In a lead story this week, Forbes magazine ran a story headlined 'Open the Border,' in which it argued that 'Opening America's borders is morally right - economically beneficial, and would make America a safer place.'
I would like to stop here for a moment and discuss a little about Mr. Legrain, the author of this piece.
What I have learned about this man after reading his website and watching his pro-immigrant interviews is this, mind you these are merely my observations, except the parts where he actually did stuff. Mr. Philippe Legrain is from Britain, a well-known economist with numerous credits to his account from working for The New York Times to Economist magazine. This is all very nice for him. (Legrain, 2010)
However, I think Mr. Legrain needs to do a little more digging on the subject of exactly how great opening the borders would be for America. I have been following this issue for some time now, and one fundamental thing I have learned is there are many, many sides to it.
To make an off the cuff remark about it being good or bad depends on who you talk to. But to get two and a half pages in Forbes to sell why it would be so great for America without adding one sentence about some of the reality Americans are facing dealing with these law breakers on a daily basis is an unbalanced account of the whole story. Philippe paints a beautiful utopia of "un-documented" workers all being only hard working young men, whose only crime is to come to America and honor her and love her. Mr. Legrain's piece went on to offer pop-up pictures of happy, well dressed Mexican families waving the American flag with big smiles on their faces ready to do their part for America. (McCaul, 2006) Not terrorists disguised as illegals from Mexico who paid off the local drug lords to smuggle them into the country from a staging area in South America. Okay I made the "pop-up" part up. But, not the terrorists part which you can read for yourself in a buried report put out by the House Committee on Home Land Security, Michael T. McCaul, Chairman. A Line in the Sand: Confronting the Threat at Southwest Border
Mr. Legrain did offer some line charts pointing out why aging America needs illegals. Sharing the statistic most foreign-born folks coming to the U.S. are from the ages of 24 to 54 which puts America in a great position because most of these folks coming here are alone and return home when they get older. This means America gets the benefit of workers without burden of educating their young or caring for their old. In addition, he clears up all those misconceptions about illegals threatening American workers. Making the comparisons of how when women entered the work place they did not cost male workers jobs either. Comparing women entering the work force to illegals undercutting contractors, because once again they are illegals, and are not confined to all the trappings of being a documented worker as are professional licensed contractors in most (a word Philippe uses a great deal in his piece) cases. (Violent Crimes Institute, 2008) One detail Philippe has left out of his fairytale is in most cases involving rape and murder by illegal immigrants, the offenders gained access to their victims by working as day labor at or near the victim's homes. A detail offered in the study done by Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph. D. Violent Crimes Institute, LLC Atlanta, Georgia called "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes committed by Illegal Immigrants in the United States" done in 2006. The Dark Side Illegal Immigration."Ending this senseless & unwinnable war would make America more secure, instead of chasing harmless migrants."
What Mr. Legrain's article does offer is something the above studies do not which is speculation wrapped in language meant to let him off the hook in the event his predictions are wrong. For example, "American's fears of job loss due to illegals is mostly misplaced" when he offers a rebuttal to the facts he doesn't address. What he is proposing is a forecast for the future on this issue without bothering to look at the radar, as he is unclear where or how he is arriving at his conclusions. Forgive me if I don't place a great amount of faith in his weather report.
He went on to mention how Heather Mac Donald, a graduate of Berkeley and Yale (summa cum laude I might add) and attended Clare and Cambridge with credit as a contributing editor to the New York City Journal, and how she expresses worry that newcomers are poorer and less educated than Americans.
Heather's comment opened the door for Mr. Legrain is point out how wonderful this fact is for America. In regards to filling all those jobs, one: Americans can no longer are willing to do and two: because illegals will do the work for such low wages they aren't really taking jobs from us. In addition, it would be beneficial for everyone to have a "foreign nanny" in house. Didn't we settle this with the Emancipation Proclamation?
The repression of an entire race for the benefits of the elite few doesn't work, yet not for the repressed and not for America. To suggest the idea to Americans who fought and died to overcome such bigotry and racism is reprehensible and dangerous.
But in Philippe's defense, he has also included the countries of Egypt and Japan in his prescription for reform. I would like to add England is addressing its own immigration issues, not with Mexican illegal immigrants because it's kinda far away, but with the Muslims. England, being an island is only so big, so when you have a non-conformant population taking up a growing third then you may want to decide how far you're willing to go to either respect their every wish to transform the landscape into a little piece of their home land or safe guard your own.
In the defense of the wonder Forbes magazine, they kinda gave equal but smaller space behind Philippe's piece to Heather, whom I mention earlier, with her title "Say No to Immigration Reform". Heather's bi-line reads "Americans already spend far too much to support a huge illegal population. Enforcing existing laws might encourage self-deportation."
On the other side of Heather's piece is another page and a half by Christopher Helman who wrote on the struggle big businesses are having maintaining their illegal work forces. A quote by council defending a corporation facing legal action of the alleged participation hiring illegal immigrants had this to say, (I am paraphrasing here):
"We need workers willing to take wages we are willing to pay".
Could I suggest it's greed behind the motivation to only hire those having no choice but take a job they need no matter the pay? The exploitation of illegal workers is the moral issue here praying on this work force with sub wages. The fact is these low wages are not suitable for sustaining an American or immigrant family of three in this economy or any other. The fact is money made by illegals is sent back home to help support their families Sub wages lock American workers out of the running for those jobs, being bound by the financial trappings of living here. Is this situation of funneling billions out of the country helping the country?
Every person who breaks the law in America must be made to answer for it, or the system won't work. To say illegals should be rewarded with citizenship doesn't sound right either.
I will agree with Mr. Legrain on this: America is a melting pot. It's this diverse thinking which has made us great. However, a better solution (I don't like the word reform) is needed to allow immigrants to have a real chance at the "American Dream" with a sustainable wage. We need a better solution which permits families to be reunited so more money earned here stays here and levels the playing field of opportunity for all American workers again standing shoulder to shoulder with New American's. A solution that confronts the growing problem of violent criminals from other countries to be dealt with swiftly. I am afraid Mr. Legrain doesn't have an accurate picture of the issue, at the same time it is not to the point of irreparable yet. We, as Americans, have an obligation to have our views heard by those making policy. As we are creating the world for which our children and grandchildren will have to live.
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