Sally Kohn writes on Common Dreams:
Thankfully, immigration reform is progressing in Congress. There are 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States who have made invaluable contributions to our culture and economy and deserve the basic rights and dignity that citizenship provides.
Yet some nasty provisions stand out in the compromise Senate legislation - prioritizing highly-skilled English speaking immigrants over working class immigrants and people of color whose families are already here, and blocking the opportunity of citizenship for future â€?guestworkersâ€?, continuing the two-tiered system of discrimination and exploitation that currently exists. Instead, if we examined the root causes of migration, we might actually help - rather than punish - immigrants.
She follows up with some points on NAFTA that actually do have some merit (specifically on how agricultural subsidies are subsidizing immigration and increasing poverty in Mexico)-however what I I think might be of more interest to VDARE.COM readers is the range of opinion expressed in the commentary.
I do NOT blame them for coming here â€” theyâ€™re desperate. But so are Americaâ€™s undereducated and low-skilled workers. Shouldnâ€™t they be paramount in our concerns?
I live in Long Island too, the Hamptons, it is ridiculous. I remember when there were no Hispanics to do the work, the bosses were forced to pay up, and everyone managed....Still, it just isnâ€™t right, we should have been lifting up the ones already here.
The intellectual discussion here bothers me. I am 71 years old. I paid into social security for 46 years. I started out poor and never made a lot of money (women are still paid less). I finally saved enough to buy a house in a working class area. My older sister and I live there.
This area used to be a quiet place where people knew each other and took care of their properties. Even after Katrina, we were able to put a block party together. A well-integrated one; blacks, whites, and legal Hispanics.
This has changed rapidly. We have been taken over by large numbers of Hispanics. Crime has increased. Our neighbors who have young children are afraid of the drugs which seem to be everywhere. People who could afford it have moved.
I spent much of my life living in places that where not â€?the best part of townâ€?. I put my money and a lot of work into this place. What do I do now? In another year, I wonâ€™t even speak the language. Sometimes, Iâ€™m afraid of going outside. The majority of my income comes from social security. If it will be available to illegal aliens, will I lose some of mine?
If I were the only working class person to be affected, I could say that I just fell through the cracks. But I know that many of us are in the same boat.
So, what happens to Americans? Who speaks for us?
Now, keep in mind, Common Dreams is the most popular left leaning web site.
VDARE.COM readers can add their own comments here—I'd be careful to focus on the likely audience.
My own comments:
The question that needs to be asked here: why should working Americans pay for problems created by corporate-sponsored NAFTA?
It is the most wealthy, high income and politically influential Americans that have supported NAFTA, illegal immigration and that have reaped the bulk of the economic benefits. The fundamental problem with the current immigration policy is that these wealthy interests keep their profits-and the costs are socialized.
I would argue that instead, the wealthy interests that have garnered profits from NAFTA and illegal immigration should take some responsibility-and set things right both for working Americans and for working Mexicans.
Granting 12 Million illegal immigrants citizenship isnâ€™t going to come for free. The social benefits that are now made available to each and every American are close to $10,000/year per adult citizen. The US gets 10 million applications for immigration each and every year. Currently, only around 800,000 are legally admitted(another amnesty might change those numbers). We need to ask ourselves whether we are selecting those immigrants that are making America a better nation for those already here and a better member of the world communityâ€“and what type of selection process might meet those ends?
There is strong indication that increased access to US labor markets has done nothing to decrease poverty in Mexico. That raises the question of what might actually help?
I think we need to look at seriously taxing the wealthy in both the US and Mexico to set this situation right. Collecting the existing $25,000/violation fines on employers that violate US immigration law-and applying those revenues to infrastructure and alleviation of poverty in Mexico is perfectly reasonable. Long run, those fines are too low to be really effective-the profits from illegal immigration are so substantial to employers that for fines to be effective, they would need to be much larger and more regularly enforced.
It would take only $60 Billion/year to alleviate all of the most extreme poverty in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Correcting major regional infrastructure problems would be done for even less.
These issues can and should be addressed.