Jerry Patterson Answers FAQs on Immigration, The Texas Solution, & RPT Platform
Isn't the Texas Solution in the 2012 RPT platform actually amnesty?
Actually not. Going back to the 2010 RPT platform would be closer to amnesty than the 2012 platform. Why? Because the 2010 platform did not address what to do with the 12,000,000 illegals already here. Therefore, the 2010 platform maintained the status quo of doing nothing which most would agree is de facto amnesty. Additionally, the dictionary defines amnesty as "forgiveness without penalty for a past action, error or omission". The Texas Solution calls for fines and does not allow for a pathway to citizenship. Others will note that the 2010 platform called for "enforcing our laws" as proof that the 2010 platform did not support amnesty. "Enforcing our laws" lacks specificity. If the 2010 platform advocated deportation, that might be different. "Enforcing our laws" are just weasel words.
Isn't The Texas Solution just about providing cheap labor for business interests?
No, it is not. We have that now because of the cheap labor resulting from an underground, cash, non-taxpaying labor scheme. By eliminating so called "sub contractor employees", The Texas Solution will immediately convert this subterfuge to a true employer-employee relationship and increase the formerly paid in cash wages - actually a tax avoidance scam - by at least 30%. By adding Social Security withholding, workers comp, federal and state unemployment taxes, health insurance, and IRS withholding, a $20/hour wage increases to at least $26/hour. The Texas Solution requires all guest workers to be true employees and the cost to the employer goes up - not down.
Shouldn't we just deport all illegals and be done with it?
Be careful what you ask for. If all of the illegal workers were magically deported overnight, our economy would suffer greatly. Unemployed citizens are not lining up for jobs like washing dishes, roofing houses, hanging drywall, framing in new subdivisions, lawn maintenance, manual labor on road construction sites, and other non skilled entry level work. To attract even a few of the unemployed lawful resident population, wages in those trades would need to increase 50% - 75% by one estimate - driving up prices and inflation. The already weak new home construction industry would be crippled even if it could fill that labor need which it likely could not.
The other concern for those of us who are suspicious of more federal police and who remember Ruby Ridge, Waco, and the "Fast and Furious" ATF gun running debacle is do we really want to live in a country with enough federal police power to apprehend, incarcerate, adjudicate and deport 12 million men, women and children? The cost to do this would be in the 100's of billions - not to mention the cost to our liberty when all those federal deportation cops run out of things to do.
Wouldn't The Texas Solution create a magnet for more illegal immigrants and further burden our INS and Border Patrol?
It would not. Enhanced border security measures go hand in hand with a guest worker program - you can't have one without the other. Guest worker permit applicants would have to prove that they already have a job offer and the employer would have to prove the job couldn't otherwise be filled by a citizen.
Additionally, by separating the illegals who seek to work and pay taxes, obey our laws, and send money home to their families in Mexico from the criminals, coyotes, narco-traffickers, potential terrorists, and unemployables, we reduce by millions the universe of illegals that law enforcement needs to apprehend. Therefore, the current or enhanced future resources are/would be employed to contend with a smaller population of illegals. Wouldn't you prefer your Border Patrol to chase criminals and narco- terrorists instead of the 19 year old kid washing dishes in a restaurant or the guy that mowed your yard?
Could The Texas Solution actually reduce the number of illegals coming across our borders to join other family members?
Yes it could. Most agree that our current immigration system is broken but few recognize that it actually encourages more, not less, illegal immigration by dependent spouses and children.
Here's why. An immigrant making $20/hour can live on half of that amount and send the other half home to his family in Mexico. The money sent home brings a dramatic improvement in the standard of living of the worker's family. Between jobs or during holidays, the worker would like to go home to visit but can't take the risk of apprehension while crossing the border. Therefore, our current immigration policies have created an incentive for the worker to bring his family here to live in squalor on $20/hour and further burden our public school system and other services such as emergency medical care. If the worker had a temporary work permit, he could cross the border to visit his family without fear and his family could stay at home. The illegal immigration of dependents would be reduced substantially.
Why don't those already here who want to work here just go back home and get in line?
That might work if there were such a line, but there is no line, particularly for entry level non skilled or semi-skilled jobs. Not only that, the U.S. government sets the exact same per country limit of 7% of the total annual immigration quota for every foreign country regardless of that country's population! In other words, the maximum allowable number of legal immigrants on an annual basis is the same for Iceland as it is for Mexico. Does that make sense? Is it any wonder we have a lot of illegal immigrants from Mexico and none from Iceland? The apportionment should have some reasonable link to the population of the country of origin - but it doesn't. If these workers could have come here legally, they would have done so.
Shouldn't we severely punish employers who knowingly hire illegals?
Of course we should, if the employer did so knowingly. The problem doing so puts the employer, already burdened by excessive government regulation and red tape, in the role of doing what the federal government should've done already, without the tools to do it. The Texas Solution advocates a biometric forgery proof ID card instead of the easily forged Social Security card that hasn't changed since the 1930s. E-Verify could also work but it has errors in the database and employers are prohibited by federal law from using E-Verify until after the employment offer is made - making E-Verify not a good screening tool. If a new employee comes up as a "no match" and is terminated due to inaccurate information in the E-Verify system, the employer is open to a discrimination claim or a claim of unlawful termination. The employer, particularly small employers, also have the administrative burden of hiring and then firing a new employee. We should help employers hire lawful employees - not burden them with being the de facto INS.
Shouldn't we secure the border before we implement a guest worker program?
We could do that, but at much greater cost and it would take longer. A guest worker program implemented simultaneously with enhanced border security makes border security easier to accomplish. The simple reason is by reducing the eligible for apprehension population by the millions that become temporary guest workers, law enforcement, the INS, and the Border Patrol simply have fewer people to deal with - making border security a less onerous task to accomplish. It's a simple military defensive tactic. If you can reduce the number of opposing forces trying to infiltrate your position, you have a more secure defensive position. You can't have border security without a guest worker program and you can't have a guest worker program without border security.
Would this population of guest workers be a disastrous financial burden for generations to come?
Not if The Texas Solution were implemented. The Heritage Foundation study based its analysis on illegal immigrant households - worker, spouse, kids - who remain here permanently as envisioned in the immigration bill currently before Congress which provides a pathway to citizenship after 13 years. Citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR) are entitled to welfare benefits and the citizenship provision along with the LPR status during that 13 year wait for citizenship is a major source of the financial burden forecast in the Heritage Foundation study. The Texas Solution does not provide a pathway to citizenship and is designed for a temporary guest worker who is not n LPR and whose family remains in, or returns to, the country of origin. The Heritage Foundation study does not apply to the Texas Solution. Furthermore, if we go back to the 2010 platform, considered by many to be de facto amnesty since it has no realistic or feasible plan to deport illegals - assuming that could even be possible - nor does the 2010 platform call for deportation, we will continue our current under the table cash wage scam, collect no taxes, and lose $100s of billions if not trillions in tax revenue and social security payments - truly a disastrous financial burden to be assumed by those who do pay taxes.