Across the nation, the children of undocumented (i.e. illegal) immigrants are reportedly upset that they are being denied benefits that most citizens enjoy, such as student loans and scholarships, clean air and water, relatively good health care (even if it is just the emergency room), just because they can’t get a social security number (or benefits, for that matter). So sad that they have to suffer when it wasn’t even their choice to come here. Boo hoo! Their parents were responsible for ripping them from their homeland only to suffer here as fugitives from the law, unable even to pay taxes to pay for the services they are able to enjoy, like their entire primary and secondary education! They didn’t ask to live here and would have been just fine where they were born, but now that they have grown and made friends here, it wouldn’t be fair to send them home–so sad. OK, I am being sarcastic, but it also really is sad. Poor things.
But what are we to do? Send them all home? Give them all amnesty, thus encouraging millions of other potential immigrants to cross the border illegally? Ignore the problem as long as we can while doing nothing (Congress’ preferred solution)?
Wait, I have an idea! Actually, it was my wife’s idea and I’ve got to give her credit. It isn’t exactly the same as amnesty. Well, OK it sort of is a kind of amnesty, but it’s much better than the regular “bend over and let the taxpayers take it” kind of amnesty we are used to. Also, we could really use the money–especially in California. We can call it the “Pay to Stay” program. The idea is to calculate all the benefits these children and their parents enjoyed for free the entire time they lived here, including all taxes and fees they would have had to pay, compounded interest, and a little “processing” fee (call it a penalty if you want) for not doing things the legal way. That number, whatever it is, will be the price they have to pay to stay in the country. Being the good capitalists we are, we’d have the parents and children all co-sign the note and would be happy to roll it into a 30-year payment plan at a relatively low rate of interest. It might sound like indentured servitude, but it’s really just a payment plan for back taxes. For the rest of us, there is no getting out of taxes, even after bankruptcy. So, why should it be any different for illegals?
Think anyone would pay to stay? Just ask the Canadians how much they charge international students to live temporarily in Canada and study in their schools (secondary schools too, not just colleges). They charge big bucks and the foreigners just keep coming. And, by the way, most foreign students are from China and most of them stay in Canada after graduation. So, Canada’s immigration problem consists mainly of paying, educated foreigners who are legally accepted into the country, not freeloading, unskilled workers illegally crossing the border, as is the case in the USA.
I have nothing against immigration in general or specifically against poor immigrants from Mexico or Central America. This country was built by hard-working immigrants from all over the world and has been sustained by a constant stream of ambitious, innovative, workers coming here to build lives for their families that they are unlikely to be able to achieve in their native lands. However, if our own illegal immigrants don’t want to pay to stay, then we probably don’t want them. I’m sure someone else would be happy to come to the US and pay their way instead of living off of the growing welfare state. Is it really too much to ask that someone pay their fair share of the tax burden? What if they just don’t make or save enough money to pay their taxes? Another reason not to let them stay. We have enough lazy Americans living off welfare and other public services, so we don’t need more non-productive foreigners.
However, I’m optimistic. This country was built by hard-working, innovative immigrants. I’m sure that we will continue to thrive if we just expect the same of future generations of immigrants. Come, work hard, learn the language, contribute to your community, and you may still achieve the American dream, even if many Americans have already given up on it.