Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn
milwaukeesfs

Immigration Situation

On the one hand, it's mildly amusing to see Bush and Company one again hoist of their own petard. Their continuing program to insure social and political control by inspiring xenophobic paranoia has once again collided with the goal of maximizing corporate profits by deleting government regulation. In this case, the 'fear the stranger' drumbeat about our porous borders and the relative ease for illegals (including potential terrorists) to enter the country stands fair to impact all those businesses that decrease labor costs by hiring "undocumented workers."

Our problem, in part, is this: unlike industries like manufacturing, service jobs in hotel, restaurant, janitorial, and common labor can't be outsourced to third world countries with cheap labor. The "solution" is to bring the third world here to do the work as cheaply as possible. This has the vicious result that US workers, who are already involved in financial commitmemts they can't readily set aside, can't afford to compete for these jobs. Further, many can't even find work in these fields. I know a bright young man who's been looking for work in our area for months. He's 'got a job' at a local Burger Fink, part-time, and the most they'll give him is eight hours a week! This hardly counts as employment.

My rather contrarian approach is this: I do not think we need guest workers. Illegal immigrants have (often) entered the country unlawfully, remained here unlawfully, and are working unlawfully. I would argue that all they are entitled to here is a swift and humane deportation to their place of origin. I would like to see minimum wage laws boosted and a law making it illegal to employ multiple part-time workers when the same work could be done by a full-time employee. In order to make this possible, we would need a sensible national medical plan so that small employers could afford the benefits. (One reason this probably won't happen, because a national medical plan gores the ox of the big medical industry--). So what if a burger or a hotel room costs a little more? Our economy is running on too many consenual illusions as it is, and it would be better in the long run if we were to gradually rationalize our system.
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