Monday, December 18

Immigration Cogitation

I'm not sure what could or should be done about our immigration policy, but I can tell you this much, it's root causes are a combi-nation of macroeconomics (what sometimes is referred to the politics of greed) and a lack of morals and ethics. This on the part of many business owners and corporations, in conjunction with the consumer's (i.e., your and my) belief that the pursuit of cheap goods has no repercussions.

Take the recent raid at the Swift plants. Those arrested were here to do jobs that many Americans find unpalatable and that American business owners are willing to bend the rules to hire those who are willing (sort of a don't ask/don't tell policy leading to a coalition of the willing). Corporations risk little even go to the trouble of recruiting workers in Mexico and Central America using "proxies".

Couple this with people who get bent out of shape, hoist the flag, and rail about American jobs being taken away, who are being hypocritical. They are hypocrites because they willingly reap the benefits of the low-cost labor from their local retail stores. They are hypocrites because they use the mantra of free-enterprise except when it burns their proverbial bacon--Free-enterprise requires using the lowest cost labor you can get, to sell for the highest profit you can get--basic economics adds that the consumer looks for the cheapest price they can get--well guess who makes it possible?

Immigrant workers are productive, they put up with working conditions that the vast majority of American's wouldn't touch with someone else's ten-foot pole. Some 2 million immigrant workers now earn less than the minimum wage, and millions more work without the occupational safety, workers’ compensation, overtime pay and other protections that legal status offers. They put themselves at risk, why? Because the benefit outweighs the risk--things at home are not so rosy--and just like us, many just want to get ahead and take care of their loved ones.

Then, let's talk about economic justice. If we really wanted to do something about "immigration problems", American business interests would, for example, set up food processing plants paying American wages in Mexico and Central America. If the goal were really to stem the tide of immigrants, it would serve business interests to do this--except for another hypocrisy, the illusion that business people actually care about what happens in the U.S. to American workers. So, if you are a corporation, you outsource with the right hand and hire illegal workers with you left.

As a corporation, you serve the bottomline. And the bottomline is a cruel mistress. She doesn't care how you serve her, only that you do constantly. And while the vast majority of Americans aren't invested in the Big Casino (i.e., the Stock Market), those running our corporations and "investors" are. Corporations will do what is in their interests, not, de facto, the citizens of the US. Said differently, they have the rights of person without the obligation of playing nice with others.

Do you wonder what would happen if we opened the borders? My guess is that true "competitive forces" would be in play--but who do you suppose would come out ahead?

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