Both political parties have talked about immigration reform for years. More agents on border patrol. More deportations. A path to citizenship.
According to the “patriotic” wing of the GOP, illegals are blamed for just about every ill you can think of. They crowd our emergency rooms. They overcrowd our schools. They vote in amazing numbers (at a higher rate than US citizens, evidently). They are the reason for taxes. I think they may even be causing global warming (if the deniers would admit it existed).
Of course, the fact that illegal immigrants actually contribute more to the system, in terms of cheap labor, taxes and buying power, is irrelevant. In the age of “Fox Facts” real facts take a back seat.
So, the Dems want , or claim they want, immigration reform. But the GOP has basically said it is DOA, at least for this year. With good reason.
The last thing the financial interests which support the GOP, and to some extent the Dems, want is closed borders. Too many businesses and industries thrive on illegal labor. The benefits to major corporate interests are legion.
Illegals cannot demand fair wages. Or working conditions. Or anything, really. They live under the constant threat and fear of deportation. The agricultural and meat processing industries make million, if not billions, by harnessing this low wage labor. No union contracts. No overtime. No testy union negotiations to deal with. No factories or fields that have to meet health standards. A capitalist’s dream.
Imagine what would happen if all the illegals disappeared tomorrow. Who would take those jobs? Would these industries be non-unionized for long? What would happen to the wage structure in order to attract US citizens to those jobs? What would happen to corporate profits? What costs would these industries have to incur to meet safe standards for working conditions?
The same is true in the construction industry. It is no accident that Congress passed a labor law when distributing money for Hurricane Katrina. A law that specifically denied the demand that American union workers provide the labor for reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. As a result you had thousands of illegals move up from central America to rebuild the houses, roads, etc. Non-union, underpaid labor.
This is why for all the whining and groaning about the “illegals” that we hear coming from the right wing we should understand that these same right wingers have never been serious about immigration reform. The very folks who keep them in Congress would be financially harmed if any meaningful immigration laws were enforced. That is also why Congress funds only 20,000 people to run the entire ICE program. In a nation of over 300,000,000 the ICE is supposed to control the borders, process citizenship applications and track down illegals. As well as monitor businesses for compliance. Anyone believe that is possible?
Illegal immigration is here to stay. It’s good for big business.