Ever wonder what the word “illegal” actually means? Try substituting the word “Invisible” and you will begin to understand a few of today’s labor issues. There are bosses out there that want invisible labor. Invisible: concealed from public view.
Invisible means you can work them and pay close to nothing, pay no employment tax, provide no safe working standards, pay no work comp, and save on all other things you have to give US workers. On top of these benefits invisibles bring to the work site, illegal employers do not have to hire US workers. The instant you make “illegal” workers visible you make history by making employers of “illegal” workers accountable.
I’m not only one saying this. Here’s what James Hirby, Tulane University Law School, says:
“Illegal immigration doesn’t exist in a vacuum. A company that doesn’t want to pay taxes on its workers’ pay, doesn’t want to pay them the minimum wage, and thinks it can avoid U.S. labor laws will hire illegal immigrants to try to cut costs and get a leg up on its competitors. They do so because the illegal immigrants are willing to work for this low amount and, arguably, because official policies don’t do enough to curtail illegals or provide a means for illegal immigrants to become legal. It is a complicated situation that resists easy slogans for people actually trying to understand the problem.” Law Dictionary: How Does Illegal Immigration Hurt The Economy?
At some point in the future we will have to address illegal employers but for the time being we are not.
The Executive Order?
5 Facts to Know About President Obama’s Immigration Announcement from Center for American Progress:
1. President Obama had the legal authority to act.
2. Executive action brought economic benefits to states and the nation and give immigrants the opportunity to take care of themselves.
3. Immigrants paid fines in order to apply to this program, which covered administrative costs.
4. Status was not automatic; there will be an application process.
5. This was a first step but not a permanent solution.
President Obama didn’t grant citizenship, add 5 million new voters, give out heath care, hand out food stamps, or any of the weird stuff we are hearing. In essence, invisible workers were to become visible– employers were to get legit. This would have kept exploitation down some and encouraged hiring of US workers.
If you read on about the plan, not only was the President not giving non-citizens citizenship; folks had to pass a background check, had to have a child that’s a U.S. citizen, and this was only good for 3 years…at a time.
Costs of this?
Approved applicants would receive permission to stay for three years. The administration estimated as many as 4.1 million people could fit the criteria, . The application cost $465. Somebody check my math. I come out with 1,860,000,000 US Dollars. This coming in every 3 years would definitely help with the cost of aspects of the immigrant issue. Like border enforcement costs $18 billion a year, more than all other federal criminal-law-enforcement agencies combined. (Costs of border enforcement would be a bit less than $18 Billion per year–down to maybe half cost of enforcement that exists now)
So, 9 billion dollars minus the application cost equals good money management. This, $465 X 4 million people, would go a long way.
After the application and with qualifications met what will be the boost to the economy? I’m thinking more tax payers. Add those new tax payer dollars to what these 4 million folks already pay just going to buy groceries. WOW. We’re taking about some serious cash.
All this with no extra spending from Congress. This is how to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
If we were not paying attention to the News during the last administration, we might be thinking that President Obama was getting soft on the issue, nothing would be further from reality–Obama was the deportation President. I saw this order strengthening his strict enforcement of border laws by focusing funds on needed measures. It was even set up to pay for itself.
So, what does the word “illegal” mean?
It might have something to do with dehumanization which points a finger at just one part of a problem while at the same time hiding what is really going on. It might have something to do with US Companies avoiding the laws of the land and getting away with exploitation which does no good for the country wherever it exists. Then again, the word “illegal” may be merely an easy to say nationalistic word meaning nothing except that somebody can say it while not having to think about the meaning or the issue at all. It might mean that we, like Congress, are still unwilling to confront the problem.