Friday, December 28, 2007

"Legal" Immigration

This is the continuation, or expansion, of this small item, that I posted on another 'blog. In that post, I asked what benefit is provided by the legal immigration process to those of us already living in the good old US of A. I'd like to examine the question a bit further to see what fallacies underly the belief that immigration must be a formal process.

When you enter a doctor's office, there is typically a diploma (or several) hanging on the office wall. If you take your car to a reputable auto repair shop you will often see a certificate from ASE or some other certifying body. When I interviewed with my current employer I presented my credentials as a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA). All of these documents indicate that the bearer has completed some sort of training or testing to verify that they are qualified to provide a particular service. Even though in some cases these certificates are required by law (which is a discussion for another time) they nonetheless add value to their services in the form of consumer confidence, and most people are willing to pay a bit more for the services of a certified provider versus one who is uncertified.

What if, however, you entered your doctor's office or auto repair shop and saw, not a certification, but the provider's birth certificate? Likewise, what if I had simply provided my prospective employer with a copy of my birth certificate, rather than my MCDBA certification? Would this document have indicated a single thing about the ability to perform the service offered? What about a work visa, passport, or green card? Do these documents add any value for consumers of our services? No, of course not. Why, then, is there the presumption that they are necessary for an individual to live and work in a particular country?

Do any of these documents serve to reassure us that the holder will be a productive member of the community? Do they, in fact, say anything useful about the possessor at all? If you have racist or nationalist tendencies, then perhaps they do, but I can think of no other reason these documents should hold any weight whatsoever.

Many who oppose illegal immigration do so simply because the rest of us are already saddled with a myriad of stifling rules, taxes, and regulations, and so everyone else who desires to come to this country must abide by those same laws. This completely ignores the question of the validity of those laws to begin with. However, rather than call for the abolition of taxpayer-funded entitlements, most people prefer instead to rail against the "flood of illegals" that are supposedly "draining our economy." They fail to realize that these "free" services may be part of what attracts immigrants to the US in the first place, though one wonders how an immigrant without a valid government ID would go about obtaining government services.

These people are correct in one regard...the taxes and endless entitlement programs are indeed a drain on the economy, as are the rules and regulations. Exactly how they affect the economy is a subject for another post, but the fact is that the government programs should be the target of public ire...not illegal immigrants.