Putting U.S. citizens first
Groups that are lambasting Arizona over the new immigration enforcement law appear to be putting the interests of illegal immigrants above those of U.S. citizens. Arizona SB 1070 is really about providing the means to enforce federal immigration laws that are already on the books. There is no argument about the contributions that immigrants have made and continue to make to this country. This law isn’t intended to prevent immigration. Instead it is intended to curb illegal immigration and the related negative impacts on our country.
Contrary to what some would suggest, this isn’t about race or ethnicity. Is this law aimed primarily at Mexican citizens illegally entering this country? Sure, but that has to do with geography and other factors motivating immigration, not race or nationality. The southwestern United States has a very large Latino population of which most are U.S. citizens. Like any U.S. citizen, law enforcement is not permitted to stop a driver based on race, color or national origin. Arizona, like other states, requires proof of legal presence to obtain a drivers license. A simple “May I see your drivers license and registration?” does not require any determination of ethnicity or national origin. I always have my drivers license with me and take no offense in being asked to produce my license.
Aside from the human trafficking, drugs and gangs, this law is also about jobs. Workers across the country are lamenting about the off-shoring of jobs and the downward pressure on wages. Illegal immigration has the same effect without the jobs ever having to leave the country. Even businesses that follow the law are pressured to keep wages lower in an effort to compete with others that knowingly hire illegal immigrant labor. Arizona’s law is aimed at cracking down on those businesses that exploit and hire illegal immigrants.
It has been brought up time and time again that these are jobs Americans don’t want or aren’t willing to do. There is some truth in that statement. However, the willingness to do a job is to a great extent tied to the availability of work and the wages offered. Without the hiring of illegals, there would be upward pressure on wages to fill these vacancies. Many of the lower wage jobs are the “starter” jobs that use to be filled by our teens to get experience and develop a work ethic. To say that these jobs are not being lost does not coincide with the high teen unemployment rate. Not all of the jobs lost are starter jobs with low wages. Jobs in trades and construction are also being lost. While our society tells us that we all need a college education and a white collar job, a huge portion of our population is not even finishing high school. Where else do they turn other than to the unemployment lines or welfare roles?
Illegal immigration does put an additional burden on the citizens of our country. Schools, hospitals, courts and correctional facilities have increased costs without the proportional increase in tax revenues. Illegal immigrants do pay some taxes in the form of sales taxes, property taxes and even federal taxes through falsified social security numbers. Studies vary widely on the actual cost of services compared to tax revenues. The impact is not just in taxes. Medical facilities that provide care to the uninsured must cover that cost through higher fees. Drivers also pay more for auto insurance to compensate for the uninsured.
People who are law-abiding and legally in this country have nothing to fear. Arizona agencies are not scouring the state and transporting illegals across the border. They are merely trying to identify the legal status of a person when there is already reason for contact. It remains up to the federal government to do its job and deport illegal immigrants.
When an alien enters this country illegally, they are neither law-abiding nor a citizen. Not enforcing immigration laws is a disservice to the citizens of the United States and to the immigrants and visitors who come to this country by legal means. I understand the economic plight and horrid living conditions of many Mexican citizens. While the U.S. can provide political support, it is not up to the U.S. or its citizens to solve the problems of Mexico. And in reality, Mexico as a country is in better financial shape than the U.S. based on the ratio of public debt to GDP.
Do we forfeit our jobs, rights and privileges to illegal aliens, or do we put our U.S. citizens first?