Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Illegal Immigration to increase thanks to weak economy?

So the subject of illegal immigration is a complex problem that becomes very annoying when you add the social aspects to it. On the one hand, there are lots of dollars at stake, but on the other nobody wants to be the "bad guy" to the poor and downtrodden. I get that. But then sometimes the dollar amounts are so staggering that one can't help but be annoyed. Take, for instance, the fact that not only is Mexico's second biggest source of foreign income the money that legal and illegal immigrants send to Mexico (around $2B per month), but Mexican oil production has been dropping such that their first biggest source of foreign income isn't so hot.

So now, according to this story, when the US economy gets hit hard, the Mexican economy gets hit harder. In August the amount immigrants sent to Mexico dropped 12%. Since most of the immigrants leave the poorer villages for a better life and then send money back to family still in those poor villages, we're talking about $300M that didn't go to those villages last month that normally would have. So that makes the poor villages poorer. So what will people do? More people will leave to find ways into the US! Then we have more illegal immigrants to add to the enforcement load of the border patrols and immigration officials. There are going to be more of them competing for the same jobs as US citizens. More of them using government services (like school for the kids they have here) even though many aren't paying taxes for those services.

This makes my head hurt. It's been easy for so long for the defenders of the illegal immigrants to say that they are only taking jobs that citizens don't want. But as this ecomonic crisis ripples down (and even if things start to turn around, the effects are most assuredly going to linger and work their way downward) you're going to see more citizens willing to take on those jobs they might not have had to in the past. They'll find competition from illegals hard to beat if employers continue to pay the illegals below minimum wage and not have to take out taxes to boot.

I'm all for giving everyone we can a fair shot. But I believe we need a firmly closed border and tight controls on how many people are allowed into the country. The folks allowed in should definitely be paying taxes and given all the freedoms and protections this great country has to offer. But those who can't get in legally? They'll need to be sent back home. I'm not necessarily opposed to amnesty and citizenship for those who are already here, either. But we've got to stop the flood, too.

2 comments:

jane elizabeth said...

Interesting, but according the Pew Institute in this article http://pewresearch.org/pubs/978/undocumented-immigration
there has been a decline in undocumented immigrants over the last several years as a result of the worsening economy.
IMHO, illegal immigrants present in this country should be paying taxes. Not sure if that means grandfathering them in or not.

Donnie Barnes said...

No, it said the decline *might* be because of the worsening economy in the US as compared to somewhat more stable Latino economies. So while that *might* not be the cause, even if it is the cause then the AP article still could be right as well...it takes time for the US economic problems to trickle down to those countries, and it's only now starting to happen in significant ways. So the trend could go back up.

But the article you reference also says there could be other factors affecting the decline, such as increased border patrols. Which is something I said we needed to do even more of. :-)

Note, too, that the "decline" is not in the amount of illegal immigrants, just the rate at which they are getting in. They're still getting in, and if there are ways to get in with significant numbers, then that number could definitely go up easily.