Trump’s Immigrant Detention Industry Is The Worst Form of Socialism- Pt 2

As I noted at the end of part 1 of this series, the immigration detention industry is paid for by society, yet offers no direct profit to society.

Contrast this with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These programs offer direct societal benefits of providing a direct income or medical care. Under our current system, they do result in corporate profits but only afterthe money or service passes through the hands of the beneficiary.

None of this is true with immigrant detention centers. Instead the money goes first through the hands of the corporation. The corporation determines how much a worker gets paid after first considering their own profit margin, which is their first and only concern.

It is true that these facilities provide jobs and incomes for those that work there. They may boost local community revenues to some degree. However, this can only be seen as a temporary situation. There will come a time when the immigrant population will become so low that these facilities will decrease, leading to these facilities being closed again.

This could very well leave these communities in even worse condition than they began. You can count on the fact that many municipalities and local businesses will take out loans based on the increased revenue they see in the immediate present. So will many individuals, taking on new debt in the form of mortgages, vehicles, credit card debt and so on. Once the facilities begin reducing staff, cutting hours and closing doors, this party ends and the cleanup begins. The income will be gone and the bills will still have to be paid.

As long as these facilities remain open only for the purpose of detaining immigrants, this system is unsustainable. Eventually so many immigrants will be deported or naturalized that the end is inevitable.

For the record, the Socialist statement is also true of all of ICE, minus the corporate profit.

The alternative is considerably worse. That another use is found for these facilities. Like turning them into federal detention facilities. For whom? That’s the terrifying thing to think about. We already see laws being enacted to make it illegal to protest against corporate interests such as oil pipelines. We see laws being put in place which may well lead to it being a crime to protest our government giving billions in aid to Israel. I have no doubt laws already exist making it a crime to protest weapons manufacturers.

This in a country already hosting the largest prison population on the planet at any time in history.

Should these facilities turn into federal detention centers for other purposes, that would mean some working at those facilities would no longer be eligible to work there because employment criteria would change. These facilities would no longer be holding areas but actual prisons. The criteria for employment would then require security screening and training above and beyond anything currently required. In some cases, it would require training in restraint procedures and weapons training. (Of course, many currently working there would likely look forward to such things.) The inmates would be deemed “dangerous dissidents” and “terrorists”, even if they were someone like me, an anti-war, mostly pacifist blogger pushing for changes to our system which benefit everyone. ICE would likely be repurposed into a federal police force to identify and round up people like myself, then detain us with no charges, no right to representation, no Habeas Corpus at all.

Should that happen, many of those incarcerated would be family members, friends, social and business associates of those working in the facilities. Make no mistake that it would become a criminal act to protest the facilities themselves.

Some are going to claim that this projection will never happen, that it is unrealistic. Yet we have already gone so much further into what can only be described as fascism that our country is looking more like a dystopian nightmare than any sane person currently living in this country could believe. We are bombing 7 countries, collapsing our economy while corporate news denies it’s happening, spending an unbelievable amount on “defense”, threatening military action against at least 5 more countries, sanctioning our allies, destroying our own industries, handing all of the wealth to the already insanely wealthy, denying medical care and even food to those at lower income levels, poisoning our own water and land for the purpose of corporate profits, obliterating human and Constitutional rights at every level. What the HELL makes you think you are not next?!!

The last irony I will mention is this. Many of those who support these detention centers like to view themselves as “Christians”. The Bible teaches one to love your neighbor, love your enemy, feed to poor, heal the sick, judge not and to treat others as you wish to be treated. It also teaches you to welcome foreigners into your home and treat them as a guest, not only as an equal but with honor. One of the greatest sins listed in the Bible is pride and arrogance. The worst part for alleged “Christians” is that the majority of the immigrants from Mexico and South America are far more devout Christians than those who choose to eject them from this country.

Each day we force regime change on other countries, dictate laws to our allies and neighbors, imprison those who flee the results of our policies, separate families, kill innocent people in the name of “prosperity” and “security”, we deplete our resources, surrender our wealth, stain our reputation.. and create enemies. We are now creating terrorists within our country and in immediate neighboring countries. Those we have harmed for the sake of our own greed will seek restitution in some way, at some time. As individuals and as nations.

This country has suspended a Damoclean Sword above our heads with our actions as a society. It is only a matter of time before that sword falls and we have nowhere to turn to evade it. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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Trump’s Immigrant Detention Industry Is The Worst Form of Socialism-Pt 1

I have offered the definition of Socialism in this way many times- Any program or legislation created for the benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist in nature.

Now, typically what I am referring to are programs such as Social Security (Where did you think that name came from?), Medicare, Medicaid, public schools, public roads, health departments, fire departments, consumer protection laws, FDIC, FDA, EPA, the Forestry Service.. I could go on but think that makes the point. Each of these provide direct benefits to society in a way that outweigh any cost. They create jobs and result in financial gains to the community at large while actually increasing tax revenue by maintaining jobs so that businesses and employees are paying taxes, local, state and federal.

Now we come to Trump’s programs. The title refers to the immigrant detention program but I refer to much more, which I will cover later.

First, in Trump’s case, I will add the disclaimer to the above definition- Any program or legislation created for the ALLEGED benefit of society, paid for by society is Socialist. I will also state that the conditions I am about to describe can be applied to many programs which are Socialist in concept, yet have largely assisted in the flow of wealth to the top. However, Trump’s programs have cut out a huge part of what funding once made any pit stop at lower levels of the economy and are instead mostly direct corporate welfare at the highest degree.

Many of the immigrant detention centers have been intentionally built in remote areas with few employment opportunities. Part of this is because this is where much of his base resides. They are also areas which have seen once-thriving industries move out, leaving communities devastated. I’ve written about this before here:  https://issuesunite.com/small-business-decline-over-generations/

It’s understandable to a degree why these facilities are supported in these communities. The people in these small communities have been watching their communities suffer, dry up and waste away slowly over many years. So, when something comes along which offers an income and possibility to revive their community, they will support it.

Many of these communities also resent immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, who have come here willing to work for much lower wages. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the fact that it has been capitalists who hired the immigrants because they could pay lower wages and hoard the wealth. In the process, it was the capitalist that eliminated the job for legal citizens.

Though I will not demonize the capitalists too much.

There are a number of ironies involved here. For one, in many cases these communities would have died off long ago if not for the immigrants. The immigrants spend their earnings in the community, keeping local businesses afloat. This is why business owners in some cases hired them in the first place. Consider a small business owner in a small community with no viable larger employers, so consumer spending is extremely low. They are barely keeping their doors open, so seek to pay lower wages to remain in business. I am convinced this is less common than the capitalist who hoards wealth. Small local business owners would have to contend with blowback by their own community, of which they are a part. We have seen corporations busted for hiring illegal immigrants at low wages with full knowledge of the legal status of the worker. No matter the case, if the profit margin were lower, if immigrants were not spending money in the local businesses, the businesses would cease to exist. One can claim that this would leave an opportunity for another business to open but that opportunity already exists.

Another irony is that residents in these communities will often object to businesses being forced to pay a higher minimum wage because the business would have to close. They don’t even see the irony in this statement, as paying citizens higher wages than immigrants is doing exactly that.

It is also ironic that many of those in these communities claim to object to Socialism. It is capitalism which has left their communities devastated and abandoned.

Yet now these very communities are turning to what is a Socialist program. The immigrant detention industry is genuinely an industry. It sells nothing, manufactures nothing and poses no direct community profit. All of the facilities are either government owned or corporate owned. Any profits made go directly to corporations.

However, the cost of building, maintaining and staffing the facilities is paid for by society. So are the profits.

Immigration Mathematics

Part of the right wing and some centrist objection to illegal immigrants is their claim that those immigrants claim benefits and cost too much money. The entire argument is patently false on many levels.

I am not going to bother contradicting the claim that illegal immigrants claim benefits. That’s no use. They will always swear up and down that they personally know illegal immigrants who have told them to their face personally that the immigrants they are speaking of are collecting benefits. Which of course, negates one of their other popular arguments, that illegal immigrants don’t speak English yet the arguer never speaks Spanish.

So, let’s take the opposite argument. Let’s say that ALL illegal immigrants are collecting benefits and run some numbers based on that.

Right now I live in Alabama. The top income tax rate here is 5%. Welfare accounts for 5% of the state budget.

Then we have the federal budget. Welfare accounts for 4% of the federal budget, while housing (all housing programs) accounts for 1% of the federal budget. For ease of computation in this example, we’ll say 5% for welfare. No need to make anything too complicated.

Let’s assume a median income tax rate of 15%. Combined with state tax, that gives us a simple 20% tax rate. We can use that as a calculation which is fairly accurate for an example.

In each case, when we say welfare, that refers to ALL welfare programs regardless of immigration status. gender, etc. At this point, some people are going to claim that this means 10% of their taxes go to welfare. Sorry, that’s not the way math works. While the combined tax to the person is 20%, the total amount of their tax going to all forms of welfare remains 5% of what they pay in. So, with those numbers in mind we can start calculating.

Again, simplicity. If you make $100,000 a year and pay 20% to taxes, that’s $20,000. If 5% of your taxes goes to all forms of welfare, that comes down to $1000 a year. That is 1/100th of your income. So for each dollar you earn, you pay one penny to feed and house poor people. Probably less than you spend on movies, restaurants and lattes or beer.

Now, the estimate is that illegal immigrants number 11 million people out of a country of over 330 million people. That equals 3% of the population. So, assuming that every single illegal immigrant collects government benefits, we have more numbers to work with.

Back to the above, assume you pay $1000 a year to all forms of welfare. With illegal immigrants comprising 3% of the population, also consider 3% of welfare is paid to them. That comes to $30. Per year.

Of course, some will argue against using the entire population as an equation. Let’s increase it. Some estimates say that 40% of the population gets public assistance in some form. So we will multiply by 4. Now you have $120 paid to illegal immigrants per year. That’s $10 a month. If you make $100,000 a year, that is. If you make less, you pay less. If you make $50,000 a year, that’s $5 a month. Less than you may spend at McDonald’s in one trip.

I know the math I am using is somewhat flawed but I am actually using the highest numbers for calculation, not the lowest estimates. Not all immigrants claim government benefits and damn few people reading this make $100,000 a year. The point here is illustrating exactly how ridiculous this argument truly is.

We can take this argument even further. Let’s look at where that money goes.

Welfare is spent just like money. So when it is spent on, for example food, here is what happens:

When money or food stamp benefits are spent at a grocery store, it does not simply buy food. It pays the cashier, the manager, the stock people, maintenance people, truck drivers, food processing jobs, farmers, ranchers, equipment/sales/service people who support farmers and ranchers, health department inspectors and more.

Without welfare programs, millions of jobs would cease to exist and grocery prices would increase. Those millions of jobs would cause loss of more jobs as those incomes were eliminated from the economy.

If your argument is that Americans need more support, I will absolutely agree with you. How about we take that money from the military budget? How about we increase taxes on the rich, corporations and stock speculators? Have you heard how many jobs are being eliminated just from auto factories? How about we stop subsidizing corporations who take the money and buy back their own stock with it?

How about we subsidize our own people instead? Last I heard, no corporations went to bed hungry, died from lack of medical care, skipped buying insulin because they could not afford it, became homeless because they were laid off.. Immigrants did not cause any of those problems.

So you can stop making excuses for your racism. We see you for what you are.