Along the Tracks

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Day without Illegal Immigrants

While the mainstream media unsurprisingly focused on the “negative” aspects to the economy and the country of “A Day without (Illegal) Immigrants,” U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado pointed out some of the positives for his home state and a few other spots around the country.

I discovered his column, courtesy of National Review, while researching this post. Below, I’ve expanded the concept to five national benefits which would be accrued in a true “Day without Illegal Immigrants.”

*$192 million saved in social service costs (based on $70 billion annual amount as estimated by the Federation for American Immigration Reform).

*5.8 million new job openings (Center for Immigration Studies).

*$6.62 per hour average wage increase for citizens and legal alien workers at jobs presently dominated by illegal immigrants(based on CIS and FAIR statistics, subtracting average hourly wage of illegal immigrants [$5.45 per hour] from average hourly wage of native-born Americans with less than a high school education [$12.07 per hour]).

*0.4 fewer students per teacher in America’s classrooms, not counting natural-born children of illegal immigrants (FAIR, Center for Education Reform and U.S. Census Bureau).

*100,000 fewer inmates in state prisons (FAIR).

My record of supporting legal immigration is long and strong. My latest suggested compromise even called for a process which would greatly expand immigration from Latin America and allow present illegal immigrants to get back into America legally – after they went to their home countries and registered. I don’t blame illegal immigrants from Mexico or anywhere else wanting a better life for their families – but wrong is wrong. Let’s give them a proper way to come back legally.

In the meantime, let’s bring the hammer down on employers who won’t pay wages high enough to entice American workers – an argument which is extremely unconvincing to start with. How’s this: A $1 million fine per violation for knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant. That would threaten to bankrupt many smaller businesses. I would point out their present criminal labor practices threaten to bankrupt a number of municipalities and states. Fair’s fair.

Finally, let’s build a new six-lane interstate along the U.S.-Mexican border from Brownsville to San Diego. Put a 25-foot-tall fence on either side. The traffic and the state patrol cruisers would largely end the illegals coming in from the south, and a beefed-up immigration enforcement presence could do the rest.

The highway would benefit not only U.S. commerce but also economic activity on the Mexican side of the border – allowing the people looking to support their families much better prospects.

Looking up at that “Day without Illegal Immigrants” list, I see a year’s savings in social costs would pay for the highway and fence.
Sounds like a good deal to me.

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