Friday, June 23, 2006

Things are not likely to change

According the local Denver media, Democratic leaders have called for a special legislative session to consider their proposals for enforcement of anti-immigration laws and for dealing with employers who hire illegal immigrants.

Mexico has two exports -- oil and cheap labor -- and the U.S. is addicted to both. Ask yourself, if Mexicans are such hard workers, why doesn't Wal-Mart buy stuff from Mexican factories instead of Chinese? It's because of a deliberate strategy to maintain Mexico as a third world country that sends us oil, not manufactured goods.

As long as Mexico exports oil to the U.S. instead of using it for its own domestic economy, jobs will be scarce and Mexicans will come to the U.S. for work. Too many American businesses are eager to exploit Mexicans and pay them slave wages, and too many Mexicans are willing to put up with it because if they stay in Mexico they simply can't support themselves and their families. Unfortunately, those who do stay in Mexico and work in a U.S.-owned maquiladora factory don't fare much better. The Mexican elites don't want the system to change, because, just like their American counterparts, they keep on counting their money while ordinary people suffer.

The Republicans are eager to abuse Mexicans as scapegoats for their own mismanagement of the U.S. economy, just like they have abused the Chinese, the Irish, and the Italians in previous eras. We hear calls to lock up the Mexicans in this country and to build a wall to pen them on the other side of the border. Demagogues like Tom Tancredo exploit fear and bigotry, whipping up anti-immigrant sentiment while deliberately refusing to do anything to actually fix the situation. And the Democrats, fearful of accusations of bigotry, wring their hands and make noises about punishing employers, but in the end they won’t manage to do anything to fix the situation, either.

Unfortunately, the war on illegal immigrants is a lot like the war on drugs. We should be concentrating on demand, not on supply. As long as people want illegal drugs, suppliers will find a way to deliver them. As long as employers want slave labor, slaves will be found. If we can do instant background checks for gun purchases, why can’t we do instant social security number checks for employment? I say we use a three strikes and you’re out policy on corporations that hire illegal immigrants. First offense is a $100,000 fine. Second offense is $500,000. Third offense is $1 million, permanent revocation of the corporation’s charter, and a permanent ban for all of the corporation’s officers from holding any corporate office. At the same time, we need to stop sending our money to China, our biggest military threat, and develop a real domestic economy in Mexico so that Mexicans can earn decent wages at home.

Putting an initiative on the ballot that ends up costing a lot of money without solving anything doesn’t sound like good governance to me. If Romanoff and Fitzgerald can pull off something useful and cut off the GOPers at the knees at the same time, then more power to them. However, I won’t hold my breath.

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