Friday, February 10, 2012
Caution: Some Of My Best Friends Are Illegals II
I grew up around illegals, so my feelings about them are probably biased (if you had, yours would be too). In the barrio, some were our neighbors, friends, even relatives. In the 40's and 50's we called them "Mojados", (Wets), referencing their having crossed the Rio Grande illegally.
They were regularly "rounded up" and deported to Mexico by the dreaded "Migra", the Immigration Department, and most would be back in a few weeks. It was no big deal. Most just wanted to work, send some money to their loved ones in Mexico and had no intention of staying.
Their presence was usually seasonal, usually during the summers when cannery or farmwork was abundant. And they went back to Mexico in winter. Things have changed now and many come with the intention of staying, especially after they have kids who are born here.
In the Woody Guthrie song, "The Deportees", he sings of the tragic death of a planeload of "Deportees" that crashes in the "Los Gatos Canyon" in Central California, killing all on board and of the how "the radio said they was just 'deportees'." Yet, Woody seeks to humanize them by giving them names: "Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye Rosalia, adios mis amigos Jesus y Maria. You won't have a name when you ride that big airplane; all they will call you is just 'deportees.' "
To compound the tragedy, Guthrie begins by writing, "The crops are all in and the peaches are rotting; the oranges are packed in their creosote dump", noting the grower's illogical insistence on deporting his workers, at the cost of plowing under his ready-to-harvest crop. "They're flying em' back to the Mexican border, to spend all their money to wade back again", writes Guthrie, questioning the logic of deporting people who will just "wade back again".
Cesar Chavez uncovered many cases of ranchers knowingly hiring illegals, then calling the Immigration Department on the night before "payday" to have them deported!
Today's immigration debate is highly complex, divisive, contentuous, heated, and appears to have no easy solution. One of the most complex issues of the debate concerns the status of U.S. born children of illegals. The Obama policy of mass deportation has split families in two, sending parents back to Mexico, often leaving their U.S. born offspring behind to fend for themselves.
Yesterday, I read in the paper how Republicans, who would simply like to round up all 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. , some who have lived all their lives here, with U.S. born children and grandchildren and ship them all back to Mexico, now are going after tax loopholes allowing illegals to file for a $1000. per child refund credit on their income taxes, for each U.S. born child, costing the country millions. They are able to do this, probably by obtaining a Tax ID number, using falsified SSN numbers. I am not codoning this, just pointing to the absurdity of the issue.
By law, of course, children born of parents illegally in the U.S. automatically become U.S. citizens, though some Republicans want to change the Constitution to deny this right, complicating matters even more. To begin, illegals in the U.S. pay taxes too. U.S. employers often deduct Social Security and payroll taxes from their paychecks. Moreover, every time an illegal buys food, clothing, or a used car, he pays taxes like the rest of us. Oh, the irony, the irony.
Seems to me if we are going to begrudge these tax refunds to people who are in our country illegally, when the children they are claiming the credit for are U.S. citizens, then in good conscience, it should also be "illegal" to accept sales taxes from any person living in the country illegally. A sign posted at the entrance to all retail outlets should read: "Notice: Illegal aliens are NOT required pay taxes on goods." That would only be fair, que no?
Meanwhile, it is perfectly fine to just keep on taxing the U.S. born children of illegals, right?