ought a nation, and in particular the United States, be doing as far as allowing foreigners to live in their nation? Illegal immigration, which of late we hear so much about, is part of an overall question of immigration. Its answer requires first to resolve the issue of the obligation of a state to its
citizens, because to expand the populace has effects upon population density, upon employment, and upon wages. A nation is like a family in so far as it makes demands upon its members, and yields benefits. There are degrees of evolution for nations.
The most highly evolved ones seek assiduously to establish social justice; viz., a just proportioning of the burdens
and rewards. The same applies to the good family.
Secondly we must understand the political roots if we are to find a lasting solution.
In theory, the purpose of the nation is to provide for the common good of all its members. It is to maximize the well being of all its people. A nation
will often permit a particular group to receive more benefits per unit of labor than another group. However, an inordinate reward violates the mandate, for it is promoting the well being of a particular
class at the expense of all others. There is no free lunch. Thus in the example of physicians, in order to attract the most qualified people and have them perform
at a high level of service it is necessary for their income to average after expenses $200,000 per year, then a just society
would permit this level of reward.[i] Of course, depending on skill and workload
some physicians would receive more and others less. For them to earn on an average
$400,000 per year would be to significantly deviate from the just proportioning.
When a class, such as physicians, landlords, or bankers claim that they have a right to make what the
market will bear, they are attempting to get the nation to neglect its obligation of social justice. They argue that more is needed for them to perform at a high level, but the example of other nations
shows this to be false. Our nation is ranked first in cost of health care
and 37th (according to a 2002 United Nations study) in quality for medical care, when factoring in the entire populace. And they argue that government intervention will only worsen the situation.[ii] Moreover, the Scandinavian countries have a
higher standard of living and an extremely graduated tax system. Arguments
of self-interest are seldom sound.
Each class and group therein strives to get special to receive rewards in excess of the ideal, as measured
by the public weal. The balancing between different interests has in our nations
history always been significantly flawed. In the last 50 years the power
has shifted to big business more than at any time prior in our history. This
shift was accelerated when the requirement for balanced media programming was ended under the Reagan Administration. This
changes in the production of ideas permitted big business, among other things, to form a much closer alliance with government. Though they have always contributed the lion’s share of share of the funds to
those whom the people elect to govern, those elected could now serve more opening big business. For example, in the 50’s neither party would have attempted to pass NAFTA, nor would they permit
the wholesale outsourcing of jobs. People on an average perceive today
much differently NAFTA and outsourcing. The payback per dollar of contribution is much greater now than ever in the past.
Finally, the report card for executives and the CEO is graded by board members and stockholders according to the moves
they make for to increase profits. Big business slanting of the media, the pro-business
swing of the masses of voters in their perception of their best interests, the ever increasing more blatant promotion of the
interests of big business by our elected officials are all part for not just the understanding of the immigration morass,
but also for formulating what would be a just policy as measured by the public weal.
Among the special considerations sought by big business and promoted by legislation has been the
reduction of wages. Gradually the membership of labor in unions has dropped from
over 30 percent in 1950 to the current 11%. This was achieved by priming
the pump with anti-union slant in the media followed by legislative enactments. And
as union membership has dropped so too has dropped the percentage return on the products of their labor, and a similar drop
in return has been experienced by white-collar workers. Once most household were
had only one worker. Only those at the top have had an ever-increasing share
of the rewards.
Big business has wanted our government to allow a very large influx of aliens for to cheapen labor;
and they have got it. This is violating the mandate of government to promote
the public weal. It would be like a family of eight children increasing to 12
by adopting 4 more children and reducing the expenditure per child by 33%. There
is no need for the adoption of these children other than that the parents want it. So
too this has happened to the blue-collar of our nation. Our government’s
immigration position--legal and illegal--has permitted the flooding of the labor pool.
By so doing wages have dropped, which please big business. Since such
an decrease in the well-being of so many people for the benefit of a few violates the promotion of the public weal, liberal
immigration policies ought to be opposed.
The flood began with Reagan and his conservative cohort as a maneuver to cheapen labor. He relaxed the enforcement of laws penalizing employers for hiring illegals. By the time he left office there were an estimated 3 million illegals. Now it is 11 million. Mexico’s
second greatest source of foreign revenue, after oil, is the dollars that illegals send back to their country. Nearly 10% of the work force is both illegal and cheap. The
second part of the attack is through immigration, thus adding millions more into the cheap, unskilled labor pool. We currently have the greatest flood of immigration since the beginning of the 20th century. Low wages affect quality of life, and thus we need to both remove those here illegal
and limit immigration.
for the present, we have a large number of people in this country in violation of the immigration law. As measured by promoting the well being of the enfranchised Americans, since that is the ideal goal of
being a nation, these illegals ought to be permitted to stay if they demonstrate that they would cause significant harm to
the enfranchised peoples. Given the harm it has done to American labor, that
barrier ought to be quite high. I would support allowing no more than 2 million
of the 11 million being permitted to stay. Those with special expertise
employed in an area in short supply or bringing substantial wealth to this country ought to be first among the 2 million. Labor in an area where currently native-born citizens are in short supply, this is
no reason for either immigration or work visa. For if the employers were through
lack of help forced to raise the wage, there would be no shortage. In the 1950s,
for example, the majority of restaurant, farming, hotel, and like labor were performed by those born in this country. With better pay there would be no shortage of employees. Each situation ought to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis based upon family ties, integration into
the society, contribution to our society, property owned, and such.
order to secure our borders from illegal immigration a system of stiff fines for employers hiring illegals ought to be enforced,
and other supporting legislation. All this reflects the assumption that illegal
immigrants are not part of the American family, and thus ought to be treated as outsiders.
Moreover immigration ought to be quite limited so as to restore wages for workers so as to restore their former percentage
of the gross national product.
What is particularly
disconcerting is that the very lack of the discussion in the media of the effects upon wages the pool of cheap labor created
by illegals and immigrants. Quality
of life is a life and death issue. It affects our medical care, the food we eat,
and the education we get. Low wages harm.
Quality of life ought to be a major media topic along with how to get our government to promote it. Second should be election reform. Those who govern ought
not be dependent upon big business for the funds to run their election campaigns. Moreover
the production of ideas should not be dominated by big business, for this undermines the foundation of democracy. There are dozens of ways for the legislative process to improve quality of life. For example other developed nations have managed to keep down the cost of health care by regulating
big pharma. Changes are need in the corporate structure so that
profits are not the measure of performance. Corporations are counted as a citizen before the law; they ought to be required to contribute more to our well being and not be permitted to influence,
for example, legislators to roll back mercury emission. We need protective tariffs to preserve the
wage disparity between us and the underdeveloped nations. We need to end outsourcing
of jobs, and we need to place first Americans before the corporate dole. This
latter would including limiting our overseas presences, giving the military budget a crew cut, and returning to a graduate tax similar to that in the 1950s. We
need politicians whose performance is openly and independently reviewed on how way the social programs are run. The
blame stops at the top. Illegal immigration is just one more example of how they
serve corporate interests ahead of the people.
[i] In Germany
the physician averages under $200,000 per year, and their medical system far surpasses ours, as rated by the World Health
Organization. Too much pay creates its own distractions.
[ii] This is true when
the government is rewarded by campaign contributions for compromising the programs they administer, as with the prescription
drug coverage for the elderly, which was drawn up principally by the pharmaceutical industry.
Performance is determined by administrators and design.
The current Congressional
bills on illegal aliens is not about making things better for the working class. Don’t
listen to what they say, don’t read the conservative press, but dig deeper to find the truth. Below is an excellent article on the impact of the illegals residents.
UNITED STATES: Legalise free movement of immigrant labour!
On May 1, millions of immigrants and their supporters took part in protests
and stay-aways throughout the US.
Hundreds of thousands of others skipped school or boycotted shopping. It was a spectacular manifestation of the movement that
arose in response to reactionary anti-immigrant legislation. Malik Miah, an editor of the US socialist magazine Against
the Current, offers his view of the stance that US unionists should take on the question of “illegal” immigrants”.
Visit the Against
the Current website at <http://www.solidarity-us.org/atcTC.shtml>.]
From Green Left Weekly, June 7, 2006
The immigration debate is exposing deep social, racial and class divisions within US society. They are sharp, furious and divide many families — immigrant
as well as native born. There has been an oversimplification of the issue. Not
everyone who is in favour of more border patrols, English-only (in May the US Senate voted to make English the “national
language of the United States”) and deportation of “illegal aliens” are racists. The anti-immigrant vigilantes Minutemen are,
but most of our co-workers aren’t. Confusion and anger is common when the issue becomes personal.
The mass immigrants’ rights mobilisations seemed to appear from nowhere in city after city.
They were primarily organised through radio stations listened to, and newspapers read by, immigrants. They were led by the
immigrants themselves — documented and undocumented. The demands were simple: respect, legalisation and citizenship
rights. The protests have helped to clarify and sharpen the debate. Undocumented immigrants are workers and families people
born in the US. They are our neighbours, co-workers and friends.
The issue is not, as most media pundits and conservative politicians assert, about “national
security”, patriotism or terrorism. It is an issue of human rights and social and class solidarity. It is necessary to step back and see two related subjects separately — legal rights for immigrants
and the path to citizenship.
There are at least at least 10-20 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. People from all over the world come to the country
primarily for one purpose — to work and earn a better living than is possible in their home countries. This is true
for the lowest-paid worker from Mexico to the highly-paid skilled worker from India employed in Silicon Valley. The driver is economics. The
class issue is also the main motivator for the employers — agribusiness, commuter tech giants, meat packers in the Midwest and other industries
seek cheap labour. The bosses know “illegals” will work harder because they have few legal protections. The employers are not the groups promoting criminalisation. The demagogues in Congress and elsewhere
are using the immigration issue for political gain — tapping fears among US-born working people about future jobs and
Stopping immigration is not the objective — controlling the flow of immigration is. Employers support an “underground”
work force, because a free flow of cheap labour across borders, where everyone is legal, would raise their labour costs. The exception is in high technology,
where the expansion of legal visas provides a more reliable and stable work force. Another way to look at the immigration
debate is to see it as the flip side of outsourcing. Both allow employers to get the skills they desire at the lowest cost — outside the
borders and domestically. Those industries that can’t send the work abroad must rely on importation
of documented and undocumented immigrants to drive down costs.
Home building industry
A case in point is the home-building industry. It is heavily populated by immigrants. According
to the National Association of Home Builders, immigrants’ work is vital to the industry. The association states that
some 20% of construction workers — about 2.4 million people — are foreign born. Of those, 50% or more are undocumented
according to the May 28 San Francisco Chronicle. California has the largest share of construction workers. Nearly
one-third of the work force is from the Americas, mainly Mexico. The Chronicle article explained that nationally, “one-third of all construction
laborers and 22 percent of all carpenters are immigrants”. The Pew Hispanic Center notes that the construction industry employs the largest share of the
country’s estimated 7.2 million undocumented workers.
African Americans divided on issue
The jobs issue is behind some divided views among African Americans. Black youth unemployment
is extremely high. In many urban areas, such as Los Angeles, many labourer
jobs going to immigrants used to go to Blacks. Some Black workers support tighter immigration controls, hoping for more job opportunities. Johnny Blair Vaughn, an African-American construction worker, is quoted in the May
25 Christian Science Monitor in an article headlined “Rising Black-Latino clash on jobs”: “'If
you drive across this city, you will see 99 percent of all construction is being done by Hispanics ... You will see no African-American
males on these sites, and that is a big change,’ says Vaughn, who has been in construction for two decades. His two
oldest boys, in their early 20s, have been turned down so many times for jobs — as framers, roofers, cement layers —
that they no longer apply, he says.”
Is this simply anecdotal or real? Perception is reality when an employer, quoted in the May 28
San Francisco Chronicle, explains his desire for immigrant labour as, “These people have a very
strong work ethnic. They will bust their butts off all day, 10 to 12 hours a day, if you ask them to. And they’ll do
it with smiles on their faces. They have that much of a desire to get ahead.”
Is it a surprise that the Senate in a bipartisan vote seeks a path to legalisation as opposed
to mass deportations? President
Bush’s stance is entirely in line with the view of large employers. They reject legalisation but also reject the pure law and order and
vigilante approach advocated by the hard right in Congress.
The citizenship issue
The issue of citizenship is different, and there is no serious division within the ruling class.
Citizenship is seen as a “privilege” and reserved for immigrants who pledge loyalty to the US. None of the debate is really about changing citizenship requirements.
The most important issue is legalisation of immigrant labor. If all workers arriving
in the US are allowed to apply for jobs and work, the issue
of citizenship would be about time limits and process. Should it take five years? Should it include economic requirements
as some countries have?
Organised labour is generally either silent
or straddling the fence on these issues. Those with high-immigrant work groups like the construction trades and service sector,
tend to be sympathetic to more favourable immigration laws. Unions in industries less dominated by new immigrants take a more
Civil rights leaders are also careful but more supportive. They know how racism has been used by white
conservatives and liberals to deny African-American rights in the past. Figures such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have
spoken at and joined the mass actions. Their sympathy is for the super-exploited immigrants.
The divided views among Blacks and among immigrants themselves are a reflection of family history
in many cases. As someone from a “mixed” family whose father was an “illegal” immigrant from British India after World War II and whose mother was a Black American from Detroit, I have the “advantage” of seeing the conflicts of emotions
close up over decades.
My father came here illegally, but not by plan. Like many male immigrants he worked commercial
ships crossing the Pacific. He had been a union organiser and faced being black listed for his activism. He debarked in California and worked briefly in the fields before being picked up by immigration.
Because of a shortage of labour, immigration officials gave my father a choice — deportation or stay as a legal resident.
(Once again showing how labour supply and demand affects the immigration needs.) My
father then used his legal status to begin the process of brining his brother and other relatives to the United States. It took two decades (all came legally). Most of my
Bangladeshi family now lives in the US. My father’s story is typical of many immigrants who came from
Asia, Europe, the Americas, and other parts of the world — illegal then
legal. He stayed because life was better and he brought his other relatives here via the legal system. On my mother’s side of the family, the issue was not about immigration. If they thought about it at
all, it was about competition for jobs. Most immigrants have been welcomed in the Black community, especially those of darker
complexion. New immigrants to Detroit,
like Blacks, sought the better paying jobs in the auto industry.
Polls show that a majority of Blacks are sympathetic to undocumented workers’ plight, but
believe more job opportunities may exist if fewer “illegals” were here. Many
Asian American workers see the issue in this conflicted way too. Those who came legally see it differently than those with
relatives who may have come to the US illegally. Where I work, at United Airlines, I have had many discussions
with Black and Asian co-workers who are not racist but who support border patrols and a fence on the US-Mexico border. They
tend to be progressive on other union issues. Some white co-workers have similar views — pro-labour, anti-“illegals”.
The supply and demand of jobs, the loss
of pensions and roll back of other gains weighs heavily on all workers. Any advantage by class, legality or ethnicity is sought
after. It is true for minority communities too. It is one reason why I cringe
when a progressive minded unionist or Black co-worker lump together all opponents of undocumented workers rights as “racist”.
It is an oversimplification of the issue.
A principled stance
What stance should labour and progressives take on the issue of undocumented workers? First, all immigrants should have the right to work anywhere to earn a living and feed their family. Open
the borders. To say so is not Pollyannaish. Regulations of course will exist. Equal labour rights may or may not be a path
to citizenship. Labour must have the right to cross the northern and southern borders (as well as the eastern and western
borders by air and sea) to work in the United States in a similar manner that labour can freely travel through the European Union. Once workers
are able to migrate freely and follow national labour laws, it gives workers an advantage they don’t have today. It
is up to unions to organise them as they should seek to organise all unorganised workers. Second,
how an immigrant becomes a citizen is a separate issue. The US is one of only a few countries that automatically grants citizenship to all
babies born on US
soil — whether by citizens, legal or illegal immigrants. Those route to citizenship for those not born here needs to
be easy if they wish to take it. It is discussion worth having but it has nothing to do with illegality. The issue of free
labour is key to resolving the issue of illegal immigration. Only a focussed strategy based on support for open borders for
immigrant workers can begin to shift the debate and aid the fight for full equality and human rights for all immigrant and
California skeptics has an article on immigration, illegals, and cheapening labor.
If there lips are moving they are lying.
The one thing you can be sure that they stand for, is to get elected.
If there lips are moving they are lying (said of politician)
To understand developments in our political system
(both parties) one must understand the role of neoliberalism. Any analysis which
misses this connection is grossly inadequate. (Neocons follow neoliberalism economic
We have an evil, evil system. Words such as imperialism, greed, corporate greed, neoliberalism, neoconservate, globalism, bought politicians,
control of media are descriptive. There are reasons why the labor movement
has collapsed. It is the politics of neoliberalism, an out growth of corporate
greed. Given how it opposes the public weal, we have devoted a section to expose
just what neoliberalism is—a thing that the five corporations which own broadcasting will not do.
THE BRINK OF ECONOMIC COLLAPSE
Things have gotten worse, the hole the neocons has dug
is much deeper. The economic stats are worse than bad: the trend is toward greater disparity of wealth and on top of that the U.S. is loaded with debt and imbalance of trade. The debt can through fiscal austerity can be paid off (as some of it was under Clinton), but the
trade imbalance will only grow due to the dismantling of are industrial base and the setting up of free trade agreements such
as NAFTA. The current foreign debt
is equaled to over 70% of GDP, a ratio unmatched by far among industrialized nations.
To find out what economics is called the dismal science and the role of neoliberalism.