I’ve avoided commenting on the immigration controversy for the simple, if unbloglike, reason that I don’t know enough about the particulars of the issues presented yet to comment intelligently. I’m doing my best to get a reasonable comfort level on this complex, and very important, subject and hope to have more to say later.
In the meanwhile, for the most part I’m keeping my mouth shut.
But I’m going to make an exception in order to pose one question: Is there anyone, anywhere in the entire United States, naive enough to miss the disingenuousness of Bush’s justification for creating a new, semi-slave like, class of US-based foreign “temporary workers?”
Bush’s justification for the program, of course, is that these temporary imported workers are needed to “fill the jobs that Americans are unwilling to do.”
Yet, he fails to ask the obvious question of just why it is that Americans don’t want these jobs. The answer, of course, as Paul Krugman points out today in The New York Times (Times Select wall), is that the jobs in question don’t pay anything close to a living wage:
That’s why it’s intellectually dishonest to say, as President Bush does, that immigrants do “jobs that Americans will not do.” The willingness of Americans to do a job depends on how much that job pays — and the reason some jobs pay too little to attract native-born Americans is competition from poorly paid immigrants.
And to push the point forward: What would be the surest way imaginable to make certain these jobs never will provide a decent wage? You got it: By creating a large, politically and socially powerless, reservoir of cheap labor. As Krugman continues:
Meanwhile, Mr. Bush’s plan for a “guest worker” program is clearly designed by and for corporate interests, who’d love to have a low-wage work force that couldn’t vote. Not only is it deeply un-American; it does nothing to reduce the adverse effect of immigration on wages. And because guest workers would face the prospect of deportation after a few years, they would have no incentive to become integrated into our society.
This isn’t about immigration reform. It’s about Bush finding yet another way to guarantee that his wealthy friends will always be able to find a ready source of cheap labor, while at the same time further weakening trade unions.
But then what did we expect?
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