Saturday, May 25, 2013

Immigration I

The immediacy of the problem of too many illegals, taking jobs which might have been filled by current citizens or legal residents (including those from their own countries) is great enough that it tends to overwhelm more general, abstract discussions of what values might apply in a variety of situations.  This part of why I hate - hate - "comprehensive" government solutions. Under the guise of looking at the big picture and solving many problems at once, "comprehensive" reform is merely a strategy for "everyone gets to give unfair and expensive advantages to their supporters, in exchange for putting up with other people getting some too."  Comprehensive education, tax, finance, justice...beware those reforms, even in the hands of people you agree with and trust.  When you hear the word "comprehensive," zip in the phrase "cocaine-based" instead.

This why I support minor solutions that turn down the heat on problems instead.  Build a fence.  Make it more risky for employers to hire illegals.  Wait. Observe. The problems are not solved, but they are now closer to an absorbable level.  We can then afford to take a breath and have some nuance, as Democrats used to say until the evasion became clear.

There are interesting issues here, that do not follow the absolutist rhetoric of our current political discussion.  I'm going to have a go at some of those, but in the meantime, remember that my simpler point is that in crisis, absolutist arguments are not unreasonable.  Something that claims to solve 100% of the problem but only solves 50%, and incurs other hidden costs or sins, might still be a good temporary solution.

I brought two immigrants to America, teenaged sons from Romania.  Did they take jobs from citizens?  Are they a net cost to the country?  Perhaps.  That will be part of my discussion.  The difference between European assimilation and American assimilation will also figure in.

8 comments:

Sam L. said...

Under the guise of looking at the big picture and solving many problems at once, "comprehensive" reform is merely a strategy for "everyone gets to give unfair and expensive advantages to their supporters, in exchange for putting up with other people getting some too." AND, it ends up in a huge bill that "we have to pass to find out what's in it" as someone said a couple years back, and boy howdy, are we finding out what and how much (correction: BEGINNING to find out) 2 years later.

As you say, let's fix (apply what we think is a fix) one thing at a time and see if it works. Make corrections, and continue.

Big bills: "We have fixed this problem for all time." No, no way in Hell, high water, or the U. S. of A. Can you say Law of Unintended Consequences, boys and girls? Yes, I knew you could.

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Assistant Village Idiot said...

Iain, let me quote Marcel Marceau in "Silent Movie."

"No."

Sam L. said...

Iain, Smash your own blog. Do it good.

jaed said...

It's worth noting that the minor solutions also have their costs. Making it riskier for employers to hire illegals has several. If the guy who owns the auto-repair place can go to jail for hiring an illegal, will he hire that Hispanic-looking guy with a heavy accent? His papers might very well be faked. It's a big risk to take, no matter how eager he is.

More broadly, over the last several decades, hiring has become much more involved, it's no longer feasible to hire someone for a few hours or days (or to hire them "on spec", unless their skills are hard to find), and the need to "verify" citizenship and work permission is a lot of why that's happened. Increase the paperwork when you hire someone, and you increase the cost of hiring people. Increase the cost of a thing and you get less of it. Car repair guy might think of hiring a go-fer with the idea of possibly finding a good apprentice mechanic that way, but with all the paperwork and the risk... geez. I'll just make my own coffee. It's not worth the headache.

I'm convinced this is also a lot of the reason youth unemployment is so high. It was more reasonable to hire an inexperienced young person when you could just let them go after a few days if they weren't working out, and didn't have costs in paperwork and orientation and mandatory training sunk into them. All work regulations are part of that.

Texan99 said...

I'm not worried about immigrants who take jobs. I'm worried about immigrants who take the dole. That much, at least, is in our control.