Saturday, July 31, 2010

Caveat Lectores on Illegal Worker Hypocrisy

I find the current discourse on illegal immigrants troubling mostly because of the hypocrisy involved. We claim we want to secure our borders from the demons who try to come here without a proper invitation, yet we demand a steady supply of low wage workers to do the jobs that others do not seek.

Our country has a rich but sullied history of exploiting those who want to be here so badly they will work for less. Oops, I almost forgot the millions of West Africans who “immigrated” to the new world on “cruise ships” to revel in the opportunities that abounded. Our country was founded upon cheap labor. So cheap, it was provided for free by slaves imported like cattle and frequently treated worse.

Sadly, some of our forefathers, we revere as being so sage and just, were owners and exploiters of slave labor. Very likely, our country would not be as economically successful as it is today but for peoples who came here and were exploited by the wealthy who could own them or later employ them once slavery was outlawed. The same is true for all the immigrant masses on whom we count to supply the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

Why all of a sudden does it matter that people are coming here to take low paying jobs?
• First of all, this is not a new issue.
• It is an issue to some because the influx of illegal workers causes real problems to the affected economies and government entities.
• It is an issue to groups who try to rule by dividing those they seek to rule. Right wingnuts and Teabaggers come to mind here. Creating problems and demonizing others takes the public’s attention away from the real problems these ignorant demagogues cannot understand or begin to supply answers to.
• We have been demonizing newly arrived immigrant populations forever. They compete for good jobs as well as bad ones. Whoever is settled in at any given time usually does not welcome new competition. My understanding of available history is there have been issues with the Irish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Welsh, Scandinavian, Canadian, Australian, (you get the idea) and now Mexican and southern hemispheric and eastern European migrations to this country. Unless it suits the purposes of whoever is in charge, we do not like competition for our prosperity.
• Over supply of labor drives down existing wage rates. This is true, but there is a bigger problem created by the jobs we export to the same low wage countries who now supply the legal and illegal workers.
• Underpaid workers require government supplied social services to exist. This is true, but unemployed or underpaid workers require the same assistance no matter what legal immigration status they fall into. The pragmatic reason for much of the social assistance provided to the poor is to reduce the motivation to steal from the rich what they will not willingly share.

I do not know the answer. We have a devastating unemployment rate, but running out all the illegal workers will not make the low wage jobs any more attractive to the higher paid former workers who have lost their jobs. I guess we could completely dismantle the social services network and benefits they provide and cast the unemployed into the cesspool to swim in shit or drown.

Now I am getting the idea. The right wingnuts are more interested in blaming the illegal workers and building walls to keep them out than enforcing the laws against hiring illegal workers. That seems to be where I started this Rant. Illegal Worker Hypocrisy. Business needs low paid workers to make high profits. Wow. My head is throbbing.

And Oh yes, Have a nice day!


Caveat Lectores by Jeff Carnes

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