Heading: A brief write up on the illegal immigration issue.
On quick thought I’ve noticed that there actually might be some problem with my quick and dirty division of the problem into three sides. The pro-liberal and pro-conservative camps line up rather well, but the con group doesn’t work as well, since they address a larger set of problems than just that of labor. The con group also has cultural concerns, but these cultural concerns are not enough to get a full coherent subset, so I will consolidate the cons to one con group. For an ad hoc notational system, I will labor the two pro groups as Plib and Pcon, and the unified con group as just Con. At a glance it seems that the pro groups cover more ideological ground than the cons, while the cons cover a larger demographic and is numerically superior. Of course there is a grounds for apathy, but this view is, obviously, not analyzed here.
While I will focus on the actual rational behind each view, we must keep in mind that this is the base of the positions, but each position is actually pointing towards a range of solution in practice.
A quick note on my methodology, I am not going to analyze the validity of any given position. I plan on only analyzing the general character of the views. I also am not planning on having a conclusion, or a preferred opinion. In short, I plan to treat each stance as equally valid. I do this to get a feeling for the characteristics of the issue as a full. Later I will attempt an evaluation of the actual data points contained within each position. Also, please note, that the very nature of this analysis leads to synthetic polarization of the issue, one must keep in mind that there is a huge degree of variability within each position, and between any given set.
Lets first examine what is actually meant by saying the one is pro illegal immigration. Even this terminology admits too much solidarity in this issue, being that there is a full array of pro-centric solution options. A sound-bite definition of this stance eludes. Lets divide this issue into to metrics, as well. That of enforcement, and that of retention. Enforcement meaning the amount of effort expended on the actual flow of illegal immigration (this includes for the sake of simplicity humanitarian issues such as water). Retention then is the more complicated issue, in that it is how we treat the illegal immigrants who are here, in this country, now. This latter category includes such things as pending citizen status, wage/labor issues, taxes, insurance, and health care.
By Pro here, we mean that someone is leaning towards either the status quo (passivity) or towards more accepting reforms. The con side would be leaning towards more drastic measures on both categories of enforcement, this includes deportation, strict enforcement, and legal proceeding against those who here illegal immigrants. There is only so much analysis that can be taken of the two stances when it comes to practical opinion, the more important analysis would be on the reasons behind these operational opinions, only then can we partake in a detailed analysis in the functional consequences of any solution group.
Lets first touch upon some of the rational behind the Plib, group. The main unifying factor could simplistically be said to be mainly humanitarian and egalitarian. They, as a group, exhibit concern on the human toll of illegal immigration, including the difficulty of crossing the border regions that are mostly arid and waterless. The lack of benefits available to illegal immigrants (education, and healthcare) also falls under the humanitarian character of the Plib group. The Plib group also is characterized by a feeling of equality, illegal immigrants should be treated with equal respect and benefits of citizens, this includes schooling, insurance, and healthcare options, and to some degree the correspondence between the legal and illegal wage.
Arguably the humanitarian aspect could be called the most important facet of this stance, in that it directly affects the life and health of individuals, also it is the least arguable. I’m giving this aspect more attention because any solution will have to keep this aspect in mind. We must never lose sight of the fact that there is human suffering involved in this issue, and we must keep this in mind at all times, and always (no matter where our opinion falls) try to keep this metric to a minimum. The importance of this stance does not limit the other views validity in any way, though, so it is not an adequate criteria of the soundness of any opposing or corresponding view.
The second view we will look at is that of the Pcon group, which favors illegal immigration on mainly economic footing, though will at times borrow ideologies and rhetoric from the other Pro group (Plib). If opposition is possible in this issue, we can say that this group is directly opposed to the Con group, which each positive value to this group being seen as a flaw in immigration strategy by the other group. This group’s solution mostly leans towards the status quo in policy, though there is some talk of increasing illegal status towards fuller rights and privileges (which may be an act of compromise to the Plib proponents), and sometimes also present increased enforcement options as a compromise to the Con group. Though while this group presents aspects of the other groups, its main basis can still be seen to be economic.
This opinion group probably has the most political clout of them all. Most of the members of this group reside either in politics, or as wealthy business owners. This group is for illegal immigration reform (in the permissive sense) mostly for the aspects of labor control. Minimum wage laws and taxation does not apply to illegally hired immigrants, thus the price of production is lower, and also these laborers do not demand benefits that most legal laborers have come to expect. Also these laborers are completely expendable, since they are not as apt to form unions or other forms of fair practice protection, because of the specter of deportation, or job loss. They also claim that illegal labor is good because it lowers the price of consumption (due to lowered overhead). They think that reform would be crippling to the economy.
The last group we will cover here is the Con group. This group is harder to classify for two reasons. The first reason is that this group has the highest level of complaints, and the most degree of variation between opinions. Some of this opinion can be instantly discredited as racism, but even this criterion is not (contrary to popular belief) the easiest one to see. The line between racism and non-politically correct but true is a rather thing line. We can say that their positions can be roughly classified as cultural, economic, and, to a lesser degree, moral.
The economic factors of concern here is pretty much the direct converse of the Pcon group. This is understandable since this is mostly the view of the working class, who are more worried about their wages, than saving their bosses bottom-line. I will not cover the wage aspect of this again for the sake of brevity, and since it is pretty much the same as above, a limitless influx of illegal workers serves to inhibit work stability and wages. Also legal workers generally have higher standards of living, and cannot support this wage working for the amount fixed by the possibility of cheap illegal labor. Also, the influx of illegal immigrants hurts the ability of tax paying citizens to receive hospital care; hospitals in several border regions have already shut down emergency care facilities to illegals and not due to the flood of unpaying customers. The same financial and service burden also applies to schools in some states where illegal students can go to school, but don’t pay taxes, thus burdening the system. This applies a burden of state and federal tax systems, and also seems unfair to many of the Con group. This bleeds into the moral category, as well, for this reason.
The cultural phenomena of concern to the Con group consists of a certain degree of cultural muddying due to linguistic and foreign culture. Having multiple languages spoken at places of employment places pressure on monolinguistic employees of the minority (in some cases this is legal citizens). Also multiple languages are an annoyance to many, with the legibility of many legal documents suffering from being in more than one language (ballots, for example). The linguistic problems also play a large role in academic problems, due to a lack of funds, and teachers. Linguistic education, as of now, does hurt the overall education of citizen students, though there may be possible solutions to this that do not lead to a total ban on illegal immigration. The cultural impact is also real, with whole sections of cities and work places becoming akin to a foreign land. Contrary to the Plib group, this cultural aspect is not akin to any other immigration group of history, being that the numbers involved is much greater. This cultural area is also due, in part, because of the lack of education (meaning funds) available to immigrant groups, to be fair. To add emphasis to this area, these claims are not racist, but actual cultural phenomena grounded in current reality.
The moral ground lies in the legal status of illegal immigrants. Basically, to summarize, they broke the law, and thus should be seen as criminals in the act of the law. Also, many immigrants do commit crimes on properties on borders. They see attempts at legalization as a semantic fix, where it is okay just by a change of legal status, but does not actual fix any actual practical problems.
As we can see from this quick and dirty summary of the views, each side does actually have real ground to stand on, with valid points which all sides must consider to come to a viable and agreeable solution. This little essay is sadly incomplete; so if you have made it this far, please help me revise some of the issues involved.
In my next installment I will try to look at the actual strengths and weaknesses of the solutions involved in each stance, both on the enforcement and retention fronts. Perhaps from a further analysis we can find a solution that would work for all, in the spirit of compromise, making each group equally happy and unhappy as any other. Let the arguments begin!
Heading: A brief write up on the illegal immigration issue.