Response to the Op-Ed
"CEO Viewpoints On Immigration Reform"
Published by Dallas Morning News 8-28-06.
Reply by J. H. Dearmore III
Co-Editor, Biblical Patriot
Follow The Book & Flag
Dallas Morning News, signed by the CEO's listed at bottom of our response.
Often, in the middle of a heated debate, people forget exactly what they're arguing about. But we employers on the front lines of American business cannot forget -- we know why the nation must come to grips with illegal immigration. We know that Americans must face up to the reality of the foreign workers we need to keep the economy growing and bring them under the rule of law, for their sake and ours.I am pleased to see these CEO's agree something must be done about the illegal immigration problem. I am a little confused by their statement "front lines of American business". It seems to me that these are the Generals of Business, hardly Privates or Sergeants in the trenches.
I am also unsure as to what they mean in regards to our "facing up to the reality of the foreign workers" they need to keep "the economy growing". Maybe I'm just stupid, but would someone please explain to me how 12 to 20 million illegal aliens control the Life or Death of the largest economy in the world? Furthermore, if this is in fact correct, which idiots in Washington DC need to be strung up?
Now all that having been said, they are correct in that we do need to keep the economy growing. And yes "under the rule of law" for everyone, but most importantly for Americans.
We own and run a variety of businesses: agriculture, food processing, hospitality, construction, banking and more, mostly but not exclusively in Texas. And we know, if not firsthand, certainly at close reach, just how much the economy depends on immigrant labor.Here we need to understand that in the context of this paragraph, immigrant labor means "Cheap Labor". No one will harvest the crops as cheaply, man the food processing plants as cheaply, serve the food/bus the tables as cheaply, roof/frame/sheet rock/lay brick/pour concrete as cheaply, and lastly - where would all the money go?
It's not that Americans don't work hard. They do. But the native-born workforce is changing rapidly. In 1960, half of all American men dropped out of high school and looked for unskilled work; today, less than 10 percent do. Baby boomers are retiring. Fertility rates are declining. Yet every year, the economy creates hundreds of thousands of new jobs that require few if any skills, and in the next decade, we will be millions of workers short.They are right, Americans do work hard, more importantly, they work smarter. I was unaware, however, of our economies need for high school dropouts, and they are correct in asserting that less than 10% will drop out in the future. What they don't say is 30% will graduate from high school, and go on to unskilled labor, with another 18% going on to some college with no degree. Now one could argue what classification these individuals would fall under, but I think you can see this is a substantial number of individuals that are being overlooked.
Not all employers mean well, of course. Some companies exploit illegal immigrants. But most who turn to foreign workers do so out of necessity. We aren't looking for "cheap labor." We're looking for available labor, period -- and for some businesses, the choice is to hire immigrants or close shop.For those employers who have been taking advantage of the illegal immigrants, the full force of the legal system should be loosed upon them, including publication of their names and listing of these companies to ensure they get No Business from any State, County or Local government.
Not looking for "cheap labor"! Ple e e e ase. "My mama raised one fool, that was my brother".
For those businesses that have to hire illegal immigrants or close shop - Well, CLOSE SHOP. It's called the "Free Market".
Think for a minute about one Texas sector that relies heavily on immigrant workers: construction. A typical Texas construction worker earns more than $50,000 a year if he regularly works overtime. Employers say they do everything they can to attract native-born workers. But few young Americans want to do hard physical labor, particularly in our climate. And in the less-skilled construction trades -- masonry, concrete, drywall, tile -- more than 80 percent of Texas' workforce is Latino.Here again we have to view this in context, "immigrant workers" should say "illegal alien workers". An annual income of $50,000 a year works out to be 48 hrs. a week at $20.00 an hour, a fair wage by anyone's standard. But don't kid yourself these are not beginning wages, nor are they paying these wages to the illegal aliens. These wages are for experienced skilled laborers, Master Electricians, Master Plumbers, Masons, Drywall Specialist, etc. etc.
The fact that 80% of the "less-skilled construction trades" in Texas is Latino, is irrelevant. And for the record, they are not being paid the $20.00 an hour wage either. By the way, only someone who has NEVER done "masonry, concrete, drywall, tile" would call these "less-skilled construction trades".
Meanwhile, sectors like farming, which compete with construction and pay less, often can't find workers. Things have gotten so bad this year that one Rio Grande Valley farmer had to stand by and watch as $400,000 worth of cantaloupes rotted in the fields because he couldn't find workers to pick them.Maybe this is a good example of the need for some "good ole" yankee ingenuity. Some one needs to develop an Automated Cantaloupe Harvester. Much like they did for the Tomato Growers in California years ago.
These immigrant laborers aren't just the backbone of their companies; they're also the backbone of the regional economy. Out in the Rio Grande Valley, at least a dozen other local businesses -- from grocery stores to companies that supply fertilizer and farm machinery -- see their profits rise and fall with those of the local farm. And scores of native-born workers would be out of work if the farm closed or moved across the border.Here again we have to view this in context, "immigrant laborers" should say "illegal alien workers". Maybe you didn't understand me the first time, but would someone, again, please explain to me how 12 to 20 million illegal aliens control the Life or Death of the largest economy in the world?
As for construction, Dallas-area school systems alone underwent $750 million worth of construction this summer. According to industry executives, without foreign-born workers, few of those new or renovated classrooms would have been ready when school opened this month.Sorry I don't buy this about the classrooms not being ready in time. Out of this $750 million how much went to Labor, and of that how much went to "illegal aliens".
You hear the same story across the U.S. A relatively small number of foreign workers keeps millions of native-born Americans employed. This, in turn, keeps the economy growing, and we all share in the prosperity that results.I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how 12 to 20 million illegal aliens control the Life or Death of the largest economy in the world.
Not only that, but immigrant workers renew and reinvigorate America. They remind us what it's like to give a job your all. We talk about old-fashioned family values; they live them. And those of us who cherish our faith and love our country can only rejoice at their devotion to both.Here I agree, with one minor change, "Legal" immigrant workers. Lets run up the Red White and Blue, and all stand around singing "God Bless America," but scrub the green/white/red and I don't want to hear anything about Cinko de Miyo (sorry I don't speak or spell spanish). No one is doubting the illegal aliens' desire to provide for their families, or their intent to do a good job, and certainly no one can complain about how hard they work. This is strictly an immigration issue, period.
As chairmen, CEO's and stockholders, we call on Congress to act -- to go back to Washington and pass realistic immigration reform that provides the workers we need to keep our businesses growing.As an American citizen, I call on Congress to act as well -- to go back to Washington and pass realistic immigration reform that provides for the Security of our Borders, the Solvency of our Social Programs, and the Survival of our Culture and Language. Furthermore we need to pass an amendment to reword the 14th Amendment, Section 1, to exclude citizenship to anyone born in the United States, unless they are born of existing or naturalized citizens. This new amendment should also prohibit "Dual" citizenship.
We understand that this will include workplace enforcement. In fact, we welcome reform that gives us the tools to stay on the right side of the law. The important thing is that this vital part of the economy be brought under the rule and protection of the law.We need to implement workplace enforcement, based on existing laws. In fact, harsher penalties should be established to insure businesses stay on the right side of the law. Now understand the term "vital part of the economy" is referring to the illegal alien workers (cheap labor).
Neither the immigrants here today nor those we will need in the future should have to live in the shadows. These are good people with good values doing work that we need done, reaching for the American Dream and helping make it a reality for all. As we value the work, let us value the worker -- and let's fix the law so that it serves all Americans.Now having said all this, let me clarify a few things. All Immigrants are NOT illegal aliens. The Legal Immigrants, should be afforded the same respect and opportunities, within the law, that Americans receive. I have had the privilege of working with several over the years, and I have found many that worked harder, and in many cases, better than Americans.
This whole issue revolves around people entering the country Illegally. This makes them "Law Breakers" or if you prefer "Criminals". It has nothing to do with Ethnicity, but Nationality. The issue is not where they're from, it's how they got here!
J. H. Dearmore III 9/18/06
Bo Pilgrim (Second largest poultry company in the U.S. and Mexico.)