Georgia farmers also oppose the legislation. Without migrant farm labor they are short 11,000 workers. Fruits and vegetables are rotting on the vine because no one else wants to break their back working for minimum wage in the heat of the Georgia sun. But according to Republicans, these are the jobs illegal immigrants are taking from American citizens.
President Obama weighed in on the Georgia law, saying, “We can’t have 50 different immigration laws around the country ... Arizona tried this and a federal court already struck them down.” That’s only partially true. Obama needs to do his homework.
The federal court judge in Phoenix actually upheld sections of the law. However, he did set aside the parts of the law that allowed authorities to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws, such as possible traffic violations. And he didn’t support mandating Arizona residents to carry documentation of citizenship with them at all times. His ruling does allow all locals to solicit employment in public places.
Sponsors of the Georgia bill said undocumented immigrants are a drain on the state’s budget. That seems to be the false perception of most Americans. The American Bar Association claims that illegal immigrants contribute more in taxes than the cost of social services.
It’s estimated there were between 11 and 14 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. in 2006. President G.W. Bush and the Republicans also claimed they were a drain on our resources, our schools and entitlement programs. After all, they were depriving hard working Americans of minimum wage jobs such as cleaning toilets, mowing lawns, serving as domestic help and doing the grunt-work on construction sites. So George decided to burst our economic bubble of prosperity. He rounded them up and shipped them out. We’ve been paying for it ever since.
Illegal immigrants pay an estimated $7 billion a year into Social Security, which they will never collect. They also pay Medicare premiums, from which they do indirectly benefit. State and federal income taxes are also deducted from their paycheck. Usually, illegal immigrants do not file income tax returns claiming a refund, but the government hasn’t released how many billions of dollars in federal income tax the government keeps and benefits from. I wonder why. It was also reported by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that illegal immigrants represent a small percentage of funds spent on social services compared with residents in their local jurisdictions.
Times were so good in 2005, mortgage companies and banks seized the opportunity for profit. Thanks to Fannie Mae, illegal aliens were given loans under false pretense. With high mortgage payments they couldn’t afford, they worked two jobs to have their own home in our land of opportunity, greed and prejudice.
The crackdown on illegal immigrants continued. By the time President Obama became president more than three million of them were returned home. These numbers increased rapidly during the first two years of Obama’s first term, reducing income from property taxes and shrinking sales tax that supported local government. Less revenue from income tax forced federal government layoffs and a reduction in life-supporting entitlement programs.
Consumer spending dwindled in a consumer-driven economy. In the mid 2000s, 15 percent of all retail sales in the U.S. were directly or indirectly attributed to the illegal immigrants that Bush sent home. Manufacturing slowed because of a lack of demand and mortgage defaults almost destroyed our banking system.
Consequently, real estate values decreased and vacant homes popped up like weeds in the middle of an economic cemetery. Our savings and 401(k)s were cut in half. Why? Because Republicans and some Democrats eliminated a significant portion of the working class that works hard, spends money and pursues the American Dream.
Now for all of you crying to get rid of illegal immigrants because they’re depriving you of a job, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but there are still plenty of manual labor jobs available, such as cleaning toilets, mowing lawns and the grunt work of harvesting the hot fields of Georgia.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.