Immigration: Get Ready to Pay

Illegal immigration update: Get ready to start paying

The impact of the defeat of a rational immigration bill brought on by the extreme right as well as the impact of the plethora of politicized municipal and state anti-illegal immigration legislation is having an effect on our economy much sooner than I anticipated. Get ready to start paying folks. Open your wallets. I assume that you did realize that your “no amnesty” rhetoric was going to result in almost everything costing more – soon –like now.

I met with a local business person this week whose hard working crew recently went back to Mexico and is not coming back. He has hired replacements for the crew but is having to retrain everyone. The replacements are being paid the same wages as the original crew but only a percentage of the work is being done at this time and the business person expects to have to hire additional crew to do the same amount of work. He is behind on his bills and his business is suffering. And, it’s just going to get worse. He is going to have to increase his prices to cover the additional expense and, hopefully his business will stay viable. He represents thousands of businesses that will be impacted – that will shut down or not – by how the current immigration issue is handled. Small business, as we all know, is and has been the primary source of new jobs in this country. And the illegal immigrants play a major role in the viability of a large percentage of small business in this country, in my opinion.

In Wednesday’s AJC in the Metro section, there is an article about the new state laws that make it much more difficult for the illegals to get driver’s licenses. The article refers to a local auto dealership that was selling 15 used vehicles a week – primarily to a Mexican clientele, but is now only selling two or three a week. My guess? That dealership will probably layoff some staff – make cuts in payroll and, basically, put employed folks out on the street. But thank goodness no amnesty was granted.

The article also makes reference to the new anti-immigration law cutting into the traffic for many (new) auto dealers business, as well as tag, and title services catering to the Hispanic community. Again, no problem. Just make a few cuts here and there. Jobs that existed no longer exist. And it is going to just increase. But, according to Senator Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) and one of the loudest and most opportunistic politicians riding the rabid anti-illegal immigration rhetoric vote-getting wagon train, businesses that built sales based on the illegals in the market are of no consequence anyway.

Mind you, our current immigration non-policy is in fact working. More and more of these illegals will leave and fewer will come here. That’s a good thing though, right? Yep. That is unless you talk to someone in the hospitality or agriculture business. The corn-based ethanol business is now ramping up and if the anti-amnesty folks get their way, a large percentage of the people needed to harvest crops – including grains – will become unavailable. Fruits, vegetables, and anything made from grains will soon dramatically increase in price. But that’s ok because amnesty wasn’t granted, right? And I am sure that Chip will find a way to make those prices go back down – yep.

Lets think about Wal-Mart for just a second. Have you ever been in a Wal-Mart? Did you see any Hispanics shopping – or working there? What do you think is going to happen when the illegal Wal-Mart shoppers and workers leave? You think that Wal-Mart is going to hold open those jobs because they’re good guys? Anyone you know work at Wal-Mart? But “no amnesty” is more important that jobs – right?

But here is the good news – at least we are in the middle of a serious downturn in real estate construction. Why is that good news? Because the demand for new housing is very depressed and the impact of not having the skilled and unskilled construction workforce is marginal – for now. But, as soon as the demand for housing resumes and if the “no amnesty” folks get their way, get ready to pay a lot more for you new house. How much more? Good question and also one that I can only guess. But what I do know is that –my guess- 75% of the “trades” workforce building the houses in this country are illegal immigrants and if they go, housing prices go up, up, up. How does 10% sound? How about 25%? Ask any builder – way off the record – how much he would have to charge for his houses if he had to build a lot fewer units – slower- and pay a lot more for the labor for the units he did build. Do you know anyone that currently has a job in related to housing? Know anyone who works at Lowes or Home Depot? How about the stores that sell carpet or appliances, or roofing or lighting etc. Only a fool will tell you that there is a workforce available and capable of replacing more than a small percentage of our current illegal workforce.

Do I sound extreme? I am sure to many of you I do. Is what I have written about fundamentally sound? Probably, the only question is the degree to which I am right. Is the point that I am in favor of allowing illegals to enter and work in this country unimpeded? No, absolutely not - no way. My point is that we need a rational comprehensive, practical policy for our current illegal immigration problem. The borders must be secured. The illegals currently in the country need to be accounted for and incorporated into our system in a systematic and rational way so they can continue to provide critical labor for our industries and so they can continue to spend money and also pay more taxes. What we don’t need is for this “amnesty” rhetoric to interfere – especially if it prevents more fundamental decisions about the issue. The “amnesty” issue is not as important as the economic impact of the illegals or the danger of unsecured borders yet, because of a loud vocal minority the amnesty issue has become a roadblock to any real and effective resolution of the issue. The politicians must have the backbone to ignore the extreme and irrational voices and focus on the real issues and it will help if the silent majority – most of you - supports them. Next time the legislation comes up don’t let the extremists unduly influence the vote. Get involved, speak up. Our future depends on it.

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Submitted by wilbrook on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 11:57am.

So what if we pay more for normal every day things.
If the illegal immigrants stay we pay more in taxes for a myriad of social and educational services for illegal immigrants and their anchor baby children but we get a cheaper price for our goods and services. The tax payers lose and the federal government and businesses win.

If illegal immigrants go, we pay less taxes but pay more for our goods and services. The tax payers win, businesses win, and the federal government loses.

Any time the federal government loses power, citizens win.

Who ever wrote this blog needs to wise up. America rests on the bedrock of the laws based on the Constitution of The United States of America. It is because of these laws that we have our beloved freedoms and economy. If you arbitrarily enforce the laws of the land set forth in the constitution, that bedrock is eroded and we become yet another third world country of your choice run by a government that answers to no one but itself. And before you call me a racist or bigot, just remember, I'm married to a Mexican who did it the legal way. We spent $12k dollars and nearly 1 and 1/2 years abroad waiting on her visa.

Your socialist / one world government views seem more intune with our very own King George. Maybe you and he should spend some time abroad. If it's cheap goods you're willing to exchange at the cost of freedom, I will gladly foot the airfare for you and King George for a one way ticket to a third world dictatorship of your choice.

If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen. --Samuel Adams

Tug13's picture
Submitted by Tug13 on Fri, 07/20/2007 - 10:08am.

The illegals now need a drivers license to purchase a car! Don't you think they need one??

I will be happy to pay more for everything. If they want to live here they need to become legal, and learn our language.

One of my best friends is from Ethiopia. She works very hard, and she became an American citizen this week! She is thrilled and we are too!

Submitted by too bad on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 11:37pm.

Boink you! you I'm sure are either hispanic, or one of the ones making money off hiring the illegals, they are all going back? give me a break! that is total BS..I haven't seen a trail of them to the might interest you to know that 99% of the people here have ancestors that fought and died for us to have this country. If they want the same, let them go back to theirs and do the same.

Submitted by tonto707 on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 6:45pm.

solution in 2003. Work visas for those here that can demonstrate that they are employed. Enabling legislation to round up and deport those that are not here legally, including authority for local and state law enforcement to arrest and compel INS to deport them.

The whole illegal immigration issue is a hot potato that neither party is willing to stay on until there is a satisfactory resolution.The fear of losing a vote and their seat of power is over-riding in the minds of every damn elected official in DC, bottom line.

appen made a couple of legitimate points, most were not accurate or realistic. But the cost of housing would certainly increase if these illegals weren't here doing the work for $8, $10 or twelve dollars per hour. There's not a single american willing to work for that wage. McDonald's has a permanent sign in their windows offering $8.50/hr and only disadvantaged seniors are taking those jobs.

The only reasonable solution is temporary work visa, that's all the majority of Americans want, but politicos just won't risk losing a single vote at this time to do what we the American public wants.

I just received a solicitation from Sen Saxby Chambliss in the mail today. Sorry, Saxby, I'll be voting for the candidate who can convince me that he/she will do the right thing.

Submitted by appen on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 8:16pm.

my position on the issue is simply that we need to use reason and logic to find a solution to the immigration problem. my other point is that i believe that most people probably agree with that and that if they will take a more active role in demanding an effective and rational solution from the politicians then we may actually succeed. it is way too important an issue for the majority of us to sit on the sidelines and not participate in the process.

Submitted by bladderq on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:44pm.

I'm under the impression that all the cost savings that the building industry has seen in hiring illegals (roofing, drywall, etc) have ended up in the pockets of the builders / developers. (Most of whom I would ass-u-me..Vote Republican).
Anyone that has looked at construction methods over the last 2 decades would certainly buy an older model home. It's only gotten pretty shoddy at best.

Submitted by simplelife on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:20pm.

Your post does not compute. You say if we deport illegal immigrants a lot of people will lose their jobs because of the money they pump into the economy and there will be a labor shortage because all of the work that they currently perform. That does not add up.
You also state that things will cost more. I have not noticed that the price of much has decreased in the past 20 years. The only items that have gone done in price is all of this crap Made In China or Grown in China. I think we need a good dose of American Pride in this country. I would gladly pay more for anything made by Citizens of the U.S.A.
Also your argument about a labor shortage was also made by corporations when the government passed our current Child Labor laws. It is all about the bottom dollar. Lou Dobbs for President!!

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 2:59pm.

Just curious, what's your view of the Simpson-Mazzoli Act? It offered an amnesty scheme and has failed as an effective control.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by appen on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:25pm.

i worked at the miami herald at the time and we initiated this massive program that required confirmation of I-9's and such under penalty of a zillion dollar fine if you did not document properly.

laws are not going to stop the illegals from coming any more than they have stopped the cocaine, heroin, and meth from entering the country via the southern border (and every other border) . if you recall, we have had the army, the airforce, and the navy attempting to stop the drug traffic now for what, 20 years and guess what - it has not slowed down. it probably has increased would be my guess. the solution in that case is probably found somewhere in addressing the demand somehow is my guess....

what that suggests is that our "solution" to the illegal immigation is much more involved than building fences, mandating hanging for employeers who hire illegals, forming shoot-to-kill storm troopers and the ilk.... (just kidding) but the point is that the problem is not a simple one nor is the solution and if we really want to solve it, we have to get past this absurd baggage like the "amnisty" issue and focus on the real dynamics of the issue. Maybe if we are able to do that we can make real progress.

Surely you don't think that we are on the right track?

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 5:50pm.

I'm assuming that you're responding to my question but your rambling makes it hard to tell. Your blog mentions that those here illegally should be accounted for. We're in complete agreement with that aspect. In fact, it's the law now. So how do you propose that we start this tracking exercise? BTW, were you in the editing department at the MIA Herald?

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by appen on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 8:19pm.

one starts by viewing the immigration as a potential asset instead of a liability. when you start from that position, you find answers.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 8:32pm.

So how do you propose that we start this tracking exercise? Do we make it a law that they have to register?

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 8:27pm.

who make a living writing volumes and reams with no spelling errors and good sentence structure, and absolutely no sense of humor, and have very little practical, good common sense.
They revel in their neatness and inaccuracies, and love to argue about who has the best theory according to some Greek Dude who was probably illiterate, and never worked a day in his life, and that they finally killed.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 8:35pm.

Don't forget those like IDRIVESOFAST.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

Submitted by OneifbyLand on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 2:07pm.

SORRY!, The REAL Silent Majority want laws on the books
enforced!!You will hear from them in larger and larger
The next time AMNESTY for Illegal Aliens and Criminal
Employers comes up Think about the effects of the last one and the implications if there is another ,then another ,then another!!
No Value at all to U.S.A. Citizenship and the USA
becomming a Balkanized "NO MANS LAND" a "Rollerball World" where
the only LAW comes from corporations not a Democracy
of Citizens legally elected .

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 3:53pm.

Are you talking about Scooter Libby and Bush?

Submitted by appen on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 2:14pm.

you make no sense

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 1:52pm.

I've been around the building trades in one capacity or another most of my life and 20 years ago all the trades weren't Mexican and the houses sold just fine. The people here can't compete when we're raising families here and they're living ten to a trailor and sending the money home, if the house costs more fine, I think you'll find the builder will end up making less.

I yam what I yam...Popeye

Submitted by appen on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 2:15pm.

this is now. the workforce is not here in numbers to replace them. not even close. not more than 10%

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 2:23pm.

There will be if they can make a living at it.

I yam what I yam...Popeye

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 1:51pm.

Some of what you said is true.
But, we don't need one, no not any, jobs here for illegls!
Local, state, and federal officials can stop them from being hired "tomorrow."
They just aren't doing it.
We will work out the increased costs, and scarcities given time.
New inventions will eliminate labor, etc., it will get done.

Submitted by appen on Thu, 07/19/2007 - 2:11pm.

will pick vegetables, dress chickens, frame houses, wait tables, carry suitcases, clean hotel rooms, drive trucks etc. not hiring them is in absolute terms, impossible. increased costs will not "come out in the wash" as the labor has to be on-site and cannot be outsourced in most cases. there is no case , no realistic one, that fills the vaccuum that would be created.

fortunately, as you know, business will not allow the illegals to become unavailable. behind the scenes, they (business) have laid down their positions , behind closed doors (called "donations", "funding" etc) and basically what we really have here is a charade where the politicos are going thru the motions, saying one thing, knowing full well that at the end of the day, what they say and what ultimately and in practice happens are very different.... but the public should realize that and not be dupes...

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