Saturday, April 07, 2018

Three Easy Steps to Ending Illegal Immigration

As readers of Another Opinion are well aware, I write often about the issue of illegal immigration, of which there are approximately some 11 million currently in this country. Also, as readers of Another Opinion know, I have no issues with origin, ethnic groups, gender, race or even the religion (or lack thereof) of anyone, let alone immigrants. Frankly, I don't care. America is a nation of immigrants. Immigrants are what built this nation; however, we are also a nation based on laws. Like the majority of Americans, I have an issue with those whose first act in coming to America is to break the law. I have to wonder what kind of person is this---someone who wants to come to America for whatever reason, but does not want to take the time or even interest in applying for the right to do so? So, I've come up with three easy steps to help eliminate our current problems with illegal immigration. Of course, more can and should be done, but these are a good start.

Illegal immigrants literally sneak in our country like the proverbial "thief in the night". Then, they prey on the sympathy (or gullibility) of others to provide shelter for them, and of course the eventual job--often in some low paying occupation without benefits or recourse in the event of poor working conditions or abuse (exactly as their employer intends). Many hide behind the shield of some church or religious institution, thinking that no Mayor, Chief of Police, or federal agency would dare come into and arrest them. After all, they are under the "protection of God" or are on "holy ground", and so forth. For the most part, they're right. If they can be smuggled into one of these religious shelters, they are for the most part "safe". Of course, going out or leaving is dangerous. Once they step foot outside (and especially off the property), they're fair game.

Many, if not the majority of these institutions, aid these individuals in finding ways around our various laws, be it how to get healthcare without paying for it, finding work, or getting the children registered and enrolled in school on the taxpayer's dollar. These individuals see no harm in what they're doing. They justify it by claiming that they are acting "humanly" or doing this "for God" or "for Jesus" or some imagined highly moralistic goal decided on behalf of everyone by a few...or the one.

As religious institutions, churches and so forth are tax exempt. They are exempt for no particular legalistic or professional reason. They are exempt because our society has a certain level of respect for religion and accords these institutions the privilege---not the right---to be exempt from paying taxes. At the same time, these religious organizations demand that government stay out of their business, which is fair enough. The government shouldn't be involved in religious issues.

However, how should government respond when a church or tax exempt religious organization involves itself in politics? What should it's response be? What should the government do when any non-exempt institution doesn't just encourages others to break the law, but actively aids in the breaking of the law, and then aids in the violation of other laws? Should the government do nothing; ignore it? That would just make the situation worse since it conveys a message that the law shouldn't be taken seriously and that there's no consequences in breaking the law by any of the parties. As a result, no action simply encourages more of the same, except in greater numbers.

Instead, perhaps it's time that the individuals behind these groups be treated as the adults they are and who should take full responsibility for their actions. Thus, any tax-exempt organization---be it a church, mosque, synagogue, or whatever should lose their tax-exempt status. Perhaps for the first offense, their tax-exempt status should be revoked for six months; 12 months for the second offense.

Finally, for the third offense, it should be permanently revoked. For any of these organizations which has a board of directors or steering committee, anyone associated with the offending organization that has had its tax-exempt status permit pulled, should be prohibited from serving on any other board of intuition with is tax-exempt for the same time frame. Yes, many of these organizations already have a tough time finding individuals (especially those with any experience) to serve on these boards, but shouldn't there also be a strong penalty imposed as well? After all, these board members likely approved the motion to engage in this illegal activity. Shouldn't they be held responsible for their actions too?

What about employers? If it wasn't for demand, there wouldn't be a ready supply. Many of these illegal immigrants find employment in low end jobs which typically don't have any benefits. Jobs for these individuals often include working on farms, racetracks (horse as well as dog), hotel/motel, laundry, sanitation, restaurants (especially ethnic), maid/cleaning services, construction labor, and landscaping. In some cases, the better jobs have unions, but in most cases they don't. A number of illegal immigrants find themselves working in sweatshops under near servitude-like conditions. The hours are long. The pay is poor, and often is piecework. Restroom breaks are strictly controlled...and limited. The work conditions are often unsanitary and unsafe, but what can they do? Report the employer to OSHEA or some other government authority? That would likely cause the employer to shut down (often to reopen somewhere else later) and the arrest of the employees, or leaving them unemployed again.

Of course, that's what the employer is counting on. The average individual is going to risk it. Besides, most of these individuals didn't bother to learn English, nor do they even a basic understanding of our laws, and even if they did, they have more to risk than the employer! It is illegal to knowingly hire an illegal immigrant, but it's often difficult to prove whether the employer knew they were doing so. Most claim that they never asked for proof of citizenship or that the nature of the job would make doing so impractical, which was usually a good argument until E-Verify was introduced several years ago. Now, it's quite easy to verify anyone's immigration status, so there's no real excuse anymore.

Secondly, if someone wants to work here, it's relatively easy to apply for and receive a temporary work permit (a "green card"). This is what most who are employed in farm do. Typically this is seasonal work to begin work (though not always), so those wanting to come to America to work apply ahead of time and simply enter the US legally to seek and obtain employment, which is as it should be. However, it's those too lazy to apply which makes it hard on those who actually do the right thing. It's also those who, after their card has expired, decide to remain in the country illegal, which, again, makes it tough on those trying to do the right thing.

So, although there's a financial fine for those businesses who hire illegal immigrants, it has little real effect. As I said earlier, often these businesses pop up somewhere else and business continues as before. The best solution would be immediately suspending their business license. As suggested previously, the first offense would be for six months. One year for the second offense, and permanent for the third offense. All those associated with the business, such as the owners and/or board members should be fined per illegal employee reported. The first offense should be $500 per individual, rising to $1000 per individual for the second occasion, and $1500 for the third offense. In addition, president or directing officer and the individual involved with hiring should face an additional year in jail with the third offense.

In addition, all officers and boards should be prohibited from serving on any other board for a period of five years and may not be employed by any company that does business with the federal or state government if that government receives any federal funds (which is pretty much all of them). The penalty is intentionally harsh. This is serious business, and not only are they breaking federal law, they are also potentially endangering the lives of their employees regardless of whether they're here illegally or not.

Now we come to perhaps the most onerous of violators in my opinion---city, county, and state governments which have declared themselves to be "sanctuaries". These taxpayer funded governments have decided that they don't approve of the existing immigrant laws, and thus can simply ignore it; effectively exempting themselves. The majority have gone further and chosen not just to ignore the law, but actively aide the illegal immigrant in evading federal authorities and refusing to cooperate with federal authorities in any way.

Typically, these governments acted on self-appointed mandates and not on popular consent of the voters. Some governments---particularly cities---pull back from declaring themselves as "sanctuaries", and instead, declare that they are "open" , and thus order their taxpayer paid employees not cooperate with federal authorities and not to ask or take any information regarding an individual's legal status for any reason. Louisville Kentucky is one of those cities where employees have been instructed not to question anyone's legal status or accept any information regarding their legal status. They are also encouraged not to cooperate with federal authorities such as ICE.

I think what I find so reprehensible about these so-called "sanctuary" governments is that, on the one hand, they brazenly flaunt their refusal to follow federal law (which, by the way, supersedes local or state laws), and yet expect no repercussions for their actions. Frankly, I thought that issue concerning what states could and couldn't do vis-à-vis the federal government was resolved back in '65...1865 to be exact! Wasn't that what the Civil War was all about---the authority local and state governments versus that of the federal government? Judging by their actions, I guess not!

So, my recommendations are really quite simply and avoid the likelihood of another Civil War (at least for the time being). If the mayors and governors sincerely believe they have the right to ignore laws they disagree with, then so be. First, all federal funding to these locations should stop immediately. If they are unwilling to even cooperate with federal authorities, then they should not receive any federal funds. Period. They can't and shouldn't have it both ways. If these governments run short (and they will), then too bad. Let these mayors and governors explain to their residents, whose approval they failed to obtain in the first place, why they chose to endanger and/or inconvenience them in exchange for what? Another term? Perhaps then the people will give them their answer at the polls in the next election.

As for those governors who've taken the extra step to refuse to cooperate in allowing "their" national guard units to be called up for border duty, they need to remember that the President of the United States can require the national guard to attend to any duty they are so ordered to. Secondly, if a governor is going to defy the President on an issue such as this, then I think they automatically should lose all federal funding immediately as well as face a suspension of government contracts issued to companies in their state. Yes, it could hurt a lot of people, but maybe even just the threat of it might just be the type of pressure that needs to be put on any such self-righteous governor.

I think there's something else we need to consider as well. With the willingness of mayors and governors to defy sitting presidents anytime something comes up that they disagree with, what does that say about the United States itself? We are being divided on all fronts---politically, racially, gender, and even along religious lines. We have in this country a media network which are owned by just six corporations and are solely dedicated to deciding what is or isn't news, and then spinning or manipulating it in order create a certain impression or conclusion.

We have a "domestic" terrorist attack or mass shooting, followed by a call for restricting or removing guns from the public ownership almost on cue. We have an increasing surveillance state with ever closer ties between the public state and the corporate state. We've long been a country with a revolving door between the corporations and the government, except that now that revolving door has been replaced by an escalator. There already exists a "us vs. them" mentality in this country; a duality between the political/corporate class and those of us in "flyover country". Congress is not just a millionaire's club, it's a multi-millionaire's club. Laws passed Congress don't apply to them, just us.

Since the passage of Citizen's United, corporations can come out in the open and buy the government they want---be it Democrat or Republican---it doesn't matter, at least not to them. We get to choose from pre-vetted candidates; those who've proved their loyalty to the corporate state; the Oligarchy. They like illegal immigration. It increases the completion for a limited number of jobs. That drives down wages and the need to provide benefits.

With less jobs available and the weakening of unions, a declining quality of life, people are willing to do more for less! As for the "surplus" population of jobseekers, there's always a war or conflict or police action going on somewhere that the US is involved; that's just how an eternal "War on Terror" goes! Besides, both are great for business, and isn't that what matters---that corporate CEO, officers, and stockholders make more money?

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