Q: What do these stories have in common with 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start…
Let’s look at each of these stories in turn.
The 9 illegal aliens (radio reports all were Brazilians) are reported to have sold fake ID kits for less than $200, netting $10,000 a week, for over five years. I’m going to steal a little from Bruce (he won’t mind — he’s a good egg) and run some numbers here.
The article says “less than $200,” but we’ll say it was $200 just to keep things simple. In order to take in $10,000 a week, they needed to produce and sell 50 kits. Assuming they take weekends off, that’s 10 a day. As Bruce points out, that means that they earned over half a million dollars a year for over 5 years, meaning that they alone sucked $5.2 million into the underground economy. Anyone want to wager on whether they paid their taxes on that income?
But there’s more! That $5.2 million means that there are 26,000 fake ID kits out there (I think Bruce messed up his math at that point — he says 13,000) that this group alone produced. Assuming that half of them are still in circulation (a fair assumption, I’d say), that’s 13,000 illegal workers taking jobs that Americans don’t have.
In the second story, we see a sweep netted 150 illegal aliens as part of “Operation Return To Sender.” And these were not your run-of-the-mill illegals — these were the ones we really need to rid ourselves of. 90% of those were really bad eggs — convicted felons and those already ordered out of the country. The remaining 15 were your run-of-the-mill illegals authorities just stumbled across while looking for the real bad guys.
(Random thought: in the case of the 90% cited above, how about we start returning some of the felons to their home country by airplane? In order to save time, fuel, and money, the planes can simply not land at the other end, just toss ’em out the door a few thousand feet above their homeland. Priority can be given to murderers, rapists, and gang members.)
Finally, we have the news that the cost of getting smuggled across the border from Mexico via car has shot up from $2,000 to $3,000. This could be a simple sign of gouging, as the story says that the increase is being attributed to the arrival of National Guardsmen to help secure the border, and just how effective their current deployment will be remains to be seen. Or it could be a matter of supply and demand — people want to get across before the Guard program gets up and running. Either way, economics suggests that if the price goes up, the number of people crossing this way will go down.
What does all this mean, in the long run? It’s too early to tell. This could be simple grandstanding by the Bush administration, hoping to cater to the demands of those of us who believe in both having a border and an immigration policy and ENFORCING them. (Yes, this makes us extremist kooks and whackjobs. We’re used to it.) Only time will tell if this is a bone tossed our way, or a taste of things to come.
Regardless, it’s good news in and of itself, and should be celebrated.
(Correction: Bruce and the readers had it right. It should be $2.6 million dollars and 13,000 fake ID kits. I dunno where I doubled it…)
(Correction 2: The numbers above were based on ONE forger’s work. Nine total were arrested, but authorities only gave the specifics on one guy’s production. My original numbers might have been closer to reality, based on the work of all nine combined, but only by complete accident.)