Illegal Immigration Myth – Jobs American’s Don’t Want
While visiting Cape Cod last year, we were approached by an independent painting contractor. He asked if we had many illegal immigrants near Pittsburgh, PA where we live. I told him that we had very few and asked him “Why?” He said, “I am losing all my bids on house painting here because I charge a fair price, but I pay Social Security and Workman’s Comp for all my employees. But I’m losing all my bids to people who hire illegal immigrants and pay them under the table. I can’t make a decent living here… “
That one instance explodes several myths about illegal immigration:
Myth#1 – Illegal immigrants only take the jobs that no one else wants.
Truth: The hiring of illegal immigrants by business allows them to pay lower wages to undocumented workers, who cannot complain, and to pay wages that no US citizen can live with, especially when the US worker has to pay taxes, Social Security, Medicare tax, and workman’s comp. In truth, illegal immigrants lower the wages for all Americans by allowing businesses to hire under the table. There are plenty of workers who would be willing to paint houses and do other jobs for legitimate wages, but those jobs are lost to illegal workers. So, US jobs are lost and the whole economy suffers by the influx of illegal immigration. US businesses are forced to shut down and taxes are lost to the government.
Myth#2 – Those who want to stem illegal immigration are racists, since it is really about Mexican and Spanish speaking immigrants.
Truth: The painting contractor informed us that in New England the majority of the illegal workers were from Ireland, Russia, and Brazil: White, White, and Portuguese, not Spanish or Hispanic.
So, one painting contractor, representative of hundreds of thousands of small business owners, cannot compete and is driven out of business by unfair competition, what are the implications:
- Decent, paying jobs to US Citizens are lost to under the table workers.
- Tax revenues and Social Security revenues are lost to States and the Feds by payments to undocumented workers who pay no tax nor SS.
- Small businesses who try to operate honestly and pay taxes are undercut, if not destroyed, but those who use illegal immigrants.
A Possible Solution for the problem of Illegal Immigration:
Temporary Worker Visas: Give everyone who wants to come to the US for the “low wage” jobs that “Americans don’t want to do” a Temporary Worker Visa, allowing a legal stay of 6 months, after which time they have to return home for a period of at least 3 months. They can apply for an extension if they are actually hired and if the business applies with them for the extension. All illegal residents currently in the US could immediately apply for and receive a 6 month worker visa, but failure to do so would result in the strictest of penalties if caught. While in the US, workers would be required to pay a portion of their income on catastrophic healthcare insurance.
Violations of the 6 month stay would be met with severe penalties, including the revocation of any future visas or citizenship. If the person does not return to their home country within 1 week after their visa expiration, if they do not or did not pay taxes and SS on their incomes, or if they fail to register for a visa and are here illegally, they would not be eligible for new visas or citizenship.
A temporary worker program, similar to the one in Canada, would solve several problems:
- Illegal immigration would no longer be necessary. Visas would be readily available.
- Temporary workers would not and could not be hired under the table, or they could not stay and they would be prevented from receiving new visas if they did not pay taxes and SS on their incomes.
- Incomes and revenues to the States and the US would not be lost to unpaid taxes, undeclared wages, etc.
- Businesses would be forced to pay decent wages and declare wages for all employees, thereby insuring a level playing field for all businesses and secure their contributions to State, Local and US taxes, SS, etc.
- The hospitals would be protected against overuse and abuse by uninsured illegal immigrants.
- The problem of undocumented aliens would be greatly decreased since there would be a legitimate motivation for all illegal aliens to register and the threat of immediate deportation would not be an issue.
- Previously undocumented workers would have to declare and pay back taxes as would the businesses that hired them.
I think this solution would work. What do you think?
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1 thought on “A Possible Solution to Illegal Immigration”
As a Homebuilder in NC I deal with this issue regularly and agree with your basic premise and theory. In fact, most of your ideas would work as they pertain to and affect companies in the new construction industry. The problem arises in the field of remodeling and maintenance work on existing homes.
Since most of that work is done for individual homeowners it is virtually impossible to manage or govern. Once a homeowner knows that they will get better pricing not using a company that follows the rules, the others can’t compete. This is not just an illegal immigration problem, it is an insurance industry problem (no Worker’s Comp or Liability Insurance for most legal and illegal workers since homeowner’s have no legal obligation to only hire insured workers) as well as a tax revenue problem (most of the legal and illegal workers don’t report such income on their tax returns because homeowner’s don’t have to file 1099’s with the IRS or States, like companies do).
In today’s economy, more and more construction work is done this way because there is very little new construction on going. As a consequence, most workers in the trades are now free lance, self employed individuals working as subcontractors for whoever will hire them (usually Joe Homeowner directly). They can no longer afford to carry expensive Worker’s Compensation policies (generally 20% of wages in NC) so they drop them, knowing that homeowners don’t require it.
Joe Homeowner never thinks about what happens if that worker gets hurt working at his house. He may think about his liability, but once he finds out that his homeowners insurance policy covers that he is comfortable. He never thinks to ask if the worker even has health insurance (usually not), much less Worker’s Comp. How bad would Joe feel if the ambulance hauls that guy out on a stretcher and he finds all that out at that point.
To add even more to this issue. Lot’s of these guys (all citizens) are collecting unemployment insurance while they are doing these jobs because the government has no way to know about it.
I wish I could say that there are no illegal aliens on my jobs but I am afraid to find out, honestly. I have to verify that I have no illegal workers and that I only hire subcontractor’s that are licensed and insured but they might have employees that are illegal and I would not know unless I asked each person on the site to show me paperwork confirming that they are here legally. I could do that, but I have not yet done so because of the chaos it would provoke. The bottom line is I am scared to do so.
I guess it really comes down to how much I trust God, as do so many other decisions we make each day.