Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Immigration

It can’t be said that there are many parallels between Newt Gingrich’s political philosophy, if it can be collected into one coherent philosophy, and the structure of the Responsible Community. But, we do need to give Gingrich his due when he is right, even if not for the same reasons.

Today is Florida’s Republican primary and immigration is a big issue because of the large amount of immigrants, both legal and illegal. Mitt Romney, Gingrich’s biggest rival in the presidential primary, has developed his “self-deportation” plan that has some truth at the core. He believes that as a country, we need to somehow remove the illegal immigrants from the neighborhoods of America and return them to their home country. There, they can apply to come to America legally. He would do this by cutting off the jobs the immigrants obtain when here. This is the truth at the core of his plan; we would have much less illegal immigration if there weren’t jobs going unfilled here.

But, Romney is not likely to be willing to go up against business owners and fine them for hiring illegals. Remember, he is a pro-business candidate, having run a capital investment firm very successfully. It just can’t be seen how the pro-business, less regulation candidate is going to stop businesses who need cheap docile employees.

If Romney wants to remove the illegals from our neighborhoods, he will have to drive the padding wagon down the street, dragnet style. He will have to round them up and send them home.

Gingrich doesn’t think that is such a good idea, nor do I. Gingrich has said something like rounding up someone’s grandmother that has been here for many years to deport her is against humanity and, besides, can’t really be done. (Gingrich is right on both points. Can you image removing 10 to 20 million people from the country? Panic and chaos would be pandemic. There would be riots and armed conflict in the streets of our towns. Our courts would be filled with backlog cases for many years, if not lifetimes.)

These people are here because we needed them to fill jobs that went unfilled. While they may have taken jobs that legal immigrants could have filled, it is not as bad as it seems. Once here, they created a synergy that created more jobs. Economically, they hold entire communities together. They rent houses and apartments, buy food for their families, entertain themselves and buy shirts from JC Penny. By removing about 10 to 15 percent of the population, if it could be done, would send us into another recession. The jobs it is said the illegals took would be gone along with all the other jobs that were created from the goods and services they purchased.

That is not to suggest that we should not do a better job of keeping illegals from the country in the first place. A blog post from May 2010, End Illegal Immigration in Five Steps, outlines five steps to end illegal immigration without ten foot concrete walls around the country. Let’s make sure every person has a national identification card so we know who is legal and who isn’t, that every business knows that there will be severe consequences if they hire undocumented workers, manage our borders not control them and build the economies in the home countries. We also need to provide a path for documenting workers that aren’t currently legal instead of deporting them.

Solutions for problems like illegal immigration come from practical community based solutions not from politically motivated ideological double speak. Romney is suggesting that we get tough by cutting off the supply of jobs at the same time he says we need to get rid of regulations and help business. This is Romney’s double speak. Gingrich at least is defining the issue in practical terms.

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