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article imageOp-Ed: The Right Way To Fix Arizona's Immigration Problem

By Paul Bright     Apr 26, 2010 in Politics
Now that Arizona has toughened illegal immigration laws, will the border crossings stop? Not until we look at the business end of immigration.
Looks like Arizona is going to make it tougher for illegal immigration into America. But just how effective will the new laws be?
The debate on allowing law enforcement to check IDs of suspected illegals is so one-sided it's almost not worth discussing. I would almost agree with the legitimate profiling aspect had sensitivity and procedural training been in place before the law was enacted. I've never let my kids go in the pool without learning how to swim first or without lifeguards, so why should training take place AFTER the fact? It appears that no matter how many great law enforcement members and agencies are out there, there is a general mistrust of this law among the people of Arizona.
If you seriously want to stop illegal border crossing, you have to hit where it hurts: the wallet. There are two reasons that Americans let illegals cross over in the first place: we don't want to spend $25 on tomatoes, and we don't want to get caught growing our own pot or making our own drug factories because that's illegal and highly enforced.
It's not about jobs. I'm not saying every illegal crossing the border came with a dream to pick crops. The Mexican people have made great contributions to our society beyond cheap labor. It sure isn't the dream of many Americans. I would be curious about the disparity between our country's unemployment numbers and the number of legal Americans picking crops or hanging out in front of Home Depot waiting for day labor.
Yet aspects of this new law that clamp down on businesses that hire illegals can be a good thing (see Section 6 of the bill) If you are John Q. Businessowner and you have an undocumented worker or illegal Mexican immigrant who just happens to have a social security card with the name "Johan Sebastian Bach" , you don't have to pay health insurance or minimum wage. It means we can buy those tomatoes for decidedly less than $25. By toughening the laws against those business owners who are caught, they might think twice before getting into the illegal hiring business. Tomato prices might even go down because of stiff competition in the new market.
You may also think about decriminalizing marijuana, for that matter. We could get into hefty discussion about whether or not pot is a drug, but that's not the point. It's about supply and demand. Marijuana seized from Mexico is up 35%. Drug lords over there make between $8 and $25 billion in profit. Why? Because we buy it. Why? Because no one here wants to get caught growing their own, which also costs us money because of prison terms and law enforcement being used to track down Joe the Smoker versus Chester the Molester.
Yes, this sucks for Mexicans crossing the border and looking for freedom from corruption. But it also strengthens our country and legitimizes the Mexicans who did it the right way. Everyone has a right to be in our country and stay here. They just need to follow the process. And a good business owner would rather hire someone who wants to be here versus someone who thinks he has a RIGHT to be employed just because his birth certificate shows he's USA-born.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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