Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: Unemployment is Very, Very Serious. So What We Need to Do is Legalize 12-20 Million Additional Workers.

[A constituent contacted Senator Whitehouse to express concerns about the rate of unemployment in the United States and efforts at immigration reform pending in Congress. Following is the Senator’s reply.]

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding America’s immigration system. I appreciate hearing from you regarding this very important issue.
I understand your concerns regarding the level of unemployment in the United States, and agree with you that we must stimulate the economy by providing jobs for Americans. While some guest workers may be needed in very specific circumstances, the guest worker visa program should never be used to displace American jobs. As you know, the unemployment rate in Rhode Island is now among the highest in the nation, a staggering 13.0 percent. The anemic economy has affected thousands of Rhode Islanders who are struggling to pay their mortgages, heat their homes, and keep up with the rising costs of healthcare and prescription drugs. At a time when jobs are hard to find, our utmost priority should be the hiring of American workers.
Congress must pass comprehensive legislation that provides for strong enforcement at our borders and worksites, establishes a means for regulating the flow of immigrants into this country, and copes with those who are already in America illegally. Strong enforcement of our laws against the hiring of illegal aliens must be part of this equation, but we can no longer allow millions to live in the shadows of our society either. Rather, I believe in requiring illegal immigrants to regularize their status by paying fines and back taxes, holding down a job, passing a criminal background check, and learning English and civics.
The right answer is not to incarcerate and deport tens of millions of people. As a former federal prosecutor, I know from experience that this plan would be costly and impossible to implement, requiring an expansion of our federal prison and justice systems by as much as 60 times. Although there is disagreement on how to balance all these competing objectives, there is little disagreement that action is necessary. It is my hope that with the cooperation and leadership of the Obama Administration, we can arrive at a consensus approach to fixing our broken immigration system.
Majority Leader Reid introduced S. 9, the Stronger Economy, Stronger Borders Act of 2009 at the outset of the 111th Congress, but we do not know yet the details of what this legislation would entail. Senator Reid’s bill states that its purpose is to strengthen the U.S. economy, provide for more effective border and employment enforcement, prevent illegal immigration, and reform avenues for legal immigration. I look forward to working with the Obama Administration and my colleagues in the Senate in crafting sensible, effective legislation to fix our broken immigration system. As I work on this important issue, please know that I will keep your concerns in mind.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep me advised of your thoughts on any issues of concern to you.
Sincerely,
Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

The only aliens who should be hunted down and deported and/or prosecuted are those involved in criminal activity or terrorism,although the latter category is a highly specialized area.When I say aliens I mean legal or illegal.I believe in zero tolerance for aliens involved in crime,gangs,etc.
The non-criminal illegal aliens are beast dealt with by making it very difficult to obtain employment or ANY benefit in the US.Emergency medical care should be the sole exception.
If aliens here illegally cannot work or get any benefits they will leave on their own and that is both more humane and cost effective than the big raids on factories.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

I wonder which form letter this is. It starts the same way that my form letter from Patrick Kennedy did. Do you suppose they shared resources, or perhaps hired the same answering service to respond to constituents?

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Joe, would you oppose illegal immigration if the only thing illegals were allowed to do was work here and they received no benefits whatsoever? From an economics perspective, they are technically making us better off by providing us with their services, but I know you have mentioned other concerns. The only reason I oppose illegal immigration is because they receive benefits without paying in and any welfare state will be bankrupted by mass illegal immigration within a few decades if benefits are unrestricted.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Well Dan,they wouldn’t ahve to be illegal if they came here on a guest worker program-it would have to be in ocupations and locales where there was a certified shortage.These days I don’t know that there are that many situations which would fit the bill.
My basic objection,leftist name callers nothwithstanding,is that even individually benign illegals are under the radar.We don’t know anything about them.
Unknown quantities provide a sea of camouflage for not so benign individuals.
It’s not a simple situation.
In the 50’s we ahd the Bracero program.It worked fairly well,and that was before the computer age.
Of course the world has shrunk and there are more desparate people since the 50’s.
I try to stick to something i feel we have a shot at implementing,i.e.targeting crimiinals.
Stuart is unworried about alien criminal gangs and organizations,but even most sane liberals recognize the danger.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

Well, the good senator seems to have made a lot of sense with his form letter – more than the crazies who think we can somehow find and deport 15 million people!
Let me see if I have the right wing view down here – they think the government, who they claim they want to make smaller – and does nothing right – is capable of expanding and becoming a police state in order to hunt down and deport 15 million people, most of whom are law abiding and hard working additions to our economy….
Do I have that right?
Righties seem to think the government is only good at what they want it to be good at – which, as we saw by the last administration, is in their opinion everything!

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Stuart-can you read motherf**ker?
I guess not.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

The “guest worker” (garst arbeiter) system has not worked too well in Germany. The Garst Arbeiters won’t go home, see recent race riots in Germany.
I think that since “re-unification” there is less demand for Garst Arbeiters.
Germans have a structural problem. In compensation for the murders, and atrocities, of WWII, their constitution provides for free and easy immigration.
Does it surprise anyone that their Mercedes was built by Turks, not blondes in white lab coats?

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

For once Stuart makes a good point. For ONCE.

magyart
magyart
11 years ago

If we legalize 12 – 20 million illegal aliens, we make unemployment WORSE, not better. Especially, if we don’t take steps to reduce more illegal immigration.
The Senator’s letter is completely WRONG !

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

“…hunt down and deport 15 million people, most of whom are law abiding… ”
Define “law abiding”. What percentage of the laws do you need to follow to be “law abiding”? If you are in a country illegally, and you are committing a crime every second of the day by your presence, are you still “law abiding”?

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

OK, I can say that the Founders of this Country were law abiding although they broke vast numbers of laws in planning and executing the Revolution.
A parent who is unable to provide properly for their children would be foolish, IMHO, to NOT make attempts at a better life.
Oh, of course the Hero Ronald Reagan supported death squads down there in Central America who often killed entire villages of the locals…..just for being locals (Indians, usually)…….
Do you blame people for fleeing religious and political persecution?
Actually, very little of all this BS makes any difference. Those who know anything about solving problems, know you have to deal with the hand that you are dealt. No one answered my question yet – do you want the government to expand by hiring another million or so police and then hunting down and deporting all illegals?
Should we take a couple of the big employers and hand them?
These are typical right wing solutions – I’m only asking! Give us a plan of action as detailed and doable as the Honorable Senator and I’ll listen and try to do the math.
Why do conservatives think everything is so easy? Maybe they are using their TV remote controls too much?

Patrick
Patrick
11 years ago

Stuart, with your overgeneralizations, you’ve got a lot to learn about politics. We all do, but when you generalize all people into one group, you really lose a lot of credibility.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

I answered Stuart’s question before it was answered:hunt down criminal aliens;close the border to the extent possible;provide serious DISINCENTIVES FOR ILLEGALS TO REMAIN HERE.
We won’t need a million more enforcement personnel to accpmplish that.
Maybe we could our troops out of Bosnia,Sinai,Germany,and Macedonia and reassign them to the souhtern border.
We can’t use troops for interior enforcement because of posse comitatus limitations.Nor on the Canadian border because of treaty restrictions.
Now,I wonder if that is easy enough for Stuart to understand?I suspect Stuart wants ZERO immigration enforcement because it serves the ends of leftists.If they were to succeed,they would be devoured by their own monster.

JTR
JTR
11 years ago

Put ICE officials in every hospital waiting room. No one would ever be denied care that they need but those who are here illegally should be dealt with appropriately and immediately.

leprechaun
leprechaun
11 years ago

Stuart, you must be living under a ROCK. No one is advocating rounding up Illegal Aliens. All they need to do is implemement E-Verify for all employers and the problem would be resolved through attrition. If they couldn’t get JOBS they wouldn’t come and if they weren’t getting Social Services ( schools, hospitals, welfare, food stamps etc.) they would self deport. It may take a little time but it’s the best solution.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

I’m fine with those horrible businessmen employers being fined up the kazoo and having the government clamp down on them. I am all for enforcement measures.
But did you ever think this is similar to the drug “problem”? That being you can never never never never never solve it, because you cannot solve human behavior.
In the same way, you cannot stop selfish and greedy behavior, as we have seen with Wall Street and such things. I know a lot of business people, many of who would claim to be conservatives or republicans, who have used illegal labor in one way or another – and would do so anytime they could make a buck and get away with it.
If you think we can stop that without hiring vast numbers of more Big Government enforcers (who also would be subject to bribes, grafts, payouts and also have the high benefits and costs of other federal employees), then you are dead wrong.
The only solution to a problem such as this is comprehensive immigration reform – not a one paragraph JoeB type edict, but actual thinking and legislation such as the good senator suggests.
The process of making legislation in a democratic society is not pretty -but it may be the alternative.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

I’m sure Stuart,”expierto de todos”,knows vastly more about the immigration than I do.After all,he’s….well,what IS he?Never says word one except he “owns a business”.He might or he might not.
Maybe Stuart should’ve spent 20+ years enforcing immigration laws,basically shovelling sh*t against the tide.
He is right about the drug “war”-I was assigned to that hopeless task from 1987-1996.
Human behavior never does change.Here we have a”progressive” saying that,and still thinking people can be molded like clay.They all think society can be planned.That’s the socialist dreaam-it always turns into a nightmare.
I somehow knew that when I suggested expending our major efforts on deporting criminals,Stuart would find a problem with it.So typical of his ilk.

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