By Michael Castellano
No one can deny the controversey today in America surrouding immigration issues.
You would find it hard to find a single person that doesn't have a strong opinion on what should or should not be done. Two points, I think would be useful to address and clear up, before we go any further into the topic. The first is the historic nature of immigration and it's purpose to the major shapers of the economy and country. In former days around the time of independence, American was seemingly infinite in space and was constantly expanding towards the West Coast. There were lmperial pressures to expand, maintain racial slavery, expel the Native Americans from their ancestral lands, and later, to have a large labor force to build up Eastern cities, contruct the railroads, and fill the many new jobs in industrial factories. Later into the 20th Century, agribusiness developed and eventually became dependent on very low wage farm workers, many of which came from Mexico and Central America.
The second is the undeniable fact that the demand for labor was butressed by the desire by businesses and industries to have wages as low as possible. This made a steady flow of immigrants even more important to the economy, as new immigrants were usually vulnerable and desperate for work, and could be paid less than former, established groups. It was also benefical for them to have surplus labor, which tended to also lower labor costs. To the Carnagies, Morgans, and Rockellers, three of the most famous of the capitalist barons on the 19th and early 20th Century, cheap non-organized labor was essential for their businesses to be highly profitable.
So friction and competition between established immigrant communities, and newer recent arrivals, is nothing new. Italian, German, Polish, Jewish, Chinese, African, and Irish immigrants, to name just some of the groups, came to American in large numbers. The long established hierarchy of racism inherited after the demise of slavery kept people of color and Hispanics mainly on the bottom of the ladder, despite the fact that many long preceeded the new waves of immigrants.
The most important lesson we can learn from the long history of immigration in our country is that it is something that has been supported by BOTH major political parties, and the larger economic forces behind these politicians. While one party, mainly the Republican Party, has of late pandered for votes by appearing to oppose immigration, and the other one, the Democratic Party, appears to be weakly supportive of immigrants also for different votes, the needs of the economy itself, especially agribusiness, for cheap immigrant labor remains constant. As does their behind the scenes influence in BOTH parties.
So despite the vicious tactics of the Trump admistration against some immigrant groups, and Trump's scapegoating of Mexico and demands for a virtually useless wall that his own party has hesitated to fund, they have no intention of really doing anything constructive about immigration reform. Even if Trump gets all of his wall, it will cover less than half of the actual border. Since many people that cross illegally go through the actual border checkpoints, squeezed into large trucks with secret compartments, or through tunnels that go deep under the border, it's a massive waste of the tax payer's money. Neither will the Democrats do much in the way of humanitarian reform.
The Republican goal is to perpectually dangle the issue in the face of their voters, but otherwise do little or nothing. In is reminiscent of the Republican anti-abortion strategy, which they have dangled in front of voters who oppose abortion for the last 40 plus years. Although in the case of immigration, scape goating immigrants of color has much to do with pandering to racial stereotypes and prejudices -- you will recall how much Trump made of wanting people from Norway as opposed to poor, predominiately black or hispanic countries and alluded to the threat of immigrating "Mexican rapists."
Is There a Solution to the Immigration Quesion?
They also don't give a damn about our futures, our children's future, addressing the pervasive and endemic racism and other forms of prejudice in America, whether you can afford health insurance, our pensions, social security, global warming and climate change -- which threaten everyone on the planet, etc.
Both large numbers of the unemployed and immigrant labor, legal or otherwise, are actually desirable conditions for those who rule over us. Real unemployment is also substantially higher that what our government reports, and is a much greater factor than legal or illegal Mexican and Central American labor, which largely occupies jobs that most American citizens do not want and will not take. Do you envision sending your kids to college so they can work washing dishes or in the fields picking our food crops and living in tents? Have you ever considered how much you save in dollars due to the many thousands of low paid immigrants that pick the crops that you eat? Do you find yourself berating and cursing them and demanding they be deported if they don't have the right papers?
Truth be told, there is a massive shortage of jobs that pay enough to raise a family with chidren. Further punishing immigrants will not resolve the problem. Our ecomomy is actually in decline, with millions working more hours for less money. It's a "Walmarts" and fast food future for all too many workers, many of which will be your own children.
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