David Frum And Illegal Immigration—Frum Is More Conservative On Immigration Than Most Of The GOP Candidates

YWC`s Kevin Deanna observes that David Frum, despite his ideological differences with many conservatives, is actually to the right of most Beltway conservatives on immigration, especially people like Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Godfather`s Pizza CEO Herman Cain. This was Frum giving the Thomas Ewing lecture at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, inspired, he said, partly by “Herman Cain’s comment that if you are unemployed, you should blame yourself.”

“No other country on earth faces an illegal immigration population on anything like this scale, because most countries punish employers who use illegal labor. Enforcement is never perfect of course. Illegals still find work in small enterprises and farms. But only in the United States do you find entire industries – and major corporations – using illegal labor on a very large scale.

One short anecdote illustrates why this is so.

In the 1990s, the meatpacking industry massively shifted from legal to illegal labor. Illegal labor was preferred not only because illegals could be paid less per hour, but also because meatpacking is a very dangerous job. An injured legal worker is entitled to worker compensation, health care and other costly benefits. An injured illegal worker has no recourse.

Prodded by outraged unions, the Clinton administration launched a crackdown on the industry in the late 1990s. Packing plants were raided, accounts were audited. Some big plants were almost 90% illegal, which does not happen by accident.

The response? The meatpackers protested the crackdown and Congress defunded the enforcement program.

Through the next decade, illegal labor flowed into homebuilding, eldercare, and other major industries. It wasn’t a secret. And from the point of view of the public officials averting their eyes, it wasn’t really a policy failure either: they saw illegal immigration as an important component of America’s competitiveness strategy, a way to suppress wages and thus inflation.”

[Don`t Blame The Young, FrumForum, October 24, 2011]

[Links added by VDARE.com]

See also David Frum`s point about Perry, donors, and wages in Texas, and our reader Joseph Morabito`s letter about Herman Cain and The National Restaurant Association.