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Undocumented immigration’s reality


 It’s no secret that undocumented immigrants are a problem in the United States.  From people who overstay their visas to people who sneak across our borders, the ease with which people can get into this country is frightening.

One should expect a lot from a sovereign country—and even more from the United States—not the least of which are secure and regulated borders.  However, not only do I not expect anything will be done about undocumented immigrants, I’m not sure that anything should be done about it.

Many Americans are quick to attribute our nation’s problems to undocumented immigrants.  Undocumented immigrants are characterized as leeches, as parasites that suck our resources, drain our economy, multiply and give nothing back.  They’re accused of committing crimes and taking jobs from Americans.

No subject inspires as much bile and vitriol from some of our radio and television personalities as undocumented immigrants.  It takes little prompting for these folks to recite statistics and dollars that undocumented immigrants cost us every year.

Immigrants can’t be blamed for wanting to come to the United States.  This country offers so many things that their countries do not.  For reasons that should be obvious, it is hard to pinpoint how many undocumented immigrants are in the United States today, but estimates range 10–20 million.  The Pew Hispanic Center reports that 76 percent of our nation’s undocumented immigrants are Hispanic, the majority of whom come from Mexico.

Other sources of undocumented immigrants, in descending order are Asia, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.  According to the Pew Hispanic Center, our undocumented immigrant workforce is concentrated in blue-collar, low skill, high labor work.  About 25 percent of our farm workers are here without documentation.  About 14 percent of our construction workers are here undocumented.  It is estimated that undocumented immigrants make up five percent of our workforce.

There is truth to some of the accusations against undocumented immigrants.  The recent article in the Los Angeles Times about the growing black tar heroin trade in the United States is a stark reminder that our borders need to be controlled.  They strain our over-burdened education system.  They take work from Americans, but because most of our undocumented immigrants are uneducated, the work that they take requires little skill.  It is work that the average individual probably would not want to take.  They wash our cars, mow our lawns and wash dishes in the backs of restaurants.

Some attempts are made to keep undocumented immigrants out of the workforce.  Employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants face civil and criminal penalties.  Employers are required to make a good faith attempt to verify that the documents that new employees show to verify their status, such as social security number, drivers license and work permits, are real.

It is certainly true that some undocumented immigrants—as it surely is true of some Americans—take advantage of what this country has to offer; many more undocumented immigrants contribute to our economy in ways that are rarely acknowledged.

With fake documents in hand, undocumented immigrants go to work and earn regular paychecks, just like Americans.  And, just like Americans, they pay payroll taxes.  State and federal taxes are withheld from their paychecks.  They pay into Medicare and Social Security.  Unlike U.S. citizens, they cannot file tax returns, nor are they eligible for Medicare or Social Security.  It is estimated that undocumented immigrants pay $7 billion into Social Security every year.

When you consider how gutless our elected officials are, the ease with which people can cross our borders, bypass laws and regulations and go to work, and the fact that undocumented immigrants are a bona fide part of our economy, it is hard to imagine that this problem can be resolved without creating a host of unintended problems. Much like endemic political corruption in the developing world, undocumented immigrants simply have become a part of our economy, and rhetoric from our elected officials is just that—rhetoric.


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  1. Armando Broncas Mar 8, 2010

    You know its funny how you failed to mention any of the factors that have and continue to contribute to this so called “problem” of immigration. For example, NAFTA, CAFTA and all the other treaties that are set up to exploit these countries as well as this one. These agreements are responsible for outsourcing thousands of jobs that could be otherwise given to citizens.

    1. Joseph Glatzer Mar 8, 2010

      Not to mention the CIA using coups and death squads to overthrow and kill anyone in Latin America who goes against the “free trade” program.

  2. magyart Mar 3, 2010

    Join NumbersUSA and help fight illegal immigration.

  3. Brittanicus Mar 3, 2010

    Americans are in continuous battle with the open border organization, that have fought E-Verify all the way to the courts. Leading the charge to eradicate E-Verify has been the ACLU, US Chamber of Commerce that along with ominous other entities are tied in with the business world. E-Verify was served to us by former President Bush as a pilot computer application, that tries to insure that anybody hired is–NOT AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT? After the Democratic administration took office Sen.Harry Reid, Speaker Pelosi tried to keep its apparent success from the general public by tabling it. Outrage from pro-sovereignty, anti-illegal immigration groups rose it to the surface of public opinion. Then their was little any radical politician could do to erase its popularity as its now being implemented by more and more. businesses. No computer has the ability to work perfectly first time. Their are always bugs, even bad programming that causes problems?

    A number of hard hit states who are in the throes of a budget meltdown, have made it mandatory, While others like the SANCTUARY STATE of CALIFORNIA prefers that the legal population keeps paying out billions of dollars to subsidize in government entitlements for illegal aliens and their families. That is why California is hurting financially, because of millions of desperate foreign nationals having settled there. Everyday some biased company tries to demonize or make some elaborate rejection of its use. Even so its still there? For three years at least? As I have said many times before, all immigration tools are mollified or somehow ground-down so they–ONLY–seen to work? the malevolent status quo, their special interest lobbyists sources have payed-off our politicians, who like puppets use their powerful influence to underfund, undercut any working program to reverse illegal immigration. Steve Poizner, just filed his intention to be Governor and is the perfect candidate to bring California out of the financial doldrums, because he is a anti-illegal immigrant. He has also stated he will cut of all public subsidies to illegal immigrants, which could help stop the draining of the states treasuries.

    Included is the 287 (g) state-county-municipal police federal immigration program, the right to question and detain suspicious people. ICE raids have been cauterized by Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security. No Match letter has already been rescinded, without giving it a chance to wage war on illegal alien stealing jobs. Our country has been overrun, not with the old reiterated number of 12 million, but somewhere between 20 and 30 million. The Tuscon Border Patrol will attest to that in their statement that only-ONE- is detained out of–TEN is apprehended. E-Verify is a program of ATTRITION that is progressive and updated with even more restrictive tools. Time is on Americas side and if fully funded, with top notch technicians to greatly improve its performance. New versions, new tools are appearing that will make it iron clad. Trying to annihilate E-Verify is seen as a opening discussions on Comprehensive Immigration Reform (AMNESTY BY ANY OTHER NAME), which is going to be even a much aggressive, people’s battle.

    But its compulsory E-Verification gets a MANDATE that everybody from the landscaping company to the roofing business use it. ICE has a hot line for any American worker to report companies who think their above the law, using foreign labor. We should all keep our eyes and ears open for wrongdoing? Less lenient today is businesses caught with illegal alien, risking fines and even imprisonment. E-Verify, 287 (g), the border, ICE raids are not perfect, but its a start to physically halt the illegal immigration occupation of this sovereign nation. Its a right and obligation to send all these foreign nationals home? If you want to learn more how laws are being undermined by corruption in Washington go to NUMBERSUSA, JUDICIALWATCH, IMMIGRATIONBUZZ, RIGHTSIDENEWS & DIRECTORBLUE. Or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 for a more direct approach. .

  4. D. Porter Mar 3, 2010

    Illegal aliens are criminals and parasites, one and all. Their very presence here and practically everything they do on U.S. soil is illegal. They need to be ferreted out, rounded up like cattle, punished for their numerous crimes, then booted back to whence they snuck in from with such extreme prejudice that they will never, ever think of violating our sovereignty again. Enough is enough.    

    1. Jane Mar 3, 2010

      I came here illegaly and with parents that worked hard I was able to get an education. This semester I will receive a B.A. that I worked hard for just like the many of the graduates. My family never asked for welfare, or any other help. My family worked till we were able to afford a home. My family now has Citizenship. Every member in my family works and contributes to the U.S.A. through taxes. I plan to continue to Graduate school and help students like myself achieve higher education. I am an American but I will never forget where I came from, Mexico.

      1. CSUN student Mar 8, 2010

        Congratulations Jane – it sounds like you and your family truly embraced America’s opportunities. I am wholeheartedly against illegal immigration and believe we need to get it under control – but part of that control is streamlining the system so that those who do want to come here can do so legally and in a timely manner. Sadly, those that come with bad intentions and abuse the system badly make a bad name for those like your family.

  5. Wow Mar 3, 2010

    Great article…shocked I just said that about an piece in the Daily Sundial.

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