Monday, June 13, 2011

2 Ways to Solve the Illegal Immigration Problem

The problem with illegal immigrants is not that they are here using our resources. The problem is that they are using our resources without contributing anything. America as a country was completely built on immigrants. There is nothing wrong with the idea of immigration. The problem comes when people do it illegally. They use our hospitals and our schools without paying taxes or getting health insurance. Now for the surprise, we should continue to let them use our hospitals and schools. That is not only the best option, it is the only option if we are going to be the country we say we are. If we are to be that shining city on a hill, we have to treat everyone as we would want to be treated. That means providing health care when it is needed and education for everyone.

A friend of mine who is a teacher wrote this responding to the question, “how much, if any, resources should go to immigrants”:

Thinking about this topic has made me think about why I went into teaching. The simple answer is to help students learn. I know that this topic is a hot topic in many areas and rightfully so, but as a teacher my job is to help prepare the students I have in my classroom to be productive citizens. I might be naive in my belief but I really do not care where a child comes from, if they are in my room, I will teach them. I presently live in a state where there is no state income tax but a high sales tax. This means that everyone, including undocumented immigrants pay the same tax that helps fund everything. Resources are limited everywhere, but if we do not allow all students to learn, what will the consequences be further down the road. It will mean that we will have a high uneducated society. Unless Washington changes their stance, educators need to educate, and policy makers need to make policy.

Now this is very interesting, and there are a lot of different angles to take into account. As a teacher, you don’t really have much choice in the policy behind it, but he is definitely going at it from the right perspective in my opinion. I mean, the people in his classroom are here, and there is very little he can do about it. Also, the more highly educated immigrant is surely more useful to our society than an uneducated one. So from that standpoint he is exactly right. Also, he is right that the sales tax is a great idea. Using the fair tax in place of an income tax makes everyone contribute. From illegal immigrants to drug dealers, everyone pays. This is a good thing.

The problem is that illegal immigrants are taking from society without giving anything in return. Health care, education, and other areas of public service. Illegals aren’t paying for these things, yet they are receiving them. The thing is, we either have to stop them from coming in the first place, or we have to find a way to have them contribute. Otherwise, our systems are going to go bankrupt due to the people who are taking from it but not contributing to it.

This leaves two answers that completely contradict each other. On the one hand, we should provide health care and education for them because it is just the right thing to do. You take the Hippocratic oath and an illegal immigrants comes to the emergency room with his arm dangling; you give him some morphine and put it back in place. As a teacher, you should teach that kid how to do algebra no matter who he is or where he came from. On the other hand, this is still a problem that needs to be addressed. It simply cannot continue to infinity because we will run out of money.

Hospitals are going bankrupt because of this problem. Too many illegal immigrants are going to the emergency room with the sniffles. As far as teachers go, we have more students to teach and the same amount of money to go around. This means larger class sizes and more teachers. However, there isn’t any extra money for those teachers, so that means lower wages. Larger classes also mean a worse learning environment for your children. So now we are still talking about a less educated society, only now it is everyone. So this is certainly a problem. Now here is the solution.

Illegal Immigration Solutions

The solution has nothing to do with a fence or kicking them out; what we have to do is find a way that forces them to contribute. This seems like a silly thing to say, but it isn’t even that hard. Just make them pay for those things they are using now, and they aren’t leeches anymore. They are now productive members of our society. How do you accomplish all this? There are several simple things that can be done. First off, it isn’t the immigrants that are cheating Uncle Sam, it is the employers who hire them for the cheap labor. Start enforcing the laws we already have and punish companies that pay illegal immigrants under the table. This means that to find work, the person must be documented. It is as simple as that. Another solution that would make things easy is the sales tax that my friend mentioned. In Tennessee where we live, we have no state income tax. This means that any illegal immigrant here pays the same taxes as I do. If we did this everywhere, illegal immigrants would no longer be a problem. They would contribute just as much to the system as they take out.

We should treat illegal immigrants exactly the way my friend described simply because it is the right thing to do. The problem is that it isn’t possible to do that forever without them contributing. The only ways to fix this are to make them leave, stop them from coming, or to make them contribute the same as everyone else. If you want to try both that’s fine, but it seems to me the simpler solution is to let them come if they want, but make them contribute. I suspect if we do that, all of a sudden it is less attractive to be an illegal immigrant. If we stop allowing them to leech, we will only attract the people who really want to be here. Those are the people we want here, and those are the people who will make positive contributions to our society.