Upstream vs. Downstream – Example Illegals

Upstream vs. Downstream

When we attempt to mitigate “problems” it seems that proposed solutions too often focus on the outcome of the issue in question and not on the cause. In other terms, we focus our efforts downstream rather than upstream.

An example:

Consider the problem of illegal immigration. Regardless of political affiliation the vast majority of our citizens do not support illegals. Most of the proposed solutions focus from the midpoint and downstream. To focus on the causes of the problem it requires us to examine the why people from other country want to enter our country and further why they avoid the process of legal entry? The main draw for illegals is work and pay levels for work vs. their local options. One reason is that gets thrown around is that illegals come to take advantage of benefits through our Medicaid system. While there are very specific conditions where illegals are able to access Medicaid, they are infrequent and amount to less than 1% of the Medicaid budget.

Working a bit upstream, why are there so many jobs available for illegals? Good question. One significant (and legal) method of entry is through the seasonal visa process. Once an alien secures a visa (whether a work or travel visa) it is fairly easy to “get lost” in America. While Big Agriculture is a significant employer of work visa aliens, the construction industry is a significant employer of “lost” workers. Regrettably the primary reasons for this support of illegals is their willingness to perform hard manual labor for relatively low wages, but with a superior work ethic. If there was not income available in the form of jobs most temporary visa holders would not stay on as illegals.

How much will it cost to build a wall and how effective will it be in stopping the demand for low paid workers? How much are we spending to enforce the laws in place to prevent employers from hiring & paying illegals? You do the math.

stay tuned for another example next week