The President, both houses of Congress, the candidates, and the American people have been debating for quite some time on how to handle the immigration issue. And by “immigration issue,” what is meant is the growing problem that America faces with illegal immigrants pouring over the southern border with Mexico.
The debate often switches focus from “what to do with the ones already here” and political maneuvering about “national security” risks of having a very porous border. None of the proposals put forth by either party address the real issue in play.
The influx of illegal immigrants and all related issues are all symptoms of other, more serious problems. If the root problems are addressed, then illegal immigration can cease altogether.
Though in the media illegal Mexican workers are depicted as fast food employees and housecleaners, the majority are migrant agricultural workers.
Agriculture makes up one 1% of the United States’ total GDP, but the country produces 60% of the world’s agriculture. America’s global agricultural dominance is made possible by massive government that side step the free economy. In 2006, the USDA reported providing over $8 billion in subsidies.
A massive overhaul of America’s agricultural system will treat two of the problems which lead to illegal immigration.
By implementing a national policy that redirects the billions of dollars in subsidies toward automation and research, the needs for human workers will diminish.
Another better allocation of some of the funds used to subsidize the agriculture industry would be to police it to enforce state and federal wage laws. Many of the immigrants are being paid far less than the federal minimum wage.
By following this course of action, no need would be required to stiffen penalties for hiring illegal immigrants, as the penalties for violating wage laws are severe. Employers would have no incentive to hire illegal immigrants over American citizens if all wages were equal.
With a drastic reduction in subsidies for farms in the US, the free market will be in a position to correct its self. Currently, agriculture is a primary export for a large number of developing states, especially in South America, Africa, and Asia. By removing from the market the overbearing agricultural exports from the United States, more and better paying jobs will arise in poorer parts of the world as a result.
With the increase in GDP, personal wealth, and employment, the standard of living and quality of education will dramatically increase within one generation in underdeveloped countries, including Mexico.
Among the primary causes for illegal immigration is a lack well paying jobs and soaring poverty levels, as exists in Mexico. This is especially troublesome when hundreds of thousands of American jobs already exist in Mexico and other countries.
In Mexico, a spot-welder makes $2.20 an hour at a plant owned my Whirlpool Corp., a Michigan based company. In the United States, the same job might pay up to ten times the amount.
For decades, US based corporations have been exploiting tax loopholes by basing their operations overseas. Now they’ve found a way to use a human loophole as well.