"In fact, the best way to stem the flow of cheap immigrant labor is to substantially increase the minimum wage requirement to a living wage, and to deploy sufficient U.S. Labor Department inspectors to enforce it. At the very least, existing laws protecting workers must not continue to be ignored — but Bush’s speech contained no reference to enforcing the wage, working conditions, and occupational safety laws on the books that might make those jobs more attractive to workers here legally."
Does this matter? There are billions of people living in countries poorer than the US. Do you really think that it isn't plausible that every single american worker could be replaced by a foreign worker that is brighter, more skilled, more compliant-not to mention better looking and more charming. Lack of English skills among those foreign workers is a problem for many existing employers-but it becomes less of a barrier as entire companies develop crews proficient in Spanish, Chinese or other languages.
I strongly support enforcing-and expanding- all labor regulations around use of illegal alien labor. However, simply raising the US minimum wage will more likely exclude some immigrant groups-and attract others. Dramatic expansion of the EITC remains a better means of income support-and one which can plausibly be restricted only to US citizens.
"What is needed is a free market for labor in which workers with clearly defined and protected rights bargain for full payment for their worth. If the working conditions and pay rise to the level that they become attractive to workers here legally, then the market for undocumented workers will dry up and border controls can function relatively efficiently."
The problem is we've already seen what guest worker programs have done to US technical workers. The draw of a US green card is so enormous that it attracts the "best and brightest" from throughout the world. This meant that US tech workers were(and are) competing against Indians with extraordinary business skills utterly willing to cater to American management-and the result is displacement of hundreds of thousands of US tech workers. Normalization of status and free markets in labor are no real protection for US workers.
American workers deserve progressives that steadfastly stand up for their interests. Until that happens, the Left in America will fail to obtain broad support among working people.