Sunday, August 26, 2007

Greg, the Real Problem Is Illegal Employers

Greg Harton, the Executive Editor of the Northwest Arkansas Times, has a column today complaining that we are training local law enforcement officers to find and arrest illegal immigrants, because the federal government isn't doing its job, and now Washington County voters will be asked to increase the sales tax to expand the jail to hold all these immigrants until the feds get around to giving them a ride home. His main argument, it seems, is only about who should pay the bill, not what should be done about the problem. "Don’t get me wrong," he says as if there were any need to do that, "The illegal immigrants should be caught and should be deported."

It is simple, easy, popular, and wrong for newspaper editors like Greg Harton, politicians like Rogers Mayor Steve Womack, or Springdale legislators like Jim Holt and Jon Woods to bemoan the problems and blame them on immigrants. They never mention that we wouldn't have many illegal immigrants if we didn't have illegal employers, because to point it out could reduce the profits of some local construction contractors as well as several of Arkansas' largest multi-state and multinational corporations -- and their friends who own the media, buy newspaper advertising, and contribute heavily to business-friendly politicians. They prefer that the "criminals" covered in the press are working people and that corporate and CEO criminals who hire them not get named or discussed.

The hiring crimes of Illegal Employers are being ignored by the media and the government and are being rewarded by the economic system. As David Ricardo pointed out in his 1814 treatise, it is the "Iron Law of Labor" that when labor markets are tight, wages go up. When labor markets are awash in immigrant workers willing to work at the bottom of the pay scale, unskilled and semi-skilled wages overall will decrease to what Ricardo referred to as "subsistence" levels. That's why the Chamber of Commerce fights against any real immigration enforcement or reform.

Jeff Burch, a Springdale drywall finisher, gets it. In a letter to the editor of The Morning News this week, he said, "There's no problem with a man trying to provide for his family. I'll be the first to say, there's nothing wrong with a man who is willing to do a good day's work for a decent wage. As a tradesman, I am proud of my trade.

"Over the past few years, I've found that I can't put the best product because of competitive bidding by some contractors who are employing illegal aliens, just to pad their pockets. This is unfair to those of us who are playing by the rules and have worked years (27) to perfect and learn their trade the proper way. We tradesmen are watching our trades, not being shipped out of our country, as our brothers and sisters in manufacturing, but right here within our borders by illegal aliens, who are being used as nothing more than slaves of the 21st century by greedy businesses and do-nothing politicians unwilling to stick up for us.

"We Americans are the most productive workers on the planet, bar none. We are tradesmen who built your business buildings, houses, schools and colleges whose only desire it is to put out the best product not only in America, but the world. I say it's time for contractors, small and large all over the United States of America, to come together as one, before big business and corrupt, ineffective politicians who continue to treat us as nothing more than a silent voice, whose afraid to step up to the plate. I believe it is time we say we are the back bones of this country and our voice counts. No longer will we allow you to speak out of both sides of your mouth on illegal immigration issues. Our legal families are hurting because of this. Do you care?"

Politically, it's not a civil rights issue, it's a jobs issue. "Mass deportations" and "Fences" are hysterics and false choices offered by the politicians and repeated by the media. If we start arresting, convicting, and penalizing "Illegal Employers," non-citizens without a valid Social Security number will leave the country on their own and legal workers would be paid fair wages.

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