Employer Sanctions, Border Security is Anti-Civil Rights

By Sarah Viets

Some folks vehemently believe US borders are weak and feeble. They believe porous borders threatens American security, strains American social services, declines US wages, and fosters unemployment. Now, I can either create a counter argument for each claim, or I can change how people debate immigration.

I choose the latter. But, it's also important to address American's hearts and minds. Each of us is frustrated by the direction of our country. And each of us desperately desires an alternative to our current status quo.

But blaming immigrants for old problems confuses me. Inadequate social services, educational resources, low wages, and high unemployment are not new problems. Broken borders aren’t responsible for each specific problem.

The amount of money spent on education, roads, bridges, levees, and health care has been declining for years, a decision made by elected politicians, like mayors, city councilpersons, senators, and house of representatives. They decide what programs to fund and what departments to cut. But that's not the only reason.

When largely unionized industries, like textile and steel mills and automotive industries moved outside American borders, so did high paying jobs with health care and pensions. In it’s place, low paying American service jobs replaced industrial work. Large malls, new hotels, restaurants and large retailers filled American landscape and replaced $2,000 monthly paychecks. In other words, American employers paid minimal wages at American's expense.

In result, real wages (American's income) stayed the same while the cost of living increased. To put it another way, every time light bills, monthly food budgets and gas prices went up, American paychecks stayed the same. If bi-weekly pay stubs increased with the cost of gas, minimal wages would exceed $10.00 an hour. Even more, Americans pay more health care bills and receive shaky pension plans unparalleled to previous decades.

None of these points are new information. In fact, you probably skipped them. (I don't blame you, it's depressing).

So, complaints about new immigrants are actually fights for resources. For instance, a fight for resources argues that there aren’t enough resources to feed the entire globe. Therefore, strict border enforcement and employer sanctions are needed to fight and maintain what little resources there are.

However, while this argument is justified, why should we reserve American resources specifically for Americans? Is it because we're citizens? If so, this argument says Americans deserve jobs and resources over people who aren't American.

These questions strike me as odd. And they're why I label strict border enforcement and employer sanctions as anti-civil rights, and here's way:

Civil rights are "the rights to full legal, social, and economic equality..." At the same time, some definitions say rights are only guaranteed to citizens. However, I would argue that "legal, social and economic equality" should apply to all human beings, not just citizens. But if I say only citizens should enjoy "the rights to full legal, social, and economic equality..." and not all human beings, regardless of citizenship, then I'm also defining who has a right to life. (Particularly since the majority of immigrants come to our country for jobs.)

Let me put this another way, if a human being doesn't have access to basic human needs, they'll die. For instance, if I give one-person milk, a nice juicy steak or chicken, a house, English and math school books, the ability to call their grandparents and brother or sister for money or a babysitter, and a reason to get up in the morning, or in other words, a J-O-B, while at the same time, limiting or prohibiting someone from working, nagging and fighting with their parents or family siblings (everybody has family drama!), buying their kids clothes and making their favorite meals gives one person more of a right to live than another.

But I don’t have more of a right to live simply because my birth certificate reads, “Born in the U.S.A. I don’t deserve my dad’s burnt hamburgers, writing tons of papers so I can graduate college, or building a family, like my mom and dad did, more than the next guy.

This is why I refuse to support any policy that says I have more of a right live and experience life more than the next person. I refuse to vote for any law that weakens my American identity. I refuse to support any policy that defines who should and who shouldn't aim for the American Dream. Even more, I refuse to blame immigrants for under funded schools and why my friend (who is an American citizen) had to declare bankruptcy because of insane hospital bills.

I have a better idea, instead of targeting immigrants, why not demand higher wages, better health care and education reforms? Why? If we clamp down on immigration, our current problems won't go away. It's not like our resources will suddenly increase if we advocate strict enforcement.

Even more, why delay American prosperity? Immigration reform organizations, like Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR), Numbers USA and Americans for Better Immigration, say strict employer sanctions and strict border security will increase wages and employment and improve our education and health care systems. But what they don't tell you is that immigration policies don't guarantee higher wages and employment, and educational and health care improvements. Their idea is a big fat theory with a bunch of holes.

But battles for educational reforms, employment, increased wages, and adequate health care do.

Why make life harder than it is? The clock is ticking, with no room for mistakes.

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