Fear of “Aliens”?

by

Among the conservative Republican party base, you hear the phrase “illegal aliens” on such a constant basis, you can conclude one of two things.  Either there is a dandy new science fiction movie out, or the number one topic of concern right now on conservative talk radio and television is people coming across the border from Mexico.  Let me give you a hint:  Hollywood doesn’t make that many successful science fiction movies.

“Illegal” immigrants (I refuse to use the insulting term “aliens”) are here in our country not to initiate terrorism among our citizens.  They are here largely to work.  Whether you agree or not with the current situation of the esimated 11-12 million illegal immigrants living and working among our 300 million American citizens, you have to concede one undeniable economic fact.  Wage cost has stayed low in America in the last 10 years, which has kept inflation low and the U.S. economy very strong.  That has benefitted everyone, and is due in no small part to cheap immigrant labor, whether legal or otherwise.

What is of no small concern is the overburdening of state infrastructures and services through concentration in certain geographic areas, and the lack of state’s responsibility to register and record and collect taxes from these visitors.  Instead, states have allowed them to receive drivers licenses in order to increase fee income, while ignoring the larger needs of their communities.  To be sure, a portion of this is addressed in payment of state and local sales tax, but illegal immigrants skirt property tax payments which support local schools, and income taxes which pay for essential state services.  They also skip payment on insurance, which means the liability for accident and/or health is passed along to the citizens who pay.  Employers hire illegal immigrants in many sectors of the economy, and so avoid health care and benefits cost that are parenthetically also passed along to the rest of the paying community of American workers.  It is no wonder people are fed up, and it is no wonder that the frustration is coming out in unattractive racial slurs.

However, conservatives are failing to realize several areas of concern.  Failing to do so may mean another type of “alien” they do not wish to see.  It may mean the block of conservative hispanic voters who previously voted largely Republican feel “alienated” from the party and opt en masse to vote for Democratic candidates who we all know love to promise a bottomless bowl of state and federal benefits that translate into higher taxes.  People, we can win the battle here and lose the war.  It isn’t smart politics.  Throughout this blog, you will see me use the term “smart”.  I like that term.  As a woman in the highly-competitive field of investment banking for thrity years, I am pragmatic.  I like what works and what is “smart”.  So let me get right to that.

What is “smart” is to first register immigrants who are here illegally and invite new ones who come in looking for work to register.  Non-compliance would mean immediate deportation.  Either you register and pay state and local property taxes, insurance, and pay for health care, and you also register with the INS and pay federal withholding taxes, or you don’t work in our country.  Period.  We need less Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services beauracracy.  We need a streamlined method of allowing these immigrants to become legal guest workers.  By now, I can almost hear the screaming and jumping up and down by those who feel threatened by the “flood of illegals” who will now come here with this policy.  To that I would say, “What are the consequences of being caught now”?  We need to eliminate “catch and release”.  We don’t need a fence nearly as much as we need cost-effective, pay-as-you-work tolerance for workers from Mexico.  You don’t want to compete with them for jobs?  Well, then I assume you didn’t finish high school and you have my sympathy in that regard.  Those are the jobs illegal immigrants have.  Price yourself accordingly.  We should fine employers who don’t comply with hiring only registered workers,  and do it on a sliding scale for those who are caught more than once.  If we let the free market economy here in America do its work, it will become too costly to keep hiring illegal workers.  Those who don’t want to pay into the system either won’t come here, or they won’t be here long.

Another area of serious concern is that this polarizing issue is eclipsing areas of more serious concern on the national front, especially that of the War on Terror.  As conservatives, we simply cannot allow that to happen.  The illegal immigration problem is not serious enough to warrant such prolonged outcry and defamation of the leadership of the Republican party.  Further, if you think liberal Democrats will help more in this area, then check their history on immigration and especially recent voting with regard to immigration reform.

 Conservatives, either your complaint is what you  say it is, in that you want to see illegal immigrants pay for the services and infrastructure they are cherry picking out of our country of abundance, or your complaint is based in a more serious and wrong form of racist elitism.  We cannot narcissistically insist on only American workers, because we are capitalists, and corporations and employers are well-advised to look for cost savings in labor (which is their largest cost) within the entire spectrum of the global economy.  As conservatives, we should take a step back and look at the big picture of a fully-productive American economy and all it has afforded us and be thankful for our free economic opportunity.  We should stop the insulting language that is both distracting and counterproductive.  And we should keep in perspective the difficulty of others whose desire for a better life is no different from the one showcased in most of our own family albums.

By Smart

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7 Responses to “Fear of “Aliens”?”

  1. Dean's World Says:

    Rightosphere Revolution of Conscience Continues

    I am proud of people who call themselves conservatives, or even, right-siders. I may lean center left, and I didn’t vote Bush, but I’ve never been stupid enough to think that the conservatives were all reprehensible degenerate mo…

  2. Jarhead Says:

    Smart:
    Excellent post. You’ve actually made me re-think a few things, or more specifically, made clearer my own thoughts and fears on the immigration issue. Thanks for addressing this issue.

    Isis:
    I still maintain my deep mistrust as you know from my own experiences. I do want to say however, that I admire your convictions as a human being.
    I look forward to reading and learning more from you both.

  3. smartandfinalisis Says:

    Thank you to Jarhead for the kinds words regarding “Fear of Aliens”.

    To answer Sam’s question on mortgage insurance, yes in your case I think it is a good idea. Particularly in view of what is happening in the housing market. Similar to liability insurance on an automobile, it’s something that at this point, you can’t afford NOT to do. Later, when housing comes back and your LTV is lower, you can drop the mortgage insurance.

  4. jh Says:

    Before I leave I wanted to comment here. Kudos to another great post. THe immigration issue has been one that have pleaded conservatives to use their heads on. Its is apparent that many did not.

    Again this is a issue that quite frankly offended me how it was handled. I have never been bashed so much just for saying the word “compromise”. There is much more to why this issue played out the way it did that meets the eye. What is ironic is that Bush will resubit his plan for comprehensive Immigration reform. If there is a Democrat controlled house then the “my way or the highway no compromise folks” that keep squacking AMNESTY like a deranged parrot will wish they had compromised with the President

  5. C.S. Says:

    Excellent post and I do come late. However I did want to point out that the illegal immigrant issue is also colored by the diminishing pressure on immigrants (leagal or otherwise) to assimilate into American culture.
    When viewed in conjunction with the “reconquista” movement (readily visable at immigration rallies, though not in the press) fueled by the Mexican education system, which teaches that America “stole” the west and southwest some light is shed upon the “we’re being invaded” mentality. After all, it is difficult to say that we’re not being invaded, when viewing signs proclaiming their holders to be conquistadors.

  6. ConsrvYank1 Says:

    smartso,

    It would be very difficult, if not impossible to argue any of your points in your “Fear Of Aliens” article. I, for one am not going to try. What I will do though is to try and get over my prejudices and keep a more open mind.

  7. Smart Says:

    C.S., you’re always going to have a few loons in the pond. Those people holding up signs are like Dallas Cowboys fans. They’re living in yesterday. The truth of the matter is closer than you might know to what you said, however. The Pew Hispanic Center backs up your assertion that hispanic immigrants are not quick to learn English or assimilate into our culture. They need to do a much better job in this area, and my contention is that requiring them to pay withholding and local taxes will mean they feel much more willing to make those efforts.

    Thanks for the kind words, ConsrvYank1 and I hope to see you here again soon!

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