I’m talking about the benefits of opening the floodgates of LEGAL immigration.
Let me be very clear at the outset that I support securing our borders, including continuing with construction of the border fence. Also, those who are in the country illegally ought not to be first in line to receive legal status. I favor a beefed up Border Patrol and ICE. Some businesses and the politicians that those businesses own have benefited from an underground labor market that undermines the legitimate labor market. Those guilty of such should be prosecuted for human trafficking crimes. I oppose new guest worker programs because we already have provisions in place for temporary work visas and because we have no effective strategy for dealing with those who overstay their temporary guest visas. Michelle Malkin also makes a connection between illegal immigration and the high-risk-taking on Wall Street that has brought the nation to the brink of a depression, or socialistic taxpayer-financed bailout, or both.
By the way, on the topic of the bailout, I do not favor it. I don’t want to see a socialization of our economy. I don’t have confidence that the bailout will avert severe economic shocks. I think that the House of Representatives passed a bailout measure quickly because all 435 Representatives are up for election at the beginning of November, and they want to delay the day of reckoning until after these incumbents have retained their seats, whereas only about one-third of the Senate is up for election in any given even-numbered year, which is why they are being more deliberative than the House. I know that without the bailout, the nation would endure severe economic shocks, but I think the American people are rooted in their views of justice and facing the music. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have suffered devastating times through two world wars and the Great Depression, and heroically survived to tell the tale, and so the current generation of Americans have within them the mental toughness to see beyond the current calamity, as many other Americans besides myself are opposed to continued bailouts, especially when the collective price tag reaches above a trillion dollars. Many of us instinctively know that if the Federal government tried to swallow up whole segments of the private sector in this socialist tsunami that the Federal treasury, itself, would become insolvent, and our government would default in addition to the other economic woes, thus devaluing our currency and destroying the security of government-issued bonds. Artificial attempts, for purely political purposes, to manage the market corrections that must take place will only prolong the time it will take for recovery to begin, as shown by the Japanese and the financial crisis that enveloped them in the mid 90’s. I do, however, favor transparency, oversight, accountability, and unambiguous regulations to curb such scandalous financial practices in the future.
How do we recover? With credit frozen up, with houses for sale with more being foreclosed upon, with business failures and job losses looming, how do we begin to pick up the pieces? There are many things that the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith economics will put in motion for equilibrium to be restored, but I want to elaborate on expanding legal immigration and how it could help economic recovery.
Think of a river with levees along the riverbanks. Think of a flood. The levees will hold for awhile, but levees can be breached when the rivers are swollen enough. Also, think of the fertility of river bottoms, and the ecosystem within the river. When a natural river is artificially channeled, the ecosystem of the river is altered. Though floods can devastate structures, they can also improve the fertility of the soil along the river bottoms. So do we want to allow flooding from time to time to maintain the fertility of the soil and viability of the stream? Or do we want protection from flooding devastation? Innovations in civil engineering in recent years have allowed us to have the best of both worlds, with mechanisms that can limit the risk of devastation, yet allow for nature to run its course some of the time.
For scores of years from the foundation of our country until the very early part of the 20th century, we permitted immigrants to flood our soil, and our nation flourished. But after a couple of decades into the 20th century, the flood of immigrants was too overwhelming, and we constructed the bulwarks to shut off the flow. For the better part of a century now, we’ve constricted legal immigration, setting artificial ceilings on who can migrate here from where and for what purpose. The demand to migrate here, though, has breached our flood control measures. Therefore, we have standing pools of illegals within our population, and those waters are brackish. Some of the illegals crossed our borders without papers. Others came with temporary papers that have since expired.
The underground economy resulting from the presence of illegals has besieged the above-ground economy, as sweatshop work conditions violate human rights, wage levels are eroded, the tax base is eroded, and government outlays for medical care, crime-fighting, and public education have increased.
Those who want to come to the USA through the front door, especially for permanent resident visas, experience delays that can last for years. A university student from overseas can get a visa in a matter of weeks. Why does the vetting process for a temporary visa, for example, an F-1 visa for a university student, require much less time than does the vetting process for a permanent visa? Many of our current population of illegals have overstayed their temporary visas, so, should we have vetted them more carefully before issuing the temporary visa? Or should we just have better enforcement actions against those who’ve overstayed? Or should we totally rethink the concept of temporary visas and provide conditionally permanent visas, instead? The lengthy delays in granting the permanent visas are swelling the ranks of those who never make an attempt to come through the front door in the first place.
I think immigration reform measures should beef up INS, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, not just the Border Patrol and ICE. A beefed-up INS can help ICE follow up with those who have overstayed their visas. A beefed up INS can have an increased capacity for vetting those who apply for visas. A beefed-up INS can speed up the processing time for immigrants coming through the front door. A beefed-up INS can handle a larger workload that comes with allowing greater numbers of immigrants.
Let’s open the floodgates to legal immigration, with conditional permanent visas (a visa designed for permanent residency that has conditions which allow for revocation within the first five years). The flood will fertilize our soil at a time of economic devastation, and within a couple of seasons, we will have a great harvest, recover from the devastation, and, if we choose, close the floodgates again. The criteria beyond establishing that they are not criminals or terrorists? Those applying for the permanent resident visas must be able to buy a residence with cash, and they must sign a waiver that they must not apply for government assistance (welfare, social security, medicare, medicaid, government student loans–requirement waived for individuals honorably discharged from the U.S. military) within the first five years of residence. How they earn their living is something we can let them work out on their own so long as they aren’t living off of government assistance and so long as they are in the above-ground economy (working in the underground economy would be just cause for visa revocation and deportation). Just the fact that they can buy a residence with cash can help our housing market recover during a credit crunch. The swell of population in the above-ground economy will increase demands for goods and services, further stoking the economy’s recovery, plus our tax base will be expanded.
If some compassionate Hollywood types want to sponsor some immigrants by plunking down cash to get them a house, so be it, so long as the immigrants can make it through the vetting process.
So what do we do about the low demand for homes sitting vacant in Ohio, in Florida, in Michigan, in every state in the country? Let’s turn on the supply-side spigot by allowing good people from beyond our borders to have a chance at the American dream. The bursting of the housing bubble is what brought down the entire financial house of cards, so addressing the housing crisis at the bottom-up level can assist with the recovery. While these new legal immigrants embark upon the American dream, our American nightmare can be speeded toward its conclusion so we can wake up to a new America.