2. He reports that we’re just says away from the start date of the new Tennessee law that will fine businesses for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. I have a couple of questions, all snarkiness aside. One, doesn’t that “knowingly hiring illegal immigrants” sound like a loophole you could drive a truck through?
But here’s my other question, and I ask this as someone who has long advocated for going after the folks who benefit from a powerless labor force hated by the larger community, can we live with the unintended consequences of this law? I mean, no business in Tennessee has a 100% illegal immigrant work force; Tennesseans have jobs because there are businesses here.
What happens when we start handing out fines? Yes, some folks might reform, but it seems to me that we’re risking other folks just taking their business elsewhere. And then what? What does it do to our economy to lose a couple of big manufacturers?
This is, in part, why my focus has really shifted to immigration reform–we need to make it legal for these folks to get here and we need to find a way for folks who are already here to gain some kind of legal status–not just because it’s the humane thing to do, but because our economies depend on it.
I hear some folks talking about how we could make do without the labor of undocumented workers; we’ll just put folks who don’t work to work. But let’s look at that pool.
Keep in mind that there are somewhere between 15 and 30 million undocumented workers here.
There are 24 million people who didn’t work outside the home at all last year, according to the .gov.
So far, so good. Maybe the two populations could be swapped out. What were the 24 million lazy-ass Americans doing rather than holding down jobs so illegals couldn’t get them?
Six and a half million of them were sick or disabled.
Almost ten million of them are retired.
Three and a half million of them were in school.
Only 714,000 could not find work. Less than a million people. And I don’t mean to suggest that that’s not devistating for them. Of course it is. But we’ve got less than a million people in this country who spent all last year unable to find work. And we have between 15 and 30 million people here filling jobs. See what I’m saying?
There’s not enough people who don’t have jobs to fill the jobs done by the people who are here illegally.
So, what happens then if we run illegal immigrants out of the country? Won’t the multi-nationals just relocate to other countries with available labor?
I don’t know, honestly. It just feels like we’re playing a dangerous game of chicken with our own futures.
I saw the whole Plimco family yesterday and it filled me with such sad happiness. I love those guys so much and I feel like, in some parallel universe, we meet for coffee regularly and have meals at each others’ houses and dog-sit each others’ dogs.
In this one, though, we just have to make do with the few hours we can squeeze out of a year.