Default
Elizabeth Sullivan:With More People Coming, U.S. Needs A Plan—on Common Dreams
Default author
May 28, 2007, 06:16 PM
A+
|
a-
Print Friendly and PDF
Elizabeth Sullivan writes at Common Dreams and the Cleveland Plain Dealer[May 26, 2007]:

No immigration compromise can ever be fair for everyone. That’s why Congress is about to take the big duck, again. That’s why the system will continue to be driven by lawlessness, exploitation and fear.

And that’s why this nation will fail to retool its immigration laws for a 21st-century economy that demands higher skill sets to compete for the jobs and inventions of the future.

Max Payne commented:

My professor in Politics 101 always said that when people are stuck with a government that flips them the bird, they’d normally get rid of it and build a new one. The trouble with our US Government is that it was created by the elitists at a time when they could easily frame democracy as somehow �bad� for our nation. The Founding Fathers knew that very well and whether we’re talking Jefferson or Hamilton, they took Shays’ Rebellion and used it to create a somewhat centralized government. By now, Hamilton would be blushing !

Gregory the Great

Our overburdened social systems will not be expanded to deal with millions of uninvited and unwelcome who come here without skills. It is not part of our Capitalist nature to erect a massive socialist infrastructure to alleviate poverty. We barely do it for �our own� now. Burdened with massive debt and trade imbalances, great disparities in wealth and a declining middle class, the US will become a �third-world’ nation. Probably a fascist one at that.

Adele the Czech

The title of this article is telling: �With More People Coming …� Yes indeedy, the country that built the Panama Canal is incapable of securing its borders. We’re defeated before we start. Nonsense!

No, it’s not amnesty. It’s insanity.

My own comment

This article makes a good point, that there is no plan with the attention of the political movers and shakers that has any connection to maintaining or improving the lives of Mexicans(or other major source countries of immigration) and Americans.

Part of the issue is that the science of economics is fundamentally politicized and flawed in recent years. The other, is that many prominent economists that do specialize in the economics of immigration aren`t even being seriously considered by political or economic elites Hispanic economist George Borjas at Harvard is a prominent example).

I`ve written extensively on the topic of immigration-and like Thom Hartman, I am a progressive that supports immigration restriction-and I have written extensively on that topic.

One fundamental problem here is that no one of any real power is looking at the economics here pragmatically. To understand the motivation to immigrate, we need to look at the value of citizenship in one country compared to another. We then need to consider what incentives are in place and whether the disincentives actually give a realistic possibility that the law will be obeyed.

I`ve recently written what is the only vaguely realistic estimate of the economic value of US citizenship (it is imperfect-but is at least a start). I put the theoretical value at about $300,000 in today`s market/situation (the actual market value is closer to $100,000-which is about what some of our immediate neighbors sell citizenship for). I would expect Mexican citizenship has considerably less economic value-and the value of dual citizenship is considerably greater than either alone.

What illegal immigrants-and guest workers-are largely working for isn`t their meager wages (which make life difficult given the US cost of living) but shot at a green card-which is highly valuable. That means that a company that can facilitate a green card-by giving an illegal immigrant employment until the next amnesty, can fully expect lot of otherwise uncompensated labor.

A realistic policy needs to have penalties for the employers-particularly the wealthy ones-that have enforced penalties that are high compared to the economic benefits involved. The Bush administration has actually reduced enforcement of existing immigration law-which was low since the Reagan era.

Immigration is simply not essential to a robust economy. Japan and Korea are examples of countries without the US resource base and ability to borrow internationally that have highly developed economies that are growing faster in terms of productivity per worker-and Japan has higher levels of income equality than the US-and neither country has high levels of immigration compared to the US.

When you look at other countries that do have high levels of immigration, many are in fact extremely heavily socially controlled (the only nations with higher immigration that are a vaguely attractive compared to the US from my perspective are Canada and Australia -which may have an even higher natural resource base per capita than the US has).

What immigration can do is cause a nation to "grow" by simply adding bodies. Making that nation grow in terms of real productivity requires very careful planning. That problem is compounded because the benefits to wealthy interests are immediate-and the costs are long term and socialized.

Also the current legislation is simply not clearly a compromise bill in terms of immigration numbers. There are some polls suggesting that the public wants elements of the legislation (i.e. avoiding an immediate and rapid mass deportation). However, I have seen no compelling poll suggesting that existing US citizens really want an increase in future immigration numbers—which is intrinsic in the current legislation-and this comes after promises have been repeatedly broken over a 40+ year period by government officials-including prominent supporters of this legislation.

I`ve written a couple years ago on what I think might be a sensible immigration policy(one thing that needs updating that is how to apply resettlement allowances to illegal immigrants that return after a long stay in the US). We need a policy that is good for both US and Mexicans, economically sound-and which has broad popular support. It isn`t clear to me the current legislation has any of those features.

I am also skeptical of current approaches on skills based immigration that the US has used recently. I will be publishing a significant article the next couple weeks that deals specifically with how I would structure a program in that area.

I have articles that will be published soon that specifically address the immigration record of Mitt Romney(hint: despite tough talk there is compelling evidence he favors loose immigration). I will also expose some other powerful interests behind mass immigration.

I welcome feedback-and thoughtful questions/suggestions- from common dreams readers.

VDARE.COM readers can add their own comments at Common Dreams—please consider, this is a very progressive audience for some of whom consideration of immigration restriction is new-and often quite painful/frightening for them.

I think we can create an immigration policy that is more fair to a lot of Americans-and Mexicans-than the current legislation, but I suspect the wealthy interests supporting the current legislation won`t like it one bit.