Besides a few nativists crazies (sorry, its that the anti-immigrant people often seem to lose their sense of reason with their name calling tactics) and obviously Bush and company, most of the country really thinks it is ok for people to come and work here, and even feels a tinge of guilt about how undocumented workers are being treated. But please, don´t call them sneaks -- they are just responding to a call for workers...
An administration who puts much of its effort in listening to its populace talk on its cell phones, reading email, and playing games with blogger sites, could really help the country if it would instead spend more time analyzing the GLOBAL LABOR situation, and would lobby Congress to pass some constructive laws. But as usual, our current government (Congress included) puts little value in a thinking mind. Instead it has gladly jumped into a World of War Craft that attacks people who crossed into the wrong territory.
A Misguided Crackdown
Treating the symptoms, but not the cause, of illegal immigration
Friday, August 15, 2008; A20
CONGRESS'S FAILURE to enact a workable immigration system last year
prompted the Bush administration to redouble its previously lethargic efforts at
enforcing existing immigration laws. The get-tough campaign -- more workplace
raids and arrests along the Mexican border, plus a smattering of criminal cases
against employers -- has two goals. One is to show a doubting public that the
feds mean business. The other is to make things so miserable for businesses that
corporate lobbyists join in the fight for meaningful immigration reform.
The results of this enforcement-only strategy have meant that
undocumented workers are suffering the brunt of the misery even as businesses
continue to employ millions of them. A new study by the Center for Immigration
Studies, which opposes illegal immigration, suggests this strategy has helped
prompt hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers to leave the country; the
economic slowdown has added to the pressure by depriving them of jobs. Still,
the administration's strategy of emphasizing punishment rather than prevention
underscores the need for a more durable solution.
Seen as raw data, the
numbers of illegal workers taken into custody in raids at meatpacking plants and
other workplaces are striking. Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
made some 5,000 workplace arrests last year, 10 times as many as in 2002. Some
recent sweeps have been dramatic, including a raid in May on Agriprocessors, a
huge meatpacking plant in Iowa where 390 undocumented workers were arrested;
many of them were charged with document fraud and received prison terms before
their likely deportations.
But compare the arrests -- as well as 90-odd
criminal cases brought against various employers -- against the ongoing reality
of some 8 million undocumented workers, and the feds' efforts look modest. No
doubt, some employers have felt the heat (partly from tougher state laws) and
are checking prospective workers' documents more closely. Hiring more
immigration agents has certainly increased the peril, and the cost, of sneaking
across the southern border.
But the basic legal and economic dynamics
that created the nation's dysfunctional immigration system remain largely
unchanged. Despite the economic dip, there is still demand for unskilled labor
that native-born Americans cannot supply. That demand will perk up when the
economy does. The number of visas available for unskilled workers -- 66,000 per
year -- is laughably inadequate. Many thousands of workers continue to enter the
country illegally or enter legally and then overstay their visas. A practical
approach would acknowledge both the demand for unskilled labor and the fact that
5 percent of the American workforce consists of undocumented workers. It would
raise the quota of temporary employment visas, establish a better system for
employers to verify the legal status of job applicants and offer undocumented
workers a way to register themselves and eventually earn citizenship. Critics
will howl about an amnesty, but realists will see it is the way to address the
reality of immigration and labor in a globalized marketplace.
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