Illegal immigration is a topic of hot discussion lately. With the signing of the Arizona Immigration Bill, people have come out of the woodwork to either defend or persecute the existence of the bill. I understand the debate about the morality and social nature of the bill, but the problem people are failing to see is the actual problem, illegal immigration.
In my opinion illegal immigration is the most serious problem in our country today. Many of our other problems, including economy, crime, jobs, healthcare, social security, taxes and education are intertwined with the major problem of illegal immigration. It's not a race issue. I want people from every race and every country to have the same chances that so many other people before them had, but I want it to happen legally. Is it really wrong to feel that people who broke the law should be punished?
We've been through some of these social and moral issues before in the game of baseball. In the early oughts when home runs became the focus of the game everyone turned a blind eye. Fans, players, and execs only cared about how great things were going. There was an increased focus on the game then there had been for awhile. Larger attendance, more revenue, exciting games; all these things were created by players on performance enhancing drugs, but all these things were also created under a false pretense. Once the problem became much more apparent and stories and information started to come out, then baseball dealt with the issue. How they dealt with it is where the parallel between immigration and steroids differs.
Many of the positive things our country had going for us were also created under a false pretense thanks to illegal immigration. Small businesses were thriving thanks to work done for cheap by illegal immigrants. The economy prospered and therefore jobs were created because the country kept getting built up and built up into something it wasn't, just like the game of baseball. We blatantly have known there has been a problem with illegal immigration for decades, but people turned a blind eye towards it too because everything was going so great at the time. People didn't care if the illegal immigrants were paying taxes or if the rest of the taxpayers in the country had to spend their tax paying dollars on education for children of illegal immigrants or health benefits for some illegal immigrants. I guess this is just how we look at most things. If it looks too good to be true now then we'll worry about it later.
The benefits of immigration and steroids finally collapsed.
Baseball took a turn for the worse after the emergence of steroids. Millions of fans wanted all records for all players in the era to be excluded from any record book. The integrity of the game was shot for nearly a decade and everywhere we looked a new player materialized in the news that had tested positive or was found to have taken a performance enhancing drug in the past. The game of baseball has forever changed since this time period. There's no more just appreciating great players and marveling at an impressive home run shot that flies far over the outfield wall. Now we must try to determine if that player is doing something illegal. There isn't the integrity in the game there once was and we will forever worry that the game will never be truly played on a fair playing field. This is the type of situation that happens when something illegal has taken over and the problem wasn't contained immediately.
Baseball tried to subdue the steroid problem by taking baby steps. The first steroid policy was in place in 2002. During that time a first time offender would not be named and they would just have to receive treatment. From 2002 to 2004 there were no players suspended. In 2005, the new policy took over. With the new rules a first time user of any performance enhancing drug would be suspended 10 games, 30 games for the second offense, 60 games for a third offense, and banned from baseball for a fourth offense. Less than a year later the penalties increased to 50 games, 100 games, and banned from baseball for being a first, second, or third offense. In 2006, Major League Baseball conducted an investigation known as The Mitchell Report to try and determine the severity of the alleged steroid use.
The economy of America had its own collapse thanks to an abundance of different problems. It definitely wasn't solely based on illegal immigration whatsoever, but just like in baseball and steroids, all the benefits that we saw from using illegal immigrants in our work force were taken away during this time and the problems became apparent. Small businesses couldn't thrive in the economy and even the illegal immigrants jobs were being taken away. We saw big businesses having to create major cutbacks on jobs and growth because they were recklessly spending due to the false nature of our economy. The job market was great before the recession, which made people place money into the stock market and housing market. These things were gone in a matter of months after the collapse.
Now America has to rebuild.
Baseball had to rebuild its integrity by being truthful about the problems and dealing with them. We have to be truthful about illegal immigration as well. All these jobs that illegal immigrants obtain are jobs that are not being taxed and are being done by people who do not pay taxes. We need a society that doesn't work this way. Without illegals occupying these positions the businesses most go out and hire citizens or legal immigrants that do not have jobs and enter them in the workforce. The increase in workforce helps the country, the increase in taxpayers helps the country, and most importantly, the increase in the integrity of our businesses helps the country. Hiring illegal immigrants seems great at the time, but just like in baseball it's a cheap thrill that eventually causes many more problems to the country or game then we ever thought possible.
Baseball combated the problem of steroids slowly. Each day it felt like a new player entered into the realm of disingenuous person. The first policy was put in place in 2002 and nothing changed with the culture of steroids in baseball. Even when the penalties got more and more strict stars like Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz emerged on the steroid scene. It's been eight years since the first policy was in place and I still don't feel the problem has been resolved. Then again no matter what they do it probably won't ever be resolved. There is definitely a deterrent for being caught doing steroids now. The one thing baseball and other sports have going for them is that when these illegal users are caught doing something then they are under the public eye and this alone is a punishment. Illegal immigration doesn't have that same luxury as a deterrent.
What the Arizona Immigration Bill basically did was take a stand early and defiantly against the problem of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration has been a problem that has been around for years and the only thing the federal government did was put up borders and have extra border patrol surround the area. That would be like Major League Baseball putting up taller outfield walls and adding a couple outfielders behind them that were able to catch the home runs that actually made it over the new wall to try and dilute the problem.
The bill is a severe measure, but one that needs to be taken. It would be like baseball back in 2002 creating a policy that banned any PED user after their first offense. Would it have caused uproar like we've seen with the immigration bill? Yes, but would it also have changed the culture of baseball immediately and deterred users who kept on using to straighten up immediately? Definitely.
Steroids in baseball and illegal immigration have many parallels in their situations. The way they were dealt with is how they differ the most. How they are looked at in society is a major difference as well.
With baseball society focuses on the problem and then tries to deal a solution, with immigration society focuses on the solution and then tries to deal with the problem.