Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A reply to a post about illegal immigration

When it comes to the cost of illegal immigraton, as estimated by Professor Huddle of Rice, you left out this nugget (from here): "According to Dr. George Borjas of Harvard University native born workers lose $152 billion annually because of job displacement and wage depression caused by immigration." To me that's the real issue. Republicans, and many others, like to say that these people do jobs Americans won't do. That's a lie. Americans would do those jobs if they paid more. John McCain recently had the balls to question the work ethic of a bunch of union construction workers. He said they wouldn't pick lettuce for $50 an hour. He was booed. Plenty of Americans would do the dirtiest, hardest jobs on earth if they paid well and had health benefits.

Plus, when there are more people willing to work cheap, eventually they find their way into trades that traditionally paid well. Pressure on wages is down. Average income of workers in this country has dropped under Bush, creating a "wageless recovery" that is the direct result of people willing to work for less than the job has traditionally paid. Just look at what's happened to the construction and meat packing industries. I don't think I need to tell people who profits from that. I'll give you a hint. Bush has lowered their taxes, while the rest of us make less, and pay more for fuel, food, health care, homes, and much, much more.

But then comes the last paragraph.
Just watch the "demonstrations" and listen to Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosas, they want a Mexican Government in much of the United States. He and many now in California government were "La Raza demonstrators" in the 60's. Their radical agendas then are unchanged now. They want "old white fogeys" out of the "Aztlan" territories and they want to be part of Mexico. They deny this vehemently, but you only need look at the signs and banners in recent demonstrations all over this country but most particularly in Los Angeles and Phoeniz.
I've listened to Mayor Villaraigosa, who is no Aztlanist, not by any stretch of the imagination. Just because he spoke at a rally where some extremists were protesting doesn't mean that's how he feels. The last thing they want is a corrupt Mexican government controlling them. They love this country, that's why they're here. They are pro-union. That's why you're seeing such a rise in membership with SEIU and other service unions.

One of the problems is that large agri-business (which gives 95% of it's political donations to Republicans) has ruined rural agriculture in Mexico (and in the US and many other countries for that matter), so many rural Mexicans have no way to survive. Since their government does nothing for them, they come here.

As for the crime, well, that's because Mexico sends their problem people to us. They literally empty their prisons and encourage the prisoners to come here. Corrupt officials profit from the drug and people smuggling these criminals perform, and the cycle perpetuates. We have a vested interest in getting the Mexican government to clean up its act, and stop these crooks before they come here. Instead, we reward the Mexican government with all kinds of aid, and by signing trade agreements that have no worker protection, environmental protection, or conditions for control of the border from the Mexican side. As long as we keep electing big business Republicans in this country, we will never see any change that limits the waves of cheap labor coming across the border, or the criminals who hide out in those waves.

Let's not forget what we're up against here. The rich people in this country didn't get that way by agreeing to pay raises for their workers. The immigrants are not our enemies. It is in our interest to make their home country a better place, if it means canceling NAFTA, or imposing sanctions until they do so. We should have partnership programs to help small rural farmers live in Mexico, where they can grow crops organically for fair trade certified crop programs. There are many creative answers to this problem. But the people who profit from the cheap labor don't want to change anything.

No comments: