I am aware that the ordinance the Payson Town Council passed, requiring all businesses operating in the Town of Payson to hire only legal employees, is an issue that touches many human emotions. The ordinance does not deal with illegal immigration. It simply requires all businesses to have, in their files, proof that all their employees are legal and will require them to sign an affidavit to that effect when applying for a new license.
For enforcement reasons, we will also require all companies that have their names on a vehicle to display their Payson business license number.
This legislation does two important things. It levels the playing ground for all employers by requiring them to pay taxes on all employees and it makes the statement that Payson is a government where laws are real. A country that falls away from a strict moral code or the rule of law will not exist for long.
The ordinance has also had the positive side effect of bringing to light the failure of our state and federal legislators to deal with immigration policy and, as a result of many inquires relating to that failure, allow me address the issue.
The United States is an attractive magnet to many other countries, so much so, that we needed to set policies limiting immigration. To remain a viable country, it is critical that we both enforce that policy and apply it to all foreign countries equally. Unfortunately, due to politics, that has not happened.
It is estimated that we have about 10 million illegal immigrants in the United States, a number that is increasing at an estimated rate of 500,000 per year. It is also well known, that a large part of our economy is fueled by illegal workers.
Mexico's government has created living conditions that make the United States even more attractive and with the shared border and easy access to the United States, it has caused us to have two immigration policies -- an unwritten, politically-motivated one for Mexico and the legal one for all other countries.
This is an issue that brings out the extremes in political rhetoric. On one side, we have those who want to round up all illegal residents and send them home. On the other side, we have those who want to reward illegal residents with immediate citizenship to salve their thirst for favorable voters.
In reality, we are not going to ship 10 million people back home, nor will politicians shut down the economy fueled by illegal employees. But we certainly should not reward those who have come here illegally with instant citizenship.
If we had some real statesmen who would sit down with the real facts on this issue, I suspect they would craft a document that would do four things.
1. Immediately stem the flow of illegal entries.
2. Allow those who have secure employment and a good record to have a temporary guest status, while they enter the back of the line for legal status and work their way up the ladder.
3. Set up a viable guest worker program where employers can hire legally and the workers pay taxes.
4. Let us better identify those who are just a load on the system for deportation.
Such a policy would allow those who have been here with a good record to remain while the system sorts them out. It would allow us to collect taxes on their work. It would allow the economy that depends on their labor to continue in a legal manner.
It would begin to diminish the tremendous load on our social structure and allow us to move back to a country that operates on a rule of law.