It’s only when you have gone through a bureaucracy that you know how bad it is.
You have to have got caught up in the legal system to realize how slowly it grinds.
You have to have tried renting an apartment in New York to know how many traps lie in your way.
It’s the same with getting permission to work in this country legally.
Because obviously most Americans are born here, few have an idea how hard it is to obtain the right to work in this country.
Everyone who has moved to this country to work here legally can swop horror stories of the grinding procedures, the lengthy processing times, and the expense.
Because yes, most people (or their employers) will pay considerable sums to gain the right to work legally in the US.
And why not? It isn’t just a right that anyone in the world can work here. Or so I thought.
Now I’m once again feeling like a right dupe.
In fact, after this week’s announcements, I have the same feeling I get in Duane Reade when I’m the only mug actually paying for my shopping.
Because the rules appear to be changing.
This week Governor Hochul was at the White House where she was lobbying the administration to allow illegal migrants to work here legally as soon as they are here.
As Hochul said in a statement, “Securing expedited work authorization for asylum seekers and migrants has been and remains my top priority. It is the only way to help asylum seekers become self-sustaining, so they can move into permanent housing.”
Of course she is right in wanting to tackle the cost of illegal migration to the state.
As I wrote here recently, within two years this city will be in serious deficit, with the costs solely accounted for by the price of illegal migration.
Even if no more illegal migrants were to arrive in New York the city will still be paying billions of dollars a year to house and otherwise look after the city’s latest arrivals.
Hochul is not the only one pushing expedited work authorization as a solution.
Mayor Adams has been doing the same.
In a speech in May he said: “We have one message, let them work. That is our clear message that we are sending. We must expedite work authorization for asylum seekers, not in the future, but now.”
Senators Schumer and Gillibrand have voiced the same idea.
It is understandable. The idea of illegal migrants paying their way is an attractive one. Until you take a step back and look at the much bigger picture.
Because if the expedited work authorization passes then you can expect the current relative trickle of migrants to turn into a roaring river.
Why? Because the final incentive will have been added to the mix. Meaning the encouragement of mass illegality at the border will grow.
Consider the most basic facts. In Mexico the minimum wage is just over $7 a day. Here in New York the minimum wage is $15 an hour.
In Colombia the average monthly salary is just over $1,000. In New York the average weekly salary is four times that.
And these are the comparatively more peaceful and stable countries to our South. I’m bypassing for now the countries — like Venezuela — where there is serious insecurity.
So the question is, why would anyone from Mexico or anywhere else in Central and Southern America who wants to make more money not now just walk into the US?
If they came legally and applied to work then they would have to go through an expensive and long-winded bureaucracy.
Whereas if they just walk over the border they will be greeted by the authorities, taken to a city like this one, put up in a hotel and then immediately given the opportunity to earn a salary.
Can you imagine the lure of that for the hundreds of millions of people living in relative poverty across a whole continent?
Many arrivals will send what money they earn back to their families.
Rarely will the migrants come even close to paying back in taxation what they have cost the state just by arriving here.
The benefits of such illegal immigration accrue solely to the migrant.
The costs, by contrast, go solely to the American taxpayer.
If America wanted an immigration system that carefully plugs specific labor and skills shortages then that would be one thing. But this system is not that.
The system we are now moving to is one in which people only have to break across the border to gain the lifestyle that most of the world dreams about.
So like millions of other people I can see many good reasons for breaking the law and almost none for following it. Not a great situation, that.
Time to ditch Mitch
Talking about things that are broken. Mitch McConnell.
The man is clearly not well. This week he had a second mortifying brain freeze in front of the press.
It was so awkward that even the journalists in the room went silent. That takes a lot.
What is now clear is that the Republican party needs to move McConnell along.
When McConnell had his latest freeze he was being asked whether he would be running for reelection in 2026. By then he would be 84.
The Republicans should move him aside graciously.
Perhaps he could stay in the Senate for the rest of his term. But he cannot remain the minority leader.
He is too obviously unwell — too obviously struggling with very basic things, such as speaking to the media or knowing where he is.
I would have expected more Democrats to make this same point this week.
After all nobody wants to see a man with a long career in the Senate routinely embarrass himself in front of the cameras.
Perhaps the Dems are just keeping quiet because they’re navigating a remarkably similar problem.