Immigration reform is a political hot potato. A lot of people are essentially anti-immigrant and see the influx of Hispanics as a threat to the American way.
Historically, Americans have always been critical of immigrants. That was true over 100 years ago when there was a huge influx of Italian and other European immigrants flowing through Ellis Island. Those people were legal immigrants and yet, still faced discrimination on a huge scale.
Many of today’s immigrants came here illegally, a fact that has caused much consternation in conservative circles. “What part of ‘illegal’ don’t you understand?” they ask.
Still, the reason there has been much illegal immigration is due to the fact that the American legal immigration system is broken. It is highly politicized and subject to a variety of political forces. If there were an easier way for people to legally immigrate, they wouldn’t have to come here illegally.
There are two parts to this debate. First, there is a demand by the high-tech and medical communities for foreign skilled labor. Go to any high-tech company or medical institution and you will see that a large percentage of workers are of foreign origin.
That’s no accident. This country does not turn out the number of skilled labor that these business sectors demand. We don’t have enough medical personnel or computer geeks coming out of college to fill all of the needed positions. That’s why those sectors are lobbying for immigration reform in a bid to make it easier to hire foreign skilled workers, many of whom come from India and Asia.
On the other end is the demand for unskilled foreign labor. These are the landscapers, bricklayers and agriculture workers that mostly come from Mexico and Latin America.
Some complain that this immigrant labor, much of it illegal, suppresses wages in the U.S. But the reality is, few natives here are willing to do those kinds of jobs. So who will pick the crops and build the houses if not immigrant labor?
The current debate over immigration reform in Congress is rife with political influence and empty rhetoric. Unless the U.S. is willing to become a police state, there is no way to ever totally secure every inch of the nation’s borders. People will find a way to get in, if not through Mexico, then by boat or even the Canadian border.
The fundamental issue has less to do with border security than it does with creating a functioning immigration system that allows in the kind of skilled and unskilled labor the nation needs. That’s the real problem that needs to be fixed.
Everything else is just political posturing.
ObamaCare is a mess. Last week, the administration decided to delay a key part of the law until after the 2014 mid-term elections.
No wonder. The American people are just now starting to realize that ObamaCare isn’t going to lower healthcare costs. In fact, a lot of younger workers are going to pay far higher insurance rates than they did before.
Not only that, but younger workers who didn’t have any health insurance will now be required to buy it, or face some stiff penalties. Those fines — really a tax — will be collected by the IRS from the annual tax return forms filed by every taxpayer.
ObamaCare is just creating a larger federal bureaucracy and will, in the long run, raise the cost of both healthcare and taxes. And because of its complexity, ObamaCare will suppress wages as businesses are forced to spend more to accommodate the law’s provisions.
There are no good solutions to the health care crisis in the nation. But ObamaCare has taken a bad situation and is making it even worse.
For those who are healthy and seldom access healthcare, you will pay a lot more. For those who need a lot of medical attention, the delivery of healthcare is about to slow and become very frustrating.
ObamaCare is a lose-lose game.
Mike Buffington is co-publisher of Mainstreet Newspapers. He can be reached at email@example.com.
The premise to your first sentence is wrong. Most Americans are not "anti-immigrant." Most Americans are against those who come to this country illegally. We strongly support those who do it by legal means.
Outside of that, I agree. The Immigration system does need to be overhauled. You shouldn't need to hire an attorney in order to begin the process. It shouldn't cost someone $20 - 50,000 in order to complete the process.