Immigrants are not the bad guy

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg offers his views on immigrants. Coming from a state with an estimated half a million undocumented immigrants, you could bet he knows a little bit about them.

America without the DREAM Act

The DREAM Act will help us grow as a nation much faster than choking off the supply of fresh new talent into our workforce. Americans are being sold a line of baloney that says America would be better off with less immigrants. The problem with that argument is there is centuries of proof that shows the opposite. This video demonstrates that point perfectly. Click on the following link if you cannot see the CNN Video with Fareed Zakaria

What Apple Computers problem with Mike Daisey has to do with our Immigration conundrum


I have been a big proponent of Amnesty for our immigrants in the country illegally. My reason has always been, “We knew they were here, we bought products made, harvested, delivered by them. We enjoyed many services they provided us and not once did we take a stand and boycott a company because we were getting a good price because of immigrant labor. We are complicit in this whole problem. Our immigration debacle exists solely because of our demand for good prices and the governments inability to create systems to allow our industries to get the labor they need legally. Because of our participation, no, our creation of this problem, we owe it to the immigrants to create a system where they can stay here legally.


A recent interview by two reporters discussing the recent Mike Daisey fiasco makes this point very well. Ira Glass from “This American Life” that broke the false story about Apple Computers, and later retracted it, speaks with Charles Duhigg of the New York Times. 1


“Charles Duhigg: … do you feel comfortable knowing that iPhones and iPads and, and other products could be manufactured in less harsh conditions, but that these harsh conditions and perpetuate because of an
economy that you are supporting with your dollars.
Ira Glass: Right. I am the direct beneficiary of those harsh conditions.
Charles Duhigg: You’re not only the direct beneficiary; you are actually one of the reasons why it exists. If you made different choices, if you demanded different conditions, if you demanded that other people enjoy the same work protections that you yourself enjoy, then, then those conditions would be different overseas.”



We are not only the beneficiaries of illegal labor, But we are the reason it exists in the first place. If we would have demanded the U.S. Government get us the labor we needed to supply us with the labor that affords us this lifestyle, we would not have this problem today.


Picking on the immigrant and trying to put all the blame on them for this situation would be the same as putting the blame of poor working conditions in China on the laborers themselves. (had there really been poor working conditions) Amnesty or a Pardon, or whatever you want to call it, is really the only honorable way out of this mess. It’s time to stop picking on the worker and take responsibility for this mess, and fix it before it gets any worse.




1 You can read the whole story here

Arizona in the spotlight

The Ariziona Republic, an Arizona news outlet purporting to be, “Arizona’s Homepage” recently published a news article about Immigration waning as a voter issue. This leads me to believe that as far as immigration is concerned, Arizona still has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of America.


According to all the news articles I read each day, I have a hard tim believing Americans have suddenly dropped the immigration issue as this article tries to convey. This really sounds like the fanciful dreaming of a wounded and severely damaged anti-immigrant platform.


Americans are very capable of keeping more than one topic on their minds at the same time, and I am sure that Immigration is right up there with Jobs and the Economy as one of the top 3 topics Americans are most involved with right now. With the Occupy movement recently grabbing the public attention we see their activism loosely aimed at all aspects of the economy and jobs, with particular attention given to Job creation, taxation, and wealth distribution. And with all the politicians having meetings to discuss immigration and their associated press releases, along with the Mercedez Benz fiasco, I would argue that the immigration movement has actually picked up steam in recent weeks.


Arizona, It’s obvious your Senators and Sheriffs like to grab headlines and carry the hard line against illegal immigrants, but what you should really be doing instead of all this political posturing, is listening more and talking less. Then you may just understand what the devil is going on in this country. Immigration issues cannot be swept under the carpet any longer. There will be a steady flow of press releases in the future, and maybe even a few more politicians and sheriffs will lose their jobs before this is over.


Arizona Republic, nice try pretending this issue doesn’t resonate with America. Immigration is at the core of who we are and there are a lot of people on both sides of the fence who can’t seem to agree on what to do about the PRESENT state of things. Give it up Arizona Republic. Hard lines and radical views are what got us into this mess, and will only keep us chained to this tragic situation indefinitely.


And by the way, how can you credit the byline to Daniel González(?) for writing this article when at the bottom of the article it states, “Republic reporter Dan Nowicki contributed to this article.” On face value it appears that you are attempting to look fair and impartial by using an hispanic name for the byline, while carrying a radical viewpoint.

Can the true message of this article get any more convoluted?

We need a hero


As a nation, we have seen very little that inspires us to rise above our circumstance. Instead we are bombarded with the failures and foibles of a political system gone mad. Congress has really let us down. Greed has put us in a terrible state of affairs, and now that we need the governments guidance and assistance, they seem to be more determined to blame someone else and whip up a big fervor over what needs to be done. In the mean time, nothing is getting fixed. Instead of getting us out of a recession, they seem determined to keep us in one. What else could Congress do to keep us from shoring up our stressed out economy–


Keep bickering about the debt ceiling, stimulus packages, immigration policy and border issues.


Yep. That’ll do it. Not only will they not be stimulating the economy with much needed jobs and low cost services needed to keep inflation at bay, but if they argue and blame the other guy long enough, they won’t have to do anything else at all—the elections will be over and all the campaign promises will soon be forgotten or overshadowed by some new and more important issue.  There should be a new show on TV: Dancing with the Czars.


I personally have had enough.


We need a hero. NOW.


Fixing the border could stimulate the economy with jobs. Lots of jobs. Not only for the people getting paid to fix it, but for the suppliers of the materials and technologies, as well as for all the staff needed to monitor the border and it’s technologies, as well as the services they all need to live, work and play, like: food, clothing, housing, transportation. . .  and that’s just the border itself.


What about immigration?


Fixing our outdated laws and inefficient permit processes would provide jobs.


We have millions of people living and working here illegally, and we can’t track them, verify their identities, or provide them with the basic human rights we so staunchly demand for ourselves because according to our records— they don’t really exist. Nobody knows exactly how many people are here illegally. There’s a lot of guessing going on and the figures always change depending on what side of the equation you’re on.


The laws that keep our immigrant workforce from registering into a system that can count them, verify their identity, and provide for them can easily be amended. We just need a plan. It will also take a valiant effort to ensure the plan gets done. Databases will need to be created and connected to one another. More offices with which to register for visas and permits on a more timely and cost-effective basis will need to be built and staffed. Social security, DMV, Tax offices and many more departments will need to increase their staffs to support the sudden increase in participants and collect the fees they have not been collecting. Every non US national I have ever spoken to has told me they would gladly pay for chance to live and work here legally and without fear of prosecution.


All of these systems will create jobs and add revenue to our economy as well as increase our national security.

Sounds to me like fixing these two problems would go a long way to repairing the top two problems our society endures today: Lack of Jobs and an unstable economy. What we have is a potential to create a win-win situation where we will create jobs, increase state and federal funds and verify the identities of millions of people who are here illegally and in many instances are living under fabricated identities.


The immigrant will benefit by being able to provide for their families and live free of fear of prosecution and deportation. Just like us, for every week they don’t work, their family suffers. Unlike us, they don’t get unemployment or welfare.


We all win when we all begin to think about what is best for everyone instead of just what is best for ourselves, or by sticking to an invalid idea that to fix the problem we created is somehow an amnesty for a criminal society.


Illegal aliens are here; let’s do something about it and begin to live a better life because we dared to break free from a debilitating value system, and worked for the betterment of all involved.


So, which one of our presidential hopefuls will be our hero?


The United States Immigration Debacle, Part 5: The Conclusion

Part 5 of 5


There is plenty more to be said about the role that immigrants who entered our country without inspection have played in our society, but the main points I hope I established in this series are:


Immigrants have been here forever.

We asked the immigrants to come.

The immigration system does not meet our labor needs.

Waiting 25 years to come here is not realistic.


We never boycotted a company that gave us a good price and used immigrant labor.

Sending them all home now would make our broken visa system worse.

None of this is their fault.

They are not going to take over our country.



Once you stand back and take a look at the larger picture, it becomes clear that the immigration debacle is our own creation and the players in this game are only reacting in logical free market ways to work with the dysfunctional system that has not kept up with our growing labor needs.


Undocumented Immigrants are here, they have always been here, and they are very much a part of the intricate fabric that is the United States of America. Immigrants are not going to take over America and make it some other country as the most paranoid of us would like you to believe. Right wing extremists have been saying this since the 1700’s. and it still hasn’t happened. We are what we are because of who we are, and it is for this very reason that we have been so successful.


Immigrants have been coming here from every country on the planet in search of their American Dream. Whenever we have fallen and gone back on our promise of a better life to any particular immigrant population, we seem to eventually get over it and accept them into our society, but invariably at the cost of a new group of immigrant, who then become the new focus of our phobias and problems.


We are a nation of people who are always looking for a better price for a product or service. Brand loyalty comes in a distant second to our loyalty of the dollar, and whenever times get tough and the dollars get thin, our aggression to any perceived threat to our economic sustenance gets bolder. Immigrants, have always shouldered the brunt of our misguided anger through our well meaning, but highly ineffective immigration policies. What we tend to forget is that immigration is a function of our economy, not the cause of it.


We need to focus our energies on with the process of rebuilding our economy and stop vilifying on the people who came here to help. To send them all home now would add to inflation, shrink our economy and hamstring the very engines we need running smoothly to get us out of this recession.

So what do you think America?



The United States Immigration Debacle, Part 2: The Role of Businesses


There has been a large group of Americans who have encouraged immigrants to come into the United States a little sooner than our foreign visa and immigration system permits: Business owners and managers, but are they criminals or victims?


Many businesses around the country have employed undocumented workers and paid them less, denied them benefits, and made them pay taxes, and anything else they could get away with for decades. Being illegal, you can’t really complain much can you?


We all knew this was going on.  All those millions of undocumented immigrants had to work for somebody, and at most times of the day in just about every town in the U.S. you will have seen a great many of them. And of course they worked cheaper than an American would — and harder.


They do all the heavy lifting, bending and picking, sewing, cooking, gardening, car washing . . . All the stuff we are now privileged not to have to do any more because we have a sub-class of citizen that will do it for us.


As business owners and managers we encouraged every undocumented worker we employed to tell their friends, cousins, aunts and uncles to come here and work for us.  This promotion of illegal behavior for the benefit of business is the reason there are so many of them here.


The reason owners and managers do this is quite logical: If you run a business and pay your employees the same wages a competitor pays theirs, you can offer similar services at similar prices. If all of the sudden your competition pays their employees lower wages and less benefits, then they would be able to charge less for the same service and still make the same amount of money. Your company would be in trouble when your customers found out and started contracting with the other guy, because they charge less, and we are always looking to save a buck. You would have to charge the same as your competition or go out of business, and suggesting to drop an employees wages has never been a popular course for any business manager. You will often lose your best employees that way.  Of course you could keep your prices the same and advertise that you are the Apple Computer of service companies, but that business model works for a very limited number of businesses, and many highly successful American companies export most of their production to countries with cheaper labor than can be found in the U.S., legal or otherwise!


So it sounds like a no-brainer; hire undocumented laborers like everyone else and stay in business, but there is one drawback to hiring undocumented workers: it is illegal. There are penalties for knowingly hiring undocumented workers. You can get fined and possibly even closed down for a period of time. Also, if the employee got picked up by any agency that bothers to check their legal status,  you could be out an employee that day, and have to make emergency arrangements for a replacement. If they can’t come back quickly, you may even have to interview and hire a new employee, which costs time and money.


I actually experienced something like this when I was joining the workforce. I was demoted from busboy back to dishwasher when one of the other dishwashers suddenly quit. It took several weeks before we were able to find a replacement, and get him trained. Companies lose good employees this way. I was not going to stay a dishwasher forever, nor sacrifice the additional income I received from tips.


The whole reason we are at this particular juncture in our country’s history is because we could not get our politicians to stop arguing long enough to fix our immigration quota system. We noticed it was not keeping up with the demand for cheap labor many decades ago, but somehow we constantly manage to stumble over our own feet.


The world’s demand for cheaper products has pushed a lot of production overseas where their workers get paid even less than our undocumented friends get here. Much less. Competing with them is extremely difficult, if not impossible for many businesses. The companies that are able to compete in the world marketplace have probably been outsourcing their production and even some services overseas for years. Importing cheap labor, exporting labor to cheaper countries, it’s all an issue of commerce. There is no escaping it.


So why don’t we change our laws to reflect the current state of affairs here at home and abroad?  Who are the people that have the power to change the laws, but have consistently kicked that can down the road a ways so someone else will have to deal with it some other time? That’s what we’ll talk about next week.