Friday, June 20, 2008

Open Border Conservatives Speak Out

Matt Purple discusses on the views of conservatives who part ways on immigration issues and favor more legal immigration.  For that story click here.
Of course, the devil is in the details. The story does not explain this but overwhelmingly the type of legalization that free-market advocates favor are guest worker programs, under which persons have no path to permanent legalization and receive few or no labor/employment protection.  Guest worker programs are perhaps better than nothing at all for immigrants because it would reduce the risk and cost of unauthorized border crossing and allow them the mobility to visit home. But it is not realistic as to family and community ties that immigrants build in the US, nor does it address the huge implications this would have on labor and worker protections for immigrants and non-immigrant workers forced to compete with "exploitable" workers. 


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Right on, ra. They are trying to sell something as temporary which they know is not. It would elevate the debate considerably to just admit that there's nothing more permanent than a temporary guest worker but, of course, the business lobby (which includes some immigration lawyers) never will.
Nor will human rights abuses endemic to guest worker programs be a hot topic with them. Whenever there’s an inevitable and hugely embarrassing incident like with the Mississippi H-2B shipyard workers from India, the silence is deafening from guest worker cheerleaders. HUMAN rights? Funny how that rarely comes up among those who only use the terms ‘labor’ or ‘worker’. There’s no such thing as summed up by Max Frisch: "We wanted workers and we got people instead." The guest worker pushers act like each day people can magically beam back to their home country a la Star Trek, we have no 14th Amendment (birthright citizenship to guest workers' children), people have no family members they want to see again the rest of their life and thus will never bring them here.
Guest worker programs are great unless you care about democracy, egalitarianism, and social justice. Among other bad things, guest worker programs are exploitative, foster inequality, discourage integration, lower wages and working conditions, and increase the number of undocumented workers in the U.S. Anyone who fancies himself as progressive should oppose something so backward.
‘…nor does it address the huge implications this would have on labor and worker protections for immigrants and non-immigrant workers forced to compete with "exploitable" workers.’
Glad to hear you don’t just look at the issue from the perspective of the alien but also consider the effect on non-alien workers. When it comes to immigration, some people are virtually 100% ‘whatever is best for the undocumented’, some ‘whatever is best for business’ (often hilariously referred to as ‘our needs’), and not enough ‘first and foremost, what is best for America and Americans’. We should also never overlook ecological issues, i.e., ‘what is best for America, the land’.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 23, 2008 4:17:28 AM

Nice post!

The first evidence I see posted on this site that pro-immigration writers are not completely insane.

Guest-workers must be required to maintain foreign residence, paid prevailing wage AND paid a travel/housing per-diem. These workers must be encouraged to leverage the lower cost of living in the home country and attain foreign home equity (prosperity).

Enforcement should be the simple disallowance of deducting the wages of out-of-status worker salaries from the employers gross income.

The American global competitiveness problem is housing inflation -- caused by immigration, zoning restrictions and pricing in proximity to employment.

Americans can't afford to pick lettuce with mandated housing standards and child-support expectations.

Posted by: weaver | Jun 27, 2008 10:54:28 AM

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