Friday, July 07, 2006

BLOOMBERG: LEGALIZE ILLEGALS, OR ELSE?

A caller on today's Limbaugh show made an interesting comment about Mayor Bloomberg's testimony at the Senate immigration hearing in Philadelphia. Specifically, this portion:"Although they broke the law by illegally crossing our borders . . . our city's economy would be a shell of itself had they not, and it would collapse if they were deported," Bloomberg said. "The same holds true for the nation."

The caller pointed out that this is similar to the economic arguments made by the South before emancipation. The analogy isn't perfect, but the argument is the same. In the current situation, Bloomberg wants to "legalize" an underclass of workers, but says nothing about increasing their wages. In fact, his argument depends on being able to pay these workers the minimum wage, which may be more than some make now. How else would his economic "collapse" happen, if not that companies would have to pay higher wages, to replace the depleted work force, and the resulting cost of living increases?

Mayor Bloomberg, besides being a gazillionaire, previously headed one of the largest financial news and information services around. He knows about the economy, or should. Either way, his argument is flawed. His views are based on his Wall Street experience, which depends on cheap labor to make companies more profitable, and his liberal ideology that says the state can take care of paying the extra costs: that is, the health care, education, and social costs of these semi-, or unskilled workers.

The truth is that the loss of illegal immigrants will happen either way we go on this issue, unless we fail to secure the border. If we legalize them, they will move into higher paying jobs, not having to hide in the shadows. There will not be a fresh supply of the cheapest labor (with a secure border), and wages will have to rise to attract new workers. I realize that I've probably raised more questions than I have answers to, but one thing is certain. The southern border must be secured against illegal immigration.

How is it that a mayor of New York can advocate this policy, when so many illegal immigrants live under slave labor conditions in his own city? How many of these will even come forward to be "legalized?" I didn't even mention the criminal element in the illegal population, which is higher than the overall population, both immigrant and native. More on Bloomy's testimony about that in another column.

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