Saturday, December 29, 2007

Illegal immigrants packing up and leaving Arizona

As reported here, [I]llegal immigrants in Arizona, frustrated with a flagging economy and tough new legislation cracking down on their employers, are returning to their home countries or trying their luck in other states.

For months, [illegal] immigrants have taken a wait-and-see attitude toward the state's new employer-sanctions law, which takes effect January 1. The voter-approved legislation is an attempt to lessen the economic incentive for illegal immigrants in Arizona, the busiest crossing point along the U.S.-Mexico border.

And by all appearances, it's starting to work.

This is extremely good news for the legal citizens of Arizona, as their tax burden to support the illegal's living in their midst will be lessened. Lower costs to cover fewer emergency room visits due to fewer illegal's using the emergency rooms for their medical needs. Lower costs for education due to fewer children of illegal's taking up classroom space. Lower costs for traffic enforcement due to fewer people on the roads, which in turn lessens congestion, which in turn means goods and people are able to travel more efficiently, cutting down on fuel consumption and pollution.

Note to the author of this AP story - when writing a story about illegal's, don't forget to include that word, as you did above. I fixed that for you. By dropping the word illegal, you have implied that ALL immigrants are being affected, which is patently false. Just wanted to point that out, just in case anyone got confused.

"People are calling me telling me about their friend, their cousin, their neighbors -- they're moving back to
Mexico," said Magdalena Schwartz, an immigrant-rights activist and pastor at a Mesa church. "They don't want to live in fear, in terror."

In terror?! In terror of what, exactly? That if they get arrested for being here illegally, they'll be treated with dignity and respect by law enforcement officials and the courts? That when incarcerated they'll be housed in a fairly clean and warm environment and fed three times a day, and won't be harassed or beaten, or possibly killed, unlike in their home countries, where people being in their country illegally is taken a little more seriously? If they hadn't come here illegally, they wouldn't have to worry about all that, now would they?

Martin Herrera, a 40-year-old illegal immigrant and masonry worker who lives in Camp Verde, 70 miles north of Phoenix, said he is planning to return to Mexico as soon as he ties up loose ends after living here for four years.

"I don't want to live here because of the new law and the oppressive environment," he said. "I'll be better in my country."

Good! See ya! Have a nice life - in your own country! Oh, and if you want to return, try doing it the right way, and ask permission first, ok?

He called the employer-sanctions law "absurd."

Actually, what is absurd is the fact that you've been here illegally for the past four years, and nothing has been done up to this point to get you to leave!

"Everybody here, legally or illegally, we are part of a motor that makes this country run," Herrera said. "Once we leave, the motor is going to start to slow down."

That's a false assertion, saying that the "motor is going to slow down". As stated above, without the illegal's tapping the cash cow provided by the law abiding citizens of Arizona, the state legislature will be able to cut taxes (if they're smart), which will translate into more money in people's pockets, which will lead to them being able to spend more, which will lead to a growth in the local state economy - not a slow down.

There's no way to know how many illegal immigrants are leaving
Arizona, especially now with many returning home for normal holiday visits. But economists, immigration lawyers and people who work in the immigrant community agree it's happening.

State Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, the author of the employer sanctions law, said his intent was to drive illegal immigrants out of Arizona.

"I'm hoping they will self-deport," Pearce said. "They broke the law. They're criminals."

Rep. Pearce is correct in stating that they broke the law. Hopefully, most if not all of those returning home for the holidays will decide to stay home.

Under the employer sanctions law, businesses found to have knowingly hired illegal workers will be subject to sanctions from probation to a 10-day suspension of their business licenses. A second violation would bring permanent revocation of the license.

Nancy-Jo Merritt, an
immigration lawyer who primarily represents employers, said her clients already have started to fire workers who can't prove they are in the country legally.
"Workers are being fired, of course," she said. "Nobody wants to find out later on that they've got somebody working for them who's not here legally."

Good! Outstanding! More jobs for legal citizens!

When immigrants don't have jobs, they don't stick around, said Dawn McLaren, a research economist at Arizona State University who specializes in illegal immigration.

She said the flagging economy, particularly in the construction industry, also is contributing to an immigrant exodus.

"As the jobs dwindle and the environment becomes more unpleasant in more ways than one, you then decide what to do, and perhaps leaving looks like a good idea," she said. "And certainly that creates a problem, because as people leave, they take the jobs they created with them."

When I read the last part of the above paragraph, it made me have a "Geico Caveman" moment, as in, what?! Since when do workers create jobs? Employers create jobs, workers fill jobs. Oh, and when workers leave, they don't take the jobs they filled. They create job openings which others, who are here legally, can fill. What an asinine statement, especially coming from someone who works at a university!

Pearce disagreed that the Arizona economy will suffer after illegal immigrants leave, saying there will be less crime, lower taxes, less congestion, smaller classroom sizes and shorter lines in emergency rooms.

"We have a free market. It'll adjust," he said. "Americans will be much better off."
He said he's not surprised illegal immigrants are leaving the state and predicts that more will go once the employer-sanctions law takes effect next month.

"It's attrition by enforcement," he said. "As you make this an unfriendly state for lawbreakers, I'm hoping they will pick up and leave."

I want everyone to know that I am not against immigrants. This country was established and built by immigrants. This country is populated by recent immigrants, and the children and grandchildren of immigrants who came here in years past. Heck, even the so-called "Native Americans" are the children of immigrants! I'm the grandchild of immigrants, who came here legally. If you want to immigrate to this country, by all means do so, but do it legally.

What I am against, is those who come here illegally, without proper permission. Illegal immigrant's are not a "boon" to our economy by filling "jobs Americans don't want". Rather, they are a drain on our economy. By working "under the table", they allow employers to pay them below living wages, which in turn forces them to use public resources in disproportionate numbers. By coming here illegally they have committed a crime, and oftentimes (but not always, I will grant) commit further crimes, and when they are incarcerated for those other crimes, use up more public resources.

It is hoped here that with the example Arizona is showing with this law and the resultant self-deportation that is occurring, that the other border states will also enact similar laws, which will go a long, long way to, if not solving, then at least mitigating the problems with people being here illegally.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas is coming...

Once again we are rapidly approaching a holiday that holds many types of memories for us. I find that my memories have become more muddled as I have accumulated more memories, sigh, aging is a crummy thing to have happen to you. For the most part, my early memories were of visiting both sets of grandparents and trying to be excited about the practical gifts I received, pants and shirts and sweaters or a jacket. These were usually good things for me since living in the central part of the country as a kid, we needed as many layers of clothes as we could put on to keep us warm in the winter. (No, I am NOT going to talk about how cold it was or how much snow was on the ground in the winter, just to let you know that some fun was had walking out onto the crusty snow and breaking through it or watching it fall from the roofs when the temperatures would warm somewhat.) As I have gotten older and my kids have moved away and gotten married and had kids I find that the memories that I have the most joy about concern the younger ones and not my own stuff. My wife heard about a question, "What was your favorite present that you received last Christmas?" and finding out how many people didn't even remember what it was... I don't remember, but I do remember how my family came over and how we had good food and conversation, a little TV and a little reflection on life and how much those things make me anticipate Christmas every year. When we think about the most important parts of Christmas or Hanachah's past, we can put it all into perspective by what we share with the important people in our lives. How sad it is for those whose remembrances are not of happy times and so therefore cringe at the coming of Christmas. One of the best parts of Christmas is trying to find ways to do for others and that can change someones viewpoint when Christmas is coming.

Subtle ways for increasing tax revenues...

A time ago, I don't know how long, Seattle started putting out the "pay at the parking kiosk" for time to park on the city streets in many areas. This was to replace the parking meters, ostensibly to reduce costs to the city. I think that it was a subtle way (maybe not too subtle) to increase the revenue the city collects. "How?", you might ask, or you might not care but, I'm going to tell you my idea anyway. When the parking meter was fed, one might use all the time on the meter or leave a little early or late (and get a ticket), those that left early didn't get a refund on their time but the next person to park in that spot didn't have to pay as much for their time. I liked it both ways, leaving early and giving someone else some free time and getting a little free time from someone else. (What? You say that that was unfair to those who never found those few minutes... Life is unfair.) Now, if you use the kiosk, you not only do not get a refund for paying for more time than you used, the next person to use that spot doesn't get any benefit from someone else's early leaving. Hummmmmmmm..... If you purchase two hours worth of time and use 90 minutes you have just increased the city's coffers by 30 minutes rental of the parking space that you didn't use and no one else could use it either. The next person to use the spot had to pay for their estimate of how long they would stay and if they were incorrect in their estimate and stayed less time... ka-ching!!!!! I wonder how often this happens at the controlled parking spots around the city... A double whammy for the city, lower costs for collections of parking fees and higher income from inaccurate estimations of duration. Don't you just love it?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

McDermott loses appeal, and must pay lawmaker

As reported here, [t]he U.S. Supreme Court Monday ended Rep. Jim McDermott's long-running legal battle with a leading House Republican, when it let stand a lower court ruling that could cost McDermott more than $600,000 in damages and attorneys' fees.

The high court declined to review a federal appeals court ruling from May that McDermott, D-Wash., was liable for civil damages for leaking to reporters a tape recording of a cell-phone call between Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders discussing a House Ethics Committee investigation of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

How ironic that one of the Democrats most cherished so-called "Constitutional rights" - the "right to privacy", which is not written anywhere in the Constitution - comes back to bite one of their own!

Hey, Jim! Pay the man, and be thankful you aren't going to prison for breaking the law.