this is happening to. This issue is caused by us not by the undocumented immigrants.
WHAT IS THE REAL TRUTH?
Saying undocumented people get lots of free things like medical care that we as US Citizens don’t get and welfare is not true in most respects and when it comes to their children it is true because they are US Citizens. Many of the children qualify for free lunch and other programs and this is a drain on the system. If they go to the ER (many of them are too scared to go to the ER) they will not be refused medical attention if it is an emergency although one of my neighbors has a hernia and she was told two weeks ago to make an appointment with her doctor so no,the ER did not give her free care and they did send her a bill. Another neighbor who is undocumented has an infection in her leg and went to the Hospital and the bill was over $2,000 so now her foot is dark purple and she won’t go back because she is worried about the money and we have told her she could loose her foot but she is now curing herself with vinegar and honey.
Denying these US citizen children free lunch or the ability to attend school would only cause more issues later on when a higher percentage would end up in prisons. Denying undocumented children from getting an education is also a can of worms because long term consequences would create a set of uneducated people that would turn to crime since they could not legally work or be in school. These people are already in a class all on their own since they are leery to call the police even when they need to.
My other neighbors went to the ER and it was $1700 to put a couple of stitches in their daughters finger (They were making payments on that bill for months) so when she got burned they did not go to the ER when they should have because they were too worried about the money they came to my house. It is true that many undocumented people do not pay their medical bills and therefore the cost of medical care becomes higher for all of us. It is also true that many American Citizens do not pay their ER bills and that also makes the prices higher for those of us that do. I took my son to the ER and all they did was look at my son’s cut on his nose that I had already cleaned out and they did not clean it and they did not bandage it or do anything and they billed us over $600 just for the doctor to look at him less than 60 seconds. Oh, they did weigh him and take his blood pressure and make us wait several hours to be seen. ( I should have billed them for my time waiting)
It is also true that many of them do pay their bills and in full. I have several friends that pay their bills that are undocumented. One family has had 2 children and paid CASH for the doctor and hospital bills and got a discount because they paid CASH for the births. This same family has not accepted any welfare for the children at any time other than WIC for a short time when the husband was out of work. My wife was working 3 jobs and therefore did not qualify for welfare before we got married so there are many instances where they do pay their bills.
Saying they don’t pay taxes is also very misleading because the majority do pay taxes and in many forms. They pay for rent and house payments hence they are paying property taxes (which pays for education) , they pay gas tax, they pay SS tax (over 60% work using social security numbers even if they are false and the money still goes into the system but they don’t get it back) some of them work for under the table CASH (By the way that is OUR FAULT) sales tax is paid by all of them as well as many other taxes.
A friend of mine paid an unemployment policy for years and when he lost his job they would not pay him anything because he is undocumented. The same insurance company would not refund his payments and they were happy to take his money but would not pay out. When filling out the application he did not lie or mislead them in any way because he did not provide a social security number. I have a friend that bought two houses and rented one out. He used his ITIN tax number which was at that time a legal number to use to buy the homes. They currently can’t do this any more but before it was allowed. Most of them rent. Many of them own their own businesses and run them legally and pay taxes. That is the only way they can legally work if they are undocumented. I have another friend that lost his job and he had 3 months of savings so he took care of everything until he got another job. I have a neighbor that has $13,000 dollars in her daughters college account and she has been saving for years so her daughter will have a chance. This neighbor is worried that if she is deported the government will take the 13,000 and say she was selling drugs which would be a lie but none the less she is worried about it.
Undocumented people should get in line with the rest of those that apply legally. Well this sounds wonderful but for many of them there is no line to get into because no legal options exist. I had an immigration lawyer come and speak to those at my church and he gave an hour presentation, we handed out a straight talk sheet and then he answered questions for another hour. (He did not give out any business cards nor could he solicit business) They can apply for political asylum which is a very long shot since most of these applications are denied. They can apply for a U Visa if they have been assaulted (this application is also hard to get) you have to have the signature of the police chief and police reports and in most cases pictures taken by the police. Other than these options which most do not qualify for there are no other real options unless they have a direct family member that is a US Citizen or Resident.
Undocumented people bring in crime. Well this is also complicated because wherever poverty is, more crime exists and I would say that the majority of the people just want to work and provide for their families and help their children to have a better future and yet there are many of them that are involved in selling drugs and other criminal activities. It costs lots of money to house these people and keep them in prison for the full sentence and so they are let out early much of the time. Many times they are deported and then come back again. We need to be hard on crime. Sadly many of the Hispanics that are involved in criminal activity are the ones that were born here in the country in poverty and took the easy way to make money. Most of the undocumented people don’t want any interaction with the police so they stay under the radar as much as possible. A drunk Hispanic hit my son’s car from behind and he never paid back anything and he did not have insurance. These are the type of people that mess it up for the ones that want to be the best that they can.
1. Many of them don’t have any documents therefore they can’t produce them for inspection. Should they be documented? YES Should they have to show documents? YES. If they don’t have them because they came from Mexico or other countries what should be done about it? We should deport them. Ok what happens to their 6 kids they are going to leave behind? Concentrating on deporting criminals is a good idea but half of those that Obama has deported have not had a criminal record. Coming across the border without permission is a civil infraction of a federal law. If they are caught in the act it is a bit different, if they are not caught then it is a different matter. It is similar to a policeman giving a J walking ticket to someone days later with no witnesses. It should not be like this but it is. If they are deported and come back a second time one or two ten year bars may be placed upon them and they can be charged with a criminal charge but most of the time it is just the civil one but they come back anyway because companies are paying them to do the work.
An undocumented person I know has the following documents with them:
Consulate ID – Official document from Mexico
Current Mexican Passport
Current Mexican Driver’s License
Current Birth Certificate (The new ones have to have the special seal)
Utah Driver Privilege card.
This guy has more official documents than many documented people I know yet when his car got towed they would not let him use any of those documents to get the car out of impound but had to find someone with a drivers license not a privilege card to get it out of impound. No he was not drunk and did not get into an accident. His window had been broken and things stolen out of the vehicle so the cop gave him a ticket because he had plastic over the window and it was winter. (My window got broken as well and I also had plastic until I got a new window) but no cops pulled me over for that. There is more to the story but needless to say undocumented people get treated differently than others.
It is wrong although it is a reality that we are having to deal with. It is a fact that they should not come into the US illegally or undocumented but it is happening. The guesstimate is around 11 Million although some figures are higher around 18 million. Deporting them all if no more entered would take over 20 years and cause all sort of other issues and problems. Most Hispanic families have more than the normal 1 or 2 children so by 2050 there may be more Hispanics than white people in the US which is another possible reality. In Utah the overall Hispanic population is about 16% and in Salt Lake City about 22% and in my neighborhood it is over 40% Hispanic.
That is why a program where we actually fingerprint them all and issue IDs would be beneficial. The fear is that this could lead to a national ID that everyone would have to have is scary. This would mean Citizens as well as non-citizens would need this ID. We can’t just stop someone for being brown can we now? We have Citizens that are born in Puerto Rico that are full US Citizens that don’t speak English (Many of them older people) so we cannot use the fact that they don’t speak English to test people either because it is discrimination. Some of the right wing christian conservatives believe this ID program would be the mark of the beast spoken of in the Bible, others feel it would infringe on the rights of the States to issue the State IDs and control them. It would lead to tracking everyone on a more complicated basis than we already are using.
In many respects the Government likes to complain about undocumented people but they don’t really want to solve the problem because as it stands our construction, food industry, hotel industry and many other services are running smoothly because of undocumented people so changing the way that things are would make prices go up drastically. I know my 21 year old son and my 19 year old daughter refuse to take jobs cleaning bathrooms or digging holes.
2. You can’t mop up the floor until you turn off the tap that is running right onto the floor. Currently it is like we are mopping the floor with more and more water being dumped on the floor and it is out of hand. It is true the influx of those coming across undocumented has gone down although that is true because of the issues with the economy. When the economy gets stronger, undocumented border crossings will increase.
Republicans don’t want to give up any ground and democrats don’t have the power to pass immigration reform alone. It would not be fair to allow undocumented people to be US Citizens when many people that applied legally still have not been let into the country but we could FINE them, give them work permits and at least know who they are, where they are and have some control whereas right now we don’t have any control at all.
Building fences is not stopping these people because they have tunnels that are constantly being dug every time one is covered up because it is a business where they pay 4500 or more to be brought over. There are actually trucks built just for this purpose that pull up and put ladders up so they can go over the fences. We can spend billions on fences and it will not stop the leak. There are more people that come in legally and overstay their VISAs, the actual figures that are coming over the border have been reduced except for the children.
Telling them that they should apply legally is all well and good but people from Mexico have no way to apply legally unless they are related directly to a US Citizen such as a brother, sister, Mother, Father, Son or Daughter. Even when they are directly related the wait time to get a visa is years not months. If you are married the time is about a year, if it is your mother or father the wait time can be 10 years or more, if it is a brother it can be 14 plus years for them to get a visa. The child first needs to turn 21 and then apply for their parents and then the wait many years from that point.
3. Looking at all the factors is so important. Rather than just treating the symptoms lets look at the root cause. Some say, problems in central and south American don’t concern us. Fine, have that attitude although it does concern us because it is happening and we are dealing with it. Corruption and poverty in other countries cause suffering and it is spilling into the US.
4. The cost of living in a small town in Guatemala is $600 per month and you have your basic needs taken care of. Unfortunately the wage is about $60 per month unless you are among the few that work 6 days a week at a banana plantation that pays $200 per month then you would need 3 members of your household to work there instead of 10 making $60. Most of those people live below the poverty level so when they hear that their uncle can help them come to the US they jump at the chance and the uncle lends them the 4500 and they come over into a land that is taking advantage of their cheap labor, not paying them benefits, not paying them overtime and many of them work for years like that.
They work for companies that do not use E-Verify by buying a social security card for $100 and then they contribute into the fund but they don’t draw out because the money (billions) goes into the mismatched fund. When they work at a place for a few months and they get a letter that says there is an issue with the SS # they simply change jobs and start the process over again. Many of them live in small one bedroom apartments with 4 or 6 people in each room because it is much better than it was in their country. Am I trying to justify it? NO It is just how it is. To solve the issues we have to not just treat the symptoms but the root of the problem or the actually reasons for the sickness and we really don’t want to do that. A large part of the problem deals with supply and demand. WE WANT CHEAP LABOR so WE hire them. Companies hire them on a regular basis and the DEMAND is such that they keep coming in. If those companies would hire unemployed AMERICANS and not hire undocumented people then unemployment would go down but the unemployed do not want to do those jobs nor will they work in those conditions without benefits for such low wages.
5. It may not be right but reality is that these people are having children and according to the current laws and constitution as it is interpreted by every State in the Union the children born in the US to undocumented people are US Citizens. If we deport the parents we cannot deport the children therefore millions more children would become wards of the state and additional funds would be needed to support them. We are talking billions of dollars not just millions. If the federal government or the state government were to support the 19 million plus children at a conservative $1000 per child (This is higher for foster car when all levels are added) Then per year you are looking at massive figures.
If you figure the cost of caring for one child at a low figure of $1,000 per child per month it is $12,000 per year which is low compared to the actual figures but $1,000 would feed them and buy them clothes.
To have the state or the federal government take care of 100,000 children it would cost 1.2 billion per year
To have the state or the federal government take care of 1 million children it would be ten times as much or 12 billion per year
Two hundred and twenty eight billion (228 billion) to take care of 19 million kids per year assuming each undocumented family had and average of only three children per household or 6 million couples but the average is higher on the families but many of the undocumented people are single men so the figure on the children would be lower than the real average on the children per household.
When you are paying to care for these children over the next 18 years the figure exceeds 4 Trillion dollars. Who will pay for this? Right now the parents are paying for their food, shelter and yes the government helps with the education but you do need to consider that with the collection of property taxes the undocumented people are paying part of that cost and if we deport them the government will have to pick up the whole cost.
LET’S DEPORT THE UNDOCUMENTED AND THEIR US CITIZEN CHILDREN AS WELL
I suppose you could try this, also these people could not be expected to take their children back into such conditions when many of the children don’t even speak the language well enough to get by. There are those even as I write this that want to change the constitution so that the requirements to be a US Citizen are different so at least one of the parents would need to be a citizen instead of allowing anyone born in the country to be a US Citizen. They want to change it so a Mexican Citizen that had a child while on vacation in California would be a Mexican Citizen instead of a US Citizen. Until this change is made we have to deal with reality. Most likely that change will not occur looking at the historical changes in the constitution.
Many countries like Guatemala charge US Citizens to live there if their stay is extended. This puts an additional hardship the families that they could not meet. It is like $15 per month per child which seems reasonable to us but when you only make $60 to $100 a month and you have 3 US Citizen children that adds up to $45 per month almost your entire wage so it is not reasonable and could not be collected.
Since most of these families send money on a regular basis back to their countries it has helped the other countries and their families live, and without that money being sent but sending the people back instead with no job will also devastate many other countries. So looking at all the factors it would be a ripple effect whereas right now the Government separates families all the time and the problems caused don’t seem so grave but they are. The emotional problems we cause when this is done is overwhelming. Sending a criminal back is one thing but recently the US deported a mother with no criminal record and she left four children under 18 here to care for each other. The youngest was autistic and 4 years old still in diapers. The state did not do anything with the family but the local church helped out. The mother came across illegally again as soon as she was sent back to Mexico and began running her taco cart and taking care of her family again.
If we deport in larger numbers an influx of millions of people into Mexico, Central and South American would be devastating to their economies as well as ours. Mexico has high unemployment now and imagine them getting millions of people at once that had no jobs. Here in the US costs would skyrocket in all industries. Some say it would level out after a while and yet others say it would send us into a depression. There was a rumor of an immigration rate in Wendover NV a couple of years ago and that basically shut the whole town down. Hotels did not get cleaned, food did not get made and everything stopped.
The implementation of E-Verify has made life harder for many undocumented and it has slowed the flow a bit because it is harder to get work but when it comes down to it E-Verify only compares the social security number and birthdate it does not verify a fingerprint or eye scan so it has it’s problems. I have a friend that is using his Dad’s number and has been working with it for years. Employers that don’t use E-Verify only ask for a copy of the social security card and their drivers license so in the past and even currently they just file these items and when the social security administration comes back with a mismatch or issue the person goes elsewhere and the process begins again. Without implementing a FINE and a REAL ID problem with fingerprints, pictures and eyescans we are just putting a bandaid on a problem that will continue forever until real changes are made. False ID is easy to get and in Utah it is harder to get since the operation was shut down recently but you can buy an ID in California now for around $400 each. It used to cost around $100.
So, do these people have it easy because we give them handouts when they get here? Far from it, a recent family I know that just got here from Guatemala is suffering living with 10 people in an apartment. They accepted min wage jobs with no benefits and they are working two jobs. The children are in school (3) and the older one is not getting English and having a really hard time. The younger ones are ok but they are not getting free anything. Since none of their children are US Citizens they don’t qualify for any of the Government programs such as WIC or Welfare. They cannot get food stamps and the children do not qualify for government grants or scholarships. They don’t have a bank account so everything is done with CASH making it more difficult and more risky to do everyday things. They recently went to immigration to apply for asylum which most likely will be denied but they are doing it anyway. They were caught while crossing the border and the border patrol detained them for a few days and then let them go and they have dates that they must appear at court. (Well they could move and try to disappear which is a possibility) She has a ankle monitor on awaiting her appointment.
6. So should we do nothing as we are currently doing? The Status Quo is not working. Obama has deported more undocumented people than any other president so we are doing something. Jason Chafitz told me that there are several sections of the border that are not being patrolled and the drug cartels use these areas to bring in drugs without fear of interference. They are not patrolled because they don’t allow vehicles in those areas so we don’t destroy the flora and fauna (moss and other natural resources) in the mean time drug cartels use this to bring in people and drugs and Jason wants to change that because currently he told me the border patrol has to put in a request 10 days ahead of time and they have to go in on horseback. We can’t just open the border and ignore our laws but we can’t shoot people crossing like some other countries do. I have been a State and Local Delegate and I have been able to talk to several Senators and Representatives. Most of them say they care, they say they want to make changes yet when it comes down to voting it’s not happening. Many of them are not being reasonable so they get gridlock because they either want to deport them all or be too easy on them and they are not coming to an agreement of what should and can be done to help the US and the people.
SHOW ME YOUR ID
A. If they don’t have ID when they are pulled over undocumented people are given several tickets and arrested and printed so they don’t get away with this one. In Utah they can get a driver’s privilege card by presenting ID from their country whether here legally or not. Most of those I know get car insurance and avoid any reason for the police to get involved with their life.
B. If they use a Credit card they need to show ID as well just like you and I do. Most of the time they pay with CASH or a money order or a prepaid card using the PIN like a debit card. I don’t show ID when I use my debit card.
C. When they show up for a doctors appointment they have to pay and they need to show some sort of ID the fact that they don’t have permission to be in the country does not mean they don’t have ID because many of them have an ID from their country but some don’t. I have performed 12 marriage ceremonies in the last 2 years and the State does not require that they be here legally to get married.
D. This is funny because everyone has to have ID to fill out credit card or loan applications and when they don’t they can’t get these. I just took my 15 year old in to get a bank account and he had to show ID, birth certificate, passport etc….The neighbor that has the infection does not have a bank account, no utilities in her name and no ID so her life is much more difficult in many respects. She does not have a credit card because of it. She suffers in many ways living in a basement where conditions are horrible. Some of them could go back to Mexico or another country although many of them can’t. My other in law who lives in Guatemala told us the other day that once you turn 40 your done. No one wants to hire you unless you have some sort of education and for most people in the small towns they don’t have much more than an elementary education if that.
E. Insurance, college applications, donating blood, getting a boarding pass for the airlines also require you show ID whether you are undocumented or not. Undocumented people can attend college but much of the time they have to pay out of state or non resident rates, they have to provide ID but they do not qualify for most scholarships and it is much harder for them to get loans as well. So they are not exempt from providing ID. If it were that easy I would just tell people I was undocumented and get loans, money etc…. but it is not.
Republicans don’t want to budge on many points and democrats don’t want give up any ground either and that makes for a perfect situation to get nothing done on the matter. Recently Congress and the current senate were listed as the least effective ones that we have ever had. Well they did name some courthouses if that counts as getting work done.
Obama when he first entered office had the perfect situation to pass immigration reform and he said he would in his first term and he did nothing of the sort. He had congress and the senate on his side and now he does not. He used the excuse that he had to deal with the economy so immigration reform was not his priority. Now Obama is using executive orders to deal with immigration because the Republicans and Democrats can’t negotiate together. Currently the speaker is suing Obama for using the executive order improperly but Obama says it is because congress and the senate are not doing anything so it is mess.
We have lots of laws that are not being enforced so do we need more laws? Obama did increase the border patrol almost four fold in many areas but in several areas there is no patrol at all and drug cartels use these areas to bring over people and drugs. I am not big on conspiracy theories but it makes me wonder what is happening and if someone is in bed with a certain person or persons. Should we go down into these countries and clean house to help get rid of the corruption and drug cartels? Is that our responsibility? If we don’t do it and those countries don’t do it the root of the problem will still exist and as long as we offer the jobs they will continue to come. If we don’t keep hiring them they will get the word out and many of them will go back to their countries and the word will get around and the flow will stop coming over. Right now when a person that was making $60 a month or a $100 a month can come here and make ten times that amount, live with friends, send 300 home each month they are happy and will continue to work as long as Americans offer them the work.
Implementing the ID program will eventually be a must because it is out of control and all Americans will have to have a federal ID but that is being put off for obvious reasons and pressure on both sides.
Emails and messages with what appears to be a clear message about “illegals” never gives the entire story and misleads people into getting upset. One that I read says that they are getting welfare checks, social security checks and retirement benefits and they are undocumented and that is simply not true. A child that was a US Citizen that was disabled could be getting SSI or a benefit and they could get WIC or welfare for their children but those payments are very limited compared with the exaggerated amounts listed in the messages to upset the public. Spreading messages like this is not productive without offering solutions that will help fix the problem. In our neighborhood we have started programs to help educate people on the law and help them take advantage of the classes to learn English and we are promoting the program that exists to help them start their own businesses legally and pay taxes the legal way. This type of action is solution based. Getting upset about something you cannot change will just make you more upset with congress and the senate.
Let’s try to be reasonable. Here is a true story that I want you to think about and this man is a good friend of mine.
Juan came here 16 years ago with two children that were born in Mexico. They came with a temporary visa to go on vacation and they never left. (Much harder to get now than before) They had 2 more children here that were born in the US that are American Citizens. Juan and his wife bought two homes using his ITIN number (Individual Federal Tax ID number) and rents one of the homes out. He pays property tax on both homes. Juan works 2 jobs and his wife stays home (unusual since more mothers work as well) They are not hiding but lawyers have told them not to apply for anything because they will be turned down and it could trigger deportation orders so they are a bit worried because of the children’s DACA applications but they were assured that those are two different government agencies, and that they don’t communicate with each other very often except in extreme circumstances. USCIS and ICE.
Now Juans daughter that is 19 has applied for DACA (Obamas plan to give a temp visa to children brought here illegally) Juans son has also applied for this program. The other two children are younger and still in school. Juan’s daughter is getting married soon and she is enrolled in Salt Lake Community College. She will be getting married to a US Citizen so that will allow her to stay in the US. Juan still works 2 jobs. When he was in Mexico the family was having an extremely hard time making ends meet and they heard about life in the US and took the risk. In seven years the fourteen year old will be twenty one and can submit an I-130 petition for both parents and his brother and sister and then the wait will most likely be 14 years plus after that before they hear back to get the family members residency. Juan is 48 so he will be around 69 when the application can be approved. Really he took the risk to give his children a better life as most people would do. Unlike my wife that lived in a tiny town, Juan lived right in Mexico City and his daughter was much more likely to be sexually abused and assaulted there than here and the same goes for his wife. If you ask Juan if he would do it again he will say yes in a heartbeat. If you ask him if he is breaking the law he will tell you yes, but he feels he is justified to protect his family and provide for them. Should there be limits as to how many people we can allow into the country? Sure we should have reasonable limits but the approved allotted visa quotas have not been updated in years and the figures are way too low. Would Juan have had a legal way to come into the country applying legally or getting on a list? No, there is a lottery but especially if you are Mexican your chances are much lower and if you have a Million dollars and come to start a business or if you are in a profession that is in demand like an Engineer you have a shot but if not most of the legal ways to come are not available to you.
Larry is the current Deputy Director of LULAC for the State of Utah and serves as an unpaid pastor of an Hispanic Church. Larry has been a State and Local Delegate and been involved in local civic activities such as Scouts and currently teaches Spanish CERT classes for Salt Lake City.