April 24, 2006


Readers Write: Immigration Debate (Maria Luisa Tucker, April 24, 2006, AlterNet)

Over the last few weeks I have written a series of pieces advocating compassionate immigration reform that includes earned citizenship for this country's 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants. The first article, "Sí, Se Puede!" described the enthusiasm of the burgeoning movement for immigrants' rights. "Immigration Debate Creates Strange Bedfellows" looked at the strange political alliances created by the fracas, and finally, "Defining the Melting Pot" recounted the huge April 10 rally in New York.

The passion of the debate following these articles took me by surprise. [...]

The majority of commentators voiced opposition to legalization for undocumented immigrants, and scolded me personally and AlterNet at large for supporting such a proposition. Metahope asked, "Alternet, why are you supporting illegal immigrants rights over the rights of American citizens?" Metahope, like many others, viewed undocumented immigrants as a major threat, saying that "illegal immigrant scabs are destroying unions in Brooklyn, N.Y., and all over the United States They work hard at undermining our economic security … They don't deserve our largesse … They are lower than saboteurs, they are infestations."

Many agreed, though in less harsh terms, that illegal immigration is a threat to blue-collar citizens. Clocksmith wrote, "I am tired of hearing that illegal immigrants do the jobs that Americans won't do. If these jobs paid a fair and decent wage, Americans would do them." Clocksmith summed up the most consistent argument against illegal immigration (and immigration in general) -- the belief that immigrants "keep wages depressed for the rest of us" and make life more difficult for American workers. [...]

Medstudgeek felt that citizens who support illegal immigrants were insensitive to the repercussions on black American workers: "Notice that civil rights *leaders* are supporting immigration while ordinary blacks frequently oppose it. Why? Because, for sociological reasons, young black men always go to the bottom of the employment pile. Immigrants take spots ahead of them. The only way to help black people out of poverty is to create a scarcity of labor."

Similarly, Feller wrote, " racism has nothing to do with the majority of players in this game. It's money. MONEY. Bucks. The practical effect of a successful Latino immigrant movement will be additional misery for young African-Americans. Similarly for many poor white high school and college dropouts." [...]

Disagreeing with my pro-immigrant stance, one reader attributed my politics to a personal identity crisis. "Maria's a wannabe," gotmyeyeonyou wrote. "Tucker has written articles before about how she's pissed that her parents were 'forced' into speaking only English, so she's been reduced to pandejo status among the 'real' Hispanics this grave injustice of being denied her true destiny of speaking Spanish as a native is now the basis of her entire political/social outlook."

The subtext, of course, was both a questioning of my own ethnic authenticity and a tendency to characterize nonimmigrants who supported the immigrant rallies as elitists, hyperpolitically correct "faux liberals," corporate sympathizers or, more simply, sheep following some party line. Which party line, however, was up for debate, proving just how tangled the immigration debate has become:

"Are you all dupes for the Democratic Party?" asked jyork. "They sold out to their corporate money base and here you are doing it too." Yet, in another thread JPHickey wondered if I and/or AlterNet at large were "covert Bush administration spin doctors."

Because opposition to immigration is inextricably bound up with racial politics, isolationism, and protectionism its natural appeal is to the Left.

Meanwhile, the actual future of the West lies in a competition for immigrants to fill open jobs and kleep economies and social welfare systems from tanking,
Alberta too hot for some
(PATRICK BRETHOUR, 4/24/06, Globe and Mail)

The rising tide of Alberta's economy has created an undertow for non-energy businesses, which have had to endure the strains of superheated growth without the massive revenues of an oil producer. “As a manufacturing company, it's been miserable,” Mr. English said.

The province's dominant energy sector is struggling with the same problem, although it is one largely of its own creation. Husky Energy Inc. president and chief executive officer John Lau warned last week of the spread of the labour shortage, saying that his Calgary-based company is now looking outside of the country to build a massive bitumen upgrader because there are not enough workers locally. [...]

[T]he labour shortage problem turned critical for Raydan after it launched an expansion in Nisku, and found that it took nearly a year to find the 30 workers it needed. “We wanted to increase the size of our facility, but we couldn't find the people,” he said. A second phase of the expansion seemed out of reach.

Mr. English soon was having to pay close to double the hourly wages of his competitors in Ontario — not surprising when the McDonald's fast-food restaurant in nearby Leduc is hiring workers at $9.50 an hour, substantially higher than Alberta's hourly minimum wage of $7.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 24, 2006 9:04 AM

This whole recorded mailbag rant really gets to the heart of what the real threat is: Some people are afraid that the Hispanic "horde" will change the debate on race relations away from the current template. Can't have people reading from the script of their own lives, can we?

Posted by: Brad S at April 24, 2006 9:22 AM


However, the usual suspects on the left, including, it seems the governator, almost unanimously object to open legal immigration even with proper controls. Democrats must appease their core cohorts of union officials and black welfare pimps because legitimizing immigration would interfere with their well oiled vote fraud machines in the inner cities and in agricultural areas in California and other states that use braceros extensively, but what's the excuse for alleged Republicans like Schwarzenegger and others for supporting lefties on this issue and giving the president more headaches?

Posted by: erp at April 24, 2006 9:45 AM