Immigration is a business. Many should accept this as truth by now. When we talk about reforming our current immigration laws, we are shaking up the foundation of many organizations, individuals, the economy, politicians, and even the President of the United States. As a result, not many will be happy about the reorganization of their funding. And that is a fact.
Latinos, who make up 16% of our population of 310 million, stand to gain the most with their large numbers, but also they stand to lose the most if they do not realize the game of chess they are in. They must strategically line up themselves so that they are not overtaken by the master Chess players who currently are creating a new burden for the government with their executive memo reforms. While Obama offers piecemeal immigration solutions like the Deferred Action of Children Arrivals (DACA); and while he pretends to be a friend of Latinos, his polices are forcing some families into government welfare programs after the head of the household has been deported as in the Secured Communities Program. Many argue that these deportations created a group that is dependent on government programs. While this may be true, it is difficult to pinpoint without concrete evidence.
If proved to be true, this is a rather clever scheme if you think about it. The largest group left behind by these massive deportations have been women and children. In the recent deportation of 1.5 Million since 2008 to 2012, the majority of those deported have been males or the primary income earners of the family. In fact, the mass deportations that were enforced under the Secured Communities program, created a high number of foster care children and single mothers, according to the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress. Even liberal organizations have been critical of the deportations that have harmed families, communities, and the economy.
In the U.S., Mexicans are 30% of the foreign born population and are 58% of the unauthorized population in the U.S. Approximately 7 million children currently living in the U.S. are in a household with Mexican parents and half of these children are estimated to be U.S. Citizens.
Applicants for readmission to the U.S. must show extreme hardship, which includes evidence of the spouse having financial difficulty. Evidence of such hardship includes the spouse applying and receiving TANF benefits among, physical difficulties to the spouse and children.
Given the economic downturn of the U.S. since 2008 coupled with these deportations, those who chose to leave with their deported family member will probably not return to the U.S. These families have been repatriated into another country with which they have no cultural connection, except for their spouse being there. Those spouses who remained in the U.S., with the U.S. citizen children have had difficulty in finding employment and may only have the reliance of these U.S. government programs to sustain their families as the primary income-earner was deported under The Secured Communities program. Currently, studies show that Latinos have a rate of 15.7% on welfare programs, which is low by all accounts. However, if more deportations take place that number could become higher, not only to reunify the family to show hardship under the law, but out of necessity.
If so, then these deportations will create a financial burden on America. If these families apply to reunify the family and remain on these programs for a prolonged period of time, they may become accustomed to them. Additionally, they will have a difficult time re-adjusting themselves to economic opportunity because they are losing skills to help them transition into the labor market and may rely more on government programs rather than on opportunities. Once a worker loses his/her job skill, it is very difficult to re-gain access to the labor force. Not only do their skills deteriorate, but so does their self-confidence. Consequently, a mother who enters into welfare government program, as the only alternative to take of her family after the father is deported, may develop an attitude of government dependency. Without realizing it, these survival skills become a burden on them and the economy.
The recent piecemeal offering from the Obama Administration will only affect about 3 million of the 11 million undocumented in the U.S. DACA, (Deferred Action of Children Arrivals) was estimated to have an effect on approximately 1.6 Million and this new Provisional Waiver by the White House will affect 2-3 Million of those 11 million. What this means is that those in the 7 Million pool will still be left without recourse. Additionally, those mothers and children left behind by the 1.5 Million deportees and who seek to reunify with their spouses may end up growing dependent, unnecessarily, on those government programs.
In the meantime, Republicans may find it difficult to curtail cutting these programs without sounding callous and mean spirited because they see the data without understanding the history of the dependency. It is not out of laziness that Latinos enroll in these programs, but one of necessity. In Texas, Republicans are looking at sound policies to curtail this problem. One of them is the Texas Solution that was offered at the Fort Worth Convention and again in Florida and the National Convention. The Texas Solution offers a sounds sound economic policy that will create new taxpayers, and will also lessen then burden from those forced into government subsistence by the deportation of high income earners.
“First, this new Texas Solution by the Republican Party must now continue toward a well written “offering” to the Legislature that will emphasize on: 1. Immigrant Taxpayers already in the labor market, 2. Educated members already in the higher tax bracket, 3. Skilled workers in the work force, 4. Business Owners/Entrepreneurs, and 5. Unskilled laborers that are in construction/agriculture. All of whom already exist in the 11 million pool supporting the U.S. economy.”
Using the Texas Solution as a model, Republicans at a national level, should focus not on piece offering policies, but ones that can override the immediate problem created by these negligent policies which in turn make Latinos appear weak. The GOP has the ability now, to draft and offer an intelligent solution that will, in the long term, offer Latinos better options than government dependent programs.
Texas is providing programs for Latinos, who will be contributors to the economy. For example, programs like the 10% Admission Rule is not an affirmative action plan, but one that is geared at educating the large number of low income students, who by attending the University of Texas, will become high taxpayers by the end of their study. Those affected are mostly Latinos. The In State Tuition law, voted for unanimously by a Republican Legislature seeks to educate those young undocumented children who may be now applying to remain in the U.S. under the DACA program. While this might appear as an amnesty program, educating these youth is of great benefit to our economy as they are geared at creating a new wave of educated economic contributors.
Latinos should understand and be able to discern which options to choose so that they are not placed in precarious situations created by bad policies and bad laws. Republicans in Texas, have a grasp of the obvious, and that is: Mexican immigrants are a big share of the foundation of America, our economy, labor force, and our future. Immigration Reform should include better measures to reunify families while providing them with an opportunity, not a reliance on government programs.Linda Vega graduated from the University of Texas in Austin and the George Washington Law School in D.C. She worked for The Department of Labor, and she is currently in private practice at THE VEGA LAW FIRM. Her areas of expertise are in Immigration and Labor/Employment-Labor Law. In 2012, Linda Vega was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to the Family Practice Residency Advisory Committee.