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Progressive Indictment | Editor At Christian Science Monitor Opposes Cure For Illegal Aliens
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August 31, 2005, 05:00 AM
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Democratic Governors declaring States of Emergency because of illegal immigration are only part of the political paradox emerging because of the GOP/ Big Business cheap-labor, open-borders fanaticism. The liberal Christian Science Monitor has recently been reporting on immigration at a pace beyond any Main Stream Media outlet.

For example, Time to get real about enforcing immigration laws and Immigration can`t save Social Security, by David R. Francis.

However, last week`s opinion article, America`s illegal immigration dilemma can`t be deported by former Editor John Hughes, was a classic example of unimaginative MSM thinking.

Hughes simply can`t get beyond the reliance on failed tactics like yet another amnesty—and expansion of that modern day version of indentured servitude, guest worker visas.

But America`s illegal immigration dilemma CAN be deported. And it`s not necessarily a right-wing policy. Here are some thoughts from my progressive perspective.

1) Acknowledge Ralph Nader`s common-sense point that governments that systematically export their populations to America shouldn`t be supported.

2) Bad trade deals like NAFTA have driven many people who were until recently self-sufficient farmers off the land.  Those folks deserve compensation from those most involved in their disenfranchisement (as do many Americans affected by illegal immigration). That means the rich in the US and Latin America should surrender via taxation substantial assets they have gained during this period. 

The US government can`t legislate in Latin America—but there are many locals there ready and willing to replace the elites that have used the US as a dumping ground for their least-wanted citizens. These alternatives deserve support and recognition.

3) Substantial aid can be given to areas in Latin America that accept internal migrants (since they provide an alternative to US-destined migrations).

4) Enforcing the existing sanctions against US employers of illegals—and directing the funds raised towards jobs and infrastructure programs in Latin America—would leave illegal aliens no worse off than they are now, and creating jobs back home that they would be well-qualified to fill.

5) The only alternative Hughes seems to consider is the straw man of instant deportation. But deportation could be done gradually. Even after replacement of the criminal classes that have run businesses dependent on labor of illegal aliens, there would still be immediate labor needs. It might well take some time to return the US to a high wage, high productivity economy. Granting of temporary work permits, of varying lengths of time, could be accompanied by gradual repatriation.

Compensation for the atrocities associated with NAFTA could be made contingent upon demonstrated repatriation.

Removing illegal aliens over several years, largely via financial incentives and disincentives, would be fair less disruptive than what we have experienced so far. But the key thing here is to reverse the overall flow of immigration, starting immediately, at least until US labor markets truly recover. 

If Bill Gates really wants his Guest Workers, he can well afford to pay enough to induce many more illegal aliens to repatriate earlier than they would be scheduled under this plan—as he must if that program is to be anything other than corporate welfare. (At anything like fair market value, I suspect Gates would rapidly lose interest in facilitating immigration.)

6) There are massive opportunities for development that don`t involve migration to the US. For example, there are substantial, immediate opportunities for development of ocean-based agriculture and energy production. Their development of course requires the US cease being a borrowing nation and returns to its decades-long abandoned traditions of technological leadership.

7) Employers—and investors/lenders—should be held fully responsible for all risks and costs they create via illegal immigration. For example all health care costs of illegal immigrants (and indirect health risks) should be paid for by their employers and the employers investors/lenders. Employers, lenders and investors should be regarded as accomplices to any crimes committed by illegal immigrants they have facilitated. Furthermore, lenders that lend property to illegal aliens should have their equity confiscated.

Many illegal immigrants don`t especially want to be part of the United States—any more than African slaves did. Granting them US citizenship without options for repatriation with return to a decent life and job isn`t really offering them much.

Furthermore, the folks that bear the cost of granting illegal aliens citizenship simply aren`t the people that profited from illegal immigration. Those folks get off scot-free and keep their illegitimate gains under Hughes` plans.

An amnesty of the type Hughes proposes would also recreate all the largely unsolved problems we have had with an alienated landless, disenfranchised underclass that we have had since the Civil War freed slaves without granting them broad based land ownership, as major abolitionists wanted.

Let`s not repeat that mistake this time around.

The Monitor really ought to know better.

Randall Burns [email him] holds a degree in Economics from the University of Chicago.  He works in the information technology sector and is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University.  Burns has been active in furthering the introduction of immigration, trade, and tax realities into the progressive agenda. In 2004, he helped create the Kucinich campaign`s position paper on H-1b/L-1 visas.