No Free Pass For Illegal Immigrants
James Blackwell - Thu 10:28 AM 02/02/2012
A proposal has been introduced to Kansas legislators by business groups and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce which calls for undocumented immigrants to be able to remain in Kansas and hold jobs legally. This bill would allow illegal immigrant who have managed to circumvent our legal system for five years and only received one misdemeanor conviction, to legally obtain jobs in the agricultural, roofing and construction. The entities who introduced this legislation claim to represent business and promote growth in the Kansas job market, are now promoting programs that will put legal Kansans out of work, and lower wages of other Kansas workers. The proposal also states that employers would be able to pay a fee for using these illegal workers. This fee would be paid to the state.
As a business owner in the construction field and a member of Salina Chamber of Commerce, this legislation is bothersome to me. Not only do companies who hire legal Kansan workers have to deal with high tax rates and over regulation by local and state agencies but must potentially pay taxes to fund a government agency to track workers whom are in our country illegally. Is it not bad enough that the illegal immigration issue is not dealt with in any way that makes a difference? Is it not bad enough that companies who hire legal workers have to pay a higher rate than the competition who hires illegal immigrants? In today's economy would our legislators not be better serving us if they concentrated on protecting Kansas Jobs for Kansas workers?
Time and time again companies that hire illegal immigrants succeed while their competitors fail due to the high cost of good legal employees. Many times these companies hire illegal immigrants for low wages and work them long hours. The illegal immigrants do not complain for fear of losing their jobs. Here are the simple facts. Many illegal immigrants will have to live on low income and is forced to live in homes that should have been condemned. The illegal immigrant is stuck in a life that very seldom gets better. All the while the so called employer is taking advantage of the low wages and hard work that comes along with hiring illegal Immigrants. Illegal immigrants very seldom make any community ties and generally do not participate in the education of their children at public schools. This is not to say they are bad parents simply that fear of getting caught prevents them from being involved.
In the construction trade it is not uncommon for builders or roofing contractors to hire illegal immigrants to complete projects. This is not due to a shortage of qualified workers, it is due to the fact they do not want to pay the wages expected by good American workers. Homeowners often take this route as well, hiring illegal immigrants or contractors who use illegal immigrants to complete projects. While this may save some money on the specific project. These people should be aware of the money cost in taxpayer dollars. For example: Illegal immigrants who have children in the school district pay no taxes into the system to support the education of their children. This means a legal taxpayer must pick up the tab by paying higher taxes and mill levy. To make matter worse, the schools are required to enroll many of the children of illegal immigrants into special programs such as English as a Second Language courses. These courses require additional funding. These needed resources are taken from the children of legal Americans.
Programs similar as this one have been tried in the past, they have generally failed. This is largely due to the fact that these individuals know they are breaking the law and fear that if they register they will be deported. However if passed this legislation will cost taxpayers money to administer. It will be touted as a success by creative statistics and political advocates.
Does Kansas really need to have more illegal Immigrants competing for the jobs of Kansans? Is the Kansas Chamber of Commerce really that out of touch with what Kansans want? Wouldn't it be more logical to actually enforce laws regarding illegal immigrants than to allow them to violate our law and be given a free pass? Kansas does not need to spend more money to allow some employers to abuse employees. The companies that support these laws so that they can get cheaper labor at under fair market value, must realize they are hurting the Kansas worker by keeping pay rates low.
Kansas Legislators should instead be implementing legislation that allows the companies and entities that hire illegal immigrants to be fined on a large scale. This would protect Kansas workers and would increase state coffers by receipt of fines. And it may even help get people off of unemployment by making jobs available to legal American workers.