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A Progressive and Populist Position on Illegal Immigration

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"There is nothing compassionate about driving down the wages of any nation's middle class. It's the most cynical, self-serving, greedy, and sociopathic behavior you'll see from our 'conservatives.'"

"It's frankly astonishing to hear "progressives" reciting corporatist/racist/conservative talking points, recycled through "conservative Democratic" politicians trying to pander to the relatively small percentage of recently-legal (mostly through recent amnesties or birth) immigrants who are trying to get their relatives into this country by means of Bush's proposed guest worker program or the many variations thereof being proposed."

"It's equally astonishing to hear the few unions going along with this (in the sad/desperate hope of picking up new members) turn their backs on Cesar Chávez and the traditions and history of America's Progressive and Union movements by embracing illegal immigration."

"Every nation has an obligation to limit immigration to a number that will not dilute its workforce, but will maintain a stable middle class - if it wants to have a stable democracy. This has nothing to do with race, national origin, or language ... and everything to do with economics."

"The Republican (and Democratic) corporatists who want a cheap labor force, and the Republican (and Democratic) racists who want to build a fence and punish humanitarian aid workers, are equally corrupt and anti-progressive. As long as employers are willing and able (without severe penalties) to hire illegal workers, people will risk life and limb to grab at the America Dream. When we stop hiring and paying them, most will leave of their own volition over a few years, and the remaining few who are committed to the US will obtain citizenship through normal channels."

"The reality is that we don't have an "Illegal Immigration" problem in America. We have an "Illegal Employer" problem. Yet it's almost never mentioned in the mainstream media, because to point it out could slightly reduce the profits and CEO salaries of many of America's largest multi-state and multinational corporations - who both own the media and contribute heavily to conservative politicians. Republicans would prefer that the "criminals" covered in the press are working people, and that corporate and CEO criminals not get discussed."

True AMERICAN progressives and populists must decide whether to care more about their fellow American citizens or to overload lifeboat America with illegal immigrants and sink our middle-class all to benefit the companies that benefit from low cost labor. To be sympathetic to the plight of poor foreigners is fine, but not when it means screwing the legal American workforce. The only rational and cost-effective solution to this immigration problem is to forcefully identify and seriously penalize ILLEGAL EMPLOYERS. If true progressives and populists do not loudly demand this, then who will?

Even local governments that are beginning to crack down on illegal immigrants have mostly stayed away from hitting illegal employers. One notable exception is Hazleton, Pennsylvania where a new ordinance revokes the business license of any employer who hires an illegal immigrant. Better yet is a California lawsuit by Global Horizons against several companies that hire illegal immigrants and thereby gain unfair competitive advantage. Global Horizons President Mordechai Orian said, "Competitors hiring illegal immigrants is hurting our business badly... It's to the point that doing business legally isn't worth it."

If illegal employers were nailed and massive numbers of out-of-work illegal immigrants decided to get out of the country would there be some significant economic impacts on Americans? Of course there would be. The question that must be confronted is simple: Would it be better in the long term to suffer these impacts than to decimate our middle class? I say yes. Let consumers pay more for many products so that their fellow Americans will take higher paying jobs once held by poorly paid illegal immigrants using expensive government services costing the rest of us taxpayers real money. If illegal employers are not stopped very soon, the many employers not using low cost illegal immigrant workers will be forced to use them to remain competitive. If things are bad now and they are this awful situation will only keep accelerating as more employers become illegal and more American CITIZENS lose their jobs.

The insanity of letting corporate greed ruin the lives of American citizen-workers just adds another nail in the coffin of American "representative" democracy. Without a middle class American democracy will more clearly be delusional, but then it will be too late for all but the rich.

[Joel S. Hirschhorn's new book is Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government; www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]

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Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. His current political writings have been greatly influenced by working as a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and for the (more...)

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Outstanding article by Joel Hirshhorn. Illegal imm... by unlawflcombatnt on Saturday, Oct 21, 2006 at 6:14:10 PM
Thank you. And thank Thom Hartmann. At last, som... by Robin in the 'Dale on Monday, Aug 28, 2006 at 9:31:09 PM
All of us who hope for changes in these unethical ... by Bacchus on Friday, Oct 6, 2006 at 12:06:29 AM