If you're under 40, you should really not like immigration...

92215-immigration-kickcsnIt must be another election cycle, as we are again talking about immigration; something politicians love to bring up and kick around ever couple of years or so (and never do a goddamned thing about). 

Politicians seem to love unfixable problems. For example, my whole life I have been told how I will never see social security; the system poorly planned and bankrupted (both fiscally and morally, as it's been thoroughly exposed by now as a crumbling Ponzi Scheme that gran'ma and pop-pop can't seem to part with for the good of their grandchildren because some scumbag promised it to them a hundred years ago, when we lived to fifty if we were lucky...). By politicians, talking heads , teachers, professors, my parents I was told this truth glibly... Everybody seems to know how this whole system is nothing but a ticking generational hot potato one kicked to the next, hoping they wouldn't be the ones holding the bag (and would tell me so with a mirth and giggle usually reserved for inside jokes amongst friends), and in all this time not one finger has ever dreamed of being lifted to right it. 

 

Immigrants, refugees, illegals... 

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Immigration is sold as much the same sort of quagmire; an unending stream of the world's tired, hungry, and down trodden coming over that for whatever reason we are told we're unable to stop. I'm guessing it would be rude or something. 

So imagine my shock when I found out that unlike what Mrs. Litwak told me in Seventh grade history, America only recently became a "nation of immigrants", when the country opened up the doors again in the 1960s. Prior to that, the boarders had been locked up tight as a nun- lest for the occasional illegal wandering across looking for a gig- since roughly the 1920s in order to allow the ocean of European immigrants that came in during the early 1900s to "Americanize" themselves.

So as it turns out, like so many of our National emergencies that threaten our very existence, this immigration issue is a self inflicted wound; not some damned pitfall yang to the glorious ying that is living in America, but an albatross we are forcing upon ourselves (which, when looked upon with a cynical eye, is obviously done for purely political AND greedy corporate purposes). And one we probably should remove from ourselves, if we have any sense of self preservation left in us... 


Lady Liberty is a Green Skinned Liar

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We can all thank Donald Trump for shifting the dialogue, getting out in front of cameras to announce his candidacy on a few simple pillars... The largest being immigration. 

92215-immigration-trumpHe decried the system as broken, noting the endless stream of illegal immigrants flowing over the souther border might not be composed of the finest of individuals. And while we can argue as to the hearts and intentions of those poor bastards seemingly guilty of nothing more than wanting something better for themselves and their families, what is inarguable seems to be the short end of the stick the American people end up holding at the end of the bargain. 

 

But to end the discussion at stamping out the flow of illegals misses the larger point over all. America has a real issue will immigration, and we really need to address it... Especially if you have any intention of making middle class wages for what used to be considered middle class work. (We're already seeing these effects in manufacturing- the majority of those jobs shipped off to foreign lands- and with construction- domestic tradesmen having to bid against crews populated with illegals willing to work for dimes on the dollar). 

Here's an uncomfortable fact: 94 million Americans are currently not working. It's a big number, ain't it... Roughly one third of the American population... Nearly 40% (37.6% to be exact) of our available labor force sitting stagnant collecting a check from Uncle Sugar. That's an unsustainable problem we have... Almost half the country not working. 

And yet we are being told, for some reason, by these elected representatives of ours that these immigrants - legal or otherwise- are here to do jobs Americans won't do. 

Again, we have 94 million not working. 

They say that those jobs are too low wage and that Americans have "refined" themselves away from such labor, this forcing us to need this "slave" class (forced to live in less than neighborhoods, collecting a pittance of what Americans would receive for similar work...). 

These same people will also remind you that these illegals- the gifts of love that they are- only really hurt the uneducated worker... The high school drop outs and low end of society (a number of which make up the African American and lower class white community). 

And they are right... 

92215-immigration-signIllegal immigration drives down the wages of low skilled workers, as well as sucks up the available jobs for those same workers. A study for the Center for Immigration Studies found that the presence of illegal immigrants to the job market from the years 1979-2007 lowered the expected wages of non-high school graduate males 22% and effected the wages of high school graduates to the tune of 10%. The same study found that in a sample from the years 2000-2007, there was a 6% decline in available work for those same non high school graduates. 

Less work overall and less money for those lucky enough to land work. Sounds like a winning strategy, no? Especially with (again) some 94 MILLION Americans currently checked out of the job market entirely. 

And it gets worse...

Ever notice how we are starting to have less and less low skill jobs? We shipped our manufacturing over seas years ago, forever the staple of the blue collar employment field that birthed he American middle class (this is why you go to McDonalds now and see forty and fifty year olds working there for $8.25/hour bitching that burger flipping don't pay a livable wage). We are now replacing our cashiers and tellers with iPads and self checkout; peeling off job after job as technology slowly conquers us (now going after jobs traditionally don by low education women). Pretty soon, we won't have too much work for low end labor; robots and machines doing for a small one time investment what once cost several dollars per hour (plus bennies, if you felt like hiring domestic). How will we find jobs for all these people (or worse, the funds to keep them firmly on the dole) with less Americans paying into the system? 


It Ain't All in the Shadows

 

While there's a ton of talk about the effects of illegal immigration on the lower class employment and wages (And justifiably so), the effects of abused legal immigration systems have played a much larger role in the damage to the middle class earning power over the years.

The H1-B visa has long been used by companies and corporations, both as a way to replace more expensive American workers with less expensive foreign born workers while acting as an anvil to bang down the wages of still or seeking to be employed American workers, forced to compete with the low wages of the imported labor. Seems fair, right? Importing cheaper workers to replace the more expensive domestic labor, all the while claiming yourself to be a real sweetheart by avoiding moving the whole operation abroad outright. 

So why exactly does the H1-B exist? 

Seems like a pretty fucked up tool for an economy to have in the toolbox, right? Bring in cheap work to cut labor costs (again, both in the wages of imported workers and in the forcing down of domestic wages). It can't be written like the way it is being used...

"... The US H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the visa a US company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years..." 

- quoted from the Government explanation oh the H1-B visa. 

 

"... Specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields..." 

Now correct me if I am wrong, but that would be like if you found a guy in Indonesia who has just vomited out a revolutionary code language that our top of the world industry just can't live without, or some Indian surgeon who perfected some life saving technique that we'd like to standardize here... Not to bring in run of the mill code writers from the Ukraine, costumer service representatives from India, and slave labor at Disney for everywhere else. Those sort of applications perhaps shouldn't be allowed at all, let alone to be counted as "specialized fields", now should they? 

92215-immigration-unemployedYet they are, the scumbags corporate suits who push such initiatives to keep their bottom line every growing (for as we all know, if a business wants to make more money without moving more product, cutting labor is the next best thing) ever vigilant that the government goes along with the screw job in the way of campaign donations and graft; the Shawn Michaels to our Marty Jannette, super kicking us through the barber shop window of economic stability for their own greedy needs. 

 

And it's not just something some half crazy pothead can see...

 

"'The Effects of High-Skilled Immigration on Firms: Evidence from H-1B Visa Lotteries", a study which focused on this very phenomenon, came to just such a conclusion as well. 

"Overall our results are more consistent with the second narrative [ed note: as opposed to the standard one we are sold, where these visas increase patent securing by businesses, allowing them to employ more and pay higher wages], in which H-1Bs replace other workers to some extent, are paid less than alternative workers, and increase the firm's profits (despite little, if any, effect on firm patenting)," the three authors of the study write in said study, focusing on the effect of the legal and abused immigration system. (They also note in their results that wages for domestic workers are also lowered because of this policy; forced to compete with cheaper wages of foreign imports). 

And the cost don't end at wages with the legal immigrants, as there are other financial concerns involving the immigration issue. 

According to the Center for Immigration Studies (again), 49% of the country's legal immigrants (It should be noted here that included as "legal immigrants" are not only those who followed the prescribed process, but also the domestic born children of illegals [and their families]  and refugees that we relocate here apparently to firmly attach to our Federal tit and allow them to enjoy their new lives as Americans) were on social services of some sort in 2012 (welfare, food stamps, ect). This number is in comparison to 30% of native born households and 62% of illegal immigrant households (which stunned me, given how often we are told they have no access to those benefits, said to be intended to the Americans, but I digress). 

Now as shitty a deal as the H1-B visa issue is, I can see why it would exist as a policy... 

But -by my math- this study tells me that we are importing poor people, for some reason; with our social welfare system apparently using the majority of their services on these imported (be it legal, compassion based, or otherwise) peoples.  Seems odd, don't it... The staggering majority of the immigrants we invite (or have thrust upon us to some degree to another) into our country finding themselves on the public's tab... Especially when you consider our last Federal Budget noted over a trillion dollars going to social service programs (interesting fun fact: we not only pay out a bit over a trillion in social service payments, we also happen to borrow just over a trillion [and climbing] to cover our deficit. Maybe it's just a roughshod observation, but I'd assume the two are linked somehow.) 

 

Again, we quote the report: 

"... Education level plays a larger role in explaining welfare use than legal status. The most extensive use of welfare is by less- educated immigrants who are in the country legally. Of households headed by legal immigrants without a high school diploma, 75 percent use one or more welfare programs, as do 64 percent of households headed by legal immigrants with only a high school education..." 

 

And there you have it! Proof we are importing low skill/ low educated workers, if we are to believe the numbers... Again, we have 94 million people just hanging out- the blood chilling majority of them conveniently low skill/ low education workers. Wouldn't it make more sense to just remove these illegal workers from the hiring pool (or, in the case of legal immigrants, try to maybe reduce the number of low skill, low education imports to the barest of minimums) and allow our own people who currently live here to maybe bid for that work (and, having to now hire domestic labor, the employers would be forced to stimulate interest in said work by making sure it pays a market value for the work. Sort of helps that whole stagnant wages issue we've been wrestling with since 2008 or so...) It would only make sense to do that, hardly seeming to be the goal of a society to get good enough at stemming domestic poverty that they can import other people's poor and useless. One would think that, much like a sports team would use free agency to fill in areas in need of improvement, a nation such as ours (or any really, as most nations do request you provide a reason why they would benefit from your inclusion into their system) would utilize the immigration system as a way to freshen the national blood with injections of educated, productive, and otherwise economically viable new life into the system. 

 

But then again, none of this really makes sense...


Nothing's over

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No one is saying we need to put an end to immigration (as, again, if operated properly, I can see use for the H1-B visa, for example), nor that there are not tremendous benefits from mixing up the blood from time to time. That an the stuff that keeps you healthy... Gets the genes all swirled around. Keeps us from looking like those awful Europeans... A whole continent of people who genetically boiled themselves down to four types of faces (and all of them with a short shelf life before cracking and collapsing into wrinkled scowls) . 

But, as the recent events in Europe concerning the flood of Syrian migrants have shown us, these are things you want to keep under control. We are having a hard enough time keeping the lights on with our current obligations, and -given the way technology is so rapidly transforming our concepts of "work"- it might be best if we kept the number of low skill, "menial labor" types as manageable as possible for once this whole thing goes tits up (as once it all goes blewie, they all will turn to Uncle Sam for a little guac to help them peice it through). 

And it will go tits up, inevitably... There seems to be no righting the Nation's economy as of yet, nor does the long term jobless number (again, 94 million people) seem to be getting smaller. We saw with Greece last summer what happens once you get more weight on the bottom than the top can carry. I know charmers like Bernie Sanders and Barry the Feckless would tell you otherwise, convinced that really rich people have magic hats and bags that provide them limitless funds capable of being taxed as highly as the need demands. But it's not so, money runs out. It always does...

There is certainly no justification for the continued permissive attitude towards illegal immigration. It's economically destabilizing, and as a national security measure (given we have bunches of terrorist gangs all to eager to find a way to attack us again without our knowing they're here) it's reckless to continue acting as though it's OK to let people come across Willie Nillie (or perhaps at all, as every single one of the 9/11 hijackers was here legally...). 

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[For more information about Donald Trump's Immigration Policy, click the link and give it a read before you dismiss it as mindless drivel from a blowhard. The more you know...]

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