The "Do Nothing" Solution to "Illegal Immigration"

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida

Both sides of the political aisle have made a major issue out of the problem of the 11 million people inside the US illegally or presently undocumented. The president has said this is a priority and Florida senator Marco Rubio has agreed. They are theoretically opposed to each other, yet Rubio's proposals entailed in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 don't differ a great deal from Obama's. In a nutshell, Rubio has suggested that the wholesale eviction of 11 million people is impossible and that the bill offers them an opportunity for legalization and permanent residence and citizenship. Naturally, the "jump through hoops" process begins here: Fines and background checks and no federal bennies.

Sounds completely reasonable, but you'd think Rubio had suggested that the government was handing out lollipops and bon-bons, making Spanish the new "official language" and changing the "Star Spangled Banner" to "Guantanmera" by the reaction of his "conservative" peers. A cursory Google reveals an enraged base represented by such intellectual heavweights as and Ann "To Hell With Palin, I Was Here First" Coulter. Any concessions to the teeming masses of south of the border is treasonous amnesty and in their hardly humble opinions, this will lead to "de-Europeanization" (ie less white).

As far as what the generally pitiful Democrats are offering, it is only marginally different than Rubio's idea. Which is also reasonable, but overlooks the crux of the issue, because no one anywhere has to unmitigated gall (until now) to say it: "Illegal Immigration reform" is a solution in search of a problem, because in reality, it isn't a problem at all!

The way I see it, a problem means an aggrieved party and in this instance, there isn't one. People want to hire help for whatever the task is, other people agree to do it for a price, end of story. The idea that "illegal immigrants are stealing American workers jobs" sounds fairly solid on its face unless you happen to live in the American Southwest and notice that wherever day laborers congregate, there aren't a whole hell of a lot of white folks. As far as "taking away jobs that union carpenters/plumbers/electricians do", isn't it the union's job to protect their own for one and for two, a skyscraper isn't built and wired with dudes from the Lowe's parking lot. It is not worth a major contractor's license to screw with E-Verify (I passed an E-Verify check myself a few months ago for my radio show!).

Assuming you "legalized" every man, woman in child in the US tomorrow, what happens? The working person's price rises. Which means that they will be replaced by new people from Central America or Asia that will remain invisible. See, we are a free country with open borders--people can come and go as they please, this isn't a gulag (yet) (The irony of the most virulent anti-USSR voices being the loudest for a border fence is astounding). Not only is there no way to stop it, there isn't even a real reason to stop it--as China and Japan might tell you, an aging and shrinking worker base is starting to hurt them and hard.

Fact is, both major political parties support and oppose it for a pair of reasons of their own. Democrats love this, as it accelerates the "Bluing" of the Southwest with millions of new voters beholding and grateful to them, making a Republican national electoral victory mathematically impossible. The other reason they love it is because it replenishes their most loyal and organized base, labor. Republicans hate it for two reasons as well--newly legal workers will have more rights, bargaining power and higher pay, which means that a new cheap labor era is gonna take a while. The other reason is the one they vehemently deny but is as obvious as the honkers on their maps--their base's great unifier isn't economics or even social issues, but race. That the Dixiecrats of the last century are now almost entirely Republican. The glue that holds them intact, whether they'd care to admit it or not, is white supremacy. And a sea of legal Americans that are a deeper shade of soul galls them to the cores of their rancid selves. Were they serious about "sending all of these people back to where they came from", they'd boycott every and any business that employs them, which means they'd pretty much have to stop eating. I've seen what the average reactionary looks like--that ain't happening.

In fact, when the "illegals" are white, they say nothing.

Obama and Rubio both cry out that the system is "broken" but it isn't. Undocumenteds pour billions into the coffers of state and federal and don't get it back and whatever their costs are to health or schools, they're balanced off by what the public saves in lower food and service costs. They're a wash. Which means that any changes to the laissez-faire system only make everyone's life harder and more complex. If there is a solution, the easiest one would be a "seven year rule"--you prove you've actually been here 7 years, no criminal record, you take a citizenship test, that's it. 

We have undocumented people in this very neighborhood. They want the same things we do. That's good enough for me.









OK, that's not to say that I agree with the blatant racecard-playing argument here, and in fact many illegals are white.

Nor do I sanction any mercy for illegals who commit any crime other than the one they have all committed by coming here. We should show zero-tolerance towards illegals who commit crimes.

But there is an argument to accept the reality that they are here and cannot all be removed. And that they contribute to the economy both by driving down costs and by generally not drawing benefits.

And I really don't at all like the union-type argument that they steal our jobs. They only steal your job if you are overpaid relative to your skills and, in that case, you deserve to lose your job.

So the fact that the GOP and Dem plans look similar and give these initiatives a chance of actually becoming law. Good. Let's do it, but drop all the "people of color" weasel BS OK?

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2013 @ 11:17 am

In my humble opinion (and I have a lot to be humble about), these plans will not work because they put the undocumented immigrant through Hell for years just to have the privilege of being a citizen in a country that has an inferior health care system that doesn't really serve its citizens as well that of, say, Denmark (notwithstanding Obama's gallant efforts to reform the system), too many people in jail for crimes that represent no threat to society, and more guns on the street than pretty much anywhere else in the world.

I cannot imagine anyone in his or her right mind jumping through all of the hoops for years just to be part of this racist culture. I suppose it might be better than their homeland. But if anything like these proposals actually gets passed and signed into law, it won't make any difference...we'll still have people living in the shadows.

It seems that the xenophobes have selective amnesia when it comes to amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Reagan, anyone?

Posted by David Nivans on May. 17, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

disagree with that, because they have taken considerable personal and financial and legal risks to be here illegally. So whether Denmark is a better place (and it may well be) isn't relevant because a small, all-white nation like that is not going to have 10 million hispanics showing up.

Which just leaves us with what to do with our illegals. And the quid pro quo for giving them an amnesty (bad term because it doesn't just give them immunity from prosecution for their crimes - it also gives them citizenship, effectively rewarding them for breaking the law) has to be that they jump thru some hoops.

The legislation addresses what those hoops should be. It's not about whether there should be done. Legal immigrants jumped thru all kinds of hoops - so should illegals, if they really want to be here.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

I must marvel at the assertion of our anonymous “guest” that “a small, all-white nation like [Denmark] is not going to have 10 million hispanics showing up.” No kidding? Does this mean that since Denmark is a more homogeneous society than our “melting pot” that a superior health care system just could not happen in these United States with all that “riff-raff” coming in to the country.

Anyone that is here should be given the best care possible because the last thing our society needs is a lot of sick and hungry people. Historically, that never ends well...

Posted by David Nivans on May. 17, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

then yes, it's probably easier to maintain free good healthcare in a small homogeneous nation with low unemployment and immigration rates.

It's not at all clear that we can even afford the diluted version of ObamaCare we are getting, even without the illegals being covered.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 6:33 am

the deficit is falling. It is working and "we" cannot afford the idiocy of trying to repeal it 37 times.

Posted by David Nivans on May. 18, 2013 @ 7:55 am

Congress can simply vote to not fund it.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:38 am

You want to do something because one of the worst presidents of all times did it, or are you saying that a president that you didn't like did something so people you don't like should be OK with it?

The whole "Reagan did it" thing is just odd.

Reading posts like these, I doubt that the author knows any actual Latinos other than the ones that claim to speak for Latinos. Not many Latinos hang out at the coffee shop pontificating on who best can agree with their college prof.

Posted by Matlock on May. 17, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

I agree that Reagan was terrible president, right down there with James Buchanan and Dubya.

Posted by David Nivans on May. 17, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

Actually, all my neighbors are hispanic...

Posted by David Nivans on May. 17, 2013 @ 7:41 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 6:34 am

are the last keystrokes I waste on an anonymous internet troll too afraid to take responsibility for its own comments...

Posted by David Nivans on May. 18, 2013 @ 8:02 am

I was just employing some satire to highlight that shortcoming.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:38 am

Someone who says they're for limited government while supporting border controls has about as much consistency as someone who says they're for fiscal responsibility while supporting running up the federal debt beyond the $16 trillion+ sea of red ink already on the books.

Posted by Starchild on May. 22, 2013 @ 9:37 am

"People want to hire help for whatever the task is, other people agree to do it for a price, end of story."

The USA has a minimum wage.

"See, we are a free country with open borders--people can come and go as they please, this isn't a gulag (yet) (The irony of the most virulent anti-USSR voices being the loudest for a border fence is astounding)."

There is no country in the world accept maybe Somalia where there is no central government that has open borders. When entering the USA you need to be a citizen or have a passport or a visa, if you sneak in or overstay you papers, you are breaking the law.

Mexico attempts a closed southern border, just so you know, as you obviously are from some place other than the America's. The US constitution is explicit in who is an Americana, it also allows for the federal government to make laws around the subject.

The thing about the USSR is just weird, Euro states that our progressives hold as some sort of Eden keep an eye on their borders. That whole paragraph is just crazy.

You also say they don't drive down wages and take jobs, but then later say that they do and it makes republicans mad that wages will go up.

What an incoherent mess.

Posted by Matlock on May. 17, 2013 @ 3:49 pm

Discriminating against people on the basis of their nationality or where they are born is irrational bigotry. It is just as hateful as discriminating against people because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, etc.

Federal anti-immigrant laws, fences, etc. are not authorized by the Constitution, which only gives Congress the authority to regulate *naturalization* (the process of becoming a citizen), not *migration* (who can enter or leave the United States).

But even if those laws were in fact legal and legitimate, which they are not, they would still be bigoted and unjust, and as such no good person should support them, and people who break them should be honored and applauded for their civil disobedience.

Posted by Starchild on May. 22, 2013 @ 9:44 am

Or maybe you didn't know that. Perhaps if undocumenteds weren't villified this would change.

As someone that spends all day every day camped out on this website and clearly doesn't have a job, perhaps you shouldn't ever weigh in on issues concerning employment.


Posted by JohnnyW on May. 17, 2013 @ 3:58 pm

Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center

What legal rights do I have as an undocumented worker?

With a few exceptions, undocumented workers enjoy the legal rights and remedies provided by both Federal and California law. (The exceptions to this general rule, mainly in the areas of union organizing and unemployment insurance, are discussed below.)


As an undocumented worker, what are my rights under wage and hour laws?

Federal and California wage and hour laws define how you should be paid. These laws establish your right to minimum wage, overtime pay, breaks, tips, and other forms of wages. Undocumented workers generally have the same wage and hour rights as other workers. For example, an employer cannot refuse to pay you by saying that you should not have been working in the first place because you have no “papers.” (However, if you have been fired because you have a wage complaint, it’s less clear whether you can recover the income you lost due to being fired.)

Filing a Wage Claim: If you choose to file a wage claim, you can either file with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (also known as the “Labor Commissioner”) or sue your employer in court. You can also contact the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Neither of these agencies should question you about your immigration status nor report your lack of status if it is somehow revealed.


Is it my fault you are incoherent? Don't take it out on me that you survive on progressive revealed wisdom?

Posted by Matlock on May. 17, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

Hey Johnny Angel, didn't your column in the OC Weekly get dropped in favor of that Mexican kid, what was his name, Gustavo something?

Cut the crap, unchecked immigrations drives down wages. I cold write a book, what I've seen the last 30 years.

Posted by pete moss on May. 18, 2013 @ 9:02 am

A book of racist anecdotes without statistical rigor written by someone who feels his white privilege in under threat. What could go wrong?

Posted by Hortencia on May. 21, 2013 @ 3:22 pm

It always gets me how many here hold the fact that these undocumented aliens came here illegally and thus should be "made to pay" as some sort of high horse. The fact is that for decades we have taken advantage of this legal situation. You and I have purchased groceries or eaten at restaurants that have exploited these folks. The veggies or fruit you eat is offered at a low rate because the farmer has the ability to pay a lower rate because of this unique labor situation. I've worked in restaurants and hotels that exploited these folks. On top of this we have build an economy actually selling to these folks, so Corporate America has earned a few nickels on both ends of this equation.

So when we en mass decide we won't eat at a certain restaurant because they have illegal aliens as bus boys and cooks, maybe I will say to you shouting to deport them are right. When you decided and openly demand that farms and groceries stores use fair labor farming, then I will say you are right to demand they get behind the lines. But until then, as far as I'm concerned (and culpable because I too have patronized businesses that unable exploited such labor) these folks have paid their dues and have earned an amnesty to become Americans.

Posted by Johnny Venom on May. 17, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

That's why we call them "illegals".

They may have been encouraged but they still committed a crime. What's being considered here is an amnesty for their crimes. Indeed, we will be rewarding them for those crimes, while effectively punishing those who followed the law.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 6:35 am

says that illegal rent increases of rent-controlled apartments are not a crime.

Consistent in his lack of integrity.

Open the borders. Why don't the libertarian free marketers support real freedom? Or does their support end with allowing private corporations to exploit workers without government regulation?

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 7:15 am
Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:40 am

The progressives should have a score card so we can keep track of the old ones, as they write new ones that people should follow.

Posted by Matlock on May. 18, 2013 @ 11:08 am

progressives cannot distinguish civil from criminal law.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 11:54 am

Using your leverage as property owner to extort an illegal rent increase is harassment, even if the tenant accepts the offer under your duress.

People like you are the reason humans invented tumbrils.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 2:18 pm

Imagine this situation. You walk into a store, and the shopkeeper puts a price tag of $11 on an item when it commonly sells for $10. You then choose to pay that $11.

Fraud? Extortion? Nope, he simply took a flyer and you didn't notice, care or do enough due diligence. He's happy, you're happy, everyone is happy. Maybe you could have gotten it cheaper elsewhere but you prefer a good relationship with that storekeeper.

Either way, an infraction of a civil statute is not a crime. It's simply that if a tenant refuses to pay an illegal increase, then he cannot be evicted for that. In fact, a shrewd tenant would say nothing, pay the illegal increase and then, years later, go to the rent board and get it all back.

But more tenants than you think prefer to have a good relationship with their landlord, than have him wish them dead.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

list the addresses of the apartments in which you got tenants to agree to illegal rent increases, so that readers can notify them so they can recoup the money you stole from them.

Your analogy is false, as retail prices are generally not regulated.

I stand by my assertion that harassment is a criminal matter. Almost everyone in SF knows how it works: "I'd like to increase your rent by this much or else (I'll impose the Ellis Act, or I'll start intrusive construction, or I'll fail to maintain [implied, not said] or ....)

And you say that "progressives" have situational ethics.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

the LL-TT relationship in SF is harassment. Ironic given that, in many situations, tenants have more power than landlords.

And it is also not harassment for a LL to simply explain to a tenant that their current rent is not viable in a business sense, and so if that tenant cannot pay a higher, fairer rent, then Ellis in inevitable

As the old saying goes - it's not a threat, it's a promise.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

The situation you speak of virtually never occurs.

If this is a new property for the landlord, and the rent isn't "viable," then don't buy it, FOOL! If you bought it, then you decided that the current rent is viable, *by definition*!

And from there on out, rent only goes up. Costs may go up to, but costs never keep pace with the rent, because in any ordinary situation, the lion's share of the cost is the mortgage, which never goes up. So the property only becomes more and more profitable as time goes on.

The only exception is some kind of truly catastrophic repair, for which there are pass-through contingencies anyway.

Greedy, ungrateful landlords.

Posted by Greg on May. 18, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

And you and I have taken advantage of this legal situation by partaking in services by them or purchasing goods they helped bring to market all at this artificially low rate. Their employers for the most part exploit this by paying them a below market wages more often than not. Had they been legal immigrants, the farms they work on would most likely have had to pay them a hire rate. The produce you bought would have been sold at a much higher price.

Tell me, when you go into a restaurant, do you inquire about the legal status of the bus boy? If you suspect that they were employing illegal aliens did you walk out and boycotted such establishments? I suspect not. No, I am willing to bet you took full advantage of the situation even though you knew. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Posted by Johnny Venom on May. 18, 2013 @ 7:19 am

only tipping 11%. That will show the wetbacks.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 7:37 am

probably don't get tips at all.

You need English to work front of house.

Incidentally, the citizenship "quiz" currently used can only be given in English if the applicant is under 70. That might prove to be a barrier to many naturalizatons of illegals.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:00 am

I've been to enough places to know they work in the front of the house as well.

Posted by Johnny Venom on May. 18, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

Anyway, how would you know they were illegal? Do you ask them, assuming they might be because they are hispanic?

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Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:39 am

Isn't the standard like 15%? I normally tip 25-30% myself, I worked in restaurants, its a tough job and those tips mean a ton for these folks.

Posted by Johnny Venom on May. 18, 2013 @ 1:07 pm

It's never been clear to me why that needed to go up, since general restaurant price inflation ensures the tips keep up with inflation anyway.

15% if it's outstanding, but the girl would have to take her top off to get 20%.

25%-30% might just be done in 5-star places where the wait staff actually have to know something about food and wine, but you don't see that a lot in SF - even the pricey places seem to have fairly clueless staff.

Anyway, there is a lack of logic in tipping by price, since it's the same work to bring out a burger as a prime steak, or a cheap bottle of wine versus an expensive one.

A flat tip can be more appropriate in many places

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

It may be true that "general restaurant price inflation ensures the tips keep up with inflation anyway," but the basic, before-tips wage service workers make hasn't kept pace with cost of living. People are beginning to realize that, while slinging hash has always been a pretty tough job that most people get out of as soon as they can, it's been made even tougher to make a living doing.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 21, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

Right on, Venom...

Posted by David Nivans on May. 18, 2013 @ 9:02 am

Something I have no control over I am somehow responsible for.

Thats such an easy argument, full of emotion and designed to put anyone who doesn't agree on the defensive. It takes any sort of responsibility away from the people charged with taking care of this over the last few decades or the people who actually broke this nations laws. Essentially the argument is that we are all in this together because of the total lack of responsibility in others.

These same sort of arguments around savings and loans in the 80's or bailed out banks a few years ago, I doubt these after the fact arguments would go over well with Guardianbots.

Nope, we are all not responsible for the choices that other people make.

The opportunism of these types of arguments is so odd.

Posted by Matlock on May. 18, 2013 @ 9:08 am

You actually do have a say..its call not patronizing a place you don't agree with their hiring practices. If a quarter of an establishment's customer base decide to do business elsewhere and make it known its because they hired illegal immigrants, don't you think they will try and change that image?

Posted by Johnny Venom on May. 18, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

legal or not. If the employer doesn't even know, how the heck are you supposed to know?

Since I have no beef with illegals, unlike you, I am happy to see them being given opportunities and paying their own pay.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

the hiring practices of all the places I go.

You seem stuck on my being responsible for the choices of others.

I would guess you are not down with various bailouts and subsidies handed out to business that in conjunction with servile politician have make bad choices.

Posted by Matlock on May. 18, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

Because they work harder, and work for less, and don't whine about their "rights" or want to join a union. I'd be an idiot not to hire them.

So you have me 100% wrong. I am fine with illegals being here, even while I acknowledge they are criminals, in at least one sense.

The issue here is only what kind of amnesty to give them, and how many hoops they will be required to jump thru to atone for their crime and make everyone and make the situation whole again.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 9:58 am

They're criminals and you hired them, which makes you a criminal.

So, what kind of "amnesty" should you get? 

Posted by JohnnyW on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:23 am

If I had aided their entry into the US then, yes, I'd be a co-conspirator in their crime.

But if I hire a day laborer off Army Street, that is no crime anyway, even if I knew for sure that he is an illegal, which of course I do not - it's just an assumption about which I could be wrong.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:37 am

As an undocumented that works without permit in America is committing a crime that couldn't exist unless you gave them the job/paid them, well.....and yes, it is a civil matter.

And no, never had a column in OC Weekly. 


Posted by JohnnyW on May. 18, 2013 @ 10:49 am