Both sides of the political aisle have made a major issue out of the problem of the 11 million people inside the US illegally or presently undocumented. The president has said this is a priority and Florida senator Marco Rubio has agreed. They are theoretically opposed to each other, yet Rubio’s proposals entailed in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 don’t differ a great deal from Obama’s. In a nutshell, Rubio has suggested that the wholesale eviction of 11 million people is impossible and that the bill offers them an opportunity for legalization and permanent residence and citizenship. Naturally, the “jump through hoops” process begins here: Fines and background checks and no federal bennies.
Sounds completely reasonable, but you’d think Rubio had suggested that the government was handing out lollipops and bon-bons, making Spanish the new “official language” and changing the “Star Spangled Banner” to “Guantanmera” by the reaction of his “conservative” peers. A cursory Google reveals an enraged base represented by such intellectual heavweights as Townhall.com and Ann “To Hell With Palin, I Was Here First” Coulter. Any concessions to the teeming masses of south of the border is treasonous amnesty and in their hardly humble opinions, this will lead to “de-Europeanization” (ie less white).
As far as what the generally pitiful Democrats are offering, it is only marginally different than Rubio’s idea. Which is also reasonable, but overlooks the crux of the issue, because no one anywhere has to unmitigated gall (until now) to say it: “Illegal Immigration reform” is a solution in search of a problem, because in reality, it isn’t a problem at all!
The way I see it, a problem means an aggrieved party and in this instance, there isn’t one. People want to hire help for whatever the task is, other people agree to do it for a price, end of story. The idea that “illegal immigrants are stealing American workers jobs” sounds fairly solid on its face unless you happen to live in the American Southwest and notice that wherever day laborers congregate, there aren’t a whole hell of a lot of white folks. As far as “taking away jobs that union carpenters/plumbers/electricians do”, isn’t it the union’s job to protect their own for one and for two, a skyscraper isn’t built and wired with dudes from the Lowe’s parking lot. It is not worth a major contractor’s license to screw with E-Verify (I passed an E-Verify check myself a few months ago for my radio show!).
Assuming you “legalized” every man, woman in child in the US tomorrow, what happens? The working person’s price rises. Which means that they will be replaced by new people from Central America or Asia that will remain invisible. See, we are a free country with open borders–people can come and go as they please, this isn’t a gulag (yet) (The irony of the most virulent anti-USSR voices being the loudest for a border fence is astounding). Not only is there no way to stop it, there isn’t even a real reason to stop it–as China and Japan might tell you, an aging and shrinking worker base is starting to hurt them and hard.
Fact is, both major political parties support and oppose it for a pair of reasons of their own. Democrats love this, as it accelerates the “Bluing” of the Southwest with millions of new voters beholding and grateful to them, making a Republican national electoral victory mathematically impossible. The other reason they love it is because it replenishes their most loyal and organized base, labor. Republicans hate it for two reasons as well–newly legal workers will have more rights, bargaining power and higher pay, which means that a new cheap labor era is gonna take a while. The other reason is the one they vehemently deny but is as obvious as the honkers on their maps–their base’s great unifier isn’t economics or even social issues, but race. That the Dixiecrats of the last century are now almost entirely Republican. The glue that holds them intact, whether they’d care to admit it or not, is white supremacy. And a sea of legal Americans that are a deeper shade of soul galls them to the cores of their rancid selves. Were they serious about “sending all of these people back to where they came from”, they’d boycott every and any business that employs them, which means they’d pretty much have to stop eating. I’ve seen what the average reactionary looks like--that ain’t happening.
Obama and Rubio both cry out that the system is “broken” but it isn’t. Undocumenteds pour billions into the coffers of state and federal and don’t get it back and whatever their costs are to health or schools, they’re balanced off by what the public saves in lower food and service costs. They’re a wash. Which means that any changes to the laissez-faire system only make everyone’s life harder and more complex. If there is a solution, the easiest one would be a “seven year rule”–you prove you’ve actually been here 7 years, no criminal record, you take a citizenship test, that’s it.
We have undocumented people in this very neighborhood. They want the same things we do. That’s good enough for me.