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Sat

20

Jan

2007

The GOP's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Scam
Saturday, 20 January 2007 09:57
by Stephen P. Pizzo

Traditional conservative, William F. Buckley was once asked how he would describe a “liberal.” He thought for moment, his snake-like tongue darting about just behind open lips, then spoke.
“A liberal is someone who over-waters their house plants.”
Ouch! That hurt. Because he was right. I knew exactly what he meant. Why would a liberal over-water a house plant? Because they were mean? No. Quite the opposite. They were just trying to help. Because liberals are nice people – sometimes too nice. Liberals have over-developed empathy glands. When a liberal tells you he or she “feels your pain,” they mean it — even if at that particular moment you're not feeling it.

Now, before you jump all over me, I'm a liberal. (Well, a social liberal anyway, though I tend to be more conservative when it comes to things like balancing the federal checkbook.) But on social issues I'm right there – choice for women, equality for everyone and more than a little suspicious about what the domestic Axis of Evil — corporate/political/media nexus – are up too. 
But, just as conservatives always go too far with their proclivities, so too do liberals. And for both, that is always their downfall. We are coming to the end – whew! — of a conservative cycle and just beginning the next liberal cycle. Be assured, it too will inevitably end in excess. But maybe we can avoid some obvious mistakes early on.

Which is why I am risking the ire of the liberal/progressive community to speak frankly about immigration reform. I know the war in Iraq is currently consuming almost all the available attention – and rightfully so. But there are other festering wounds on America's body-politic that require immediate attention, and one of the biggest is immigration.

But before I put the war aside for a moment, we should all remind ourselves that it took the Democrats were also on the wrong side of that issue – and for way too long. And, though they seem to have now gotten it right, it's too late. The damage is done, and it's irreversible. Simply put, Democrats were snookered, bamboozled and herded like sheep to the slaughter by conservatives on the war.

And now they are now being led to the slaughter again, by the same bunch, on immigration reform.

Yes the Neocons are at it again. On the war they played on Democrat's fear of being seen as sissies. This time Neocons are playing on liberal empathy for the very real plight of illegal immigrants from Mexico. But as laudable as that empathy is, it's a trap and Democrats have taken the bait – again.

By falling in step with the Bush administration's so-called “comprehensive immigration reform,” Democrats are driving a dagger into the hearts of working class Americans, particularly those struggling to survive at the bottom of the income scale. In other words, they are about to screw the very people they claim should vote Democrat because only Democrats will help them.

Four years ago the Neocons sold the Iraq war with a lie... that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Now they are selling their version of “comprehensive immigration reform,” with another lie ... that immigrants, legal or otherwise, are simply taking jobs Americans won't do.

Well then how do you explain this story:

Wall Street Journal — January 17, 2007

Immigration Raid Aids Blacks

After a wave of raids by federal immigration agents in Stillmore, Ga. on Labor Day weekend, a local chicken-processing company called Crider Inc. lost 75 percent of its mostly Hispanic 900-member work force. The crackdown threatened to cripple the economic anchor of this fading rural town.

But for local African-Americans, the dramatic appearance of federal agents presented an unexpected opportunity. Crider suddenly raised pay at the plant. An advertisement in the weekly Forest-Blade newspaper blared "Increased Wages" at Crider, starting at $7 to $9 an hour - more than a dollar above what the company had paid many immigrant workers. The company began offering free transportation from nearby towns and free rooms in a company-owned dormitory near to the plant. For the first time in years, local officials say, Crider aggressively sought workers from the area's state-funded employment office - a key avenue for low-skilled workers to find jobs. Of 400 candidates sent to Crider - most of them black - the plant hired about 200. (Full Story)

So, what happened there? This local Stillmore chicken processing plant had been perking right along for years paying illegals immigrants wages so low it made more sense for American workers right there in town to remain unemployed. But once those those illegals were gone, forcing the company to offer a reasonable wage, local (American) workers stampeded to get a job there. The job hadn't changed. It was the same, dirty, smelly, messy chicken gut-flinging work as before – the kind of work the company claimed “Americans won't do.”

All that changed at the Crider plant were the wages on offer.

And that's what it's all about boys and girls. The entire GOP “comprehensive immigration reform” scam is about wages – specifically keeping US wages low and company profit margins high.

Nevertheless there they are, our Democrats, parroting GOP demands for “comprehensive immigration reform.” Which, if passed would undercut American workers and gut what little is left of union power to negotiate wage and benefits with companies. (“What ya gonna do? You gonna strike? Go ahead, make our day.”)

Oh sharper than serpent's tooth are politicians capable of so casually ditching their tried and true friends of yore. Scroll back up and read that WSJ excerpt again.

Who got jobs once the illegals were herded out of Crider's factory? Unemployed local African/Americans, mostly.

And where had all those workers been? Cooling their heels at the Stillmore unemployment office waiting for a job that paid something approximating a livable wage.

And what happened when such jobs were offered?  They stormed the Crider plant to claim one of those jobs the company had claimed “Americans won't do.”

Now, isn't that precisely what Democrats say their party has been fighting for all these decades since the civil rights movement? I thought so. But here we have those same Democrats joining Republicans pushing for this thing they keep calling “comprehensive immigration reform.” Which, if enacted as currently envisioned, would not only put those 200 newly employed Stillmore, Georgia workers back on the unemployment line, but guaranteed that millions more like them remain unemployed.

I do have to amend an early statement. Attributing the Democrat's support for Bush's immigration policies to just empathy is giving them a bit too much credit. While empathy may be part of their motivation, realpolitik plays a big role as well. Democrat's figure Hispanics, as “people of color,” are theirs by right. Never mind that the legislation backed by President Bush would screw millions of American citizens of color. The important thing for Democratic Party strategists is to say and do whatever it takes to make sure Hispanics don't vote Republican.

The trouble is that once again Republicans are playing chess and Democrats are playing checkers. While Democrats are simply trying to make their party attractive to Latino voters, Republicans are going for bigger game. Sure the GOP would like to attract Latino voters to their camp, and have had some luck doing so, especially in places like Florida and Texas. But they have a second, bigger and more significant goal: keeping American working class wages low for companies. And the best way to do that is to guarantee the surplus of cheap Mexican labor continues unabated.

And that's where American GOP policy dovetails nicely the needs of Mexicans. No, not the poor Mexicans risking their lives sneaking across the border. The GOP's real friends in Mexico are the handful of oligarch families and monopoly enterprises that have succeeded in rounding up the lion's share of Mexico's wealth for themselves. The porous US/Mexican border serves as a safety valve for those Mexican oligarchs, providing Mexico's poor a alternative to rebellion. Those oligarchs understand all to well that, the day that border is sealed is the first day of the revolution that will end their sweet deal.

All the above is why I have come to believe that liberal/progressives need to get their politically correct heads out of their butts on immigration reform – and fast. Fool them once, shame on the Neocons. Fool them again, shame on the Democrats. What a bunch of suckers! First Democrats let themselves be snookered into voting for the Iraq war and now they are on the verge of being snookered by the same Neocon con-men into voting for “comprehensive immigration reform.” Dems were afraid voting against war would make them look like a bunch of sissies. Now they are afraid that not backing the GOP's “comprehensive immigration reform,” would make them look like racists.

(Sometimes I'm forced to admire how Republicans maneuver Democrats into these kind of rhetorical traps. Think about it. Here are a bunch of lily-white Republicans seemingly embracing the La Raza position on immigration. What are the Democrats to do? If they oppose “comprehensive immigration reform,” they look like a bunch of flag waving, ethnocentric red necks. While Republicans, by backing their version of immigration reform look like —- well, like Democrats. Come on. Admit it. You have to give Neocon strategists a grudging wink for pulling that off.)

While those pushing the current version of “comprehensive immigration reform,” would have us believe that this is a terribly complicated matter, it really isn't. Maybe that's all Democrats need, a simple alternative. Here it is:

Could the US government deploy a simple, online, browser-based, database employers could use to verify the Social Security numbers provided by their employees?

Yes.

Could Congress require the INS/ICE to hire enough workplace auditors to assure that any company with more than ten employees is audited at least once each year?

Could Congress pass legislation authorizing guest-workers that requires companies pay the same wages to guest workers as they would have to pay American workers – you know – the ones they say “don't want those jobs.”

Yes.

Could Congress craft a program for farmers that creates an orderly agricultural guest-worker program?

Yes.

Could Congress put real teeth in laws for employers caught repeatedly hiring illegal workers?

Yes.

Could illegals already living in the US eventually be “normalized?”

Yes – though a teeth-grinding grudging yes. But only after all the above is in place and operating smoothly. And once the fate of all future illegals is immediate deportation. Then, and only then, should those living in the US for at least five years be issued Green Cards. After that they can get in line behind those who followed the rules in the first place.

See. It's really not complicated. And we don't need no stinkin' fence either. All we need is some common sense thinking and common sense rules supported by common sense enforcement – primarily workplace enforcement.

But once again we're confronted by an issue with flabbergastingly enormous implications — and a completely flummoxed liberal/progressive Democratic Party rushing towards the houseplants with pails of water.

Have a nice weekend, amigos y amigas.
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Comments (8)add comment

a guest said:

0
You might want to check your math
The article you cite states that approximately 75% of the company's 900 Hispanic workers were lost -- that comes to 675 lost workers. Then you trumpet that this forced the company to raise wages and offer other incentives such as free transportation and housing, which brought Americans (mostly African-Americans) to apply for those jobs.

However, you seem to ignore the fact that -- even with the extra pay and the benefits -- only about 200 new workers were hired. What about the other 475 empty jobs? Where are the unemployed Americans to fill them? Clearly, the immigrants WERE taking the jobs that Americans don't want, even when offered more money and benefits to do them!

I completely agree that we need to push Mexico a lot harder to improve it's economic options for its own people -- no one wants to leave their family and their home to go search for work in another country if they don't have to. In the meantime, however, we need these workers just as much as they need us.
 
January 20, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Chell
After the white working class has aligned itself with the GOP southern strategy in the South and voted their white race than their pocket books, many in the black working class have decided that more Hispanic immigration is better than a permanent white majority in this country. It does not take rocket science to understand this. And the union no longer think that immigration is a bad thing for them.
 
January 21, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
Excellent article
Mexican Immigration is a complex problem, not easily resolved, and with many options for possible resolution. A committee is needed including representatives from the illegal immigrant community, from the Mexican government, and from the US (not representatives appointed by an incompetent goon, but a knowledgeable representative.)to arrive at the most practical solution.
 
January 21, 2007
Votes: +0

a guest said:

0
what about illegal students?
See am a student at a community college in mass. I can only take classes but I will never be able to graduate until I get my immigration status straight. I was accepted it to Columbia university in New York. Like you probably may suspect I did not go because am an illegal immigrant. However I do believe that illegal immigrants’ coming to this country is a crime and like every crime it should be punish. What I don’t accept and not because am in the situation but most because it make common sense in this issue is that every illegal immigrant that graduated from a high school in the US with at least a 3.0 gpa and been living in the country for more then 5 or 6 years should have at least a chance of pursuing higher education. What I believe is fair is that every student should get a chance to go to college and if you happened to be an illegal immigrant that graduated from a regular US high school with a good gpa and has never got in trouble with the law, why not let them go (including Me). And if you all think about it this is a win/win situation not only the student will benefit but eventually the US economy knowing that most of our minority graduated students tend to decrees more and more and all the ones that come from other countries and graduated from here ether in a ivy league college or a regular university tend to leave the country because they can live better in their country with less competition and a better lifestyle… my final thought is that why punish someone that never made the choice to come here in the first place and rather was push by their parents and just did what it was told…. in some cases this young illegal immigrants are more fluent in English then in their own language. --> me
 
January 22, 2007
Votes: +0

Green Card said:

0
There should be softer rules for students
What I believe is fair is that every student should get a chance to go to college and if you happened to be an illegal immigrant that graduated from a regular US high school with a good gpa and has never got in trouble with the law, why not let them go?
 
July 14, 2009 | url
Votes: +0

Green Card said:

0
Student
if you all think about it this is a win/win situation not only the student will benefit but eventually the US economy knowing that most of our minority graduated students tend to decrees more and more and all the ones that come from other countries and graduated from here ether in a ivy league college or a regular university tend to leave the country because they can live better in their country with less competition and a better lifestyle… my final thought is that why punish someone that never made the choice to come here in the first place and rather was push by their parents and just did what it was told.
 
July 26, 2009 | url
Votes: +0

Green Card said:

July 26, 2009 | url
Votes: +0

Green Card Lottery said:

0
US Immigration
From a humanitarian perspective, our fellow human beings, who migrate to support their families, continue to suffer at the hands of immigration policies that separate them from family members and drive them into remote parts of the American desert, sometimes to their deaths. This suffering should not continue.

Now is the time to address this pressing humanitarian issue which affects so many lives and undermines basic human dignity. Our society should no longer tolerate a status quo that perpetuates a permanent underclass of persons and benefits from their labor without offering them legal protections.
 
August 07, 2009 | url
Votes: +0

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