More erroneous emails arrived this week; these concerned about illegal immigration. One writer was all worked up about illegal aliens receiving social security benefits and getting more than “my Mom” who, because she was born in 1924 and, “there is a catch 22,” didn’t get as much. The other email purported to have called the “CARIBE” administration to learn that US citizens don’t qualify for their program, “And all the while, I am working a full day, my son-in-law works more than 60 hours a week. . . .” That writer then wanders off on a tangent about “they” wanting to sing the National Anthem in Spanish. Who the “they” are or how many of “them” there are is not made clear. But the writer nonetheless insists the Anthem should be sung, “word for word the way it was written.” [A recent Harris Poll found that 61% of American citizens don’t know all the words to our national anthem; the melody of which came from an English drinking song praising wine and love called “The Anacreontic Song”. Francis Scott Key’s brother recognized that the poem Key had written fit the tune perfectly. You can read about it and hear a version of it at the Smithsonian’s web site.]
The writer was also exercised because, “Nowhere did they sing it in Italian, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German or any other language because of immigration.” Of course, most of those immigration movements were complete by 1931 which was when the song became our national anthem. Before then we didn’t have a national anthem.
So, once again, I order some facts to charge a machine gun nest of opinion.
1.) Although they pay into the Social Security program in the form of withholding taxes withheld by their employers, illegal aliens cannot collect benefits because — drum roll, please — they are not here legally.
2.)The CARIBE program is a small program specifically for refugees from the Caribbean who are here legally. U.S. citizens don’t qualify because — drum roll, please — they are not refugees.
Finally, these emails announce IN ALL CAPITALS that if I don’t agree, I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM [sic] which brings me to the second piece of the illegal immigration debate ongoing in the United States right now: Not only are we conducting it with opinions based on misinformation; we are conducting it without compassion, either for ourselves or the people here illegally. Labeling someone “illegal” does not render her sub-human. Nor does it mean we should always and uniformly enforce our immigration laws. I remember, for instance, the ship St. Louis and its 900 Jews we refused to allow into the country because they lacked the proper pieces of paper and so sent them back to Europe to be slaughtered — except for those who were accepted by England — by the Nazis. Moreover, it is not realistic to think that we can round up and deport 14,000,000 human beings who are here illegally. And why would we want to? It would significantly harm the economy.
Nor does it make any sense to me that some of the people most up in arms about these “illegals” are those who benefit most directly from their presence. They are not an economic threat to the middle class. In fact, they add to our net worth. Moreover, we didn’t raise our sons and daughters to be hotel maids or meat packers so who is going to do that work?
But I have the answer to the entire issue. The Free Market. You read it here first. We get control of our border when there is no longer a financial incentive for Mexicans and other Latinos to come here. When they have good paying jobs at home they won’t have to leave. We do that by helping build their economy. Mexico needs infrastructure: modern highways, hospitals, schools, pipelines, industry. And they need American capital to build all that. They need American engineers and doctors and teachers to lead the way. They want the jobs down there. There is short term as well as long term profit for American corporations just waiting. Imagine how much more the US economy will be worth when Mexicans have enough disposable income to buy our products rather than sneak across our border.
Our goal should be a Mexico that is as prosperous as Canada. Then Mexicans will be just like Canadians who don’t need or want to be here. They’ll have their own jobs and won’t want to come because of our ethnocentrism. (A Canadian once told me that living next to the United States was like living next to an adolescent elephant.)
In the meantime, we would all do well to remember why our ancestors came here and forced the Native Americans to admit us illegally: They came not only to escape bad lives somewhere else but also because the United States is a place of prosperity and because it is a place of promise and because it is a place of freedom. I would rather have the “illegal alien” problem than live in a place where no one wants to come.
There. Having solved this problem, I’m off to fix global warming. Then I’ll go get Osama bin Laden since the government seems unable to do it. Then I’ll bring peace to the Middle East. So much to do, so little time. But, when I have time, I’ll do the third post in the series which will examine why facts melt in the face of opinions. Part I is here.