May Day pro-immigration rallies were held over the weekend in several U.S. cities. There were signs and slogans, marches and music. They came and went and nothing happened. That reflects how Washington has handled and will handle the issue. Until we, as a nation, look hard at some of the reasons behind this contentious problem, ain’t nothin’ gonna happen. But if we look, we may not like what we see.
There is no question the flood of illegals streaming across our southern border is creating a crisis in many cities. The problems go beyond crime headlines to include extreme burdens on hospital emergency rooms and public services. Many Americans have discovered the incomparable joy of getting in an auto accident with an illegal alien with no insurance. Stable residential neighborhoods are suddenly disrupted when illegals rent a house and cram a dozen or more people into what is meant to be a single family home. Most of the illegals crammed in the house are working for low wages in unpleasant jobs and they live like penned livestock to save money and send it back home. That is the crux of the illegal immigration issue. It’s really about money.
Lots of Americans profit from illegal immigration, including you and me. Sputter! Huff! Puff! That’s a lie! No, it’s not.
Every time we go to the grocery store and buy chicken we are buying a main course that is affordable only because the poultry industry keeps prices low by hiring illegals to do the dirty, unpleasant work of processing live chickens for distribution as food.
Want to put the squeeze on illegal immigration? You can start by demanding that Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest chicken producers, adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal immigrant workers in their plants. Demand that they raise wages to a level where jobs in the inherently filthy chicken processing business are attractive to native-born American workers. And tell them you will be happy to pay more, a lot more, for chicken in the supermarket and at your favorite family restaurant because, by golly, we’ve got to do something about this illegal immigration problem!
Speaking of family restaurants, why not organize a citizen boycott of restaurants that refuse to raise menu prices so they can afford to attract kitchen help that is not here illegally? Let me know how that works out.
The list could go on. But this is only part of the money flow of illegal immigration.
For Mexico, as a country, illegal immigration is profitable. Despite the headline-grabbing crimes committed by some illegals, most of them are in the United States to earn money to support their families back home; in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala or wherever. The majority are not here because they want to live a life of crime preying on Americans. They send most of what they earn here south of the border through electronic financial transfers known as remittances. They go to a bank or financial business to do these wire transactions.
Even with the global economic recession, remittances from the U.S. to Mexico totaled over $21 billion last year. Mexican economic analysts say remittances from the United States account for about 19% of all urban household income in Mexico and 27% for rural Mexican households.
For Mexico, as a nation, remittances from illegal workers in the United States are the second-largest source of hard currency after oil. So Mexico has zero incentive, zip, zilch to lift a finger to truly help the United States stop the flow of illegal immigration over our borders from theirs.
These money transfers aren’t free. There’s a transaction fee for each remittance. They vary widely from single digit percentages to as high as 24%. Western Union, Well Fargo Bank, Bank of America, even a big East Coast travel agency called Delgado Travel – they all make money off the flow of cash from illegal workers in the U.S. to their families back home. Other big American banks want in on the action, too.
Do the math. Let’s say the banks charge an average of 10% for each remittance tansfer. Let’s see: ten percent of $21 billion. Hmm. Do you suppose there’s a profit incentive around here somewhere in this illegal immigraton money flow? Do you suppose these politically well-connected financial institutions want to see an end to the fee-generating remittances from illegal immigrants? Do you suppose these companies understand the value of campaign contributions to candidates in both political parties?
So let’s review: Ya got yer entire country of Mexico proppin’ up part of its economy with southbound greenbacks. In the U.S. yer banking industry, yer food industry, yer agriculture sector, yer restaurant industry, yer construction industry, yer landscaping companies, yer hotels, yer average American consumer who hates payin’ for anythin’ – they’re all makin’ money or savin’ money off the status quo in illegal immigration.
The real message being sent to Congress and the White House is this: make a show of beefing up border patrols, maybe assign a surveillance drone or two, do some roundup raids for the cameras, but don’t actually plug the leaky hole.
California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas; they’ve all got serious problems with illegal immigration. No argument. But what do you suppose the chances are that for-rent Washington is going to do anything meaningful about it when so many Americans are making money from illegal immigration?