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Immigration Debate: A New Idea For An Old Problem

Immigration Debate: A New Idea For An Old Problem

Immigration Debate: A New Idea For An Old Problem

We all hear the rumblings of a wall, cries of racism if you dare to try to breech this subject, others telling us it is the right of others to come here seeking a better life, and still others, scream about the drain on our cities, counties, states and federal spending covering the schooling, infrastructure, lack of medical payments to hospitals for the population that is undocumented or illegally here, depending on what side of the political spectrum you are coming from, but the one thing we never hear is a concrete plan of how to fix this broken system that is both workable and would be able to set in motion a plan that is fair to all sides. I don’t work for the government, but that may be a great thing, I will not look at this from a way of how to screw it up, instead look at a way to take care of this in a way that just may work. Immigration can be fixed, it is up to us to have the will to do so. 

Today’s cost of border security

Before we do anything, we need to look at the expenses, in a report from the US immigration office they say between 2000 and 2010 we spent $70 billion on border security, that would-be maintenance on the structures already in place, the covering of ICE agent’s salaries, the cost of x-ray machines, machines able to sniff for nuclear, biological or chemical agents, drug dogs, along with administration and other costs. You even pick up the amount by 15% to cover for inflation, which I am sure is much, much higher, the figure today would be between 2011 and today the same as it cost for the ten years prior. The reason it is important to figure this in, if you are going to look at the cost of the wall, you need to figure in these costs, they would have been spent anyways. Now this may seem extremely high of a figure, but if you look at the cost of the conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East last year, and the general war on terror, since 2001 we have spent $1.5 trillion, compared to this the cost of maintaining and securing our border is not so bad.
The first thing we would need to do is figure out which border we wish to secure, and if we are going to look eventually at securing both borders, for now, I would say that doing this with Canada would be so cost prohibitive, the US shares a 5,525-mile border with Canada on our Northern border, but if you add in Alaska you would be looking at another 1,538 miles, such a work at this time would be unfeasible, besides the vast majority of our illegal crossings come from our southern border, so that is the only one we will focus on now, with that we have 1954 miles, but of that we already have 720 miles of fencing, or 37% of the border now has a  fence on it, but much of that is by no means secure, so for all practical purposes other than 100 miles, we would have to tear down and construct all new, but we could allow the 720 miles to be replaced last, that would leave in the immediate future a need for 1,234 miles of fencing, that could be done before Trump’s first term of office is done.
So how would we take care of paying for this? The cost projections I have seen, show the wall would cost about $21 billion and 3 years to build, in addition we would be looking about a maintenance cost of about $135 million a year, the cost may seem daunting, but not so much when you look at what we could raise to pay for the wall, we will get into that in a little bit.

Income for Undocumented families

If you look at the reports given on undocumented workers or illegal immigrants the average family is earning about $45,000 a year, and at this present time there are between 11 million and 20 million undocumented people in this country, and this naturally only counts the adults, so the best way to look at this is we have between 6.5 and 10 million undocumented families living in the US, this means that these families are making with an average wage of $45,000 a year between $248 to $450 billion a year as a group. This is taxable income if we are going to pay for the wall, and Trump loves to say he wants Mexico to pay for it, then let’s do it in two ways.

The Wall

What we need to do is put up a wall, then put in place guest worker offices throughout the world, give a way for employers to put in for a need, you then can fill these with the guest workers pool, then issue worker visas to workers, give them a time limit, the employer has the means to renew the permit if the person stays gainfully employed. To offset some of the cost, put a cost on the application fee for the employers, not something stupid, say $20 for each slot needed. So how would you pay for all of this? In two ways, let’s look at that next.

How to pay for it

First, and I know this will offend some of my friends on the left, being in the United States is a privilege, it is not a right, so acting like we are obligated to give these people a job, security, a place to live, it is not their right, it is, however, a humane thing to do.

What I propose first is to have our Congress act in a way that is in all our best interests, not that you will ever get something like this from them, but if we are going to put up a wall, we need to let these people know, if you come to the US you are not under a right to collect SSI, that will only be for citizens, although I think we would need to set something up for disability insurance or force employers to purchase this. What I first propose is we put in place a law that no immigrant, until they are naturalized or become citizens will be eligible for SSI, instead what we do is keep the same figure in place, have the employer still pay half and the employee pay half, but instead of putting this figure into SSI, put it directly this towards paying for the wall and putting funds away for upkeep of it.

I know this will put pressure on SSI, they count on this contribution to keep it healthy, but Congress will have to deal with it, maybe take out another stimulus like Obama did, but rather than give it to foreign nations and companies like he did put it into the general SSI fund and make it untouchable from the greedy politicians to fund their pet project, or like Clinton to make the books seem more balanced than they actually were

Put in place a tax

To figure out the first money stream to pay for this you need to look at taxes. If you take the figure I gave earlier of between $248 and $450 billion this workforce is brings in wages (this is figuring 2 earning in a family, take the 11 to 13,000,000 and divide by 2, then mulitiply by the $42,00. Take this figure and multiply by 12.8%), we put in place a law that instead of collecting SSI tax, you collect a guest workers tax, if you taxe at the rate of SSI you would be looking at drawing in between $31.74 and $35.49 billion a year to pay for both the wall, and the guest workers program, but would this be enough to cover approximately the $9 to $10 billion a year for the cost of the programs we already have in place? Of course, it would be, it would not only have enough to pay for the wall and guest worker offices and staff, there would still be billions left, this we could put a percentage away with a rainy day fund and the rest use to prop up SSI, aid in the money they would be taking losses in . But one must ask, weren’t we already paying most of this in the first place? So, any offset would be a great thing.

Tax on remittances 

But there is another avenue of money that is available, and it would very well aid very much in covering the cost of all of this, that would be putting in place a tax for money earned in this country by the guest workers, and then sent back to their families in Mexico and all over the world. If you look at figures today with what both legal and illegal immigrants are sending home, that amounts up to about $69 billion a year to Mexico alone, if you taxed this money going out, and that is what most other nations in the world do, and to be fair, this should not only be applicable to Latin America, since we would have these offices all over the world, it should be applicable no matter where the money is sent. If you tax at 6% for all money sent out just to Latin America, you would be adding at minimum $4 billion a year, but if you look at remittance paid out worldwide,  the figure over $200 million sent out in 2016 alone, the taxes generated from this will come to $35 billion a year. Suddenly we would not only have enough money to pay for the wall, all of the cost of border security, this would include the need for guest worker offices, there would be money left over to put back in SSI, for once the government could put money back in instead of taking out and giving IOU’s (we would need to put in place a law making this money not able to be earmarked for anything else).

A hard decision: how to deal with Anchor babies

But there is another item we would have to deal with, with opening up for migrants to come her legally, closing up the borders, and we should make them so secure that crossing will be extremely difficult if almost impossible, then be shoring up our Northern Border crossings to stop illegal immigration of people going into Canada and coming down, Canada does help with this already, we could not only secure our nation from undesirables like terrorist intent on doing harm, we could in the process put in place a means to fight the quantity of drugs coming over that border. But what we need to look at is what about the kids born here of guest workers, do we automatically make them citizens?

We do after all have a huge problem with anchor babies by illegal immigrants, to be frank, I in no way blame the parents for figuring out how to make their children American citizens, if I was not an American citizen, and I could do this for my child, I would happily risk jail to do so. So, empathy is not at issue here, what is at issue is the law, the expense to the nation, and the obligation of the nation. Let’s try to look at this question next, I know no matter how you deal with it, people are going to find their emotions or feelings hurt, but when dealing with such things, you need to take in mind this, but also look at what is best for the nation.
In 2013 we had 295,000 babies born in the US from illegal or undocumented mothers, in 2016 there could be as many as 315,000 babies born of the same way in the US. No one wishes to blame the child, they sure have no say in any of this, but the question must be asked, who is paying for this? In many cases the mother goes into the hospitals, have no insurance, but due to the law the hospitals must take them in, deliver the child, then we the taxpayers and patients are charged extra to make up for this lost revenue.

In 2014, the last year the numbers were available, the average cost for the mother to be hospitalized, give birth, and have post-natal care was $13,500 for the mother, the infant for care after birth came out to an additional $3,300, this is a total cost of $16,800 per child or a cost of $4,956,000,000, but who is paying for this? We are, the insurance is, the hospitals can’t cover this cost out of pocket, and there is not only the maternity care, you add in emergency visits and doctor care that must be treated, you are adding another $4.3 billion a year, this is putting a huge strain on hospitals, the government, what has to pay this up-charge in people they care for with government health care, the insurance companies are not going to out of charity eat this money, so they in turn hand the expense off to the insured with higher premiums.

It is for this reason I propose that not only would we need to have in place a requirement of coming here to have health insurance in place within 2 months after arriving, we have to be realistic, the people coming will have to have money to move into a place, to pay for their own living expenses, but I would go a step further, we need to have congress put in a law a clause for the 14th Amendment, any child born of two parents that are foreign nationals, are here either illegally or by right as guest workers, the children will be citizens of the nation the parents hold citizenship with, I think adding to this if the parents then do get citizenship after completing the requirements to achieve this, their kids should be granted citizenship, that were denied upon birth.

Give a path to citizenship

Last, these guest workers that have come here, and for that matter illegal citizens that are here now, we need to put in place a path for them to receive citizenship. I think we first should take the ones that are in violation of the law being here, put in place a means for them to start achieving this, in most cases they have been here for years, contributing to their community and the nation, give them a path, but only if they show they are of the quality we want, criminals should be given no reprieve, ship them out, they should not have been here in the first place to commit the crimes here. 

I would have no problem with a penalty or fine for the illegals, but as much as people love to scream to ship them to the border, it is both unrealistic, not to mention the disruption it would do to our society, our cities and these people and their children as well. The guest workers, put in a time frame, give out guest worker permits for say two years, let them renew it three times, if they show they are good workers, will be a boon to our society and not a drain, then put in place a path for them to be citizens.

About The Author

Timothy Benton

Student of history, a journalist for the last 2 years. Specialize in Middle East History, more specifically modern history with the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Also, a political commentator has been a lifetime fan of politics.

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