Here’s to the shithole countries.

POTUS said a bad word! Or at least someone claimed he said a bad word. But then two other people said he didn’t say a bad word. But the media spent two days talking about POTUS using a bad word. So it must be true. No, I’m not linking any of that malarky. If it’s important to you, go find it.

The summary of the bad-word discussion is that a lot of immigration comes from places that aren’t exactly the cream to the top of the global empires. I wonder why? Could it be that corruption is a problem in those countries that export humans? Is trafficking for sex and slavery part of the deal? Are their living conditions admirable? Do they get to drink the water without worrying about becoming ill? And here’s one that had me chuckling: What is that country’s norm for open defecation?

From The Economist, July 2014

In June of 2013 UCLA produced a few maps for the BBC “Mapping children’s chances.” The 13th of 13 maps is access to safe drinking water.

From BBC News, June 2013

It doesn’t take much comparison to figure out the shithole countries.

But back to Mr. President’s big question (even if he didn’t use that word…), why do we want them here?

Cheap labor. We aren’t allowing folks to immigrate illegally because we yearn for their happiness in providing them a better lifestyle. We like cheap labor which means cheap lettuce and strawberries. And housekeepers and gardeners and cheaper Starbucks coffee at the drive-through window and clean toilets at McDonald’s.

If the immigrants wanted opportunity they would stand in line and come through legally like so many others have in the past. What they want is fast money to send home. If we wanted to give them opportunity, we’d increase the number of slots available to newcomers in our country. Instead we sneak them over and pretend we aren’t hiring them illegally. This anonymous system has worked for years in both the United States and the European Union.

In many ways the United States has it easier because our anonymous cheap labor comes from a predominantly Christian background, mostly Catholic, throughout lower North and also Central America. The EU has had a bit of a surprise because their cheap labor is Muslim. The difference in religions takes a complicated situation and makes it deadly. Christians will happily proclaim that Christians are Christians the world over. Many Muslims from some countries will be happy to let you know that you should be dead if you are Christian. You are lying to yourself if you claim otherwise.

While there’s weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth with long media recordings from airports when someone is being deported, here’s one other issue that’s rarely disclosed: Most of the shithole countries enslave their own people. The elected power transfers them from one location to another for cheap labor, too. In countries with histories of colonization, the colonistas keep the indigenous poor, unhealthy, and uneducated to be used as cheap labor. Vacation in Polanco, Mexico City sometime if you’d like more proof.

In comparison, America really is a melting pot. And yes, it has come from immigration. As long as it’s legal, that’s swell. If it’s cheating the system, then that’s a problem.

There are two other points to consider briefly, and they might make for posts of their own down the line. First, the people who complain the most from changing America’s immigration practice (not laws, as the laws have not been enforced for some time) are probably the ones benefitting financially from it. From cheap labor to capitalizing on the funds captured when transferring money back to their homelands, immigration is big business. (Check out how Ryan Air capitalizes on cheap labor from Lithuania to Ireland if you want to mess with your immigration assumptions.)

Next, how do you think the shithole countries are going to incorporate thousands of returned citizens after they’ve benefitted from clean water and good schools? That’s right. There’s a good chance the newly returned will rise up and demand better from their home countries. And really, that’s our gift to the countries where immigrants are being returned. Here Mexico. Here are hard workers who are bilingual and expect fair wages. Here El Salvador. You run a drug cartel as a government, but we’re giving you more than 250,000 people to revitalize your country of around six million. Expect them to have expectations.

The decision to return immigrants here illegally or under temporary protected status isn’t unkind. It’s an investment American taxpayers have made to improve those countries where help is most needed.