Sunday, May 14, 2006

Illegal Immigration Part Deux

I read this recent story in the Sunday May 14, 2006 edition of the Dallas Morning News. It was on the front page of their website, but strangely, probably due to the flak they are getting online, the story is no longer there. In this story,they paint a rosy picture of the Hispanic family-hardworking, diligent, virtuous. It lacks one little thing. It never ever points out the impact of this family's illegal position and how it affects the rest of us who are already here. Try to get to the story if you can. I will post it later if they will ever let me back in.

Below is my response:
I am sure the family featured on you Sunday front page in regards to the illegal immigration situation is perfectly nice. But there are some issues that your writer chose to avoid. For example, it’s stated that the father uses a Social Security number that isn’t his. That’s illegal. And if it is a number belonging to someone else, it could endanger that person’s retirement funds if income isn’t declared under that social security number for tax purposes. Further more, it could be preventing a surviving spouse or family the money that is theirs due to payment into the system. Is this nice? At that point it becomes identity fraud. So now there are two laws are broken, immigration and identity fraud.

Add to that the whole taxation issue. If they live in a single family home, their rent may cover the education of their children. However, if their children merit special services such as special education, ESL, free meals or any other program that is federally mandated but not funded, then the impact comes back upon the children who are here legally in the form of diminished programs and services and larger class sizes. It isn’t just a coincidence that the school systems that are struggling financially are those with a large population of children from families that have chosen to come here illegally. When in-state tuition is offered to people here illegally, the burden to make up the difference in the form of higher tuition and fees is the average student who is here legally or who was born here. The flooding of aid programs by students here from outside of the country has made it increasingly difficult for the average student to get any student aid. Shouldn’t we be looking out for our own kids first? Wouldn't that be nice?

Consider automobile insurance. It's estimated that 20% of the drivers in Texas are unlicensed and have no insurance. I know families that defer the driving Rite of Passage until kids are 17 or 18 due to the high cost of insurance. The uninsured driver clause is part of what drives up the costs. If you get hit by a citizen, you may have some legal recourse,but if you are hit by a drivers with a fake ID and no insurance, then YOU will be paying the deductible AND the higher insurance rates as this scenario is enacted thousands of times in a year. So were these "nice" immigrants driving themselves to work and school legally? Or are they part of the protest against confiscation of cars involved in wrecks when no proof of insurance is given? Is this nice?

Look at Parkland Hospital, or any other large county hospital where many of these people go for routine medical services. Many of these illegal workers do not receive any insurance through their work and a simple delivery of a child may run up to $12,000. That comes directly out of the taxes paid into the hospital district and is further impacted because surrounding cities often send undocumented workers there for services. Parkland is not permitted to turn them away, nor should they be, but to make this as if there isn’t any negative financial impact is glossing over the issue. Is it nice to get medical services that your own native country won't provide and then not pay for them?

Additionally, our economy works on the principles of supply and demand. If there is a supply of workers willing to work off the books for less than minimum wage, employers will use that to pad their profits and workers who are here legally may end up without jobs. Many of the jobs that are taken are the entry level jobs needed for high school and college student graduates to get experience to move onto other jobs within the economy. An underground supply of workers undercuts our young people and creates a situation where they either do without a job and return to school or they end up working several jobs just to make ends meet and pay off student loans.

Finally, where is the discourse on how Mexico has abdicated its role to provide education, health and welfare and other economic opportunities to their own citizens? Instead it appears as if the Mexican government is content to send their people here to earn money that is returned to Mexico. The United States is being used as a social safety valve and perhaps if some of the people in Mexico would stay there and create a climate of change from the corruption and graft that has become commonplace along the border, there would be no need for them to leave their homes and come here illegally.


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