Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Illegal Aliens: So What is the Real Problem?

A few weeks ago, John Stossel did a report on illegal immigration and the huge amount of taxpayer dollars that flow into dealing with it. Today, he’s posted a column where he summarizes the report.

While the overall report is a fair assessment of the waste of the use of taxpayer dollars when dealing with illegal aliens, he does not address the source of the problem that causes illegal aliens in the first place. There are many reasons for illegal aliens coming to this great nation, but I think the primary reason is because the government has put up way too many roadblocks and procedures for becoming a legal resident.

At my last job, a Russian immigrant was hired to work for use shortly before I left. The company I worked for promised to pay for his legal fees associated with acquiring permanent residency here. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of $4000. This is because it takes a legal firm to fill out the application that is submitted to the State department or whatever agency deals with this kind of thing (there’s so many, no one but lawyers really know).

This is the crux of the matter. Government agencies have put so many rules and regulations with regard to immigration, that most illiterate Mexican laborers would rather just simply cross the border and risk starvation in the desert than go through bureaucratic red tape. And yes, many of them are illiterate or at least cannot sign their own name. I know this because I’ve seen them in a bank “signing” with a fingerprint when depositing money at their bank.

So what should be done? I really think that we should simplify the immigration checks and make it more efficient. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to happen because there are so many interest groups who want to have their piece of the pie when it comes to immigration. For one thing, a lot of companies don’t want highly skilled workers coming here and working in white collar jobs. This is because they’ll have to pay them more than if they simply outsourced the projects. Another group would be the lawyers themselves who prepare the applications for the various visas.

There is very little that can be done with regards to immigration in terms of background checks. Most of the time, foreign government information can be unreliable. The best we can do with that is to let them report to us their most wanted criminals, regardless of the circumstance, and honor their wishes. Sure, we can have asylum proceedings in some cases, especially when the crime is more political, but those will probably be rare. In most cases, we’ll just have to deny whole regions based on their government’s hostility to us. This is unfortunate, but at the same it is necessary to prevent terrorism. It would also encourage people from those areas to fix their own country.

The only other consideration is the spread of diseases, which is not checked out enough from what I understand. Blood samples should be taken from every candidate and tested for various diseases. We cannot allow people with serious diseases come here and infect everyone else. It’s a serious public hazard.

Lastly, we need to seriously enforce visa expirations. If the FBI contributed to this, we would get a lot done. Legal residents need to be given a 60-day notice that their Visa is going to expire in two months and they need to renew it or leave the country. If they don’t leave, we’ll track them down and deport them back to their nation.

This is a great nation. I have no qualms with foreigners coming here and contributing to the nation, regardless of what they end up doing (from working railroads to building decks to writing software). But I have problems with how our government has handled immigration and the dangerous environment they have created as a result. Many of the people I work with are immigrants (I think) and they are law-abiding citizens. I am sure that this applies to the majority of legal US residents and naturalized citizens. I’m fairly positive that besides coming here or staying here illegally, many illegal aliens are decent people as well. But we need a government that enforces the law rather than allows criminals to run free.

I do not expect Obama to do anything meaningful about this however.