Examining the Nation’s Immigration Pressures
In her Nov. 24 commentary, “Bush’s Immigration Gamble,” Tamar Jacoby asks, “So why is Bush taking on the thankless issue of immigration?” It seems that the answer is that President Bush is spending some of that “political capital” to pay back his donors from large corporations who benefit from illegal immigration. By making those who come here for economic reasons “legitimate” workers, via a “guest worker program,” he can ensure an endless supply of low-wage workers for his benefactors. This does not solve any problems, except for those who are worried about showing another profit for the next quarter.
If the U.S. would finance the improvement of Mexico and Central America’s productive capacity, it would lessen the immigration pressures we now feel. Let’s do what the European Union does: the richer nations finance highways, power plants and other infrastructure needs in the poorer nations. The results are increased trade in both directions and less pressure on workers in the poorer nations to migrate north to the richer nations. This is natural because people prefer working in their homeland to migration.
Jacoby notes, correctly, that “survey after survey of Anglo voters show that, when it comes to immigration, they want the government to take control of the border.” What she doesn’t say is that the same surveys show that most “Anglo,” or white, voters want less immigration, period. The current level of immigration to this country is almost incredible. The Census Bureau estimates that 34 million people in the country are foreign-born. That is more than 10% of the population, and it’s the highest level in history. And it is probably understated. Bush’s amnesty program, and that’s what it is, would create even more illegals flooding into this country. I am sorry I voted for him. A Democratic president would never be able to get this boondoggle through Congress, but, unfortunately, Bush will.
Jacoby opines that American businesses that flout the law by hiring illegal immigrants do so because they “can’t find the workers they need to grow,” so therefore they “are forced to operate outside the law.” This is nonsense.
Businesses can’t find the workers they need because they aren’t paying enough. But because these poor, poor businesses aren’t willing to raise wages or become more efficient, they cheat the labor market and employ people desperate enough to work for substandard wages.
These dishonest and plainly un-American businesses are the true villains in our country’s struggle with immigration. I would hope that Jacoby, who works at an institute that purports to help “foster individual responsibility,” might try promoting some individual responsibility in our business community.