Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Aliens Among Us... (Part 5)

Too much has been made of the problem and nothing has been done to produce a solution. We have propositions on Long Island to build safe shelters with bathroom services for these workers to gather but others say it condones their illegal activity. President Bush in a rare show of clarity suggested we give many of the illegal immigrants legal status.

“Out of common sense and fairness, our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans are not filling,” President Bush said in 2004. (Although this has been considered by some his election year pandering to the Latino vote.)

Nevertheless, this statement shows how deep the immigrant problem has become ingrained into the national consciousness. We recognize two problems that even President Bush can see. The first problem is that we have millions of undocumented workers already here in the United States and the other is that they are providing a vital service in our economy by filling jobs American’s are not willing to do.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, in 2004, there was an average of  5.5% unemployment rate with 8.1 million people unemployed. According to the American Immigrant Law Foundation (AILF) there are an estimated 8 to 10 million undocumented workers in the United States right now with about 58% of them from Mexico, 20% from Central America and the other 20% or so from other countries. In 1996 the average unemployment rate was 5.6% and 7.2 million workers were unemployed. In that year it was estimated that there were about 5 million undocumented workers. Over the last ten years the immigration problem has done nothing but increase and become more volatile while the unemployment rate in America has not changed much at all.

According to a study by Dr. Donald Huddle, a Rice University economics professor, in 1996 the estimated net cost to American tax payers for illegal aliens was about $20 billion dollars annually. Since the population has roughly doubled since then, the costs can have said to go up by twice that amount. Of course in a study produced by the Center For American Progress the cost over five years to deport the current population of illegal immigrants effectively would be about $206 Billion. That exceeds the current budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) broken down annually. ($41 Billion annually for the deportation initiative verses $34.2 Billion annually for the DHS)

In 1985, the year I took on my first construction job and befriended a new culture, the average unemployment rate was at 7.2% and 8.3 million workers were unemployed. The best estimates for undocumented workers in the United States in that year (1985) is about 3 million persons, 55% being from Mexico, according to U.S. Census reports which did not specifically count illegal aliens. In the past twenty years, the total civilian labor force (employed and unemployed) went from 115.5 million in 1985 to 147.4 million in 2004.

Since 1986 we’ve lowered the unemployment rate for Americans, increased the civilian workforce, and taken on more illegal immigrants to do our labor jobs. In that respect the immigrants are not necessarily taking away jobs from Americans. So that’s not the root of the problem. In our effort to stem the tide of illegal aliens the number of Boarder Patrol officers maintaining the U.S.-Mexican border has tripled in the years between 1986 and 2002.

(To Be Continued)

5 comments:

The Phoenix said...

I wonder how much of a drain illegals put on, say, the hospitals near the border. We've all heard stories about pregnant women crossing the border in order to have their baby delivered in the U.S. - and we're all footing the bill.

Can I really blame them though? Not really. I would want the best for my unborn child as well.

But objectively, how much is that costing our country?

ObilonKenobi said...

I expect that this puts a great drain financially on our hospitals and ultimately the American Tax Payers. The problem, as I stated lies not with America or the Border Patrol but with the originating countries. America as a leader in this hemisphere needs to get out of places like Iraq and into our own backyard.

momr said...

Hi,
It seems to me the people living here hiring these workers are causing the problem.
Key to the problem is low wages and no health care. The wokers pay no taxes. Therefore, they are paid off the books. Therefore, private companies;employers don't pay the taxes they should.
I recall something about unions. I don't know if the Republicans have broken all of the unions or are their still Carpenter, Electrical,Labor Unions? If there is how do you get into one?

I have no problem with them working,have them pay taxes. The whole thing is a farse. I hate repeating this comment made by an official in Mexico... but, "Why shouldn't Mexicans work the jobs that the blacks won't?" I believe it to be a racial statement but is it true???
The bottom line is $$$$$$$

ObilonKenobi said...

It's hard to get undocumented workers to pay taxes. I think that would be part of GW's plan. (Leave it to the Republicans to come up with a plan that seems like it's humanitartian but has exploitation at its roots.) I think again that the problem lies in places like Mexico.

While the Mexican president was wrong to put his statement that way I think I know what he was getting at. For a long time the African Americans have been the most poverty striken race. Much like the Irish were in NYC for many years in the 1800s. Mexicans have now replaced the African Americans as the most poor. The most uneducated. If that's what he means then I think the Mexican president needs to look inward at hos own country and their policies. Why is it that so many Latin Americans come from their countries to ours for health care and jobs.

I know why. It's the same reason that the Fundamentalist Islamics are trying to destroy us. It's because we are free and we offer an opportunity for everyone to work and suceed. Anyone who doubts that need only to switch places with an Arab woman or a Latino man from Central America. Then you will know what it really means to not have any opportunity. Or even better anyone working in one of those overseas sweatshop factories for pennies a day in Southeast Asia.

It is sad to think that we are besieged by terrorists and undocumented workers draining our society of the greatness that is the United States. Here in my post I try to point out the problem and make people think. I had my own personal experience with these people and it happened to be favoriable. Unfortunately it is not so for everyone. Unfortunately there are very many bad people out there.

Perhaps we should look back and try to remember what we originally though when we had the the idea of Pan Americanism. We should try to heal old wounds in this area of the world and try to help those nations rise above so that they don't loose their best workers to America.

Anonymous said...

At a rate of 6-10 million per year (is that correct !!)illegal immigrants continue to cross into our country seeking jobs. My question is this, our job base is not infinite. When jobs at any level become scarce, were and what will these people do to survive ? I have to believe this may be a huge problem in the not to distant future. Is scary to think of a homeless rate skyrocketing.