Mark Rants & Raves

Digressions into a variety of topics about the world.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Melting pot, no more?

I admit to mixed feelings about the "May Day" protests by and for illegal immigrants.

One the one hand, I know that if I went to Mexico or most other countries illegally and tried to protest that I wasn't being given citizenship, I would be thrown in jail (or worse).

On the other hand, I freely admit and enjoy the benefits of having laborers doing the low-wage jobs in the US. However, there is also some merit to the idea that these laborers depress wages and drive many American businesses out of business. Don't think so? Well, try to start a landscaping business and compete with a family from south of our border.

But given all the pros and cons, the thing that really worries me is that Hispanics seem less inclined to become part of our country. Previous immigrants wanted to learn English and become part of America. Now, you must have noticed that when you go to an ATM machine at your bank, you have to pick English or Spanish; when you make a call and get a voice-driven system, you have to "pick 1 to continue in English or dos por Espanol" (pardon my spelling - I don't know Spanish).

What's up with that?! If you think having multiple languages would be a good thing - add a little cultural understanding - ask one of your Canadian friends how that's working for them.

We have never had immigration, especially from one country, at this volume and speed. Another difference is that we used to foster college educated, professional immigrants. Now, the vast majority are uneducated. Add to this that children born in the US are automatically citizens and this opens the door to many relatives and we have a massive change in the culture, beliefs, and values of traditional America.

I am not an immigrant basher - we were all immigrants at one time. The difference today is that assimilation is not taking place at the necessary levels and that the volume of homogenous immigrants is too high. As a minimum, the following must be required:

  • Fluency in English
  • Knowledge of US history
  • Contribution to the country (i.e. not a criminal, hold a job, pay taxes, ...)

What we have today is not working. Lets fix it! Let your representatives know your position:

Contact Your Representative

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Blogger gaw said...


Also true is that Europe, with it's smaller land mass, has been dealing with this issue for centuries. And, common to all, they must learn English. However, I have never heard a person from Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, or even Brazil and Colombia (for the most part) complain that they MUST learn English to play in the business world. In fact, in these nations, it is accepted and enjoyed by many that they learn and speak several languages.

The US has enjoyed a very interesting isolationist existance, being so far removed from diverse interaction. If Mexico didn't suck so bad, and if the US did not afford such opportunity, I doubt people from Mexico would risk their lives to get here.

That said:

The real issue, as I see it, is not bilingual and cultural changes, but tax and service burden.

And who is to blame for this issue? Companies who illegally employ immigrants.

Why do they do this? They are seeking to improve their profit margin; labor cost is the greatest expense for most employers to endure. If you can pay someone under the table, you pay only small cash, no tax, no insurance, no medicare. PERFECT! Sign me up.

But, those who do this encourage and prolong the real issue we face in our country: limited resources.

Medical Services.
Public Transportation.

Essentially, illegal immigrants strain each of those resources by adding demand without adding the same amount of "cash" to pay for it. And some of it, they get absolutely free.

And furthermore, this problem will never go away until one of the following happens:

1) Mexico becomes a more desireable place to live relative to America
2) Employers are forced to track and pay tax on each employee working for them.

BTW, I only endorse 2) because of our current tax structure, which is also FUBAR, but that is another post altogether. :-)

Until then, I'll enjoy the many benefits of our Mexican influences:

Genuine Mexican Cuisine. Fast talking women. A sense of family loyalty. And of course -- manicured lawns and crappy housing.

1:00 PM  

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