I recently had the privilege of hearing Luis Moises Escalante speak at my church. Mr. Escalante is an official of Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and he was a US immigrant two decades ago. Among the thirty who attended Mr. Escalante’s presentation were many who loudly disagreed with his ideas. In fact, they came fully prepared to disagree. And to not listen.
Frankly, as a lifelong resident of California , my home state, I fully understand people chafing at the resultant overcrowding in schools, hospital emergency rooms and local court rooms. Southern Californians are inundated with negative messages about the influx of illegal immigrants….the inconvenience, the economic loss and the broad-brush ethnic stereotypes of immigration. Unlike many liberals, I understand the local anger.
But the anger is misdirected at poverty-stricken, starving immigrant families who have been exploited for 20 years by US businesses, victimized by Mexican privatization of various industries, and milked by the US government hungry for billions in Social Security and Medicare contributions from undocumented workers….workers who will never receive benefits from those systems.
Information that Mr. Escalante provided, plus my own research and reading, revealed a scenario that shocked me. I wrote about it in an article, “Illegal Immigration Explained – Profits & Poverty, Social Security & Starvation .”
Here are just a few of the facts….
– Did you know that, in just 2004, undocumented workers illegally hired by US businesses contributed $7 billion to Social Security and $1.5 billion to Medicare? And yet, virtually none of the illegal workers will ever receive benefits back from these federal programs? Not one penny.
– Did you know that all Social Security Administration projections and budgets include, and rely heavily on, billions in annual contributions from undocumented immigrant workers? That Social Security would have a significant solvency problem without that revenue?
– Did you know that, in 1999 under President Bill Clinton, the US government collected $3.69 million in fines from 890 companies for employing undocumented workers….and in 2004, under President George Bush, the US
collected only $188,500 from 64 companies for such illegal employment practices? And that NO fines were levied at all in pre-election 2004?
– Did you know that when, in the 1980s and 1990s, US corporations relocated their cheap-labor, low working conditions factories from along the US-Mexico border to Asia , that unemployment in Mexico rose to about 40%? And that Mexico has no unemployment benefits for its jobless residents?
The equation explaining the whys of illegal immigration into the US is a dirty little secret that no politican seeking reelection wants to openly discuss. Both George Bush and John Kerry carefully avoided the subject during the 2004 presidential campaign. The plain facts of the broken US immigration system are that US businesses
and the US and Mexican governments all benefit handsomely from the present flow of illegal immigrants into the US …..but they refuse to reimburse local and state authorities, and taxpayers, for the related costs. And they all conveniently allow the US citizenry to blame starving, dying immigrants for responding to the enticements to work illegally in the United States . It’s an ugly, immoral situation.
Writes Pastor Robin Hoover of Humane Borders, “Our nation virtually posts two signs on its southern border: ‘Help Wanted: Inquire Within’ and ‘Do Not Trespass.’ Without the help of immigrant labor, the US economy would virtually collapse. We want and need cheap immigrant labor, but we do not want the immigrant.”
Please take the time to read about this issue in my new article “Illegal Immigration Explained – Profits & Poverty, Social Security & Starvation <http://usliberals.about.com/od/immigration/a/IllegalImmi.htm>