Progressive Debate on Immigration Starting at DailyKos
June 27, 2007, 06:26 PM
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Trapper John writes at the DailyKos about the recent Senate immigration legislation:

But the fact that Tancredo and the Minutemen oppose this bill doesn't make it something worth supporting. It's not. And when you look at it closely, it's a bill that progressives ought to vigorously oppose.

In fact, this immigration bill is an historically bad bill, one that will undermine wage markets and which will permanently cripple skills training in vital sectors of the economy. And — contrary to Lou Dobbs and the nativists — the critical problem with the bill has nothing to do with the path to citizenship provided therein. Hell, everyone this side of the Minutemen agrees that there needs to be a humane path to citizenship for those undocumented workers who are living, working, and contributing in the United States. The fact that this bill provides a version of that path is about the only positive aspect of the legislation. No, the fatal flaw in this bill isn't "amnesty" — it's the euphemistically termed "temporary worker program."

I'm glad to see a progressive discussing the problems with the proposed guest worker legislations.

Trapper John is making some major errors that have been promoted in the Corporate Media.

First off, grants of citizenship don't come for free—particularly when extended to populations less skilled and less productive than existing American populations. The Americans that will bear the cost of those citizenship grants most heavily are those Americans that are younger, less skilled and more likely to compete directly with recent immigrants. I've seen other progressives claim that the problems with H-1b expansion wouldn't have existed if those foreign workers had been granted green cards instead of temporary worker visas. That is a highly questionable claim without universal support from the economics profession.

Secondly, there are polls that claim that Americans prefer a "path to citizenship" to a rapid deportation. That is far from the only potential option-and those other options aren't discussed in those polls. Steve Sailor and I have both discussed the possibility of buyouts for recent immigrants. Given that we have at least $250 Billion in uncollected immigration violation fines, there is a substantial pot of money to work with here.

Thirdly, it should be mentioned that the legislation is a huge amnesty for employers of illegal immigrant labor.

It is sad so many progressives are unwilling to go after illegal employers. More attention needs to be given to progressive writers like Thom Hartman and myself who have written extensively on the topic of immigration.