Democrats must stand on the side of American workers in dealing with the issue of border security and immigration control. The reality is that illegal immigration hurts workers near the bottom of the wage scale - many of whom happen to be Hispanic or African-American. If the Democratic Party and organized labor will not take a stand on behalf of wage earners, who will ? Too many Democratic leaders like Howard Dean have joined the cheap labor lobby along with big business Republicans like George W. Bush and John McCain. Of course, many misguided progressives, Cato Institute types and the big business sponsored media will attempt to portray critics of illegal immigration as xenophobic and racist. Unable to win on merits on the issue, the apologists for illegal immigration feel that they must resort to smear tactics. The lack of border security and immigration enforcement is a economic and national matter - not a racial or ethnic issue.
Reuben Navarrette pointed out in the San Diego Union-Tribune last year that the great Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez (who founded the United Farm Workers) detested illegal immigration. Navarrette wrote :"Despite the fact that Chavez is these days revered among Mexican-American activists, the labor leader in his day was no more tolerant of illegal immigration than the Arizona Minutemen are now. Worried that the hiring of illegal immigrants drove down wages, Chavez – according to numerous historical accounts – instructed union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service to report the presence of illegal immigrants in the fields and demand that the agency deport them. UFW officials were even known to picket INS offices to demand a crackdown on illegal immigrants." http://tinyurl.com/qxku8
Many of us who are old enough to recall watching the 1976 Democratic Convention remember a inspiring and eloquent speech given by the late Barbara Jordan, the first African-American member of Congress from Texas. http://tinyurl.com/hkd2x Not long before her death in 1996, Representative Jordan chaired the Commission on Immigration Reform. Jordan was quoted in 1995 before the committee as stating "Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave." As we consider what to do about the problem of illegal immigration, let's not forget the wisdom of two great Americans who made a positive difference for working Americans - Cesar Chavez and Barbara Jordan.
"The right is right on immigration reform"
Brian and Laurel Hines are progressive bloggers. They look like nice people who would fit in well at Sierra Club picnic. I happened across their latest posting about illegal immigration which makes a strong case that "the right is right on immigration reform." While I object to illegal immigration on the basis of economic and national security reasons rather than environmental concerns, the posting makes a strong and well-reasoned progressive case against illegal immigration. Here is the post from Hines Sight http://hinessight.blogs.com
"Strange political days have dawned when I turn on my car radio, hear arch-conservative Michael Savage ranting about how awful it would be to give amnesty to twelve million illegal aliens, and say to myself, Right on, Michael!"
"Like I’ve said before, the right is right on immigration reform. And by “right,” I mean the rightest of the right. Not the Arlen Specter sort of Senate moderates, but the fire breathing House Republicans like Dana Rohrabacher who said people should be able to 'smell the foul odor that’s coming out of the U.S. Senate."
"It is indeed foul when Democrats abandon their historic concern for middle class working people and align themselves with business interests eager to continue paying sweatshop wages to illegal aliens rather than hire Americans at whatever salary an illegal-less workforce would demand."
"When George Bush and Howard Dean are on the same page, you know that someone powerful is running the political printing press. And that is: corporations.
Having already outsourced millions of middle class jobs overseas in a quest to fatten their bottom line, corporations are dead set on continuing to insource a limitless supply of foreign workers willing to work for less than American citizens would demand."
It’s disgusting that the Dems and moderate Republicans have sold out to political pollsters who lust after the steadily growing Hispanic voting bloc. It’s rare that I’ll say anything good about right-wing Republicans, but on this issue they’re standing firm on principles that deserve to be defended. Like…
--You don’t reward sneaking across the border illegally with amnesty and American citizenship.
--You don’t undercut minimum wage laws and normal workforce supply and demand by artificially inflating the supply of foreign workers willing to work for a pittance.
--You don’t encourage an influx of more illegal aliens by saying, in effect: “We didn’t really mean to enforce our old laws, so you can assume that we won’t bother to enforce this new law either.”
Plus, I’m an avid environmentalist. If you read the cover story of TIME this week, you’ll know that global warming is here. It’s real, it means business, and it’s no joke. The United States has the biggest ecological footprint of any country on the planet. Meaning, on average each American screws up the Earth environmentally much more than a person elsewhere does.
To save the Earth, we don’t need more wasteful Americans. We need fewer. Or at least, the fewer the better. Turning twelve million Mexicans into American citizens isn’t a good thing for the planet. If some of them are needed here temporarily, fine. A minimal guest worker program might make sense.
But not wholesale amnesty. Seal up the borders. Enforce our immigration laws. Make businesses pay big-time if they hire illegals.
Progressives, I just ask you to consider this bizarre possibility: sometimes the right is right.
Link to post at Hines Sight http://tinyurl.com/lwomh