26 March 2006

This is the price we pay for our addiction to cheap labor, our unwillingness to take measures in Mexico to help people prosper there

Thousands line Phoenix street in protest march.

And immigration protests erupted around the country this weekend, pushing the immigration issue on to the center stage of political debate once again.

As I endured the lengthy traffic delays Friday, the result of the massive protest turnout here in the Valley of the Sun, I had time to reflect on all the various vantage points thrown at me from the one local Valley radio station that was providing coverage of the unfolding event (which is fodder for another rant in itself…). I didn't agree with any of the impromptu guests presented with air time on the KTAR 620 AM Ted Simons show, and figured that, in a crux, may be the mightiest wedge in the immigration policy debate. Meanwhile, the problem continues to escalate, and each passing day brings a deeper doom.

  • I really am exceedingly weary of the repeated mantra that illegal aliens take jobs Americans won't do. Always left off in that phrase is the "at those wages". Wages that support a middle class existence.

  • A guest worker program is an awful solution for the problem. It just legitimizes employee abuses and fosters a permanent underclass. And there is nothing more permanent than a temporary guest worker.

  • A flood of immigrant workers lower the wages paid to American workers. This is not sophistry or any supreme wisdom. It's basic economics.

  • But it's just not an issue for working class Americans. American workers at all levels are affected, given that huge increases in non immigrant visa levels that displace American engineers and programmers are often tied in to Washington congress critter chatter on immigration reform. Such legislative measures have galvanized disparate sets of Americans against "real immigration reform".

  • Bush's Yes Man, Senator Kyl has been in office long enough and his excuses for not spearheading a solution are entirely lame.

  • Those that protest the protesters sound as silly as those who decried civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s. You might not agree with their position, but mass demonstration is still an effective means of getting the message out.

  • But the "chutzpah of the day" award goes to Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who was literally steaming over the surprise turnout and wants to arrest the protest organizers for their inaccurate turnout predictions. Even while acknowledging it was a "peaceful protest", and crediting the Phoenix Police, disregarding the truth that it could have been an ugly ordeal if the spirit of those marching was tilted differently.

  • Making full fledged criminals of folks that for the most part, come to work as maids, in construction, or agriculture interests seems absurd, especially when Arizona (and U.S.) companies have profited immensely from such services. If illegal aliens/migrant workers are to be cast as felons, then unless the company owners that employ them arn't also dealt with as like criminals, then it's a travesty.

  • Why does nobody ever question, including those annointed voices in the mainstream media, the process of legal immigration. That is, it seems to me, that we should be asking (a) Do we have a need to import workers? and (b) Is the quota set high enough or does it need to be raised to reflect labor needs in 2006?. Instead the debate flurries around "guest worker" programs, which saddens me, to see our nation embrace a mode of economic being more akin to an theocratic Islamic nation like UAE or Saudi Arabia.

This debate will continue and will likely even get more polarized. Even the moribund Arizona Republic blogs have come to life, as their columnists and featured bloggers chime in and generate feedback. If I were to cast a prediction, I'd say the corporate interests will be most placated with any remedy, but that will, in turn, infuriate the other 80% plus.

Comments

I hate the words: illegal alien. The word alien is used to dehumanize people and make them seem like they are worthless and unimportant.

Anyway, I just want to state that I am was born in Los Angles to an illegal immigrant mother and father. My parents were born in Mexico and long ago (about 20 years ago) they became permanent residents of the United States.

I resent many of the hateful anti-immigrant comments made by conservative radio talk show hosts like Bill Handle and John & Ken, here in LA (KFI Radio, owned by Clear Channel). They use the air waves to divide and promote Republican propaganda. I often hear these idiots claim my people take jobs away from African Americans, that they are a drain to the economy because they require government welfare and healthcare, that illegal immigrants are dangerous criminals and that our children are uneducated idiots. Well, I reject those ideas because my family is completely opposite of what these radio bastards claim. As far as I am concerned, this Country should be grateful, my entire family and I are law abiding citizens who pay taxes and help contribute to the economy of this Country. My family and I are not the only ones who contribute and are thankful to be in this Country. There are thousands and thousands of families like mine, in the State of California and all over this country. The idea that illegal immigrants compete against the American worker, when Americans can easily go to school to improve their job skill abilities and speak the English Language is laughable to me. Perhaps what Republicans need to be asking the President is why are there so many jobs are leaving this country overseas, instead of blaming illegal immigrants for the economic problems they have created? I would love nothing more than to witness Americans working in the fields, doing Janitorial duties, or working in the construction industry, which by the way is not a low paying industry, but the that fact remains that Americans don’t want these jobs. American’s leave these jobs open and they are filled by people who put themselves at risk of being taken advantage off, even though they get spit in the face with BS legislation.

Speaking for myself, I can only state that I do not have a problem with the government putting up the Great Wall of China along the Mexican border, and honestly I believe that most people in my community would probably be fine with that concept, but I do have a tremendous problem making these honest hardworking people felons.
THE TWO REMAINING IRON CURTAINS

"I often hear these idiots claim my people take jobs away from African Americans, that they are a drain to the economy because they require government welfare and healthcare, that illegal immigrants are dangerous criminals and that our children are uneducated idiots. "

The immigration drive for a guest worker program is being pushed by the business lobby, which wants cheap, easily exploitable labor. Underneath the words of the right is hateful racism. They can't come out and say they hate spicks and niggers, because that is not PR, but they are the same attitudes as people in the hoods who used to lynch those niggers and put into effect our current narcotics laws (every single law about narcotics was created on an anti-immigration platform).

"As far as I am concerned, this Country should be grateful, my entire family and I are law abiding citizens who pay taxes and help contribute to the economy of this Country."

Are you white of European stock? If yes, you are embraced, and welcomed to
America (there is still suspicion and you are considered "less than an American"--Americans are a very arrogant and xenophobic people--less xenophobic than Russians for example, but few societies are more arrogant than Americans)

"Perhaps what Republicans need to be asking the President is why are there so many jobs are leaving this country overseas, instead of blaming illegal immigrants for the economic problems they have created? "

for the same reason that American businesses embrace and are pushing for guest visa programs--it is "a race to the bottom". (see an explanation for this term in my next entry)

"I would love nothing more than to witness Americans working in the fields, doing Janitorial duties, or working in the construction industry, which by the way is not a low paying industry, but the that fact remains that Americans don’t want these jobs. American’s leave these jobs open and they are filled by people who put themselves at risk of being taken advantage off, even though they get spit in the face with BS legislation."

America has a fine history of suppressing and splitting and isolating the working class. If the media tells the white minimum wage workers to focus on those god damn spicks who are taking their jobs, then they quickly forget who hires and exploits those "goddamn spicks"--the same businesses who are exploiting them.

"Speaking for myself, I can only state that I do not have a problem with the government putting up the Great Wall of China along the Mexican border, and honestly I believe that most people in my community would probably be fine with that concept, but I do have a tremendous problem making these honest hardworking people felons."

I have worked hard for my wife to become a legal resident--the American goverment makes it hard. There are only two iron curtains left in the world after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

*The first is the iron curtain of Central and South America--our sphere of influence where history shows that we will be as brutal and often more brutal than the Soviets ever were to the Eastern Block.

*The second iron curtain is a reverse iron curtain: A reverse iron curtain against immigration. Americans can leave freely, but non-Americans can't come in.

Ask yourself this everyone. Why is this an issue now? Why? I don't think that all issues suddenly become issues accidentally. Often there is an agenda behind these issues. After the cold war, for example, America no longer had a boogeyman in the USSR. America had to keep its people in fear, because a fearful public depends on the government to protect them, and will allow the government to do nasty, brutal things in the name of "security", both internally and externally. Without communism, how could America continue to invade and exploit third world countries: the answer was found quickly: the drug war. Suddenly the same states which were threatened by terrorism, became states threatening to overrun America with drugs (Colombia is a fabulous example of this).

Although I do not have an answer why the focus is on immigration right now, I do know that American businesses support cheap labor and a very exploitable workforce. On the other side is a very xenophobic and racist white population, the same xenophobic and racist white population which migrated to the republican party when Johnson and Kennedy gave blacks equality in the 1950's (I believe it was Johnson who famously said "their goes the south for the generation"--when he signed equal rights)

I love how these two forces will rip apart the Republican party. Sit back and enjoy the show--the big tent is being ripped asunder. Big business and racists in the party cannot co-exist on this issue.

Immigration could be to the republicans what religion is to the democrats:

Immigration could be the Republicans Achilles' heel.
IMMIGRANTS: CHEAP, EASILY EXPLOITABLE LABOR FOR BUSINESS.

Below is my feedback on an immigration paper for international relations class. Each of us are supposed to critique 5 abstracts dealing with international relations. The person is then supposed to read these paper's ideas and incorporate these ideas into their papers.
Hello Ms. Woodson,

Your paper is contemporary and interesting. An issue which is important on the minds of American's today.

Unfortunately, your paper ignores or downplays vital issues because they are not addressed in American media and are therefore not on the minds of the American public. I am going to discuss some issues behind immigration which you will never hear in mainstream media. Again, since it is not in mainstream media, it is not in the minds of Americans and therefore is not in your outline.

I subscribe to the same view that Ms. Celine had when commenting on your paper but I would like to expand on these ideas.

Like many important issues throughout history, the corporate media ignores or downplays the culpability (guilt) that corporations play in illegal immigration. American media ignores four vital issues which effect immigration, first, the root causes of immigration lies in American foreign policy; second, illegal immigration is beneficial to American companies; third, tougher border security will never happen because it is not in the interest of American businesses; and finally, American businesses are using immigration to weaken labor and the working class.

1. THE ROOT CAUSES OF IMMIGRATION LIES IN AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY.

American foreign policy, driven by MNC in Latin American countries, keeps the status quo:
* a small elite oligarchy which supports MNC interests, and
* a large, poor population which are getting none of the material benefits from the MNC exploitation of their natural resources.

Poverty is the root cause of immigration. Latin Americans immigrate to America because their country's political system, almost always supported and created by America, is engineered to keep them poor.

2. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS BENEFICIAL TO AMERICAN COMPANIES.

When illegal immigrants come to America for a better life, many of these same American businesses then exploit these illegal immigrants to keep their profits high and American wages low.

It has been called "the race to the bottom". American companies in the pursuit of profit will always find the cheapest markets and labor, regardless of the social cost. Social cost such as health care, high wages, and safe working conditions do not help a companies bottom line.

In the pursuit of profits, MNC ship jobs overseas to the lowest cost and least regulated markets. If those jobs cannot be shipped overseas, American companies will move to states with the least regulated markets, weakest labor laws, and lowest cost.

Illegal immigration is beneficial to American companies. Illegal immigration is a large labor pool which because of their questionable legal status, is easily manipulated and exploited.

(cont...)
IMMIGRANTS: CHEAP, EASILY EXPLOITABLE LABOR FOR BUSINESS. (Part 2 of 3)
(continued)

3. TOUGHER BORDER SECURITY WILL NEVER HAPPEN BECAUSE IT IS NOT IN THE INTEREST OF AMERICAN BUSINESSES.

American businesses support illegal immigration and want a guest worker program. Internal issues in America do not become important issues which Congress acts on unless one of two things happen:

* The America people rise up and demand change.

* Corporate interests, which pay for their campaigns demand change.

In this case, both corporate interests and the American people are demanding change. This makes your job easier. We are not talking about an issue which is obsure, but an issue that effects both business and workers everyday.

Tougher border security is not in the interest of corporate America, so it will never happen unless enough of the American people demand it and Congressmen fear their jobs over the interests of their corporate sponsors.

4. AMERICAN BUSINESSES ARE USING IMMIGRATION TO WEAKEN LABOR AND THE WORKING CLASS.

Throughout American history the American elite have used immigration and race to divide the poor and working class. A million examples can be given. One that comes to mind immediately is the labor disputes of the late 19th and early 20th century. American businesses would use scabs (workers brought in to replace striking workers) that were of different races or different ethnicities to work their factories, playing on workers xenophobia or racism. Striking workers would often attack these immigrant and minority scabs, diverting their attention away from the business itself, and onto fellow workers. Another example is the AFL-CIO for years opposed illegal immigration. This split and weakened the working class to the benefit of the corporate elite. Only recently has the AFL-CIO, seeing that the tide of illegal immigrants was unstoppable, decided to embrace illegal immigrants and welcome them into their labor organizations. It is important to recognize that American business, and its extended arm, corporate media, are using immigration to weaken labor unions and cause divisions in the working class.

(continued)...
IMMIGRANTS: CHEAP, EASILY EXPLOITABLE LABOR FOR BUSINESS. (Part 3 of 3)
(concluded)

YOU WROTE:

"The feasibility of the Guest Worker Program and work visa changes may be difficult due to the xenophobic atmosphere in the U.S. From the minutemen to current legislation in Congress, the further opening of the U.S./Mexican border is not getting much support. The greatest difficultly in devising my solution to illegal immigration has been trying to figure out how to finance the Guest Worker Program and in changes with work visas for immigrants."

I disagree, strongly. The greatest difficulty you will have in devising your solution is to sell this policy to a xenophobic and racist America population, which is reflected in its xenophobic and racist American leaders. If this policy is going to succeed, you must think:
*Why is it in the best interest of the corporate sponsors of Congress? (If it is in the interest of big business, Congress will go along with it.)

Fortunatly, corporate America DOES support the worker guest program. But you still need to sell it to corporate America. Why is it in corporate America's best interest?

Then the second issue is:

*How do we sell this policy to am America population who are historically xenophobic and racist so they do not rise up against the elite and the Congress who are tools of the elite?

This problem is also easily solved.

You could use the security card, as the current Bush administration is now doing. The American people are already scared and frightened by years of racist and xenophobic coverage of Muslims. Spin it this way: tell the American people that their security is at risk, and that a guest worker program would make them "safer" without actually revealing the four actual underlying reasons I stated above for the policy. Whatever you do, don't let on to the mindless herd what is really happening behind the scenes. That the corporate bottom line and greed is behind guest visa programs. Maybe you can site a foiled terrorist attack by illegal immigrants, or if worse comes to worse, American policy makers can invent a foiled terrorist attack by illegal immigrants.

But again, whatever you do, don't reveal to the American public the real reason behind guest worker visas: corporate profit.

I hope that my views are not so foreign and alien to your views, that they are dismissed out of hand. Often my views are dismissed out of hand by the majority of Americans. You could keep the current format of your outline, which reflects current American sentiment and does not delve into the root causes of illegal immigration. This would the easiest course of action. Or you could look at the root causes of illegal immigration, which would require a lot more work, research, and maybe, hopefully a little soul searching about the way America really works.

I apologize and am sorry if I come off like an arrogant pr**k. I want to give you the best feedback I possibly can.

--END--
il·le·gal ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-lgl)
adj.
Prohibited by law.
Prohibited by official rules: an illegal pass in football.
Unacceptable to or not performable by a computer: an illegal operation.

n.
An illegal immigrant.

a·li·en ( P ) Pronunciation Key (l-n, lyn)
adj.
Owing political allegiance to another country or government; foreign: alien residents.
Belonging to, characteristic of, or constituting another and very different place, society, or person; strange. See Synonyms at foreign.
Dissimilar, inconsistent, or opposed, as in nature: emotions alien to her temperament.

n.
An unnaturalized foreign resident of a country. Also called noncitizen.
A person from another and very different family, people, or place.
A person who is not included in a group; an outsider.
A creature from outer space: science fiction about an invasion of aliens.
Ecology. An organism, especially a plant or animal, that occurs in or is naturalized in a region to which it is not native.

I DO NOT THINK THAT WHEN THE MEDIA, LAW ENFORCEMENT, OR COMMENTATORS USE THE TERM IT IS MEANT TO BE DEROGATORY.

I COULD BE WRONG.

JUST MY OPINION.

FACT: Those called "illegal aliens" came into this country Illegally. thus the term "illegal".
FACT: They also come from a foreign nation, thus the term "alien".

Personally I think ANYONE who legitimately wishes to come to America to give themselves a better life is commendable and I applaud them, I do believe however, that we have laws for a reason and If they wish to come here and live it should be done through formal means and under the current legal system of the United States. We all abide by these LAWS if we are American CITIZENS and /or guests. It is a slap in the face to those who wish to come here legally and abide by the systems way of immigrating to our great nation to allow others to do buck the system and decide that the LAW is not important and come here without the proper LEGAL procedure. Others may feel different and that's okay, but NO-ONE is above or beneath the law.

I have allot more respect for those people both legal and illegal who enter this country to have a better life than I do for the Natural Born Americans who sit on their butts and expect the Government to solve all their personal woes.
Because of brave people like those illegal immigrants, our ancestors have made many horrible things that the government has opposed on them legal.

Right wing talk show hosts have started to call these people criminals. Those same right wing talk show hosts would call many of the protests throughout our rich history criminals.

One thing that troubles me with the right, is how they place so much emphasize on obeying. It is the law, so obey. The underlying morality or the sponsors of these laws are seldom or rarely explored.

The bottom line, which I attempted to emphasize in my three posts, is that America often creates the bad conditions to cause immigration, then shuts the doors on the immigrants, with a reverse iron curtain.

Is it legal to invade and harass a smaller neighbor? The International Criminal Court said no. America was acting like a terrorist when it attacked Nicaragua in the 1980's, it ruled reperations. America ignored the international criminal court, and the Reagan administration increased it terror on Nicaragua. If you want to talk about "illegal" mondo, lets talk about this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...

So next time you see a Nicaraguan here illegally because his country is such a shit heap, apologize to him, don't demand that he return to his country which Reagan, and many other presidents have destroyed. The same goes for the rest of the southern hemisphere. America has had a part in destroying and terrorizing almost every one of our southern neighbors in its bloody history.

Name one country south of us, and I can (probably) name at least one time where america has invaded or subverted democracy in that country. Go ahead: name one. In many cases, America has invaded the country several times, repeatedly. In fact the country which america has invaded the most, Haiti, is also the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
as I stated on another opinion blog on a different subject (economic)
"why is it that our ancestors can trek months across dangerous oceans into a foreign and hostile land in search of prosperity and a better way of life and people today cannot pack their things and make a days journey to a new city county or state (heck they can move to another country if they think its so bad here) to do the same? Could it be that it's much easier to rest on ones laurels and hope the Government can make a better life for oneself? Could it be a lack of initiative or is it the economy's fault someone chooses to stay in a place where they have less opportunity and choice? who is to blame when someone cant find a job? the employers, the government, or is it the person searching for a job ? The simple fact is there are plenty of JOBS to be had, maybe not one they would want maybe not one in their location, but there are jobs out there for whoever wants them, heck we got so many jobs that we have illegals coming to our country, with nothing but the clothes on their back in many cases and making a new (although illegal) life for themselves, not only that but we have NEW LEGAL IMMIGRANTS coming here and doing the same all the time and you want people to think that our economy is so bad that people cant afford to feed their families when there are millions of people living on the exact same wages if not less and not only providing for their families but creating new and better futures for themselves. if you ask me, the illegal aliens deserve allot more respect than the natural born Americans who would rather complain about their life than get up and do something about it. Granted this is not always the case and some do fall on hard times due to none of their own faults, but then again how many people who excel and do better in life do it by complaining about their situation instead of getting out and DOING ANYTHING THEY CAN to improve their lot in life?"
I agree with president bush. Thats right, you heard me right. I agree with president bush. I think the people should be legalized. I also agreed with bush on the port deal, although I found it funny that a president who had peddled fear so long had it come back to bite him in the laurels.

"who is to blame when someone cant find a job? the employers, the government, or is it the person searching for a job ?"

Depends on the situation. If you are talking about America, some people argue that American's economy is set up to have x-amount of ready labor capital for businesses (i.e. unemployment is natural). Some studies say there is five percent of Americans who can't work, who simply can't hold down a job. This number usually corresponds to the "terminally unemployed". Should the nation turn their back on these 5%. I don't think so. anyway, I could go on but won't.

you argument is a common one mondo: that those who are unemployed, it is there own damn fault. In some cases, this is correct. Those who want small, weak government (i.e. business to have more control) point to these cases.
Trav – I agree with you 100% that immigration could very well be the Achilles hill for Republicans. The children of illegal immigrants are the constituency of the future. States like Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada might someday swing blue thanks to the Latino vote. Its no wonder the President is being very cautious in addressing this issue. To my surprise, the President has handled the dilemma surprisingly well. I will give him credit for that!

Also, I must say that I surprisingly agree to some extent with Mondo’s last comment:

The simple fact is there are plenty of JOBS to be had, maybe not one they would want maybe not one in their location, but there are jobs out there for whoever wants them, heck we got so many jobs that we have illegals coming to our country, with nothing but the clothes on their back in many cases and making a new (although illegal) life for themselves, not only that but we have NEW LEGAL IMMIGRANTS coming here and doing the same all the time and you want people to think that our economy is so bad that people cant afford to feed their families when there are millions of people living on the exact same wages if not less and not only providing for their families but creating new and better futures for themselves. if you ask me, the illegal aliens deserve allot more respect than the natural born Americans who would rather complain about their life than get up and do something about it.

For me, one of the many factors of why I never vote Republican is because Republican policies have a tendency to shift the tax burden on to middle class families. I simply don’t buy Reganenomics type policies.
Thank you Cal and Thank you Trav, we often talk in generalities "liberals" do this "conservatives" do that, I have tried recently to shy away from "generalities" although my last comment did dabble in that realm.

"you argument is a common one mondo: that those who are unemployed, it is there own damn fault."

I did not say that now did I trav, but to some extent it is true.

me:
"Granted this is not always the case and some do fall on hard times due to none of their own faults,"

I know that not every sociological or political concept applies to every situation. But in the end no matter what I believe we are ALL responsible to some degree in our own welfare and existence.

You know Trav. I told you all I was once a Liberal, did I ever tell you I was once referred to myself as communist?

As far as legal or illegal, I understand their plight, I honor their courage and their struggles, but I also think they represent what Americans should aspire to, MAKE YOUR LIFE AS GOOD AS IT CAN BE, but I would add as long as you do not lessen the LIFE POTENTIAL of others.

I would like to point out that my remarks were aimed at "Natural Born Americans who sit on their butts and expect the Government to solve all their personal woes." We all know they are out there....

The less the Government has to do with our lives the better off I think we would be.
Mondo – What happen to you that you did such an incredible turnaround from a communist to Republican?

As I have stated before, I am really annoyed with my own political party but I don’t consider myself a Democrat because I want the government to take care of me. I personally don’t believe the Democratic Party stands for let me take care of you. Right now, Democrats are doing a really horrible job of getting a clear message out to the people of the United States, but if they get their act together and do what Bill Clinton did in the 90’s in terms a setting up a clear vision for the future, the Democrats should be able to clean house. For me it is simply which of the two parties mirror the values that I consider important in my life. Unfortunately, Republican policies in my view are more seriously flawed than perhaps those on the other side and that is not to say that sometimes there are issues among the Democrats that really annoy me.
Cal, I grew up, I decided to take responsibility for my own life, and I started "caring" about politics. I too am annoyed with BOTH BIG political parties, that is why I lean more towards libertarian than Republican, (although now I am a card caring supporter of the RNC). I do disagree with you on political policies, but I bet we both share the same desire for the BEST in all (HU)MANKIND.
AMEN! :)
Holy Cow - 'Plenty Of Jobs to be had' - have you looked at the unemployment rate in America? Have you looked at the projeted unemployment rates of 'illegal immigrants'? Now, have you looked at the crime statistics of this same group? Please, take no offense, I'm sure you are all upstanding members of society - but a lot of the other folks who make the trek through the desert aren't or maybe can just be easy influenced to partake in illegal activities. The American economy can no longer support the constant waves of illegal immigration. It needs to be curtailed. And the time is now!

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