Those who are overly upset by the fact that millions of illegal immigrants are in the country need to consider two facts. Immigrants have traditionally played an important role in the U.S. economy and will be even more important in the future. Americans are not the most law abiding people. Americans have even been known to venerate lawbreakers.
Critics of illegal immigrants should be criticizing the law instead of those who decide to ignore it. There is something wrong with an immigration law that allows people to enter the country legally to learn how to kill Americans by flying planes into buildings, but stops those who only want to enter the U.S. to work to support their families.
Forcing workers who are in the country illegally to leave could create an economic disaster. It would be the equivalent of killing millions of workers.
The baby boomers will begin retiring in large numbers within the next six years. The only way to replace them in the workforce will be with immigrants because Americans have not had enough babies during the last 40 years. We will need the current immigrants, both legal and illegal, and more to replace the baby boomers.
Americans have depended upon immigrants for economic growth since colonial times. Immigrants have traditionally performed many of the jobs at the bottom of the labor force, particularly farm work and other physically demanding jobs. In the southern states during the colonial period, plantation owners first attempted to use white immigrants for plantation work, but had problems keeping them on the plantation because they could move into the interior of the country and blend in with the rest of the population. Plantation owners then began forcing Africans to immigrate to the country and form a permanent immigrant class.
Entire European villages moved to the Great Plains to grow grain to feed a growing industrial population in the eastern states, with many of the manufacturing workers being immigrants. Today, many farmers have to rely on immigrants to harvest their crops because citizens are uninterested in such work. Even wheat farmers are having trouble finding American citizens willing to work in custom harvest crews. Relying on traveling harvest crews allows farmers to harvest their wheat without having to raise the money to purchase their own harvest equipment which can cost more than many people’s homes..
Garden City has to rely on immigrants to work in local meatpacking plants because citizens are unwilling to move to western Kansas, or other sites of meatpacking plants, for such work.
The American economy relies on cheap food to allow residents sufficient money to purchase more expensive manufactured goods. Using immigrant labor helps keep food prices low. Any drastic switch away from using immigrants would likely produce inflation as workers sought increased wages to pay higher food prices.
There are currently only 7 million unemployed in the United States for an unemployment rate of about 4%. Many economists believe "full employment" to be around 3%. Many of the unemployed are people who are simply between jobs. They have lost their jobs and will eventually find similar work. Some are living in areas where there aren't any jobs and are unwilling or unable to move to some other location where jobs might be available.
Illegal immigrants are estimated at 10 to 12 million, although some of them are children. Were they to be removed there would be no way to replace them because we don't have enough "warm bodies" avialable. Removing them from the American economy would cause a bigger economic disaster than any terrorist attack unless it involved WMD. The cost of moving them to the border could exceed a billion dollars. The energy needed to move them could push gasoline prices up.
For 20 of my 59 years, I routinely violated a certain law as did millions of other Americans. A Kansas attorney general was even caught twice violating this law. We ignored the 55 mph speed limit because we didn’t think it made sense.
Every January we celebrate the birth of a man we venerate because he broke various laws. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., urged people to violate racial segregation laws because he believed they were wrong and most Americans eventually agreed with him.
The funeral of a retired housekeeper received national attention last year because in 1955 she decided she was too tired to obey a law that required her to give up her bus seat and move to the back of the bus. Rosa Park’s decision to break the law vaulted Rev. King to the leadership of the civil rights movement.
In 1776, a group of Boston residents became so upset about a recent tax increase that they deliberately broke the law and took tea from a ship in Boston Harbor and threw it in the water. Their action eventually provoked other colonists into violating the law and revolting against the government controlled by the King of England. These lawbreakers believed taxes should only be imposed by those elected by the people to do so.
Boston’s Sons of Liberty threw tea into the harbor because they believed the tax was a bad law. We venerate Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King because the laws they broke were bad laws. Millions of us ignored the 55 mph speed limit because we believed it was a bad law. The current immigration law is a bad law. The law is unenforceable without resorting to police state methods such as a national ID card and establishing barriers like those once used to keep people behind the Iron Curtain. Enforcement of current laws would require several divisions of troops to cover all of our borders. Troops would have to cover all of our beaches as well as the land borders. Closing the border from Mexico would just force those who want to come here illegally to take a boat to an area near some beach and swim in.
Congress needs to replace the current bad immigration law with a law that makes it easier for those who want to come to this country to work in jobs citizens don’t want to do. The current law helps immigrants enter legally to perform higher paying laws that citizens don't want to do, such as provide medical services in rural areas. Bill Gates can get legal immigrants to write computer programs for lower pay than citizens expect to be paid. The law needs to make it easier for those willing to take unattractive manual labor jobs. The new law would allow employers to request that specific workers be admitted to the country.
Many illegal immigrants pay large sums to people to sneak them into the country. Perhaps the government could require those wishing to immigrate to deposit money in some federal government account. The money would be available to cover expenses of returning home if they lost their jobs or to provide them with some form of medical insurance.
Making legal immigration easier would eliminate demand for the services of the people smugglers and put many of them out of business. Reducing the number of people entering the country illegally would make the law easier to enforce. Current illegal immigration numbers are so high that the illegals can easily overwhelm the system.
If someone who broke the law by failing to report a fatal accident in a timely manner as required by law can serve in the U.S. Senate and someone who admitted using illegal drugs can serve as President, then those whose only crime is entering the United States illegally to get a job to support themselves and their families should be able to continue to live here.