The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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The illegal immigration debate

This past week, President Bush introduced a plan for securing the Mexican border against illegal immigrants sneaking into the United States.

Among his plans for the Mexican border include returning Mexican illegal immigrant to their hometown rather than sending them across the border, setting immigrants further away from the border thus making it more difficult to cross multiple times. Along with this preventative measure, Bush has stated that he will approve any legislature to further prevent the amount of immigrants coming into the country. Presently on Capitol Hill, there are bills that include supporting a volunteer marshal to assist in patrolling the border and increasing fines for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.

Bush and other social conservatives who normally agree with big business on many economical issues parted ways with Bush’s new proposal, however. Many big businesses want to employ foreign workers because foreign workers will work for a lower salary than legal immigrants or citizens.

If Bush and social conservatives feel that illegal immigration hurts the economy, they are wrong.

Months ago, Vicente Fox, the President of Mexico, received criticism from black leaders for declaring that Mexican workers take jobs that “even blacks" won’t do. While Fox’s was racist in its nature, it did describe much of America’s hypocrisy. In many of the fast food restaurants in New York and other heavy populated areas, there are immigrants working behind the register. When many Americans stay at a hotel, much of the employees who are housekeeping are foreign born. Many conservatives will howl that immigrants are not paying taxes, thus they are getting a “free ride” in this country.

Such a statement is purely idiotic.

The little amount that immigrants are paid in this country is inexcusable; they work long hours for pay that is subhuman. Many would say that illegal immigrants deserve lower salaries because they are not supposed to be in this country. Nevertheless, how many businesses would be negatively affected if there were no immigrants working for low wages in this country?

Another one of Bush’s proposals involve introducing a guest worker plan for illegal immigrants working in this country. Illegal immigrants would be able to stay in the United States for a period of time, earning income legally. Yet, Bush included one provision, most likely to appease his base, which states that these immigrants must return to their home country when their visa expires. In his speech to propose these new measures, Bush said that he would flatly oppose amnesty, something that many social conservatives argue that immigrants receive in this country.

On the other hand, wouldn’t it make more sense for immigrants who are working in this country legally, who the government will tax just like any American, to receive assistance from the government to apply for citizenship? This will allow the United States to stop spending tax dollars on trying to rid illegal immigrants from this country. This approach could allow immigrants to become economically independent, a core value of social conservatives.

If Bush really wanted to stop the influx of immigrants in this country, then he should start with something that his Republican base would hate: he should interfere in businesses and propose legislature to make corporations agree to stop employing immigrants in the first place. If you don’t want illegal immigrants in your country, then stop hiring them.

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