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Immigration Deformed

June 13, 2013

I think of myself as a leftist, but I part company with leftists on immigration reform. I recently asked a professor of German history about my daughter spending time in Germany. I was surprised to learn that she would not be allowed to work there. I was naive. Germans quite reasonably give Germans preference in employment.

Mexico is another interesting country in terms of immigration. Mexico has a lot of problems. Americans should take most of the blame for the drug trade because, on the one hand we are the biggest customers, and on the other hand we insist on draconian punishments for drug use and trafficking. We can also take a lot of blame for unemployment in Mexico. NAFTA not only puts Americans out of work, but also Mexicans. Some Mexican farmers put out of business by American farmers who dumped subsidized produce in Mexico have ended up working for the American farmers who crushed them.

However, the rulers of Mexico prefer not to deal with Mexican problems because doing so would reduce their wealth and power. I seem to recall another country which works that way. Mexican oligarchs have a less painful way of dealing with national problems. Exporting distressed citizens to America reduces the pressure for reform in Mexico and props up the Mexican economy by the “remittances” which emigrants send back to Mexico.

A hypocrisy of the Mexican govt is to whine about how badly America treats illegal immigrants, while carefully restricting immigration from Central America to Mexico.
It would be inhumane to deport the 11 million illegal residents of the U. S., and the Obama administration’s increase in deportations is as useless an exercise in political theater as was the Bush administration’s fences and electronic surveillance.

The United States govt is not yet as corrupt as the Mexican, but we’re getting there. That’s why the real solution to illegal immigration will not be effected. The real solution is severely to punish the employers of illegal immigrants. That will not happen because the GOP and to a slightly lesser extent the Dem. party are dominated by business interests. Our 2-tiered “justice” system will put illegal immigrants into concentration camps, where health problems and rape are ignored, but I haven’t heard of any employers punished for replacing Americans with illegal immigrants.

The GOP, as usual, is a little worse than the Dems. By opposing legalization of illegals the GOP can appeal to its racist base and keep immigrants in legal limbo, where they can be most grossly exploited by employers.

Some people will admit that illegal immigration lowers wages for unskilled workers. What may be a surprise is that legal immigration, in the form of the H1B visa, puts skilled Americans out of work. In particular, the tech industry, led by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, is lobbying hard for an unlimited number of H1B visas. Supposedly this is because, as with illegal immigrants in the agricultural and hospitality businesses, Americans cannot be found to do the work. Apparently the thousands of unemployed American engineers and computer pros cannot do the work which Microsoft and Facebook need.

NOT! As illegal immigrants have partly replaced Americans in meat-packing and construction, H1B visa holders are preferred to Americans because immigrants can be paid less.

The Daily Kos posted an astounding video, “How Not to Hire an American,” on 18 June 2007. In it Cohen & Grigsy, P.C., instruct HR workers about how to avoid hiring Americans so that the employer can get green cards for immigrants. This is the not-very-well-hidden agenda of the Silicon Valley lobbyists. American engineers and other high-tech workers can be replaced by immigrants who can be paid less.

What this adds up to is 2 immigration reforms.
First is an idea which most amazingly comes from the Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, usually a source of amazing nonsense. He wants no guest workers if unemployment tops 5%. I would also limit H1B visas, now 600,000, to 6000. If Einstein applied, he would get in. He had a Nobel Prize, after all.
Second, very severe penalties, from billion-dollar fines up to revocation of corporate charter and 25 years in jail for CEOs and board chairs, would be exacted from businesses which employ illegal immigrants. Despite problems in practice, E-Verify is a good idea.

Severe punishment of employers and very rare work visas would mean very few jobs for immigrants. Immigrants are not stupid. If there are not jobs, immigration will slow to a trickle. Richard Wolff, Prof. of Economics at UMass-Amherst, says that immigration is one of four reasons why wages in America have stagnated for 30 years. Decrease the inundation of immigration, correct the other abuses of workers by bosses, and wages will rise. Correcting other abuses, principally free trade, which is the twin of open borders, will be another post.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Bretton Blodgett permalink
    May 23, 2013 10:23 pm

    This is a product of a genius at work.

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