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Immigration Common Sense

Newt Gingrich had an article in National Review Online yesterday in which he argued for an honest approach on immigration. His ideas make a lot of sense, unlike the current immigration reform bills in congress which are essentially amnesty-lite.

Here are some highlights of Newt's article:

First, it is essential to understand how big and how serious this problem is.


Second, it is equally essential to understand how big the changes will have to be to really solve the problem.

Third, it is important to follow a logical set of sequential, sustainable solutions that build a momentum that over time will result in a rational and orderly immigration policy acceptable to a majority of the American people.

Getting there is a matter of national survival both in immediate and in the long-term.

Those in congress and the president don't seem to care about this sequential concept at all. They are moving head long into a guest worker program while ignoring our borders for political expediency. What they are doing is simply political instant gratification.

The following steps will get us to immigration reform that, I believe, the American people can live with.

First, control the borders with decisive legislation aggressively implemented with tight deadlines. Once we have stopped the illegal flow of people we will have demonstrated the seriousness necessary to gain both the credibility and the leverage needed to implement the next steps. Fortunately, a bipartisan consensus has emerged that securing the borders is indeed priority number one. Three national leaders have it right in their shared view that border control is the first step. Senator Frist is exactly right when he wrote recently that "to build confidence among Americans and Congress that the government takes border security seriously, we have to act to help get the border under control right now." Senator Clinton is also right when she recently recognized the need for a "smart fence" along the border to enhance security. And Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is also correct when he said last week that "the first thing we want is tough border control."


Accordingly, the Congress should pass a border-control bill immediately. There is no reason the Congress cannot immediately pass such a bill, and then concentrate on additional immigration reform measures later. The Congress should immediately act on this one aspect of immigration reform around which there is widespread agreement. America needs real border control immediately.

Second, establish patriotic integration and the primacy of English (English first, not English only) combined with a requirement that Americans can only vote in American elections and applicants for citizenship have to select where their loyalty is.

Third, establish real enforcement against unlawful employment by employers and especially against employers who are breaking both immigration and taxation laws. Make clear that the dishonest hiring and tax evasion of the last two decades are over and there will be expensive penalties for people who break American immigration law. Insist that cities enforce the law or lose their federal funding. All this can be done with the right incentives and without rounding up anyone.

Fourth, establish an outsourced worker visa program with a biometric identity card, a background check, and a 24/7 computerized real time verification capability so no business can claim ignorance. Permit businesses to send workers home to apply for their worker visa as a deductible business expense. Eliminate the fly-by-night subcontractor shams that are clearly set up to evade the law. Maximize the opportunity and the incentives for people who are here to return home and become legal.

This makes complete sense. It allows us to stop the flow of illegals, offering us more success in implementing a workable guest worker program.

Newt concludes his piece with this:

As we transform our immigration system from a dishonest to an honest one, it is understandable that those living and working here illegally -- especially those who have lived and worked here illegally for a long period of time -- would be anxious and fearful about the future. While our two-decade-long failure does not mean that we are required to maintain a dishonest system, it does mean that must have a humanitarian period of transition as we replace an illegal channel of immigration with a legal one.

There is a huge difference between a cautious limited policy of integrating the people attracted by a dishonest and shameful policy (the deliberate cultivation of illegality over the last 20 years) and amnesty which will only reinforce the message of the dishonest past and create a wave of people who will continue to pour in expecting the continuation of the yesterday's failed policies.

If lawmakers can agree to the first four steps we have plenty of time to think through and work out the details of a humane, compassionate, and legitimate process of patriotic integration for people who were lured to America by an incompetent government and lawbreaking businesses and who do not deserve to bear the full brunt of popular anger at such dishonest and hypocritical policies.

If the American people see that their leaders are serious and determined to control the border then create an effective worker-visa program along with a comprehensive program of patriotic integration into American civilization they will be much more supportive of a program for helping those with deep connections to America find their legal place in American society.

Most Americans understand why people risk their lives, either through the desert or on rafts, to get to America. They desperately want opportunity and prosperity for themselves and their families. However, we are doing our citizens and the immigrants who are following the law to citizenship a great disservice if the current guest worker plan is made law.

Ed Morrissey has commentary on Newt's immigration ideas. Here's a portion:

Gingrich takes the position that many of us hoped our President would support as chief executive -- enforcing the law and creating a credible and secure border. He doesn't support a full border barrier, but wants to put barriers in the high-traffic areas and deploy high-tech surveillance in the remaining gaps. I support that as an interim to building a complete barrier, but at least it provides a start.

Alexandra at All Things Beautiful writes about a comment she received in Spanish that said Americans need to get used to reading Spanish as it will be a recognized language in this country in a few years.

Previous:

Whose National Anthem Is It?
Democrats Kill Immigration Reform While Courting Immigrant Vote
Democrats Recruiting at Illegal Immigrant Protests
Massive Immigrant Protest Scheduled for Monday
Immigration Compromise Collapse: Bloggers React
The 1965 Immigration Act


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Comments (24)

Gingrich offers rhetoric, b... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Gingrich offers rhetoric, but no solutions.

"First, control the borders with decisive legislation aggressively implemented with tight deadlines. Once we have stopped the illegal flow of people we will have demonstrated the seriousness necessary to gain both the credibility and the leverage needed to implement the next steps. Fortunately, a bipartisan consensus has emerged that securing the borders is indeed priority number one. Three national leaders have it right in their shared view that border control is the first step...." (snip)

Yes, Newt, we all agree that the borders need to be secured - but you haven't offered any solutions as to how to go about doing that!?!?!

We all recogonize the problem amigo - we just needs solutions, not rhetoric.

You know, if the Democrats ... (Below threshold)

You know, if the Democrats really wants to impeach Bush so bad, they certainly have their opportunity. His refusal to enforce border security would certainly fall under the U.S. Constitution's definition of what deserves impeachment. Of course, such a political move would require said Democrats to take a tough stand against illegal immigration, even if it's only verbally. That - at least in their minds - would cost them votes. I'm sure impeaching Bush over immigration and border patrol would cost the Democrats at least part of their base - or so they think.

So which do they want more - Bush gone or a loyal political base? My, my, what a dilemma!

You want a solution to ille... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

You want a solution to illegal immigration? OK, here's one in just 33 words: Pass a law that says "anyone residing in the United States illegally is outside the law and may not claim the protection of the laws of the United States or of any State."

See how long they stay when they can't make or enforce a contract, or get any government services, or even be recognized in a court of law.

"THE WORLD HAS CHANG... (Below threshold)
Caring Human:


"THE WORLD HAS CHANGED IN THE PAST DECADE!!

About Jobs taken by the SO called " Illegal Immigrants take from "Americans , this is not true, I had many Americans not wanting to work in my warehouse, for minimum wage, that is all that I could be give, due to competition from aboard, mainly the far east.

It is not the poor Illegal that comes to feed their family across the border for 4 bucks and hour, ( also if you pay 35 bucks and hour to for picking lettuce, think how much it would cost you to eat ?) then you would blame the government. Stop blaming either the government or the immigrant. Each person is to blame for their own success or failure. I am a Immigrant that came here Legally, I owned a corporation before I even landed in JFK, and my corporation employed 70 Americans. My question is simple, Show me an American willing to work for minimum wage?

The Corporations have outsourced the jobs overseas because of one thing, COMPETATION " HERE IS A SMALL BREAK DOWN, The countries in Asia basin are trading within themselves, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand etc.. Europe, has UNIFIED and are trading within themselves, they have even made their monetary system unified the EURO Dollar. The Arab nation started dealing within their own countries, what's left is Africa who is a poor nation economically, They have many natural resources, yet they have to learn to come together and start using their natural resources. Then there is our Good Old USA:) Which I LOVE AND WILL GIVE MY LIFE FOR

. We cant compete because the Corporations are forced to show profits and meet the estimates on their stocks every 12 weeks, which dose not give them a long term investment strategy, the labor costs are high, heating, insurance, social security, the unions, leasing, Research & Devlopment, production costs are high, advertising, state, city and local taxes, Payroll, by the time the corporation finishes paying all these , there is nothing left to show as Profits, SO WHY SHOULD THE CORPORATION KEEP FACTORIES IN USA?? SHOW ME ONE GOOD REASON ? heck, Even FORD is closing factories and moving them overseas, that is what's HURTING AMERICA, "NOT" THE POOR MINIMUM WAGE IMMIGRANT,

There must be a change in our own perception, First We the People must be willing to roll up our sleeves and do what's needed to bring back our Nation on track, which might include, , learning the skills for today's job requirements, Learning skills that employers look for when they bring in one million Professionals every year.

What Can WE DO to KEEP Those 1 Million jobs here? moving to another state, Relearning new Skills,etc.. How can America start its new journey into the New 21 St century and be competitive? This is what we should concentrate on as a Nation. We have lost our world market shares and now need to Regain it FAST, Which will not be easy. Fighting over Immigration is not the answer to Americas woes, Building the proper Economic infrastructure for competing with the upcoming world economies, China, India, Europe. I know this that anyone that wants a minimum wage job will always find it. Those that want job security are looking at pink clouds, Those days are gone. THERE IS A FEARCE WORLD COMPETATION From upcoming nations that have over a billion low wage workers.

We must the realities of TODAYS ECONOMICS and stop blaming others and other nations for hurting our economy, THE WORLD HAS CHANGED IN THE PAST DECADE!! Lets Stop The HATRED,We are a NAtion Of Compassion, Lets not forget that, and start looking for solutions. "

I dont think they could do ... (Below threshold)
John Kerry:

I dont think they could do without Bush? He,s the only political issue they have, they are vacant of any ideas at all and only seem to function in a Bush fault/hate Bush mode.

We must Look the realities ... (Below threshold)
Caring Human:

We must Look the realities of TODAYS ECONOMICS and stop blaming others and other Nations for hurting our economy.

THE WORLD HAS CHANGED IN THE PAST DECADE!! Lets Stop The HATRED, We are a Nation Of Compassion, Lets not forget that, and start looking for solutions and stop blaming the "illegal Immigrants that pick our Food. otherwise we will pay very dearly for the food in teh future when the farmers will not be able to find the low wage employees to pick YOUR FOOD.


The problem with Congress' ... (Below threshold)
lakestate:

The problem with Congress' and Bush's solution to securing the boarder is that they have it backwards. Newt is right - secure the border first - then work on a solution for the illegals, no matter what it may be. The problem I have other than not securing the borders is - what about the people that have been going through the proper and LEGAL channels to become citizens (some over 11 years?) Have we forgotten them? Why is it the liberals (in most cases) have the tendency to look after the "rights" of those who have broken the laws, rather than those who abide by them?

Bush is a great President,r... (Below threshold)
Caring Human:

Bush is a great President,reminds me of the time people laughed at President Regan ! later on they saw what a Great President he was, .
only follies follow "Lou Dobbs" of CNN. They have no inclination of economics, and today's World Market Globalization & Econimics.
They Shout Mid class America. What is Mid class America? If We do not wake up as a nation and invest in RIGHT NOW in our Higher Education, we will become a 2nd class nation, the Far east & Asia BAsin are graduating more Scientists adn higher educated skilled people that USa. We are going to lose our nations Brian power that has kept us to be the # 1 nation in teh world until now, the ball is rolling downhill adn Indai, China, adn many other nations are there , while we still sit on top of the hill and wish that the ball will roll upwarsd defying gravity, Wishful Thinking will not resolve our nations issues. Rolling up our Sleevesa dn doing the needful will.
Bush Inherited the mess left over form the previous administration, the stock market bubble burst, the starting of a recession, the inactivity against terrorists , the towers were bombed in 1993 the first time. In time people will understand that they were follies to think that Bush ruined their"job security" Raised their GAZ prices( We are lucky to have paid so little for so many years while Europe and the far east pay 6 to 8 dollars a gallon) We have turned to a nation of OBESE Complainers, that is a fact.
Each person is FULLY RESPONSIABLE FOR THEIR OWN FININCIAL SECURITY. STOP BLAMING OTHERS,
PS, HERE IS AN IDEA, WHY DONT THE 200,000 MINUTE MEN AND THOSE THAT OPPOSE THE POOR "ILLEGAL" IMMIGRANTS GO TO WORK IN FARMS FOR 4 BUCKS AN HOUR SO WE CAN STILL EAT LOW PRICED FOOD?

Newt Gingrich quoting Hilla... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Newt Gingrich quoting Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean: is this not the definition of "queer"? And should we be looking for blood on the moon, two-headed calves, NASCAR Democrats and other signs of The End, as enumerated in the Gospel of Judas?

Yes, astigafa, it certainly... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Yes, astigafa, it certainly must be a foreign concept to you on the left. It's called reaching out and finding common ground.

Unfortunately, far too many on the left today cannot see past their blind hatred of anyone who disagrees with them.

Secure the borders by fight... (Below threshold)
DolphinOne:

Secure the borders by fighting fire with fire. Use our armed forces to assist border patrol and Minuteman patrols; and mandate local and state law enforcement be used for interior enforcement. Migrate towards a national ID card to be used in all monetary and barter transactions; Reissue all 250-million national ID cards every 120-days.

I liked Newt's article.

Yes indeed, wa-a-a-a-ay out... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Yes indeed, wa-a-a-a-ay out here on the left, just me and Stalin and Freewheelin' Franklin. Che wanted to sit with us, but I told him he was selling too many tee shirts to qualify.

News flash: Sheik Yur Bouty is the Batman of Bombast.

astigafa,I didn't ... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

astigafa,

I didn't say 'wa-a-a-a-ay'. You did.

Freudian slip, perhaps?

First, get the labeling cor... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

First, get the labeling correct; people who are in the U.S. illegally are not immigrants they are insurgents. Second, privatize enforcement. I've laid that out in detail many times and I still believe it's both workable and humane. The focus is on employed insurgents and the reward if for anyone who turns them in including the insurgents themselves. The idea is to dry up jobs and without jobs the vast majority of insurgents will leave the country on their own.

Caring Human makes a fine p... (Below threshold)
Rick:

Caring Human makes a fine point. But I have added a twist. First, please, let's get a grip on who comes in and out of our country. Don't we have this right to have secure borders? Second, America is a very ingenious country. Why can't we support education for foreigners who come here to learn to create corporations and such so that they can bring those ideas and enterprises home to their countries and build up their economies. Instead of exporting jobs we could be growing new opportunities and working relationships with our neighbor countries that need growth. This type of
program would have to involve implementation on the governmental and business levels in the countries involved. The SBA supports small businesses. Well, for instance, successful peoples that run businesses in the U.S. from say
Mexico could form an alliance on a govermental level within the U.S. to promote small businesses in Mexico. Just a thought. Let's turn this thing into a positive.

ONLY YOU ARE FULLY RESPONSI... (Below threshold)
Caring Human:

ONLY YOU ARE FULLY RESPONSIABLE FOR YOUR FININCIAL DESTINY.

Wake up, While were bickering here in USA, The president of China signed a deal with Nigeria for oil:(.

2, What are you doing to ADVANCE? what education have you taken TO HAVE THE SKILL to become a employee that major corporations look for ??

3, People are silly when it comes to FACING THERE OWN REALITY & TRUTHS. They want others to build Corporations, Invest in them, while they DO NOT INVEST IN THEIR OWN HIGHER EDUCATION AND SKILLS??

Simple Question that I have that you can answer yourself is this, Dose your own Father /Mother give you a Paycheck every Friday ? Why then should you expect one from the Government or Employer?
The biggest mistake that many make is Thinking that they are WORTH A LOT MORE, In reality You get paid for what you do. PERIOD.

If you want to truly Advance yourself and your family , maybe start with learning the skills required that Majors look for, I went back to get my Masters when I was a GRANDPA:) I did it for myself because I am Self Employed. So no one has excuses. Period.
If a Poor nation like India can push out more Highly Educated people than USA , Something is broken in the American People, That have no DESIRE to Advance.

If you want to truly advance, get one book that will straighten out your thought process and make you think and TO see yourself in a realistic way,
Dr Napoleon, Hill, Think & Grow Rich Action Pack.
If you don't get this book and learn, then STOP Blaming others & LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AND TELL YOURSELF, THAT YOU HAVE CONCIDEED TO REMAINING A FAILURE. PERIOD.

WE ARE FULLY RESPONSIABLE FOR OUR EARTHLY FININCIAL DESTNIY.
NOW YOU HAVE THE NAME OF THE BOOK, ITS A RAOD MAP THAT WILL ASSIT YOU TO DEFINE YOUR GOAL AND BECOME WHOEVER YOU CHOSE TO, LIKE THIS YOU WILL NOT BE AFRAID OF "OTHERS TAKING YOUR JOB, YOU WILL BE SECURE KNOWING YOURSELF & YOUR TRUE WORTH.

GOOD LUCK :) THIS BOOK ASSISTED ME IN BUILDING MY BUSINESS TO A MAJOR INTERNATIONAL ONE :)

Hmmmm.I will NEVER... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I will NEVER accept that ANY current illegal aliens will be given an AMNESTY.

And if that means I never vote for another goddamn Republican then I can damn well live with that.

Hmmm.Unlike "carin... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Unlike "caring human" I have worked on a frigging farm. I've milked cows, shoveled manure, baled hay and planted/picked goddamn vegetables.

What the f**k is this? Another frigging variation of the "chickenhawk" meme?

Hmmm.@ caring huma... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ caring human

We must Look the realities of TODAYS ECONOMICS and stop blaming others and other Nations for hurting our economy.

Listen up. The reason why these illegal aliens are coming to America and not staying home is that the countries they're originating from are largely **socialist** and have an excessive amount of top-down control over their economies.

This is why Mexico's economy sucks ass in comparison to South Korea's. Twenty-five years ago Mexico and South Korea had comparable economies. Since then South Korea has embraced an open capitalistic economy and have seen it's GDP grow dramatically. Mexico, on the other hand, has sustained barely a couple percentage points of growth per year since that time.

So the frigging issue isn't America, we're not the ones f**king up. The issue are the home countries of these illegal aliens.

...

So you can imagine how unimpressed I am by activism promulgated by people who have lived, and escaped from, a socialist system who are now in America and pushing for the same crap that they escaped from.

Sheik Yur Bouty:<i... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

Sheik Yur Bouty:

I didn't say 'wa-a-a-a-ay'. You did.
Freudian slip, perhaps?

1) That would be "Sheik Yerbouti," if you were the sort of person who could distinguish his butt from a hot rock. 2) If Frank Zappa were here, he'd rip your face off for borrowing one of his gags, and just generally for being a dickhead. 3. What does it matter, "wa-a-a-a-ay" or not? Anyone to the left of you fuckers is just out there -- and that's most of the people in this country, bowb -- a list that includes William F. Buckley and John McCain and whoever else remembers Middle eastern history prior to the Iran hostage crisis, or remembers what the Republican part was up to and most heartily believed at the opening of the WWII.

Gee, that's a lot of concepts to throw at a guy like you; sorry. Ah, the answer is "no." Now get back to the Fryolator; the alarm's going off, and you still have to make those Big Macs.

Hmmm.@ astigafa</p... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

@ astigafa

Frankly I'll leave Sheik Yur Bouty to defend himself, as he's more than able to do so, but if he wasn't trying to rip off Zappa then you're looking pretty much a complete imbecile.

Ed, Screami... (Below threshold)
Caring Human:


Ed, Screaming dose not resolve anything, If you're still shoveling & pickin in a farm, then ask yuorself this, Why are yous till there?? Did You put in the Effort to get higher education adn the Skills needed that will propel you upwards and forward in life to acheive your goals?/ or you left it to others to decide yuor "Income" adn finincial destiny.
There are many Corporations here that are from Aboard and other countries that give work to our people, & pay more taxes than many "Americans".
Getting facts and not assuming is a good thing :)
You do not know what jobs that I have done, :)
The only thing that each person should do is first Educate themselves for their own benefits so each person can achieve their professional & finincial goals:)
Like I said, We are a nation of compassion, that is why we are blessed. EVERYONE INCLUDING YOU & ME ARE/ WERE AN IMMIGRANT AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER.
IF WE FORGET WHO WE ARE WHERE WE CAME FROM, WE WILL NOT SEE OUR FUTURE.
WE MUST TEACH OUR CHILDREN AND OURSELVES TO EXCELL , SO WE CAN COMPETE IN TODAYS GLOBAL MARKET, OR WE WILL LOSE OUR POSITION AS THE # 1 ECONOMY IN THE WORLD IN THE NEXT DECADE.
I DID MY THESIS ON , THE STEEL & AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY & WORLD TRADE 24 YEARS AGO, AND I SAW WHERE OUR NATION WAS HEADED, IT IS EXCTALLY WHATS HAPPENING NOW.

WE ARE LOSING TRADE TO THE , ASIA BASIN, TO UNIFIED EUROPE,AND THE ARAB NATIONS ARE GETTING TOGETHER TO TRADE WITHIN THEM SELVES, WHAT WE WILL HAVE REMAINING, IS THE TRADING PARTNERS IN THE AMERICAS, CANADA TO THE NORTH, AND FY I= MEXICO IS OUR 3 BIGGEST TRADING PARTNER.
I AM NOT FOR PEOPLE RUNNING ACROSS BORDERS, I AM FOR REBUILDING OUR ECONOMY SO WE CAN REMAIN A FININCIAL POWER WHICH WE ARE LOSING TO CHINA,INDIA & EUROPE THAT HAVE SLOWED IMPORTING FORM USA.

DEAR ED CHINA IS THE BIGGEST OWNER OF OUR TREASURY BONDS, THEY ARE THE BIGGEST LENDERS OF USA. IF TOMMROW THEY CALL IN THEIR LOANS, USA IS BANKRUPT. THAT IS A HUGE PERIOD.

WE ARE NOT WHAT WE ONCE WERE.
WERE LOSING TO INDIA THEY ARE PUTTING A GREAT EMPHAISIS ON EDUCATION SPECIALLY GEARED TO THE NEW ERA OF MARKET GLOBLAZATION IN THE WORLD ECONOMIES. THIS IS WHATS BOTHERING ME, NOT THE LETTUCE PICKER THAT IS KEEPING MY FOOD AT A LOW COST.
FYI, TYSON FOOD EXPORTS TO THE WORLD , MOST OF THEIR EMPLOYEES ARE "THE POOR LOW WAGE 4 BUCKS ADN HOUR WORKER, THEY SUPPORT EXPORTS, TYSON SELLS TO RUSSIA 695 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR OF CHICKENS , THOSE SAME CHICKENS ARE GROWN IN USA FARMS, TRANSPORTED IN USA, SLAUGHTRED IN USA, AND THEN SOLD TO RUSSIA, AND THEY ASLO SELL TO MANY OTHER COUNTRIES, WITHOUT THESE LOW WAGE WORKERS, TYSON WILL NOT BE ABLE TO COMPETE WITH OTHER COUNTRIES THAT HAVE A BILLION LOW WAGE WORKERS , AND THEN YOULL ASLO LOSE THE 695 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR THAT USA GETS FROM EXPORTS ,AND TRADE DEFICIT WILL GROW EVEN BIGGER?
LIKE OUR PRESIDENT SAID, WE HAVE TO GET OFF THE OIL, GET HIGHER EDUCATION AND START BUILDING OUR FUTURE WORKFORCE TO WITHSTAND THE UPCOMING PRESSURES FROM CHINA, INDIA, THE FAR EAST AND EUROPE.
TODAYS WARS ARE FOUGHT ECONOMICALLY. IF WE ARM OURSELVES WITH A HIGHER EDUCATED WORKFORCE, WE WILL REMAIN #1.
PS, I PAY TWICE AS MUCH TO PRODUCE MY PRODUCTS IN USA, I CAN GET THE SAME FOR 50% LESS FROM CHINA.
I DO NOT KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER I CAN KEEP THIS UP, IN THE END THE MARKETPLACE WILL DICTATE TO ME WHERE TO PRODUCE AND BUY FROM, SO I WONT HAVE CLOSE MY CORPORATION AND SEND HOME ALL THE EMPLOYEES. RIGHT NOW IM THE BIGGEST PATRIOT AND EVERY THING I USE IS MADE IN USA. HAVE A GREAT DAY.

THIS IS WHAT MIGHT & WILL ... (Below threshold)
Caring Human:

THIS IS WHAT MIGHT & WILL HAPPEN IF WE KICK OUT THE LOW WAGE IMMIGRANT WORKERS.

FROM CNN MONEY.
Immigration reform could cost you
With nationwide protests set for Monday, a look at what restrictions on immigrant labor could cost Americans.
By Jessica Seid, CNNMoney.com staff writer
April 28, 2006: 12:30 PM EDT


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Ready to pay more for a loaf of bread or your morning corn flakes?

That could be one effect of immigration reform, according to farm economists and other experts.

Immigration reform
No ditches and dirty plates

Small business owners are sweating over Congress' debates because they fear a future without 'guest workers.' More stories
Debate over the jobs Americans 'just won't do'
Wal-Mart pays $11M over illegal labor
Notes From the Underground Economy



The subject of much recent debate in Washington and across the country, immigration reform could push up wages if it makes it harder for U.S. businesses to hire lower-wage workers for low-skilled jobs. That would raise costs for farmers and other producers, who could then try to pass the costs along to consumers.

"In the absence of immigrant labor, wages might be a bit higher, particularly in sectors that hire lots of low-skilled labor, which could potentially show up as slightly higher prices," said Jared Bernstein, economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think thank in Washington.

Pat O'Brien, an economist at the American Farm Bureau, said that if immigration reform severely restricts the labor pool, wages for farm workers - and costs for farmers - could rise sharply for everything from wheat, corn and soybeans to dairy products, red meat and poultry.

He said that crop and livestock farmers, for example, would be forced to boost prices to compensate for more expensive labor. "We're estimating that wages could go up to $14.50 an hour," he said, from the current average of about $9.50 an hour.

In that case, "prices would go up possibly 5 to 10 percent as farmers try to pass along the higher cost of labor."

A big rise in labor costs could also have a devastating effect on many of the nation's farms.

"If labor shortages forced costs to rise, it would be hard to pass those costs along," said Jack King, manager of national affairs for the California Farm Bureau, an association of farm owners in the state with a $27.5 billion agricultural industry.

"We can't pass the costs along. We can't control the market. We don't really have any place to go if wages spiral out of control," said Luawanna Hallstrom, general manager of Harry Singh & Sons, a California tomato farm.

Hallstrom predicted that a reform bill limiting the availability of workers could force small and mid-sized farms to suffer, or even shut down altogether. "Some (farmers) are already choosing not to grow this year because they didn't know what will happen," she said.

Prices for other goods and services might rise as well, though that seems less clear.

Patricia Cortes, a graduate student at MIT, studied the effect of low-skilled immigration on the prices of things like cleaning and landscaping, and also found that less immigrant labor would bid up the price of low-skilled jobs, which she says could lead to higher prices.

Apples and oranges
But not all farm products would end up costing more.

Consumers would probably see little impact on prices of fruits and vegetables, for example, because "displaced American production would be replaced by production in countries like Mexico," said O'Brien at the American Farm Bureau, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from January 1994.

"The consumer would see the same head of lettuce at the same price," he said.

Still, farmers would take a hit because, historically, they haven't been as successful passing along wage increases.

Without migrant labor, "We would see up to a third of the fruit and vegetable sector go out of business almost right away," said Austin Perez, a labor expert at the American Farm Bureau.

The political debate
The Senate was supposed to take up its stalled immigration reform bill this week, but that got put on hold as lawmakers turned their attention to rising energy prices. (For more on President Bush's meeting with key senators on the issue, click here).

The issue of reform could have a huge impact not only on the estimated 11.5 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, but also on farms, since up to 40 percent those immigrants work in agriculture, according to World Perspectives, an agricultural consulting firm.

If the Senate manages to pass a bill, it would have to be reconciled with the House bill passed in December that includes neither a guest-worker program nor any legalization process for illegal immigrants already in the country. Both those provisions are in the stalled Senate legislation.

According to forecasts base... (Below threshold)
Caring Human:

According to forecasts based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the domestic labor-force must expand over the next few years in order for the United States to maintain at least 3 percent annual growth in its GDP. Since not enough people are being born to sustain this expansion, there's then a demographic challenge. The natural candidates to fill the gap are immigrants.

Additionally, guest-workers and immigrants are good for the economy. With a low 4.7 percent unemployment rate, current workers, including illegal migrants, have been clearly absorbed by the labor market. And guest-workers who work for lower wages keep costs down, passing the benefit to consumers. Immigration isn't all blissful: Unlike commodities, newcomers bring cultures and hence potential complications, which is partly why assimilation and accommodation are essential. On the whole, however, immigrants bring many benefits.

Although restrictions are necessary and punishment is needed for those who have broken the law, the case for welcoming new guest-workers and regularizing the status of illegal immigrants is compelling. It has to do with growth and competitiveness.

The debate on immigration reform shouldn't be about ethnic identity, voting blocs or entitlements. We'd be far better off by turning to hard work, opportunity and prosperity. That's what immigration has brought to America and that's what it can still contribute by setting the sight on the future.




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