In this Part 2, we want to break down Newt’s plan and discuss the economic realities EVERY PLAN has to address. (No matter how friggin’ entertaining I tried to be – it was just too damn long.) So we talked in Part 1 about why holding people accountable for breaking the law is important and a little more complete understanding of Newt’s consistent immigration stance and what he DID NOT say. All part links are here:
Here are my revelations (and for a conservative they WERE revelatory) WITHOUT addressing the issue of if people should be penalized for breaking the law which we will cover again in Part 3:
- Conservatives have done a TERRIBLE job of explaining the facts of this problem to us instead of getting into “rhetoric wars” on everything from border fences (or moats) to starving children stories trying to manipulate our emotions.
- There IS an absolute need for foreign workers who will never be citizens, and it would probably hurt the country more (financially) to deport them ALL.
- We allow foreign tourists in our “borders” all the time (even assisted by private companies like travel agencies with government paperwork).
- The free market power of SUPPLY AND DEMAND will eventually make CONSERVATIVE CAUSES weaker if we don’t create a system to accommodate the workforce flow of foreigners. (We yell at the immigrants for coming when TODAY only 66,000 are allowed for millions of jobs.)
So what about Newt’s plan? Let’s call it for what it is: Legalizing existing undocumented workers who already have US jobs without giving them ANY preferential treatment to become a US CITIZEN.
In other words there are people who come across for work but not to be US Citizens. Newt’s group claims that A) they don’t like being illegal, B) they fulfill a need for US businesses and would NOT take US jobs or hurt businesses who unknowingly employ them.
Here is a short summation of the “Red Card” program Newt referenced in the debate:
The developer of this plan says that conservatives (or as she says it the “law and order crowd”) want to close the border and not allow any illegal visitor into the United States. She claims the “other” side is businesses who absolutely need migrant labor to operate or they will go out of business. She came up with the plan as a small equestrian center that went through hell to hire 10 Mexican workers LEGALLY every year. She claims even when she advertised her $5 per hour jobs to US citizens in California (in 2006) she did not get a single respondent who wanted to clean barns and port-a-potties at $10 per hour. A peach grower at the same Heritage forum (audio link) claims to have advertised jobs migrant workers normally do for him at $20 per hour and couldn’t find Americans wanting to do the dirty manual labor. Both of these business owners claim that not only can’t they find US workers – when they do, they are so lazy and spoiled they don’t even give a full days work like the migrants who have exceptionally strong work ethic and give the business a good value for their pay. Our population has always been augmented by migrants and the need has increased over the past 50 years as our labor force has become more skilled and educated. (I know. It would seem like we have enough high school dropouts and gang members to make up the difference – but apparently not.)
On the other hand following the Alabama Immigration Law just now taking effect gives us a glimpse of what an actual PROHIBITION on illegals might do. As you may have heard, upon passage, hundreds of kids no longer showed up to school and a large number of the illegals self-deported out of fear. Although there are hundreds of businesses that seem to be closing or struggling, unemployment dropped significantly lower than the rest of the United States. If however, the loss of spending of these self-deported residents results in the closing of even more legitimate business, it might be a wash. It is too early to say.
So the FIRST QUESTION is, are there really that many jobs that Americans can’t fill?
The SECOND QUESTION is are we conservatives THAT concerned about good workers who DONT desire citizenship and JUST want jobs we can’t fill?
The THIRD QUESTION is how much do we penalize hard working migrants versus those who are milking our system?
- There are 10 Million to 20 Million “Illegals” in the US.
- Possibly 80% or more are only here to work, 40% of which do not want or plan to stay.
- Loosing 8 million workers would result in $1.757 trillion in annual lost spending, or between 2% to 5% of the US GDP.
- In 1960, 50% of the workforce was uneducated and low skilled. In 2007, it was 10% and there was still a demand for workers Americans wouldn’t fill. (29% of immigrants don’t have a high school diploma.)
- Illegals (in a good economic climate) take about 1% of jobs that would have otherwise gone to a US Citizen.
- 4% of our school population are undocumented children. This doesn’t include children who are “anchor” babies.
- Illegals may COST Americans up to $113 Billion per year, although they are net financial PLUS at the Federal level (Social Security taxes paid they will never collect), and financial DRAIN at the local level.
- The cost of deporting all of them (not including economic loss) would be about $50 Billion per year for 5 years ($250 Billion).
- It is significantly MORE expensive and burdensome for employers to go through the onerous bureaucratic processes to legally hire one of the 66,000 “low skilled” workers authorized under current law than to take the risk of hiring an illegal.
- Since immigrants have higher birthrates, INCREASING the unskilled citizenship rate, will help us avoid the pending doom of Social Security and Medicare commitments to the Baby Boomers.
Far be it for a bird that can barely balance a checkbook to even remotely pretend like he understands data, assumptions and the methodology of an economic study by a 10th grader, but I can use logic. For example. If Ronald Reagan says X is a fact and Harry Reid says it is not – I wouldn’t automatically assume Reagan is right – but I would be leaning that way. If Reagan, Laffer, DeMint, AND William F. Buckley Jr endorse “X” – I’m wiling to de-prioritize my need to understand EVERYTHING about it. It’s called Information Cascade. Like Ann Coulter says, the first hint a program is good is that Pelosi and Reid are against it.
PolitiJim REVELATION: I didn’t know squat about immigration compared to what I learned in the past 24 hours. Although there is some variation, major groups like Heritage, Cato, Freedom Works and others have checked these numbers. The United Nation’s Climate Change group (IPCC) is a prime example of why you just can’t accept “studies” from “scientists” without questioning their motives. The US Chamber of Commerce – hardly a left wing force in politics, has come to the same basic conclusion although many illegal immigration – deportation only - advocates accuse them “covering” for their big business donors. That seems like a strange accusation however, if the broader mission is to help all businesses. They aren’t lying about free markets when they attack ObamaCare and there were big medical companies paying dues also. Then again, I never thought the Girl Scouts would advocate aborting preborn Brownies either.
There ARE biases in this debate. Many Republican donors count on migrant labor. They could be distorting the facts to help their businesses, or they could be telling the truth. Karl Rove only talked about policy that was conducive to increasing future Republican voters. YOU AND I hate that. We are Conservatives. We act on what is RIGHT, PRINCIPLED and CONSTITUTIONAL whatever the cost. Not because we are blind to follow a “golden calf” as a group, but because we are INTELLECTUALLY persuaded that the principles of 1776 Freedom, 1788 Capitalism and 33 A.D. morality are the best proven models we have to achieve, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not just for ourselves, but for all.
We judge people INDIVIDUALLY, not as a “race” or ethnic group, right? So just as we know not all blonde women are dumb (despite my pastor Joel Osteen’s constant jokes), we need to be serious when we discuss and defend our point on this issue. Platitudes, anger and repeating what others say isn’t enough.
Which brings us to our SECOND question – Are we worried about ALL illegal immigrants the same? Is it really the fault of hungry foreigners who are offered jobs by US citizens? How much of our frustration with the unrestrained lawlessness (mothers who are free after killing their little girls to politicians like Frank and Dodd who abuse their power) is playing into our judgment of this?
All seven of my followers know that I detest the fact that voters gave Clinton a pass because the economy was good. They sold their good judgment not just against morality, but against national security concerns for the assurance they would get that new flat panel TV. It WAS the economy stupid. So you know my stance. But let’s DO suspend the “moral” issue of breaking the law to come over the border just for a moment – knowing we will address it later. After all - you and I judge speeding to get your sick child to the hospital different from drag racing to impress a girl (or speeding because we are frustrated with the moron who wouldn’t get out of the fast lane in front of us for the last 5 miles Mr. 1992 White Camry). These are just theoretical examples of course. With theoretical license plates AZ F8321J. But here is my point:
PolitiJim REVELATION: Not all “illegals” are the same. An illegal could be:
- An Al Queda operative trying to sneak in to blow up New York.
- A poor Mexican tired of starving and trying to find work.
- A visiting Chinese scientist who wants more than 2 children.
- A Guatemalan family that has worked seasonally in the US for 10 years voluntarily returning home every year.
- An Australian next door neighbor who came on a work visa 12 years ago and never went back home.
EACH of these different. We all admit that Mexican illegal immigration is the BIGGEST issue, but just substitute “Mexican” in each of the nationalities above an you still have a complex issue. But can we all agree on a priority here?
- Those intending to do us harm are the highest priority.
(We think this is a tiny fraction of a fraction of 1 percent)
- Those trying to “milk” health and education services need to be caught and banned. (Possibly no more than 10% or 20% of illegals).
- No one should take a job from a US citizen. (They say this is only 1.1% but that actually means something to those million people who can’t find a job or feed their family.)
THE ULTIMATE CONSERVATIVE IMMIGRATION PLAN
The view commonly being presented by conservatives to combat this is:
- Find and Deport every illegal
- Build an electrified fence across the entire border with Star War lasers systems that completely eviscerate people trying to come over illegally whose remains will become food for the genetically altered alligators who excrete flesh eating bacteria.
- After running full biometric, religious and regional profiling in addition to an international background check, inject a hidden microchip in every foreign visitor which can only be removed either when they become a US citizen or when they legally depart upon an expired Visa/Worker Permit.
- Pass a constitutional amendment that any child born on American soil whose parents are not naturalized citizens must apply independently for US citizenship. This amendment would also say that any child who can not produce a valid birth certificate to claim citizenship must be immediately flow and quarantined in Kenya or Indonesia.
- Pass a law that any employer knowingly hiring an illegal or aiding in the false documentation thereof will need to personally pay all the taxes of the next three foreigners granted citizenship for life.
And this plan would cripple industries like agriculture and many small businesses, enlist a whole new added government oversight to ICE, cost even more money we don’t have, create a logjam and higher difficulty to catch the criminals we WANT to catch and will surely become a publicity nightmare taking the focus off of repealing ObamaCare, fixing the tax code and other high priority problems. It’s one thing if you have John Wayne as the President and the Expendables as your only Congressmen. We have actual people with constituencies and political opponents who want their jobs to vote against us on other issues. More on the political realities we have to deal with in Part 3.
POLITIJIM KEY POINT: For some of us, we could live with an allowance for existing illegal workers to become legal and continue in their jobs IF an American citizen didn’t need or want it, and if there was some sort of restitution and/or consequence. What KIND of consequence will be addressed in the next installment.
My FULL Solution in Part 3 of this article
But what about Newt’s RED CARD plan? There are things to LIKE about this idea. It is important to note that EXISTING immigration law and process would continue. Legal Guest/Migrant Workers who want to formally enter the immigration process can do so just as existing VISA holders and foreigners around the world currently do. The key is they must go to the “back of the line” for citizenship. The authors of the plan discuss about many other penalties including foregoing the $586 Billion in Social Security funds collected by people who faked their Social Security number.
So the the philosophy of their plan is:
- Self-Deportation is the cheapest and quickest way to find out WHO is here and to get them into some kind of plan.
- Government programs are always too slow and cumbersome and can always be handled by the private sector better.
- The Free Market is ALREADY working. These people are here because there ARE jobs. Employers do have some consequences but still hire because they can’t run their businesses without them. (They are not cheaper if you are raided and fined by ICE.)
KEY Highlights include:
ONLY LEGAL, SECURITY-CLEARED MIGRANT WORKERS WITH US JOBS GET IN. They admit EVERYONE gets deported as a first step. Foreign workers apply through Federally licensed employment agencies who fingerprint, photo ID and background check to get a tamperproof RED CARD if they have found and gotten a match for a job. Employers that list the job for a specific worker (and the worker themselves) can do this entire process in one week. “Migrant Workers” and “Guest Workers” are foreign job seekers who do not want to live, stay or obtain citizenship in the United States.
THE FREE MARKET DETERMINES HOW MANY LEGAL MIGRANT WORKERS WE ALLOW. If they don’t have a job – they don’t get back in. No explanation how an illegal homemaker would be handled though and no explanation is given how existing US citizens have a chance at these jobs.
PRIVATE BUSINESS AND FREE MARKET HANDLE THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE PROGRAM. As mentioned before, just like Tourist Visa’s that are outsourced to travel agencies, the bulk of this process can be handled by employers (at a fraction of the current H1B visa costs and pain) and temporary agencies on either side of the border. Like tax preparation, companies will spring up to make a profit in the handling and process these workers much more efficiently than the government ever could.
BUSINESS THAT TRULY NEED WORKERS ARENT HARMED. If a small business of 3 employees has two illegal workers (unbeknownst to the employer) a deportation of 2/3rds of that work force could be irreparable. A sudden loss of employees who have been specifically trained and perhaps relied upon for delivery of contracts to clients hurts the employer, his family, the third LEGAL employee, and possibly the customer. The EMPLOYER however, is now motivated to assist these workers through the process if they choose, if it will help their business. Similarly, the new standardized method to tap into foreign labor makes it much more cost effective for him to work through the system, especially with severe penalties for working outside of it. If that employer lays off or fires the worker, the “system” now makes that worker unhireable unless the worker finds another job and an employer informs the government they can stay working for them.
IT MAKES FINDING THE BAD ILLEGALS EASIER. They calculate that 80% to 90% of illegals ONLY want jobs and not citizenship. They contend a vast majority of these are not security risks. So if you finally figure out WHO the current “illegals” are who are wanted by employers (potential LEGAL migrant or guest workers) you’ve reduced the law enforcement and IMMIGRATION SERVICE burden of the truly “illegal” immigrant, who is not here for a specific job.
WE GIVE EXISTING ILLEGALS THAT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL TO THE ECONOMY AN INCENTIVE TO SELF-DEPORT. Again, the only PENALTY here is the emotional humiliation to admit to your friends and employers that you are illegal, the unknown fear of leaving to cross back across the border and the costs to apply for the RED CARD to begin with – likely $500 or so. The economists have even offered the idea to REFUND what workers have paid into Social Security when they leave our border. The design is to REDUCE the fear that they can reenter the old jobs (with aforementioned costs) so that they would be incentivized to turn themselves, and become documented visitors that we could at least track. More importantly, anyone who could NOT produce an identity would now be immediately deported without question allowing local law enforcement freedoms they currently don’t have.
DRONES WORK. According to Krieble, Tom Tancredo his own self has witnessed a test in Canada with a drone system program catching 100% of illegal border crossings. The Red Card people are for aggressive policing of the border (no need for a wall except in heavily populated areas) as we can finally recognize anyone outside of the “system.” Their larger point is that if you can get 80% of the existing illegals to enter a “system” – it will take far less resource to find, process and deport and the remaining scofflaws and enemy combatants.
NEWTS NEW PROBLEM
Like Herman Cain with 9-9-9, often the first person with a plan gets attention and the attack. Newt has put himself in the position of having to defend something he probably wasn’t completely wedded to. And worse, these are not hard and fast components of a plan. They are ALL negotiable.
For instance, the economic models showed that the entire system would be cheaper and respond to the free market more quickly if an employer did NOT have to give time for an American to look at the job. I’m renovating a house and I underestimated the demolition job – I don’t have time to find an American, and if I can, let them turn it down. I need to hire someone NOW or it costs me MORE money, holds up other contractors and could get me fired from my client. The free market would place a dollar value on that job (higher pay for better quality or quicker acceptance)and the first qualified worker gives me value. The Krieble people said that lawmakers insisted that there be a component to offer the job to the American first. How much additional paperwork and management will that take? If an employer can’t wait, can he be sued? Suddenly, with government intervention – the free market principles break down. So whether it is offered to an American may make a great political point – but it actually is an “affirmative action” problem. SO NEWT HAS A PROBLEM. Does he defend it as written up or does he modify the billions of combinations? Unlike 9-9-9 it is an incredibly complicated issue and an incredibly complicated solution, even if it were better than others.
WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE? - Here are some downsides to the plan:
IN HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT IT HURTS US CITIZENS. In the Heritage Foundations presentation economist Tim Kane mentioned that he would have concerns about this program during recession and high unemployment. My sense was that this was due to the need for Americans to take “whatever they could” and that it would further decrease wages because there would be an overabundance of workers. Since there is still a need for a program – there would be nothing prohibitive in beginning the formation of the program and the securing the border now, in the expectation of implementing it as the economy recovered.
MATCHING GIVES OPPORTUNITY FOR GOVERNMENT CONTROL The original plan suggests a government database for workers to register and employers to file jobs. The RED CARD is only issued for that SPECIFIC job at that specific employer. An immigration scholar pointed out that this is an opportunity for special interests to then start quotas by industry type and job. The market force will get around that by misidentifying the job creating more bureaucratic messes. And how exactly does a worker who knows NO ONE get across the border to look for a job – or how does an employer determine the suitability without meeting them? Anyone can come visit with a passport of course, so border control would have to be perfect to keep out those looky lou’s with an eye on larceny.
IT IS A FORM OF “AMNESTY” OR IS IT JUST?
I am certain most of us who are Christian, if we had a friend who was in jail wouldn’t bail them out if they tried marijuana for the first or second time. Even American soldiers treat enemies who are hurt. How much of a price are we willing to absorb ourselves, to reinforce the idea of law and order. And are we really demanding “Justice” or is it more “Vengeance?” If my house has been robbed 3 times do I have a right to electrocute ANYONE who touches my doorknob? Even if an innocent Girl Scout is just on my property to sell cookies? We need to remember the only difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution was the underpinning of Christian moral principles.
In Part 3 we will discuss the POLITICAL realities of getting Border Control passed, total deportation and the statistics of WHERE both Democrats and Republicans stand on the issue. Also, I will submit the PolitiJim Solution which you will NOT want to miss.