Democrats & Liberals Archives

Do We Need Guest Workers?

Republicans are all agog about illegal immigration. Some of them want to discourage aliens from entering, even going so far as to erect a wall at the American-Mexican border. Others want to encourage aliens to come via a guest-worker program. Still others, like our esteemed leader, George W. Bush, want it both ways: knab them at the border AND have a guest-worker program. I don’t know about the wall, but we definitely will have a guest-worker program. Why? Because guest workers serve the needs of business. And this administration is noted for favoring business at the expense of workers.

Rep. Tom Tancredo is leading the charge for a wall. The Wall Street Journal quotes Tancredo:

"We have a supply and a demand problem. The supply problem is coming across the border. We are in this bill doing something very specific about that with the inclusion of the amendment, with the passage of the amendment, to build some barrier along at least 700 miles of our southern border. I hope we continue with that, by the way, along the entire border, to the extent it is feasible, and the northern border we could start next."

A terrible idea. The Wall Street Journal, which nobody has accused of being liberal, said about this:

"So there you have it. Tom Tancredo has done everyone a favor by stating plainly the immigration rejectionists' endgame--turn the United States into the world's largest gated community."

Senator Arlen Spector recently introduced a bill that included a guest-worker program. He was following the lead of the president, who said in his State of the Union message:

"I propose a new temporary-worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job."

The key phrase is "when no Americans can be found to fill the job." Maybe we should ask why this is so before proceeding. Here's why. Americans do not want the job because it does not pay enough to live on and it has no benefits. If there were no guest workers, the market would force employers to pay more and to offer more benefits. What's wrong with this? If these bottom-level workers get paid better, other workers will become restless and employers will have to pay them more. Many employees will benefit. What's wrong with this?

Republicans think this would be bad. I don't think so. I think it would be great that low-paid workers would make more money. You know, though business has been booming, the income of workers has been decreasing. Here are some stastistics published by USA Today:

"From 2001 to 2004, average family income fell 2.3%, to an inflation-adjusted $70,700 from $72,400 in the 1998-2001 period. By contrast, from 1998 to 2001, average income jumped 17.3%. Median income -- the midpoint of the income range -- rose 1.6% to $43,200."

For low-level workers, the decrease was probably greater since richer workers move the average up.

A guest-worker program will tend to tamp down wages of employees. If you think our government is doing this only with low-wage workers, you are mistaken. There also is this little thing about H1-B visas. These are temporary visas that allow foreign workers to live and work in the USA. Foreign workers coming to our country on H1-B visas are college graduates, engineers, programmers and other technical personnel.

These technical guest-workers displace highly educated Americans by accepting less money. So while American engineers roam the streets in search of jobs, the jobs are given to foreigners.

The H1-B visa program is another way to tamp down the salaries of American workers.

It's not market forces that are doing this. It's our government with its policies of favoring business at the expense of people who work for a living that's doing this.

Here's my take on illegal immigration. First, let's offer amnesty for those illegals already here. They are not criminals. They are so desperately poor that they risk their lives in order to get into this country to get a job. These are not bad people. They are merely looking for a way to make a living.

Second, instead of punishing the immigrant, let's punish the guy who seduces them to come here: the employer. A simple law will do it: knowlingly hire an illegal, go to jail.

We all know such a law will never pass. We will have a guest-worker program because Republicans love to encourage business at the expense of workers, both low-paid and high-paid.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 2, 2006 5:50 PM
Comments
Comment #130867

Nice editorial Paul. What you don’t mention is specifically why it’s bad for businesses to pay better wages to their low-level employees. Rightist pundits will tell you it’s because businesses can barely afford to stay afloat as it is. NOT SO. The fact is that the lawmakers in this country are in the pockets of all the CEOs and other high-level execs, who would be the first ones to get a pay cut if *gasp!* the minimum wage were finally raised. Of course, since their pay has skyrocketed, even as the real wages of middle and lower classes have stagnated or even fallen over the last twenty years, these powerful business leaders are not going to give in so easily.

Posted by: macsonix at March 2, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #130870

Great post. One item to note on the illegal immigration side of things, not only does the hiring of illegal aliens artificially lower wages, it also damages small businesses who don’t want to hire illegals but whos margins end up being higher than their competition that do hire illegals.

I agree, start punishing businesses for thier conduct. What ever happened to taking responsibility for your actions.

Posted by: Grant at March 2, 2006 6:30 PM
Comment #130873

Besides putting the employer in jail, which I agree with. Execute the illegals, they wouldn’t be able to cross over a second time.

Posted by: earjoy at March 2, 2006 6:57 PM
Comment #130880

“Execute the illegals, they wouldn’t be able to cross over a second time.

Posted by: earjoy at March 2, 2006 06:57 PM”

Earjoy,

You are joking right?

KansasDem
PS: if so not the funniest thing I’ve heard.

Posted by: K at March 2, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #130881

Hmmm…why not execute the employer, then? Sounds to me like you’re taking a page from Stalin’s playbook there, buddy.

Posted by: macsonix at March 2, 2006 7:48 PM
Comment #130883

Paul….I agree with your post, with one exception…..the part about allowing those already here to remain. I have to say up front that I’m pretty hard a - - ed about this. If anyone has a problem understanding that, then I might suggest you relocate to North Mexico ( aka California ). Anglos or Gringos are now in the minority there, by almost 10 %. I don’t begrudge anyone wanting to find a better life and make something of themselves, but when the other side of that argument is American citizens ending up on the streets, the sentiment stops there.
I can remember many years ago when we were grateful for the Hispanic workers. If it weren’t for them, our agriculture would have suffered significantly. The farmers and land owners would plant and irrigate, then the workers came in to pick. Believe me, before all the whoop-te-doo equipment came along, being bent over picking lettuce or berries in 100 degree-plus heat was NOT a fun thing to do. But outside of that, they were actually treated very well….housing was provided for the families, food was cheap, and so was medical care then. It was wonderful…..they would spend about 3 months here, then the families would return to their homes in Mexico and live well for the rest of the year. You didn’t find many Gringos wanting to do that work , so there was no conflict back then, therefore, all were happy.
Then things changed….thousands of people started moving into California each day….and…………well….. I’m not real sure that progress is always a positive thing.
Now, you find multiple families living in one house…..several kids…..and each driver is behind the wheel of a new vehicle. Of course, they don’t have licenses to drive them legally, nor do they have insurance to protect the other guy ! Because of that, our insurance rates skyrocketed. They don’t care…their truck breaks ,they go home and buy another one. The first day after they arrive, they are first in line for welfare and food stamps…which puts them out front for medical care as well. That isn’t even the bad part yet…..but they have become terribly obnoxious. They REFUSE to speak English, “no habla Englis”…they demand you speak to them in Spanish….”sorry, no comprende”….they’re even filing suits because teachers expect them to speak English in school…and they have the general attitude that they’re reclaiming what they lost to us all those years ago. If they should get busted and sent home, it doesn’t matter, because they’ll come right back. You have no idea at what speed and volume this happens. Now you want to hear something ironic??? Some insurance carriers encouraging quite strongly that California residents to go to Mexico for medical care because there are clinics and hospitals there with no patients….!!!!! OF course, it takes nearly a full day to drive the lenght of California, so you gotta plan your health problems well. What the “F” is wrong with this picture???
Am I bitter and angry??……you bet !!!! Do I want to see these immigration exceptions adapted?? Not a chance !! Do they need to put a fence up along the border??? The higher, the better !!! Then while that’s happening they might want to take Fox and Bush and drop them off on an island somewhere…….they have such mutual respect for each other, then I’m sure they’ll be just fine.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 2, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #130887

I grew up in South Texas,almost none of the minium wage jobs are held by illegal aliens.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at March 2, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #130888

Back to the original topic of the guest worker program, I find it interesting how the right throws away their own core philosophies when they become inconvenient. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t capitalism, the almighty invisible hand, the basis of the free market? the basis of america? no governmental influence. no special interest influence. isn’t that the basic concept?

yet when that invisible hand slaps them around a bit, they are more than ready to jump in with some government program, some entitlement program for business, such as this guest worker program, regardless of it’s consequences to small business or to the american people. it’s incomprehensible to lend a helping hand to someone who is down on their luck, but they are more than ready to dole out any amount to help a corporation maintains it’s profit margin, rather than allowing the invisible hand of the market to guide and influence what may happen.

Posted by: Grant at March 2, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #130889

I have to say this summer gave me a huge view into the world of day labor (some legal, some not, some homeless…) Wow. There is a reason people hire Hispanics - they work their butts off. Others I hire - homeless or just out of work, looking to pick up some cash… they worked OK. I mean, I was turning a crackhouse into an upscale college apartment (first attempt at this investment) and I wanted people to work as hard as I did. I can’t say any one I hired really let me down - $9 per hour cash can hardly be called ‘racking it in.”

Now back to the Hispanics - they flat out embarrased us all. I started feeling guilty taking breaks. I bought them all lunch… and beer after each day. hell, I thought about hiring them fulltime - but only had the one house to redo.

I agree that we need to support our own… but you can also see market forces at work. Rule of thumb: rednecks take a lot of long breaks. Hispanics worked harder and knew more than most everyone.

So - what do I do? I didn’t not hire people who came by looking for work - too much to do, but if I had to make a choice? ????

What would you do?

Posted by: tony at March 2, 2006 8:10 PM
Comment #130891

Paul

Your median income figures compare a boom time to a time that included a recession. You (or your source) also should not mix median and average. The median is unaffected if the rich get richer.

Secondly, Bush didn’t invent the H1 visa program. It was used more during the late 1990s, including those good times you are talking about.

So we may or may not agree with your opinion about future immigration policy, but your use of historical data showing a decline in wages in 2001 actually works against your argument, since admissions declined from their peak in the late 1990s.

I suspect you wanted to throw some mud at Bush, but you actually hit Clinton or just supplied data unrelated to your argument.

Learn about these visa at H-1 Visas.

Posted by: Jack at March 2, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #130900

attn tony Would you believe I was behind an illegal taking a drivers written test at a calif DMV. I guess he couldn’t read english as he kept pointing to a question and his interpeter gave him the answers in spanish!!! I owned a painting company in North Mexico aka Calif. I needed one worker as my anglo man was sick. I used an illegal one day and told him 15.00 an hour he waould not even consider the job for less than $25 an hour So much for underpaid illegals…..

Posted by: artjoe at March 2, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #130901

There is no justification for allowing illegal aliens to work in America no matter where they come from.I welcome legal aliens and so do most Americans.That is how it is supposed to work.If you break the law you should NOT be rewarded.I also think all American born should have to go to the same classes the legal aliens do.They would appreciate citizenship more.I support Bush but I’m not a repub and I do not support Bush in the illegal alien matters.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at March 2, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #130905

“There is a reason people hire Hispanics - they work their butts off.”

Tony,

You beat me to the punch. Thirty to thirty-five years ago myself and some of my college classmates would go out and do “day labor” in sugar beet fields, on large roofing jobs, construction jobs, etc. and these guys (and gals) worked circles around us.

I’d really try to keep up with these people but there was no way. Quite often we (and them) were paid by the job rather than by the hour. The more you got done the more you earned. IMO they were by and large honest hard working people.

Now I’m going to rock everyones world. Who are the Mexicans? Would you at least accept the argument that they are the “largest tribe” displaced by the growth of our USA? Only we didn’t even allow them a reservation.

I know that’s oversimplifying a complex situation. Once again we must remember that we are a young nation. To even begin to understand Mexico you must read back at least to the 16th century and the Spanish rape of an entire culture.

And, of course we’re all proud to “Remember the Alamo”! We always take the best and leave-em what’s left. Just how much land did we take from the Mexicans? South Texas all the way to Southern California? Now we bitch and whine because many decades of American foreign policy has failed to create a decent relationship with Mexico.

For many, many years agriculture has relied on cheap Mexican labor (some legal, some not) to be able to put affordable fruit and veggies on our plates. Still we fail to provide reasonable guest worker status for our Mexican brothers and sisters.

IMO it would be a damn good thing to see Vicente Fox’s “Alliance for Change” succeed. NAFTA was a good start but we must reach down beyond our greed and build a true brotherhood with Mexico. I say, rather than build a wall, build more legal crossings so safe passage can prevent all the unnecessary deaths.

Work with Mexico, not against Mexico! It’s time to mend fences, not build new ones.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 2, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #130906

just a note about the H-1 visas…the preponderance of the visas issued during the booming 90’s were to supply the explosion of dot coms and other tech-related businesses with a hearty influx of experienced software programmers and the like…the american economy was growing at a rate faster than was feasible for the needed talent, so many companies applied for and received these visas for employees who were coming from less robust economies who had a wealth of experienced talent but not enough jobs for them, such as Russia and India. To say that we should have been able to supply these companies with American talent is a nice thought, but the experience needed was just not there. Virtually all of the available American talent was either just getting out of school and therefore didn’t have the years of background necessary or else were old-timer techies with outdated skills who voluntarily didn’t update their skills to include the newest and most useful programming languages and such. Only mentioning this as I was a recruiter in NYC in the late 90’s and was personally involved with a number of visa requests for my employer.

Posted by: macsonix at March 2, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #130918

I think EVERYONE is being remiss by talking about illegal immigration and completely ignoring national security. For those upset that we only inspect 5% of the shipping containers at our ports, you’re rightfully upset … but you need to apply that to our borders. If we let in 100,000 hard working illegal immigrants but one guy who blows up a million of us along with a major city … what good is our immigration policy or lack thereof?

But looking at illegal immigration in a vacuum as we all seem to be doing here, our country has a very reasonable and unintimidating naturalization process. Hispanics work hard do they? Fine, we’ll take ‘em! But they need to get in line because it’s the law. We were almost intentionally lax about the border until now so maybe the folks we’ve let in by de facto border management should get some type of worker visa break. But the break, if there is one, needs to stop with the folks already here. And fine the businesses too, they’re indeed breaking the law just like the illegal aliens are.

And unless we want to drastically increase the budget (and deficit) even more with thousands upon thousands of extra border agents, we need to build a wall. Walls don’t require an annual salary or, more importantly, health care.

Finally, this issue for me is one of the classic hypocritical issues of all time. People who don’t want to build a wall and don’t mind the in-flux of illegal aliens … they’re the first ones to complain “Geez, health care costs! What the Hell?!” Hmmm, millions upon millions of illegal aliens with free use of our emergency rooms … I can’t think of one reason why our health care cost should be going up! And for the ones wanting to raise the minimum wage, you’ll be the first ones to quote the statistics of higher inflation when arguing against the Bush economy.

Posted by: Ken Cooper at March 2, 2006 9:51 PM
Comment #130922

And I didn’t mean to insinuate that illegal immigration is the only reason health care costs are going up, but it’s definitely one of them. When we keep adding undocumented workers to this country we’ll keep letting them use our emergency rooms. I mean, who’s gonna turn down a guy nearly bleeding to death from a car accident? … or a woman about to give birth? No one in their decent mind would … but guess who’s paying for it?!

Posted by: Ken Cooper at March 2, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #130923

I agree that any discussion of immigration is incomplete without a thorough examination of how it relates to homeland security. Perhaps the employer fines coupled with the tremendous rise in tax revenues from a sorely needed and unfathomably overdue increase in the minimum wage could pay for more effective and numerous border patrol. I’m not too keen on the great wall of the Rio Grande idea - not sure why exactly, just think there’s a better way.

Posted by: macsonix at March 2, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #130924

Kansas and Tony….not to dispute your opinions, but it appears that you had only limited experiences. There are certainly those who fit the profile you tell about, but they are not the norm !! You can say anything you want to me quoting “IMO”…and you’re right….it’s only your opinion…… Whining…not at all……stating absolute facts that I experienced for 40+ years….and bitching all the way! Those fences can not go up fast enough.
macsonix…you were dealing with visas, and legality, and I don’t have problem one with that. We are a country of aliens from the beginning, but coming here legally and earning the right to avail oneself of what we offer is a privelage to come by legally.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 2, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #130925

Build the wall. Not out of hate but preservation. place our Basic training camps near the wall.
not to police it but to keep a eye on it.
If illegals are spotted crossing. Military calls Border patrol to pick them up and place them
back on other side. Fly them to the far side of mexico if need be. Footing the bill for jail is
not a option.
Give short term amnesty to those here.
Jail people who then hire any with
out amnesty papers. Not a slap on the wrist real punishment. Amnesty papered people
must take classes learn english and know
basic american goverment and law. Preserving
American language. And eliminating millions spent on dual language forms. Not to mention the press
1 for english spiel we all must sit through to
reach the correct recorded message. People
wish to have the american dream. That requires
effort on there part. America should not be required to conform for them. America has
and always will be the great melting pot.
At no time has it made the language of the emigranting people there second language.
Germans learned english. Dutch learned english etc, etc, etc. This may sound harsh but it would
solve several things. Slow drug trafficing, Stabalize population, Bring better wages to both
partys concerned. Cut down the likely hood that
any wishing to do us harm can do so with out
being caught. Give the people of Mexico incentive
to hold mexican goverment responsable for developing a better country. Perhaps it is I who
is simplifying the issue to much. But I feel
it is commen since verses the usual politics.

No I am not a bigot I am a realist. America
and Mexico can solve this together. It requires
Leadership from both sides Dems and Repubs,
U.S and Mexico.

Posted by: Honey P at March 2, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #130938

Honey P,

“Amnesty papered people
must take classes learn english and know
basic american goverment and law.”

Maybe every anglo living on Navejo land should be required to learn Navajo. Just an example. If you live in SoCal you must learn Spanish. If you live in Wyoming or South Dakota you must learn Cheyenne. Nebraskan’s all must learn Sioux. Get where I’m going?

Somehow, as Americans, we put ourselves above everyone else. When you look at the conditions on most reservations we really screwed the American Indian big time. We still quite often screw them out of their mineral rights and try like hell to regulate what they can and can’t do with the land we so generously gave them.

Now, think about what I said about Mexico. There was another instance where we pushed “them” back on their reservation. We kept the best and let them have the rest. Our Anglo ancestors plundered the land and either killed or drove out whatever got in our way.

Now, we’re talking about doing it again. Holy shit, if we don’t do something about these damn Mexicans maybe I won’t be able to afford that 42” flat screen wall mountable TV! Wall them in! I don’t want them here! We kicked their ass at the Alamo, we shouldn’t have to put up with them anymore.

Or we can work with Mexico and build a damn strong and profitable relationship for us and them. If we think we can isolate ourselves from a next door neighbor that’s suffering from an impoverished economy then we’re just downright stupid or worse.

Worse meaning we are becoming the next pre-Nazi Germany. We do seem to consider ourselves to be superior. Our freedom of religion is better than any other (as long as it’s not too free). Our government is better than any other. We do have the strongest values, don’t we?

KansasDem
PS: FYI I’m as anglo as anyone here. My graying blonde hair is a dead give away.

Posted by: KansasDem at March 2, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #130942

>> And I didn’t mean to insinuate that illegal immigration is the only reason health care costs are going up, but it’s definitely one of them

Ken,

That’s bull. The right relishes in making illegal immigrants the scapegoats for today’s health care costs, ignoring all other factors such as drug companies, who by the way, raised the prices of their most popular drugs as soon as the drug plan went into effect, the WalMarts of the world, etc… Yes, illegal immigrants do put a strain on the health care system. A whole whopping 18 percent of the costs associated with the uninsured Study Paints Bleak Picture Of Immigrant Health Care. Wow, they’re really dragging down the system, aren’t they?

Posted by: Grant at March 2, 2006 11:02 PM
Comment #130945

and btw, it seems to me that that’s another reason why the idea of a guest worker program is being pushed. with guest workers, they don’t need to worry about benefits, health care, unemployment, organized labor, etc… It’s the best of both worlds, cheap labor without those pesky expectations of american workers.

Posted by: Grant at March 2, 2006 11:08 PM
Comment #130951

BTW they kicked our asses at the Alamo.

Posted by: macsonix at March 2, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #130965

Kansas….sometimes it’s difficult at best to follow you ‘cuz you’re all over the board….and your hyperbole has no effect on me at all. In fact it is sometimes demeaning…..and I do believe you have a number of times cautioned posters on here to not step on toes.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 3, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #130973

“BTW they kicked our asses at the Alamo.

Posted by: macsonix at March 2, 2006 11:20 PM”

I know I super simplified a complex matter, but you get my point, which is help build the Mexican economy and open the border as much as we have with Canada.

It’s really simple. If you live next door to a complex of bee-hives you can either keep the bee keepers happy or you can piss them off. It’s a matter of either working together or killing all the bees, which of course means no more honey.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 3, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #130976

“Kansas….sometimes it’s difficult at best to follow you ‘cuz you’re all over the board….and your hyperbole has no effect on me at all. In fact it is sometimes demeaning…..and I do believe you have a number of times cautioned posters on here to not step on toes.
Posted by: Sandra Davidson at March 3, 2006 12:10 AM”

Be specific. In this case I used a comparison to try and achieve my meaning. I’m simply trying to point out that I think we need to build a stronger alliance with Mexico and the Mexican people. A read of Mexico’s history couldn’t possibly hurt.

I certainly see nothing I wrote that would compare to telling Jack that he had his head up his ass day after day after day.

Hyperbole bypassed:
This means what did I say to piss you off?
KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 3, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #130983

KansasDem:

I must say I understood your Posts very well. Don’t mind the WingNuts. If WingNuts studied history, they would know what happened to the British when they occupied Iraq. So it’s no surprise the WingNuts have problems with your historical and cultural references.

A word of advise… Use simple words with lots of pictures!!!

Posted by: Aldous at March 3, 2006 1:13 AM
Comment #131003

Both ‘the wall’ and the guest-worker solutions are typical right wing borrow and spend ideas… ideas that will further indebt the country and have no real impact on the problem.

It’s obvious that our economy would suffer without the work aliens, both legal and illegal do in our country. The solution is to enhance and control the quality of immigrants entering the country. This can be done first and foremost by removing the benefits of hiring illegal aliens by putting the onus on the employer in the same exact fashion we put the onus on drug importers. If a farmer gets caught using illegal aliens to pick fruit, his farm is confiscated and sold at auction with proceeds going to the government. If a homeowner uses an illegal alien as a maid, the government confiscates his home and auctions it off. If a restaurant uses illegal aliens to wash dishes, the restaurant is confiscated and auctioned off.

OK, I know what you’re thinking. “The property confiscation program is a miserable failure in deterring the importation, manufacture, and distribution of drugs.” The diffence being that the vast amounts of money involved in drug sales, an enterprise illegal on the face of it, makes the risk of confiscated property worth the taking as a reasonable cost of doing business. The variance between what illegal aliens are paid and what legal aliens or American citizens would be paid is most assuredly NOT worth the risk of losing an otherwise perfectly legal enterprise.

It would not take a long time nor a great many auctions before those who commonly employ illegal aliens refuse to take the risk.

Perhaps, now you are thinking, “Why should an employer be responsible for illegal aliens who use false documents to obtain work?” Employers are already responsible for that. Every employer must verify a worker’s eligibilty to work in the US and document it on an I-9 form. The I-9 program already holds the employer responsible for ascertaining the authenticity of documentation, but the fines are so minimal that it IS worth the risk of getting caught or failing to authenticate documentation.

The bottom line is this… remove the opportunity for which an alien will illegally enter the country and you will minimize illegal entry. There will always be those who will cross over even though they cannot work in legal enterprises. When law enforcement officers are freed from chasing those who want to work from those who cross to commit regular criminal activities, the will more effectively be able to pursue and apprehend the criminals.

So, how do we fill the gap of employment by those who will not be crossing illegally? By EXPANDING the immigration of those we allow to LEGALLY enter our country. An expansion which will allow us to specify the traits we are looking for in an immigrant. Literacy, good health, crime free background… You name it. Honest, Healthy, Intelligent people in other countries want to come here to work too, you know.

Posted by: Thom Houts at March 3, 2006 4:24 AM
Comment #131015

We don’t need guest workers. We need people who obey the law.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 3, 2006 6:12 AM
Comment #131016

I’m going to name my next Air Line, ” The BTW Airline ” BTW you can’t go wrong!

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 3, 2006 6:18 AM
Comment #131068

Paul
Are you willing to pay more so workers can make more? Businesses aint going to eat the cost of paying more. They’re going to pass it down to the consumer.
The more folks are paid the more the product is going to cost. Where’s the benifit of make $100 more a week if it’s going to cost you $125 more a week to live?
About the only other way to keep prices down is to cut cost in materials. This would mean lower quality materials being used. This means lower quality products. Are you willing to pay more or the same price for a product that isn’t as good as the one you now have?


I’m not against legal immigration. It’s a good thing. It’s illegal immigration I want to see completely wiped out. If this takes a wall along our borders then let’s get it done. But I don’t believe that this or any thing else will completely stop illegal immigration. It might slow it down, but not stop it.
The best way to stop illegal immigration is to impose severe penalties on employers the knowingly hire illegals. If they start paying heavy fine, going to jail, and/or losing their business licences, how long do you think it would take for them to get the message?
But this aint going to happen any time soon as our bought and paid for politicians on both sides of the isle aint going to even try to pass a law that would require this.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 3, 2006 11:45 AM
Comment #131100

Ron Brown:

“About the only other way to keep prices down is to cut cost in materials. This would mean lower quality materials being used. This means lower quality products. Are you willing to pay more or the same price for a product that isn’t as good as the one you now have?”

So buying cheaper materials means lower quality? And paying workers less gives you high quality?

This is a fallacy. People are not commodities and should not be considered as just a cost item as we do materials. Increasing wages of workers benefits them and all the rest of us in the country.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at March 3, 2006 12:46 PM
Comment #131104

Aldous,

I thought that wingnuts was the term you used for us brutish uninformed conservatives out there. Sandra’s been on the other side of the coin in recent days.

KansanDem,

I agree with everything you have said so far. The democrats need to find there left again. They should be more interested in protecting the individuals that came here poor and weak and looking for a better life instead of shouting protectionist slogans at the top of their lungs. The answer in my mind is not a guest worker program, but less restricted immigration and a return to the days where American stood as a beacon of hope.

Where are the democrats shouting, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”? Thank you Kansas for be the voice in the crowd.

Posted by: Rob at March 3, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #131117

The President has just given us a golden opportunity and I think we should CAPITOLIZE on it. He has suggested that our improved relations with India will be good for both countries.
We know have enough uneducated and unskilled workers from Mexico.
There are more than three hundred million well educated middle class Indians. Most of them speak english. Why don’t we import fifteen million business managers, accountants, financial advisors, lawyers, doctors, and teachers from India. These are highly motivated workers who will do as good or better job than the American workers and for a lot less money. This would be a real boom to our economy. We could give a lot of the unskilled jobs to the displaced Americans and send a lot of the Mexicans home.

Speaking as one who lost his fourty thousand a year construction (non union)(60-70hpw) job to a illegal from Mexico; if that country south of us were India, a lot of people in this country would be singing a different tune.

Posted by: jlw at March 3, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #131119

Simple solution: Minefield all along our southern border and national guard backing up the border patrol for any lucky ones who get past it. Problem solved.

Posted by: Duano at March 3, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #131123

okay, how about we let YOU dig the mines in for minimum wage.

Posted by: macsonix at March 3, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #131125

jlw,

If you truly lost your job to an illegal alien you MUST know that you have an ironclad case that ANY employment attorney would take on contingency in a HEARTBEAT.

Posted by: macsonix at March 3, 2006 2:02 PM
Comment #131133

i quote,( i preferred measuring deer tracks, to tape-that i liked the wild liberty of the red man better than the tyranny of my brothers” i am aware that presenting myself as a advocate of the indians and their rights,i shall stand very much alone. sam houston.

Posted by: rodney brown at March 3, 2006 2:26 PM
Comment #131161

ah, back in the truly great days of Texas. Thanks for the history, Rodney - from a native of the town that is Sam’s namesake.

Posted by: macsonix at March 3, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #131165

it is time to stop this crap and send the people back home. the companies should be charge large tax dollars or fines for using out of country workers when we have plenty of people here that need jobs.

Posted by: roger at March 3, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #131176

What the bunch of you knuckleheads gloss over is the simple fact that a border shifted hundreds of miles south across an ethnic area populated by folks of Mexican decent. These folks (myself included) have cultural and relational ties to Mexico and for us, in effect, the border represents a simple point of reference we call. “El otro lado”, or for those of you that find foreign languages repulsive, it simply means “the other side”.

Build walls and you find that they can be climbed. As for our catastrophic effect on labor conditions. I wonder if you can tell me how construction workers are earning a national average of $19.00 per hour and its make up is largely composed of illegals. I can tell you that I know more than one builder who would much rather hire a legal alien but many a true-blue American would rather sit home complaining about “those damn Mexicans” than to sweat over a roofing site during a hot Texas Summer.

I agree in that this complete loss of control places a huge burden on our National Security and yet I can’t help but wonder how much safer this country would be if we just had a good old Reagan style amnesty that would allow us to check off 10 million folks from a potential terrorist list. As for the folks who want all ten million of these unfortunate souls marched, executed and otherwise humiliated I say to you, have you ever heard of Nazi Germany? That’s about how this would look. Isuspect that a lot of you only mind the reference but would not be opposed to this terrible proposal.

Posted by: Roman Von Hapsburg at March 3, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #131225

“a border shifted hundreds of miles south across an ethnic area populated by folks of Mexican decent. These folks (myself included) have cultural and relational ties to Mexico and for us, in effect, the border represents a simple point of reference we call. “El otro lado””

Thanks Roman Von Hapsburg.

I was doing a rather horrible job of trying to explain what you just explained in three simple paragraphs.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 4, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #131230

So buying cheaper materials means lower quality? And paying workers less gives you high quality?

This is a fallacy. People are not commodities and should not be considered as just a cost item as we do materials. Increasing wages of workers benefits them and all the rest of us in the country.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at March 3, 2006 12:46 PM

Did I say I was in favor of not paying folks more?
I was just asking if yaall are willing to pay more for what yaall buy. Because that’s what’s going to happen.
Like I said, business aint going to eat the extra money they spend on labor, Not anymore than they’re going to eat the extra cost of materials.
There are very few businesses that are willing to take less profit just so their employees can make more, and the consumer not pay more.
Personally if I knew that the folks that make the product that I’m buying were getting paid the extra money I’m paying, I wouldn’t mind paying a little more.
Cheaper materials are often inferior materials. Cheap labor is often inferior labor. Both can translate out to inferior product.
The question is, are you willing to pay more or except inferior products in order to for the workers to make more?

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 4, 2006 12:55 AM
Comment #131362

“I was just asking if yaall are willing to pay more for what yaall buy. Because that’s what’s going to happen.”

nonsense
‘yaall’ are going to pay whatever the market will bear, regardless of the cost of doing business.

(Rest assured that the cost of extracting, shipping, and refining oil has NOT doubled in the last 6 years while the price of oil has.)

In some instances, increased labor costs mandated by a company’s obligation to employ only the legally employable MAY drive a company out of business, but I, for one, don’t really want ANY companies around that survive solely on the basis of illegal labor.

And for those who STILL naively beleive that a wall across the border will prevent illegal alien immigration, you must also believe that Americans have the market cornered on ingenuity. Good thing them Mexicans will NEVER think of being shipped in inside ocean going cargo containers like the chinese do… for if they did, well then we might just have to increase our cargo container inspection from 1% to 2%!!!!

Again, the only way to minimize illegal immigration is to make it absolutely cost detrimental for a business or private individual to employ an illegal alien.

Posted by: Thom Houts at March 5, 2006 1:28 AM
Comment #131374

(the border shifted hundreds of miles south across an ethnic area populated by folks of mexican decent) was the qoute, ok in 1848 the area your talking about was lost in the war of 1848, i realize it was not a popular war, but the estimated population by mexicans in this area was at best 115,000. the treaty of guadalupe hildago in 1848 singed by mexico and united states. has been nothing more than toilet paper for mexico, the treaty gave full citizenship and property rights to the mexican population in that area. it is estimated half left to go back to mexico, the real problem is that mexico never has accepted that treaty! many mexican people have told me to my face that they are going to get back what we received from that treaty!

Posted by: rodney brown at March 5, 2006 3:36 AM
Comment #131381

“many mexican people have told me to my face that they are going to get back what we received from that treaty!”

who can blame them?
at least we allow Native Americans to live and work in the nation we stole from THEM!!!

Posted by: Thom Houts at March 5, 2006 5:45 AM
Comment #131393

“And for those who STILL naively beleive that a wall across the border will prevent illegal alien immigration, you must also believe that Americans have the market cornered on ingenuity.”
“Posted by: Thom Houts at March 5, 2006 01:28 AM”

Thom,

I have to agree with you there. After all there is a “wall of water” seperating us from Cuba, eh?

There can be no effective way of totally seperating ourselves from a neighbor with whom we share, not only a border, but centuries of ethnic & cultural ties. I believe the key has to be working WITH Mexico to achieve a long overdue enduring partnership.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at March 5, 2006 10:26 AM
Comment #131410

Thom
We didn’t steal it. We won the war and the Indians lost it.

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 5, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #131414

your right thom, the indians where abused , cheated and lied too.and that was a terrible blight,that this country has done to them. thats why history is so very important.ever watch the grapes of wrath by j. steinbeck?

Posted by: rodney brown at March 5, 2006 2:04 PM
Comment #131425

Its typical of bleeding heart liberals take the EASY road like allowing open borders to alleviate Mexico’s poverty, RATHER THAN face down their elitist, avaricious, cruel and corrupt government.

Fox himself has acknowledge his country has benefited by at 1east 10 billion from Mexican citizens sending money home from the US.

Also, not all aliens are “just good, but poor people”, iike the 5-7% of our 1 million incarcerated felons who are illegal aliens from Mexico…50,000 felons we are paying to house and feed. like the one in my city who shot and killed point blank our deputy sheriff, then fled to Mexico, but who was just extradicted only on the condition our DA would not seek the death penality.

Posted by: Kris at March 5, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #131431

Hello Tom:

“in 1848 the area your talking about was lost in the war of 1848, i realize it was not a popular war, but the estimated population by mexicans in this area was at best 115,000.”

That is paltry number indeed. But taken against an equally meager number of American inhabitants in the west at this time essentially proves that immigration, yes both Mexican and American, is a constant that has marked the cultural landscape of this area. You guys continue to ignore the fact that immigration from Mexico has been the case since 1848 and its influence is seen everywhere in this area.

It is odd to see how extreme care is exercised in crafting Iraqi policy based on the needs of the Kurds as they range from Turkey to Iraq and elsewhere but we do not give an ounce of respect or thought to this very dynamic here at home.

The truth is that most Mexicans do not care about the political landscape that crafted the present boundaries. For them it is a simple matter of work and progress. To assume that they understand or care about the illegality of their immigrant status would be like considering the legality of escaping from the Soviet Union. Both acts are very illegal, but are they morally sound? The answer lies in whether you would find it comptemtible to get work wherever it is available in order to feed your family.

Posted by: Roman Von Hapsburg at March 5, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #131436

roman i do admire the hard work of the mexican people, i admire all hard working peoples. i just think our leadership on both sides. have had plenty of time to make it right for both sides, so far they seem to bungle it all up and make great appearances before the cameras

Posted by: rodney brown at March 5, 2006 4:20 PM
Comment #131459

A wall is not the answer. The answer is putting the National Guard on the border, like the Democratic governor of Arizona did recently. We have to, at some point, drop the PCBS and call this what it is, an invasion of a sovereign nation. A guest worker program is something that might work, but we’d be counting on our government to get it right, which usually doesn’t pay off. If I lived in Mexico and were poor, I’d cross the border, too. It’s no use to blame the illegals, we have to blame our government. Bush has to be loyal to the Wall Street Journal editorial page first and foremost, and to hell with the middle class who are most affected, that is of course, until election time. It’s the same with the oil companies. If what I’m saying sounds out of character for a “far right bomb thrower”, it’s because I don’t subscribe entirely to the right wing “sell your mother to make a buck” mantra. I actually have some liberal positions on a few issues, of which I am not ashamed.

Posted by: Duano at March 5, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #131506

To boot, crime is up.

Of 189 murders in the six months after the hurricane, 33 involved Katrina evacuees as either suspects or victims, according to Police Chief Harold Hurtt. Initially, the killings resulted from clashes among rival New Orleans gangs, says Hurtt. More recently, they’ve stemmed from robberies or narcotics, he says.

This all stems from the outgrowth of an entitlement society. Never having the impetus to prepare themselves for danger, or even life in general, pre-Katrina, the developments in New Orleans are really no surprise.

Like I’ve said before, the floodwaters of Katrina washed out the city’s dirty little secret: Entitlement liberalism leads to the ruin of a community, not to its betterment.

Posted by: GOPrKwel at March 6, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #131601

You know, it’s odd that I hear such a hue and cry from some on this thread proclaiming support (whether feigned or sincere) for the idea that we should actually execute illegal aliens or toss ‘em in prison. The idea that a man or woman who wants a better life for their children to come to America and bust their ass to earn money for FOOD, CLOTHING, HOUSING, HEALTH CARE and EDUCATION for their family is not some crackpot notion never heard of before. In fact it is one of the very tenets of the foundation of the United States. Take a look at this story, the second of which I have read (the first being in the Texas Observer, a great example of journalism, but I can’t find it in their online archives) regarding the horrible story of immigrants trying to make it here in the back of a tanker truck, several of whom suffocated in the heat of Victoria, Texas - about two hours from my home in Houston.

http://www.cjd.org/stories/trailer.html

Would common criminals be going to these lengths to come to the US when they could stay in Mexico and engage in gainful criminal activity just as easily? Put yourselves in these folks’ shoes and tell me that they belong in prison or suffering some other sort of extreme punishment just for doing what Central Americans have done for more than a century. What if you were’nt fortunate enough to be born in the US? Could you imagine breaking a law THEN in order to find a better life for your family?

Those who call for a “facing down” of the Mexican government won’t find a sympathetic audience in the Bush administration. Also, 5-7% of incarcerated felons being illegals means little in this context when you consider that it’s highly possible that the figure mirrors the percentage of the general population - although I’m curious as to the veracity of the statistic…what is the the source of this information?

Finally, I’m unsure what Katrina evacuees and the crime spike in Houston has to do with this thread.

Posted by: macsonix at March 6, 2006 12:54 PM
Comment #132282

PAUL SIEGAL STATED “And this administration is noted for favoring business at the expense of workers.” In his first post on this topic.

I am here to bring a reality check to Mr. Siegal. His characterization in this regard is false. Please read the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) and you will see what I mean. For those of you who are non-accountants or non-business people (you probably are due to your liberal affiliation), SOX is an expensive law that requires corporate America to document material internal controls for examination by an independent accounting firm for publication in corporate annual reports. Public accounting firms are now overseen by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). If you are able to read the highlights of the act, you will see that the Bush Administration is not as Corporate firendly as you think.

Posted by: paul at March 8, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #132374

SOX was approved by the House 423-3 and the Senate 99-0. So just because the Bush admininstration is smart enough (stop the presses!) to know when NOT to block a wildly popular and badly needed check on corporate power to deceive investors doesn’t mean they are pro-worker at the expense of big business, as you imply. Give it another shot, because if anyone can show me how this administration is more pro-worker than they are pro-business, I’ll eat my hat.

Posted by: macsonix at March 9, 2006 8:49 AM
Comment #144291

“Second, instead of punishing the immigrant, let’s punish the guy who seduces them to come here: the employer. A simple law will do it: knowlingly hire an illegal, go to jail.”

Absolutely. My sentiments exactly.

Posted by: Tim at April 30, 2006 8:58 AM
Comment #230460

The H-1B and L-1 Visas
A Solution That Protects Americans and A Challenge To The Presidential Candidates

The Problem

It needs to be well known to anyone investing in a high tech or highly skilled specialty career how manipulating the supply of labor (by bringing in foreign labor and depressing wages) can wreak havoc and ruin careers. Mid career American workers get laid off because there is now cheaper labor available. They usually don’t get re-employed because employers think they will be disgruntled employees. New American college graduates may not even find a job. Many don’t. What a waste of an education. The skills do not transfer well because it is a specialty occupation. What now?

The biggest problem is that there is no way to assure that there is not an American that needs the job before companies are allowed to bring in H-1B and/or L-1 workers.

A Solution

Why not have a voluntary database of specialty workers by DOL job codes. If you need a job, sign up. The job seeker would be required to refresh their status (looking for work) every 30 days or go into a hibernation state and eventually be deleted. This way the database is always up-to-date. Companies are required to put their job openings in the database. It would automatically get routed to job seekers with the appropriate job codes. Any application for foreign workers would require proof that there was no available worker in the database. A separate watchdog group would need to be able to monitor postings to make sure that ether is no cheating. They could easily contact the job seekers as a group by email to verify. The use of user ids instead of personal information, would protect job seekers from identity theft. The DOL would be responsible for investigating discrepancies that were reported.

When Americans spend thousands of dollars and years of effort preparing for these highly competitive high tech specialty careers, there needs to be 100% employment before companies can be allowed to bring in foreign workers for theses jobs. Otherwise, we are betraying the American worker.

A Challenge To The Presidential Candidates

I would like to challenge all the Democratic candidates (and Republicans too) to pass legislation that really protects the American high tech / specialty worker by assuring that there are no Americans looking for work before companies are allowed to bring in workers on foreign visas.

It is absolutely unthinkable, to me, that an immigration law firm was so callous to the plight of the American worker that they thought it was OK to publish their series of videos on How Not To Hire An American on the imternet for the convenience of their clients. Search “How Not To Hire An American” and watch. You won’t believe it.

Worker shortage? Let Us Prove There Is No Shortage.

There are no head hunters out there looking for IT workers like there used to be. Instead, IT professionals are left to sort through fake ads on the internet to find a job. Doesn’t sound like a shortage to me, but let us prove it with a specialty worker database.

What Happened In The IT Field Should Be A Warning

What young Americans need to know is that these visas for skilled workers are used for many, many skilled occupations, not just IT. If there are no politicians out there willing to stand up for American IT workers and change the law so it really protects Americans like it is supposed to, why would they stand up to protect people in other high tech specialty careers Accounting, Architecture, Nursing…. The list goes on and on.

Think about it. Any specific field could be at risk. This needs to be fixed NOW.

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Comment #380590

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