A nation of hypocrites on illegal immigration

WASHINGTON — As House Republicans searched for waste, fraud and abuse in the federal budget, they quickly learned that there isn’t enough dumb spending to put a major dent in the deficit. So they ended up sacrificing some of their own sacred cows, including money to police the borders.

Though conservatives frequently bash President Obama for failing to create a water-tight seal on the country’s southern edge, the tea-party-empowered House majority settled on cuts of around $600 million to border security and immigration enforcement. That’s $350 million less for border fencing and technology, as well as about 870 fewer border patrol agents, according to some estimates.

Those cuts may not withstand final negotiations, since several Democrats have complained about them. But “border security” is about as sensible a place to trim federal spending as any.

That highly-touted fence along the nearly-2000-mile border with Mexico, for example, costs nearly $4 million per mile but   is humorously ineffective. A video by a documentary filmmaker shows two American adolescent girls scaling a section of the fence in less than 18 seconds. Obama already quashed a high-tech “virtual” fence that cost a billion but couldn’t distinguish people from plants.

If Congress were composed of rational, level-headed folks, its leaders would immediately point to the folly of wasting money on futile efforts to seal the southern border and instead pass comprehensive immigration reform. That legislation would include a key provision requiring all employers to use e-Verify, a free instant background check that verifies employment status.

If employers were to risk heavy penalties for hiring illegally — penalties that include prison stints — they would stop using illegal labor. And if undocumented workers could not get jobs, most would stop crossing the border. Really. This problem has a reasonably simple solution.

But it’s not going to get fixed because it would require politicians of all stripes — but especially Republicans — to tell Americans, long accustomed to scapegoating illegal immigrants for all manner of things, some hard truths. Few politicians seem willing to do that.

Take Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who is now backpedaling furiously from state legislation that would require most Georgia employers to use e-Verify. The governor, who was an ardent supporter of the mandatory use of e-Verify when he was in Congress, has recently expressed concerns about the accuracy of the system.

Actually, e-Verify is vastly improved over the last year or two, with fewer errors that disqualify legal workers. The Department of Homeland Security has pledged more improvements.

But Deal has been confronted by executives who worry that laws requiring only legal workers will hurt their businesses and damage Georgia’s economy — especially the $68.8 billion agricultural sector. The Georgia Farm Bureau has been among the lobbying groups showing little to no enthusiasm for laws that would crack down on illegal hiring.

And it’s no wonder: According to a 2008 study conducted by the Houston-based Americans for Immigration Reform, Georgia would lose $21.3 billion in economic activity if all its illegal immigrants left the state. Illegal laborers represent about seven percent of the state’s work force, says the Pew Hispanic Center.

But a nation scarred by the recent recession — furious over job losses, beleaguered by continuing debt and foreclosures, uncertain about the future — has cast some of the blame for its economic woes on illegal workers. And the country’s political class has eagerly clamored aboard the demagogue wagon, promising harsh laws to make housing, education and health care impossible for undocumented workers to obtain.

But not jobs. After all, we still need them to clean offices and pluck chickens and pick peaches, even if we won’t admit it.

210 comments Add your comment

granny godzilla

March 2nd, 2011
7:38 am

GOP cut border security?

Isn’t that a biblical sign of the Apocalypse?

Aliquando

March 2nd, 2011
7:45 am

Please cite somebody other than the biased Pew. I agree there is a certain double standard, but would not wages rise if there were no illegals willing to work for sub-standard pay?

Joel Edge

March 2nd, 2011
7:57 am

Might as well cut it. The feds don’t seem to be able to do the jobs that they tasked with by the constitution.
“they quickly learned that there isn’t enough dumb spending to put a major dent in the deficit. ”
I would disagree, seems there is a lot of “dumb spending” to cut. 56 agencies to help people understand finances? Apparently none of those are doing their jobs.

Tommy Maddox

March 2nd, 2011
8:01 am

I’m with Joel.

If it does not bother then Admin or some of you that MS13 is smuggling Syrians into this Country via the North and South, so be it.

Cody

March 2nd, 2011
8:01 am

I’m just curious as to the assumption by Cynthia Tucker and many others that if we didn’t have illegals to do certain jobs, they wouldn’t get done at all. Last I checked, there are always people willing to do any job if the price is right. If employers have to pay a little more to get the jobs done, then they’ll do it if the cheap labor pool suddenly dries up. I don’t know, I just find the premise that so many tout as the reason to ignore illegal immigration hard to believe. I also just love how when people want to make it sound like something it isn’t, they call illegal immigrants “undocumented workers.” Especially when that person made a claim yesterday that they live in a reality based universe. Guess some realities are just too harsh.

Peadawg

March 2nd, 2011
8:03 am

” 56 agencies to help people understand finances?” – Hell, they can’t even get the government to understand the basics.

Peadawg

March 2nd, 2011
8:06 am

As far as this column …I agree with the cuts in border security. We won’t have to worry about border security if we take away the opportunities for illegals, i.e. jobs, college, etc. Let’s focus on v-verify, verifying lawful presence for college, etc.

Good Grief

March 2nd, 2011
8:10 am

There’s plenty of dumb spending, just within our military budget. I see no reason for us to have about 28,500 troops in South Korea or over 35,000 troops in Japan. That’s over 50,000 members of the American armed forces who could be patrolling our southern border and strengthening checkpoints along the Canadian border. There are over 50,000 soldiers in Germany, and nearly 10,000 a piece in Britain and Italy. How’s that for just the first part of “dumb spending?”

We’ve not even reached the 50% or so of our spending that goes to entitle programs…

Peadawg

March 2nd, 2011
8:12 am

In more important news:
ttp://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/gas-tax-hike-on-857907.html
ttp://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2011/03/02/georgia-gop-pushes-massive-service-tax-increase/

Damn, Georgia’s going downhill….

james

March 2nd, 2011
8:13 am

Agreed- e verify couple with comprehensive reform.

Further sign we need change over in business and govt- Buffet this morning says college kids should not get credit cards, his portfolio company does provide credit cards to college kids but doesn’t make any money on it-

What?

Joel Edge

March 2nd, 2011
8:17 am

Peadawg@8:12
Gonna have do something to raise money and feed the beast. Our elected officials don’t seem to be inclined to cut waste and fraud. The 2012 election is going to be a shock to both parties.

james

March 2nd, 2011
8:20 am

Good thing Ga politicians are digging into this birther thing- what next maybe a laser light show at Stone Mt? Obama providing awards to streep and james taylor while gas heads to $4 and unemployment remains high. oh well- the rest of us shall try to produce and make a days wages

Ramzad

March 2nd, 2011
8:23 am

All right: America’s founding is a most sordid tale. Stolen from other people and
then built with stolen labor- so American history is really about thievery- nothing
exciting there. Done deal!

Its pilfered sovereignty notwithstanding, I do not believe any person should just
walk through the fence and come in, now that the thieving has been settled and
Darwinian rule is the national order. All who want to come should be able to, but
they should come to the concert through the front gate and pay the fee for the
ticket.

JKL2

March 2nd, 2011
8:27 am

There are no repercussions for entering our country illegally. All you get is a free trip back to GO. So from the Democrat standpoint, the fence is worthless because it doesn’t mean anything when you cross it.

The Berlin wall wasn’t effective because no one could clinb over it. It was effective because people knew climbing over it would get you killed.

MC

March 2nd, 2011
8:29 am

No aliquando it wouldn’t. Keep dreaming or go back to school and take a few economics classes. Best case companies just start doing more with less on the backs of those who are left.

MC

March 2nd, 2011
8:34 am

Cody you need a serious dose of reality. John McCain once offered a room full of American workers $50.00 an hour to pick lettuce in Arizona and last the whole season. He got 0 takers. Get a grip Cody. Americans are too damn lazy to do that work. How many natives do yousee gutting fish down at the Farmer’s Market. And if you think an employer is going to pay 15.00 per hour for an 8.00 hour job you’re delusional.

MC

March 2nd, 2011
8:35 am

Are you producing ripping off your employer blogging James? Or just making the days wage?

Common Sense

March 2nd, 2011
8:36 am

You could have stopped at “A Nation of Hypocrites”, add any topic, and still been correct.

We no longer have consistent principles or beliefs. We no longer expect consistency from those we interact with.

Cody

March 2nd, 2011
8:45 am

I’m not saying that you have to find Americans to do the jobs – there are plenty of legal immigrants, and even (I know you find this hard to believe) some hard working Americans that will do whatever job they can find to feed themselves and their family. Americans aren’t too lazy as a rule, they have just been made that way by a government that thinks it needs provide everything for them. Employers may not pay $15 per hour for what you determine to be an $8 an hour job, but eventually there will be someone to take the job. Odd how there are plenty of Americans that still farm, clean offices, and work in mills and plants, but you can’t find people that are legally allowed to work in this country to do these very jobs. I just can’t understand it.

Oh, and MC, I’m curious, what exactly is your background? Do you actually create jobs? Plan to in the future? Or do you find it sufficient to work for someone who determines your net worth for the rest of your life? If you are in the second category then your opinion on what employers will or won’t do isn’t worth the bytes you took to write it on.

james

March 2nd, 2011
8:48 am

MC- fully self employed my man. fully self employed. no contracts. no vacation policy. no collective bargaining. purchased my own family’s health insurance- shall I continue?

The New Thomas Paine

March 2nd, 2011
8:49 am

We could be a nation of hypocrites, but politics about talking the talk, not walking the walk, that is, you must say what it takes to get elected and then make the compromises that political expediency demands while in office. That is a necessary evil of our electoral process.

Mondale’s pledge to raise taxes while chastizing Reagan for “not telling you” is the best example there is. Mondale got creamed. I think he won four electoral votes. Yet, reagan raised taxes as he should have while in his second term. But Reagan would never have said, “I’ll raise taxes” during the campaign.

We aren’t so much a nation of hypocrits as we are a nation of morons. (with myself being the lone exception.

And that’s just a fact, jack.

williebkind

March 2nd, 2011
8:52 am

CT:
Life has proven that priority changes from time to time. For example when you are up to your a$$ in alligators, you forget the main objective is to drain the swamp.

Richard Dawson

March 2nd, 2011
8:55 am

Ha, I thought ‘A Nation of Hypocrites…’ was going to be an autobiography on Tucker. Since the editorialism in the non-opinion articles doesn’t allow for user comment due to the AJC’s anti-free speech policies, I will comment here. The ‘birther’ article inappropriately states that the ‘conspiracy theories’ regarding Obama’s alleged Hawaii birth were “widely disproved.” I’m not sure what the difference is between “disproved” and “widely disproved”, but at least the AJC is leaving some room for doubt in the non-wide sectors. Still, this is a false statement, and another example of the AJC’s horrible editorializing in the midst of a supposed news article. If it was so “widely disproved”, the controversy would not exist.

What a rag.

eubieful o'sheet

March 2nd, 2011
8:55 am

Darn.
Saw CT’s “teaser” heading for today’s column and thought today’s topic would be about Democrat politicians and their myrmidon followers.

joe

March 2nd, 2011
8:56 am

The easiest way to cut is to wipe out 15 or 20% across the board…that way, every dept shares in it. Then the managers of those depts will quickly learn to cut the wasteful spending within their own programs in order to maximize the funds they do have. That is how successful businesses do it, and so should the govt. Plus, you have no fighting going on in either party.

OhMyGod!

March 2nd, 2011
8:57 am

Hypocrisy with GOP lawmakers and voters?? You’re kidding me, right….?

@The New Thomas Paine – I hate to correct you, but I’m in the “not-a-moron” club, too. Although I was almost expelled years ago when I moved way up in the North Georgia mountains. Up in these parts, people think “enlightened” means “what happens in a room when you turn the lights on”.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 2nd, 2011
8:57 am

Good morning all. As a free immigrationist I see little potential benefit in keeping anyone out. If you want to “manage” who gets in the country, just make it easy for almost anyone to enter and live productively within the borders – much easier to keep track of the potential terrorists that way.

As always seems to be the case, this is a problem created by unnecessary laws – why should there be quotas or restrictions in any event. Those who raise “welfare” and related issues get no tolerance from me – that such laws are poorly conceived is not the fault of the workers who want to come here, and the solution is not to restrict the workers who want to come here.

MC

March 2nd, 2011
9:09 am

Cody I am a West Point grad and business owner. And with thought processes like yours…no I won’t be creating jobs because I have to do things within a prevailing wage. To raise wages means raising prices and passing along that cost to consumers which makes us non competitive with the lower wage paying foreign competitors. Higher costs = higher prices = non competitive posture=no sales. Get it Cody?

ByteMe

March 2nd, 2011
9:10 am

Historically, agribusiness here in the South has always required a cheap plentiful labor pool. First it was slaves, who got paid nothing. Then it was immigrants (before we had the “illegal” variety), who were paid little. Then it was illegal immigrants, who were paid little.

Why? Because educated Americans do not in any way want to be paid little to do VERY hard work.

So if how does agribusiness get more workers if illegal immigrants become off limits?

By increasing the pool of uneducated Americans. The largest block of the unemployed are those who do not have a college degree. They’re not quite willing to work the fields… yet. But they will — eventually — if the social services for the poor are taken away.

Let’s help agribusiness by cutting funds for the schools and social services some more.

General Manager

March 2nd, 2011
9:12 am

Cody you need to take economics 101. Before businesses will pay higher wages and pick up those associated benefit costs they will invest in technology that will get rid of more employees. You don’t have a clue Cody.

General Manager

March 2nd, 2011
9:13 am

ByteMe you nailed it!

I-Bar

March 2nd, 2011
9:15 am

If employers were to risk heavy penalties for hiring illegally — “penalties that include prison stints — they would stop using illegal labor. And if undocumented workers could not get jobs, most would stop crossing the border. Really. This problem has a reasonably simple solution.”

I agree…maybe not prison stints because we would all have to pay for that, but if you heavily penalized financially these companies they would be forced to stop hiring undocumented people. People come here for jobs and opportunity for better life and I don’t fault them for that, but something has to change.

Dan Gates

March 2nd, 2011
9:18 am

Prevailing wages aren’t going to rise without some very painful cost to morons like you. Higher prices. Layoffs. Business closings. And the list goes on and on. You’re in over your head here little boy.

John Galt

March 2nd, 2011
9:18 am

Speaking of hypocrites, let’s go check on that Gitmo closing……..it was a campaign promise after all.

Yep….still open for business. Where’s that story, CT?

Really last word

March 2nd, 2011
9:19 am

CT speaks out of both sides of her mouth, i.e., “If employers were to risk heavy penalties for hiring illegally — penalties that include prison stints — they would stop using illegal labor.” Well if illegals would stop submitting fraudulant papers maybe employers wouldn’t hire them! Isn’t it just like the liberals to always put the monkey on somebody else’s back! Instead of dealing with the problem of the illegals being here in the first place . . . you want to blame everybody but the illegals!!! If they weren’t here we wouldn’t be having this conversation!

Common Sense

March 2nd, 2011
9:23 am

People violate the law when the reward is greater than the risk.

Change that equation and you’ll change the numbers that violate the law.

Gary

March 2nd, 2011
9:24 am

Damn, I thought CT had fianlly admitted to her position at the AJC. Just another republican bashing. I wish I could sell my soul to get paid everyday for garbage like this, but I need to sleep at night.

Col Barticus Maximus

March 2nd, 2011
9:25 am

Good Grief,
Your posit of wasteful spending of foward deployed troops demonstrates your lack of understanding of strategic influence. I do agree however that we can reduce spending in the armed forces. As a matter of fact, every service is laser-focused on cost reductions. I am a service member and also a tax payer. As a tax payer, I am comfortable with the efforts that my service is making the hard calls.

Reality

March 2nd, 2011
9:26 am

@CT:

Now, come on… are you saying that conservative republicans talk out of both sides of their mouth? Are you saying that they speak in circles?

Say it ain’t so! LOL!!!!

same ole

March 2nd, 2011
9:27 am

obama good
anything republican bad

keep it coming!

Cody

March 2nd, 2011
9:28 am

I personally see nothing wrong with companies investing in new technologies that make jobs easier, or non-essential. I know it will never happen to me, because of the field I work in, but if it did, I would adapt, and either learn to operate the machinery, or find a new job. You’ll never convince me that you can’t get legals to do something at a certain wage just because the majority of the people that do it today are illegal.

And before someone thinks I need a lesson in economics, I do realize that you’ll have to raise the cost of things to cover the extra cost of hiring legal workers, but for the most part, the things that were used as example in the column weren’t things that you can outsource. I don’t see construction being outsourced if prices go up, kinda hard to build a building in a foreign country and use it in America. Same with office cleaning, what good does it do you to outsource cleaning services? Farming, that could be a different story, but people are still going to buy peaches and pecans from South Georgia and potatoes from Idaho. Some things just aren’t going to change no matter what you preach. I also realize that some things aren’t going to change no matter what I preach either, so I’ll leave you to your small minded and fallible ideas – what you think doesn’t affect my life, I’ll never come to any of you asking for a job.

ByteMe

March 2nd, 2011
9:28 am

As a matter of fact, every service is laser-focused on cost reductions.

Except as it applies to reducing the bloatocracy of generals in all the services. We have twice as many generals now as we did in 2000. Just like business, we need to get rid of a bunch of middle-management.

Dan Gates

March 2nd, 2011
9:29 am

But I-Bar it is not going to suddenly raise the wage for those positions the way idiots like that Cody think. I have been in business for 30 years and I can tell you for a fact that even if you raise the wage Americans won’t do the work. And if you think the present generation of Americans is going to break a sweat for any amount, think again. Even high school kids think they are too good to do physical labor or anything other than a desk and computer. Get a grip folks.

Gary

March 2nd, 2011
9:30 am

Actually CT I would love to see us make people who collect welfare perform these low wage jobs just to see how fast they get there lives together to try and get out of that type of work and get off welfare. Alas, we let them collect checks and watch Judge Judy and stay home. Mean while, illeagals who do not qualify for these programs work the fields. CT you should watch the Wild Whites of West Virginia documentary. I am pretty sure when you are done you will demand drug testing for social security dissability checks.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have a scheme for you......

March 2nd, 2011
9:30 am

A nation of hypocrites………..CT why are you calling yourself and Granny out like that?

Col Barticus Maximus

March 2nd, 2011
9:30 am

CT’s rants are always superficial, which for her is spot on since her audience is not what one might consider deep thinkers.

Dan Gates

March 2nd, 2011
9:31 am

If you think it can’t happen to you Cody you are dumber than a box of rocks. I don’t care what your line of work is. When the cost to your employer goes up for anything the only thing he can do in certain situations is get rid of people. I doubt if you are even in the workforce with your simplistic reasoning and logic.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have a scheme for you......

March 2nd, 2011
9:33 am

Speaking of hypocrites, let’s go check on that Gitmo closing……..it was a campaign promise after all.

Yep….still open for business. Where’s that story, CT?

AMEN John Galt!!!!!!!!

Col Barticus Maximus

March 2nd, 2011
9:35 am

ByteMe,
Your comments of “reducing the bloatocracy of generals in all the services. We have twice as many generals now as we did in 2000. Just like business, we need to get rid of a bunch of middle-management” is outdated. As a matter of fact, there are reductions underway and the roll-up of HQ units in the attempt to flatten organizations.

your comments are based

Mc

March 2nd, 2011
9:35 am

No Cody but then that construction cost is more which means that cost gets passed to the consumer which lowers the number of buyers which equals lower sales. Which equals fewer people employed. What don’t you understand about something so simple Cody?