There is a lovely Latin phrase, “Cui bono?”, that helps to unravel crimes and other situations in our lives. “Cui bono?” means “Who benefits?”. If you are looking at a crime, someone benefits from it. And if you can figure out who that is, it points you in the direction of understanding what’s going on.
Cui bono has a lesser-known opposite, “Cui plagalis?”. It means, who is penalized, or who loses? I plan to look through those lenses at people entering the country illegally.
Let me start with a word about terminology. If you are gone for a week and a man sneaks into your house and starts sleeping in your bed and eating your food, he is NOT an “undocumented renter”.
He is an illegal intruder.
And similarly, if someone sneaks into your country and starts sleeping on your streets and eating your food, he is not an “undocumented immigrant”.
He is an illegal alien.
To return to the main topic, we have a porous southern border with Mexico. Every year, we arrest hundreds of thousands of people sneaking across the border. And we can assume that as many or more are getting through undetected. So … who benefits from that? And who loses from that? Cui bono? Cui plagalis?
Let me start with “Cui bono?”. The main group of Americans who benefit from illegal immigration are the wealthy. Wealthy people can and do hire illegal aliens to clean their houses, to tend their gardens, and to work in their businesses. From the employers’ perspective, illegal aliens are superb employees—they can’t go the police if you mistreat them, they can’t complain if you don’t pay them minimum wage, they are desperate for work, they have no recourse if they are wrongly fired, and they will work for wages so low that they seem impossible to live on.
Hey, what’s not to like? If you are wealthy, illegal aliens are all gain, no loss.
And what about “Cui plagalis?”. Who loses from illegal immigration?
The main group that loses from illegal immigration are black Americans. Estimates are that there are around eight MILLION illegal aliens working in the US today. Illegal aliens tend to take low-skilled and entry-level jobs. And sadly, the main group of Americans in those jobs are black Americans. The presence of millions of illegal aliens means that many of those jobs are no longer available for Americans. The jobs are filled by people willing to work for a place to sleep and the smell of an oily rag …
However, black people are not the only Americans harmed by illegal immigration. It also affects two other major groups—legal immigrants and teenagers. Those are the two other large groups who take entry-level and low-skilled jobs. Like black people, these folks are being squeezed out of jobs that by rights should be theirs by millions of illegal aliens.
Finally, there is a third group who loses big from the presence of illegal aliens. They are the victims of the following charming class of people
The people kidnapped, the women and girls trafficked, the dead homicide victims, the women and children who were raped … they are the biggest losers from the presence of illegal aliens. And while it is true that Americans also commit those crimes, the crimes listed above are preventable, simply by tightening up our borders.
Those are the groups who gain and the groups who lose due to illegal immigration. In simplest terms, the presence of people who are here illegally means that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
So are we surprised that the opposition to enhancing border security has been so successful? In a fight between the rich and the poor … who do you think will win?
Now, in addition to fixing our idiotic immigration laws, tracking visa overstayers, and ending birthright citizenship and chain migration, there is a very, very simple way to solve this problem—require every employer to use eVerify, and arrest employers who hire illegal aliens. That will solve both ends of the problem. The wealthy individuals and businesses won’t be able to hire cheap labor, and poor and unskilled Americans will have a much better shot at getting a job. And when people in Mexico know that they won’t be able to find work here, immigration will drop precipitously.
Finally, I’d like to touch on one more aspect of the immigration problem. People say things like “The majority of illegal aliens are visa overstayers, not people who came across the border”.
First, we don’t know that. Heck, estimates of just the numbers of illegal aliens here range from about ten million to double that. So any and all numbers are speculative. The best numbers that I can find say that somewhere between 27% and 40% of illegal aliens overstayed their visas. Now, being numerate, I can say that that means that between 60% and 73% of the illegal aliens snuck in illegally across the border …
More importantly, the two groups (visa overstayers and illegal border crossers) are very different for a simple reason. Here’s the word directly from the US State Department regarding just a few of the things you need to get a Visa to visit the US:
So if someone overstays their visa, we know their name, we know their history, we have their picture, and we’re much more able to identify them and deport them. And more to the point of this discussion, it’s a pretty good bet that they are NOT a criminal. In addition, they obviously had the time, the clean history, and the skills to get a visa, plus the money to buy a plane ticket. So visa overstayers are not your average low-skilled, under-educated border crosser.
The same can NOT be said for someone sneaking across the border. We have no idea who they are, what they look like, or what their background is. In Fiscal Year 2018, we arrested over 6,000 people at the border who already had criminal convictions on their record, not to mention deporting nearly half a million illegal aliens who committed crimes here … and that’s just the ones that we caught. Sadly, it’s true—Mexico is not sending us their best people.
So yes, we need to fix the visa overstayers problem … but cracking down on illegal border crossing by all possible means is much more important.
Let me close by saying that I am a strong believer in LEGAL immigration. One of the discouraging aspects of this debate has been that those opposed to tightening up illegal immigration conflate illegal and legal—instead, they just talk about “immigration”. For example, they claim that if we don’t want criminals illegally entering the country we are “against immigration”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know of very few people who are opposed to legal immigration … but illegal immigration, that’s a whole different subject.
My best to all on a rainy night,
PS—I forgot one detail. The census is coming up. California Democrats are agitating hard to NOT ask if people counted are illegal aliens. And the more people that are counted in California, the more Democratic Representatives California will have in the House of Representatives … cui bono indeed …