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Posted on August 18 2011

Illegal immigrants do not have a “right to work” in the United States

By  Editor
Updated April 03 2023

illegal immigrants

The immigration debate is tainted by a sense of entitlement from illegal aliens that they have some kind of right to illegally cross our border and work in the United States.

Having talked to many illegal immigrants over the years several arguments are made for why they crossed illegally into the US:

The primary argument is that there is no work or opportunity for them where they live, and in order to feed their families they must go “al norte”.

The second and related argument is there is “trabajo”…work…waiting for them in the US.

The third and more recent vintage argument is it is so difficult to cross and it costs so much in coyote fees that the initial illegal immigrant can’t go back and forth, and thus the family must join him or her in the US. That’s why we’ve seen a significant increase in woman and children crossing illegally in recent years.

All of these arguments are true as far as they go.

But they leave out some significant issues which Americans are responding to legitimately and with increasing anger.

On the first justification, the driver behind illegal immigration is the failure of Mexico’s economy (and other countries) to provide enough good job opportunities so folks can stay in their home countries and feed their families.

While the US may have some indirect responsibility for the failure of economies like Mexico to be able to absorb its own work force (NAFTA’s agricultural impact on Mexican subsistence farmers) the bottom line is it is not the United States of America’s responsibility to solve the unemployment problem in Mexico or anywhere else.

It is the failure of Mexico to create a vibrant economy that can fully employ its own people. Mexico is pushing people out of its country rather than solve its own problems.

Rather than directly address that problem, Mexico has been exporting that problem to the United States for decades. This is a relief valve for Mexico because if millions of poor Mexicans were stuck inside their country, they might have another revolution.

The point from our side of the border is we have no duty or responsibility to solve the problems of Mexicans or immigrants from any other country that can’t get good paying work  feed their families at home. We certainly have enough problems inside our country creating jobs for our own people.

Where I believe a lot of the anger against illegal aliens comes from is this “entitlement” attitude of the immigrants that since they have problems in their own country, they can leave, illegally enter our country, and expect to have their problem solved at our expense.

The second justificati0on…that there are jobs waiting for the illegal immigrants…has been true for decades. They wouldn’t come to solve their own personal financial problems if there was not a solution waiting for them on our side of the border.

That is the “pull” side of the equation.

And, like it or not, there are a lot of jobs like farm work that American citizens will not do in sufficient numbers to keep our agribusiness functioning to capacity.

This creates a serious opportunity to exploit illegal immigrants because they have no rights like an American worker to things like a minimum wage or safe working conditions.

American businesses that hire illegal aliens benefit hugely from the cheap and unprotected labor pool.

If the illegal alien workers complain about working 12 hours a day 7 days a week, guess who calls ICE to have the troublesome workers deported?

We have a nasty form of slavery going on in the US…I call it “rent a slave”.

The third element is the effectiveness of securing our border which has made illegal entry more difficult and expensive.

The mistake in US border policy was to assume if the easy illegal entry points in border cities were choked off, the illegal immigrants would not risk their lives trying to cross through our harsh deserts and rugged mountains.


The economic pressures the illegal immigrants face create a desperation that does not dissuade them from trying anyway. And the real fact is if they are determined enough, they will succeed eventually. How else do you think we accumulated 5 or 6 million illegal aliens who illegally crossed out border?

Because of the increased difficulty to illegally cross and the higher coyote fees, the historic back-and-forth migration of workers changed, and now the families are moving north. At $2,000 a person, ultimately it is cheaper to import the rest of the family than go back and forth from work to home in Mexico. So our border security effort has had the counter effect of increasing the permanent resident population of illegal aliens from the south.

But that doesn’t give the first illegal immigrant his right to import his family to the US.

So what do we do?

On the first issue the illegal immigrants really need to lose that sense of entitlement that they can break our laws because of their personal needs.

They in effect saying “screw US sovereignty” by illegally crossing.

The “open borders” advocates agree with that entitlement claim and argue that for some reason in spite of our being a sovereign nation the folks living outside our border have some kind of “right” to come here because historically this was once part of Mexico, or because we have a land border, or whatever.

Americans are not buying the right to illegally enter our country.

Interesting Hispanic American especially don’t agree with the “open borders” advocates because all this is doing is devaluing the people who played by the rules and came here legally.

One of these days the Republican Party will figure out that instead of  voices like Russell Pearce or Joe Arpaio ranting about illegal aliens, this needs to be turned into a public safety issue for legal Hispanic residents of the country whose quality of life is degraded by illegal aliens.

It is not a race issue. It is who plays by the rules and who does not issue.

The voice for cracking down on illegal entry and securing our border should come from Hispanic Republicans. And I believe it will.

We’re getting our backs up because this is an invasion and we absolutely have the sovereign right to decide who can enter our country and on what terms and conditions.

Until and unless both the illegal immigrant community and their allies in the US understand that there is absolutely no right to illegally enter our country because it serves the illegal immigrants’ goals, the debate about immigration reform will remain stuck.

That is one of the core issues of the “no amnesty” position many take in the US.

If you broke our laws by illegally entering our country, that’s one big strike against you to gain some kind of right to stay.

That’s why all immigration reform proposals have elements of existing illegal immigrants having to admit to the crime of illegal entry, pay a fine, go to the back of the line, etc. before gaining legal status.

Interestingly I do not see immigrant rights groups accepting that the first step to legalize anyone is going to have to be a punitive element.

And we absolutely have the right to deport every single on of the 11 million illegal aliens in the country now.

Our problem is this is enormously expensive and impractical.

But to the degree that illegal aliens soak up welfare benefits, create costs for local governments, and fuel a crime wave in Hispanic neighborhoods, it may be just a question of time before some illegal alien commits an outrageous enough crime to push the country over the edge.

SB 1070 was fueled by the death of Douglas rancher Bob Krentz, and the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry south of Tucson by an illegal alien has just added fuel to the fire to seal our border and deport the illegal aliens already here.

Immigrant rights advocates need to understand and appreciate that we must gain control and secure our border and stop the flow of illegal aliens and drug smuggling criminal aliens into the US. Period.

We must be able to decide who can come in and who cannot.

Right now illegal alien criminals have just as much opportunity to get into the US and wreak havoc on us and especially Hispanic communities as illegal workers. We can’t sort them out. Maybe the solution is throw them all out.

But first we must stop the flow before getting to the rest of the issues.

Until immigrant rights advocates accept securing the border to the maximum extent we’re not going anywhere.

Maybe we’re not talking about moats and alligators but we sure as hell are talking about opening up federal lands next to the border to secure it and not put protecting lizards ahead of securing our border.

A message to immigrant rights advocates…the environmentalists who oppose securing the border to protect the lizards are your worst enemy because if we cannot fully secure our border, there is nothing to talk about regarding immigration reform.

Turning to the next issue…the job magnet drawing illegal immigrants: Arizona did the right thing in cracking down on employers and the US Supreme Court said we can do this.

The more we can impose penalties on hiring illegal alien workers the better.

Sure the farmers in California and elsewhere will have a problem in the near term…all the more reason to support getting access to the border on federal lands to shut down the flow of illegal aliens and then work up some kind of guest worker visa program that will be effective.

The farmers dependent on illegal aliens need to support the efforts to secure our border. Not whine about how many peaches are going to rot this season because there aren’t enough workers on their farms. Not whine about E-Verify without putting a better alternative on the table.

We get to another dimension of the problem…the US government has no credibility in being able to sort out the 11 million illegal aliens already inside the country to decide who gets legal status and who gets “removed”.

The 1986 “amnesty” was an “amnesty” because a huge percentage of the applicants for legal status used fraudulent paper to get in, and the US government knowingly looked the other way.

That’s why I have suggested the processing of illegal aliens be delegated to the states and funded from fees charged to illegal alien applicants for legal status. The states will do a lot better job than the feds will.

Finally, we do need a guest worker visa program to allow unskilled labor into the country…provided that labor pool does not gain resident of citizenship opportunity status as a result. Come here and work and go home.

Labor unions have been a big obstacle in creating a guest worker visa program.

Somehow they think if they can cut off the immigrant worker supply, they will protect their union members. That is what comes out the back end of a horse.

Labor unions need to get out of the way and concentrate on their own problems which are numerous and resulting in the decline of the labor movement in this country.

Again we have a massive administration issue with a guest worker visa program. Remember INS “lost” 5 or 6 million legal entrants who overstayed their visas.

Allowing workers to come in on worker visas just exacerbates the problem if no one can keep track of them and make sure they went home after their work visa expired.

I have yet to see a serious proposal that addresses the failure of the federal government to manage its existing visa program and propose an alternative that will work, without costing us taxpayers any more money.

Those who need immigrant workers really need to dig into this issue and come up with a program…I suggest administered again by states…that will make sure only non-criminal aliens get work visas and that they go home when their visas expire.

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