Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thank You Janet

Normally, I'm not a very big fan of Janet Napolitano. I have to say, however, that this week I'm pretty happy with her. So I take back a couple things that I've said ;-).

Janet Napolitano signed a very tough law that will deal very harshly with businesses that hire illegal aliens. Those who knowingly or intentionally hire illegal aliens will have their business license suspended for the first offense, and will be put on probation for a period of time. If they knowingly or intentionally hire illegal immigrants during their probationary period, they will have their business license revoked for good.

To that I say, bravo!

We have a system that will check social security numbers with a federal database, but many companies, up until now, do not use it. In a prior job, my husband worked with the payrolls of several companies, many of which hired illegal immigrants. He would often run into cases where people had invalid social security numbers or with people who had stolen SSNs from other people.

A law like this is going to have very broad implications:

- It will probably be a good idea to check SSNs for everyone in the family, including children, on a yearly basis. You can get free credit reports at Annual Credit Report.com. It's about time for me and my husband to check our credit reports, and I plan on getting one for my 5 year old and 7 1/2 month old as well. You never know these days. I suppose that with this new law coming online, it will be even more important.

- It will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to this state, and perhaps get some of them to leave. This will of course, create another ripple effect in our state, affecting schools, health care, labor, and law enforcement.

- It will also affect the economy in different ways. A few years ago, I was looking for an evening job so I could stay at home with my daughter and work while my husband was at home to care for her. I went to apply at several places, but Taco Bell, Wal Mart, Burger King, McDonald's, the movie theater, etc. was just not interested in hiring me. Could that have been related to illegal immigration? Perhaps. But if you dry up the supply of illegal immigrants, you also deplete, to some degree, people that are going to work in these places. Which may mean raising wages, which in turn may raise prices to some degree. However, we will end up saving money in the areas of education, health care, and law enforcement. I think that it may take some time to balance all of this out, but I think that it eventually will balance out. And if the wages of construction workers goes up... at least that may become a viable career again. I think that construction wages have been artificially depressed because of the supply of cheap illegal labor.

- Some businesses may leave the state. If they do, then they probably were involved in hiring illegal immigrants in the first place, and I'd have to question how much overall good they were doing to our state in the first place.

I know that many illegal immigrants are over here just trying to make money. However, for every person who came over here illegally, there is someone in Nigeria, India, or even Mexico waiting to be let into this country legally. Some businesses argue that without illegal immigration, we would not have enough workers in this country. Perhaps that is true. But if we don't have enough legal immigrants coming into this country, wouldn't the best solution to be to increase the quotas for legal immigrants coming into this country, rather than turn our heads and look away when people sneakily (or sometimes boldly) disobey the laws of our country by coming over here uninvited?

Hopefully this law will go into effect. I do realize that there are some problems that need to be fixed, such as not allowing vital services like hospitals to be closed down and whole chains being closed down due to one franchise's transgression, but at least we have something to work with. I think I'll send the governor a thank-you note.

The law goes into effect January 1st.

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