This is a guest post by Damien Hoffman of Wall St. Cheat Sheet.
Preventing illegal immigration is not as simple as throwing up some fences. Evidently, humans can figure out how to circumvent obstacle courses.
In order to determine an effective solution to illegal immigration, we must first understand the major reasons why it has grown out of control:
1. Demand for Low-Skilled Labor Far Outweighs Legal Supply
Problem: Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, says in boom times employers would want as many as 400,000 immigrants on permanent or temporary visas. However, only 5,000 green cards a year are issued to low-skilled workers seeking permanent residence. Clearly, we should expect a black market in labor to arise when demand for workers far exceeds the legal supply.
Solution: The federal government should work closely with states and employers to provide the administrative resources necessary to create a legal labor pool. If there exists a simple and efficient process for foreign workers to provide labor inside the United States, the need for illegal activity will be greatly reduced.
2. Businesses Pay Less for Illegal Labor
Problem: Illegal immigrants are much cheaper than legal laborers. Illegal immigrants accept lesser pay, unsafe working conditions, and breaches of promises because they risk deportation if employers anonymously turn them in. Compare that with the average American worker who is always looking for a raise, demands safe working conditions, and threatens to sue when promises are broken.
Solution: For starters, the feds need to raid and heavily fine more large corporations who are knowingly exploiting illegal labor. Some of the top offenders include large scale farming operations (MOO), meat processing plants, and home builders (XHB). On a smaller scale, local businesses should have ways to whistle blow when their competitors are using illegal labor. This would prevent issues in the restaurant industry, with landscapers, retail outlets, etc.
3. Consumers Want to Pay the Lowest Possible Price
Problem: Businesses are seduced by illegal labor because selling in the retail marketplace is as competitive as a fight for the last scrap of food on a desert island. Therefore, businesses generally cut corners as much as possible in order to keep their prices lower than competitors. Why? Because although everyone I have ever met wants a raise and better benefits, most of these same people are always looking to pay the absolute lowest price for an item without concern for the collateral damage.
Solution: Consumers need to be willing to pay an extra 10 cents or few dollars to guarantee that businesses can pay employees a livable wage. If you live in Arizona and hate illegal immigration, you can vote with your wallet by purchasing local good and services which provide someone with a livelihood. If we can’t resist the crap at Walmart or beef which is on a dollar menu, then that also means we support illegal labor.
4. Stakeholders Lobby Congress to Prevent Real Solutions
Problem: As with any issue that has some rudimentary solutions, lobbyists spend far more money and time than us maintaining the status quo. The irony is state and federal tax collections would be higher if illegals were on the books. So, it is both in the interest of our government and our citizens to fix the problem. However, we’re competing against multibillion dollar companies whose self-interests are not a benefit to society as a whole.
Solution: Campaign finance reform would be ideal, but we’ll settle for some politicians who actually listen to their constituents and want higher tax receipts.
For more articles by Damien , general news, and finance tips, check out Wall St. Cheat Sheet.