Democrats and the Cheap Labor Trap
by fafnir, Sun Mar 26, 2006 at 01:08:58 PM EST
What I want to know is why are so many liberals and Democrats supporting pro-corporate immigration reform policies that increase poverty and erode wages for native low-skilled workers?
Like the Republican elite, the reform rhetoric parroted by many liberals and Democrats blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigration. While legal immigration strengthens our society, illegal immigration divides it by race and economic opportunity. Conflating the two places liberals and Democrats in the untenable position of vanquishing the hope of economic justice for the most vulnerable members of the native workforce.
According to a new report by the Center for Immigration Studies, "illegals are overwhelmingly employed in only a few occupations done mostly by workers with only a high school degree or less. In these high-illegal occupations, native unemployment averages 10 percent -- twice the national average."
This finding among the less-educated native workers puts the lie to the discordant claim by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that illegals are needed to fill low-skill jobs that over-qualified natives are unwilling to take.
Yet, liberals and Democrats are lining up behind immigration reform policies that subsidizes corporate America's growing appetite for imported cheap labor.
The large inflows of illegal laborers into the U.S. is a problem caused by Mexico's negligence to provide sufficient employment opportunities for their citizens, and by corporate America's desire to drive down the cost of labor by any means necessary.
The real danger of enacting current reform proposals favored by Democrats is to help corporate America build a bigger, better cheap labor trap, which reduces fair-wage opportunities that enable working- and middle-class citizens to pursue their own personal goals and dreams.
Helping corporate America widen the cheap labor trap is unfair to working- and middle-class natives who do not now earn enough money to afford health insurance, or buy a home in a safe, healthy community, or send their children to a good school, or save for retirement.
We need reforms that place the interests of working- and middle-class families ahead of the economic interests of corporate America.
Common sense reform must first turn off the corporate magnet attracting the foreign laborers to enter the U.S. illegally. This means heavy fines and the threat of long jail time for company owners who repeatedly hire illegal laborers.
Second, we need policy objectives that motivate Mexico to get off the dime and use their common wealth for the common good to create employment opportunities for their citizens.
Third, illegals who are in the U.S. should not be granted immunity or "guest worker" status, but be allowed the same opportunity to apply for legal status as those who play by the rules.