As this country hollows out in the middle - as the boarders are slowly closing to drug traffic - it is time to address the issue of the underground economy.
I am the grandchild of immigrants - Ireland, Scotland, Hungary and Germany. There are several school of thought on this hot-button issue. I'm directly in the middle - where I seem to end up most of the time.
The Reactionary Right screams about 'Anchor Babies' and stolen jobs on one hand - while using immigrant housekeepers, nannies, gardeners, pool boys and caretakers. I've gotten used to this kind of blatant hypocrisy from the so-called 'upper class' even if it still turns my stomach.
I know people from all over the world. They have come because they WANT to be Americans. So did my grandparents - they LOVED this country. I don't see what the big deal is.
The birth rate has slowed down - here and in many countries around the world. People with access to birth control use it - because the middle class wants children but can't afford to raise them. People scream about 'generations' on welfare - yet perpetrate what amounts to a class system.
There is no justice in this - there is only insanity and chaos. Too many of the 'backroom' policies are counterproductive for long term stability - tax cuts for the rich, medicare cuts for the poor. Subsidies for corporations - benefit cuts for the unemployed and impoverished. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer - the middle class vanishes - who is America without a middle class?
I think we will be just another 'Third World' country unless the 'upper class' gets it's collective head out of it's ass and starts thinking LONG term.
Bringing people stuck in the underground labor pool into the mainstream is a great idea. They will pay their taxes - and support the programs that help the poor become middle class. They bring new blood, new culture, new ideas and eager hands to this country in a time of stagnation.
Face it - we aren't talking about a few hundred thousand South Americans. We are talking about millions of Canadian, Irish, Hindu, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, British, Middle Eastern, European AND Latino immigrants. Doctors, Engineers, Software Developers and other skilled trades would be included with those who have a more limited education.
Put the engineers to work creating new technology to free us from the tyranny of fossil fuels. Fill the hollow middle with small farms and fresh faces. (Or give it back to the Native Americans who it rightfully belongs to...now there's a can of worms!)
This isn't a bi-coastal nation - there is a huge heartland crying for people to come and live. Immigrants have always come to fill the empty places in the economy - and give it a shot in the arm in the process.