Undocumented part 3: Aliens and Foreign aid

As a republican, and economic and social conservative, I am upset that the people who had been ruining our country, and still run our economy have our (Christian Right) vote, but do not allow market forces ( much less the many references in the Bible to have pity on the alien and foreigner who are economically disadvantaged) to direct our immigration policies.

Simple economics.

There are jobs here.

There are willing workers.

Unless the idea is a liberal protectionist unionist attitude, there should be a reasonable, legal mechanism for those two elements to come together.

It also is the free market response to what our government tries to do in foreign aid. That money sent to the villages of Guatemala is the purest form of help we can think of. SO much more efficient and much less “overheaded” and “payoffed” to corrupt NGO’s and Government officials, as is the case with USAID and other programs.

The basis of conservative economics is that people will take care of themselves if allowed to.

This is  A good place to recommend a great book I am reading, which challenges both our paternalistic AND maternalistic mistakes in poverty alleviation: “When Helping Hurts”


Undocumented but NORML

Then there is also the NORML logic. The National Organization to Repeal Marijuana Laws has often stated that criminalizing pot use is the problem. It creates more problems than the free use of said substance would.

I don’t agree.

But I do think that this logic might better apply to honest people who are responding to historically accepted economic forces, and migrating to where the work is. They would not be criminals if our laws more closely reflected time honored economic as well as Spiritual laws. Maybe if we focused on proper laws, and administered the entrance and exit of migratory workers, we would resolve many of the problems now facing us in light of the issue.

The costs of border integrity, and processing of aliens could be funded by the $5,000 now paid per person to Coyotes to smuggle them in. The workers demonstrate that they are not asking for a free ride, only an opportunity they are willing to pay for. Registering and paying taxes, etc, would be a lot simpler than treating a humble worker and a heroin smuggler the same.

There is also the aspect of stress on families caused by this criminalization. Imagine the chances for problems if you and your spouse did not see each other for more than 5 years. Workers have to plan to be here till they have saved enough money to return home and live from the investment in a hoped for store or business. They cannot travel back to visit their families, even when illness or difficulties would normally demand their presence. Many are aware of their illegal status, and know they are stuck. But some, who, you must realize, never read a newspaper or watched Fox News, think they are here in a semi legal limbo. I have spoken with Guatemalans in the states, who expressed surprise that I could travel back and forth between the countries at will. They had been told their visa only allowed the one trip, and they could not return to the States once they left. They came across the border on a bus, and all the paperwork, which I am convinced they feel is legal at some level, was processed by the coyote who bought the fake documents and bribed the border patrols.

Yes; bribed the Border Patrol. One of the myths is that illegal immigrants only cross in the desert, or through the River.

Corruption is the natural consequence of economic forces running into prohibitive laws.

I don’t mean that we should repeal all laws that are circumvented by corruption. Rather, I think we could more effectively enforce the important laws if we stopped wasting resources in the wrong places.


undocumented = illegal part 2...criminality

Well, my last post was  succinctly reiterated by Larry James' comment.  Although I think the path that he advocates leads to ... Golgotha...speaking truth to power might be called a suicide mission... ;-)....He certainly has thrown the gauntlet down regarding obeying laws.

But what about those of us who do obey the laws?  and believe in them? 

“Yes, they are poor, disenfranchised, and maybe the laws need review, But criminal is criminal”, you might say, "and until they are arrested, and pay for their crimes, there will be no respect for the corrected law, either".

OKAY, the woman caught in adultery deserved to be stoned. The Law was clear.  But are you dealing with the whole law, here?  Just as the men who brought her to Jesus had turned a blind eye to the missing co-adulterer, we have often ignore the obvious:

Who is hiring these people you call criminal? They would not come if there was no work. Someone (a lot of someone’s) is hiring them. Is that a criminal activity?

I have heard of cases of abuse of our welfare system by undocumented aliens. That is not right. I don’t sympathize, but I can understand it, because we are so stinking rich in comparison to where they come from, that if they are given food stamps or free medical attention by filling in forms, I am sure they are thinking that there is a limitless supply from which to draw. (like many Americans do when they say…”insurance will pay for it”, for instance ) It just doesn’t seem all that immoral to a person who grew up in a hut with a dirt floor, and now sees the incredible excesses of our society.

But I cannot understand the motivation of someone who is already fairly wealthy, who hires the undocumented, and then (as I have also heard first hand) takes advantage of their illegal status to defraud them of agreed upon wages. Even those agreed upon wages would have been considered immoral by some. Who is the criminal? Let’s see…the result of one of these “criminals” is economic growth in a poor family and town ( I have witnessed this effect in the communities of Guatemala). This sounds like one of our cultural heroes; Robin Hood. The other “criminal” in this combined effort to break US laws takes his ill gotten gain, and helps who?

For decades, the influx of aliens was absolutely ignored, as they earned money for the movers and shakers of our communities, and cared for the children and washed the clothes of our best families at a discounted rate.

So, who is qualified to cast that first stone?


a continuing debate on undocumented aliens

Just found a challenging question in an old e-mail from a good friend. It was a response to something I said in a prayer e-mail, and deserved response. I wanted to put into words my thoughts on the subject, because I don’t like it either, when people make statements and do not explain why. It is most certainly not the end all response to the issues addressed, but I wanted to fly it here to get responses. Iron sharpening Iron, and all that!

I said:

"If the US starts cracking down on undocumented aliens, this (the situation in Guatemala) will get worse".

He said:

“…you seem to indicate that you believe the enforcement of our US immigration laws is somehow wrong. Would you please clarify your position on this? “

First, on the microcosmic level: regardless of legal status of the individuals, the effect of those people working in the states was a very positive one on the lives of their family members in Guatemala. That is simply a fact. Changing their ability to earn money in the States directly affects their family’s health and security. There is no other source of income to help them. That was the point of my comment. It will be worse for poor Guatemalans if the US cracks down on their providers. That is a fact. In that regard, enforcement of the US immigration laws hurts poor people.

I say that Laws that hurt the weak need review. I think the beauty of our system is its ability to evolve, without needing revolution. I believe in a republican form of democracy ( although my allegiance is to a King and so I guess I really am a monarchist) and so believe in the ability of people to govern themselves, and respond correctly when something needs fixing.

I believe the immigration laws are one part, and only one part, of the present system that needs fixing.

But your question might be asking me if I believe we should not enforce laws I do not agree with. I do not think anarchy works. But absolute conformity does not work well, either. I used to work as a Quality Control manager. One of my responsibilities was to monitor parts to see that they conform to the prints. But when a perfectly working part did not conform to the print, sometimes, my responsibility was to then investigate, and negotiate a change to the print. I am not in any kind of position in the US to be a part of that negotiation. I am not in the mindset to start an uprising. That doesn’t mean I agree with the print. So, as you asked for clarification, let me share what I would say if I was part of the negations.

I will be breaking that down in the next few blogs.  For now, what do you think of the moral part...that the law hurts poor people.  Is that compelling?