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Straight Talk: By Al Jacobs
Straight Talk: By Al Jacobs

By Al Jacobs

re•form (ri fôrm), v.t. To change to a better state, form, etc.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that immigration reform is one of America’s most sought after desires. You’ll not find a political aspirant who fails to remind the voter that reform is an uppermost priority. So the question must be asked: If virtually everyone is in agreement that such reform is a must, why does the nation, year after year, continue to wallow in turmoil over every aspect of immigration?

Most likely the problem results from a difference of opinion over what constitutes reform. Depending upon whose opinion you solicit, there are adherents to each of the following positions:

  • Grant blanket amnesty to all undocumented immigrants.
  • Prohibit any non-citizen from engaging in gainful employment.
  • Construct an impregnable border fence and patrol it with armed sentries.
  • Establish procedures which provide a path to citizenship for all illegal immigrants.
  • Enact laws which criminalize the hiring of any undocumented immigrant.

This brings us to the crux of the matter. The definition of reform, specifying a change for the better, omits the fundamental ingredient: better for who? If you’re an employer who profits from a source of cheap laborers, you want no border fence to keep them out. If, instead, you’re marginally employed in a menial job at a salary just above minimum wage, you’ll favor any law which prohibits the influx of competition. And understandably, if you’re a slum landlord with vacant apartments to fill, you’ll welcome a flood of illegals.

The picture should be clear to any observant viewer. Immigration reform is a concept with no meaning whatever. Each participant in the charade harbors a vested interest and will espouse whatever nonsense supports that interest. In short: Rationality be hanged; enact rules which I find to my benefit!

It’s for this reason the battle over immigration reform will go on forever.

Al Jacobs, a longtime Dana Point resident and a professional investor for nearly a half century, distributes a monthly newsletter in which he shares financial knowledge and experience. It is available at

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