Monday, May 01, 2006

The Forgotten: Illegal Immigration Hurts America's Young, Poor

In its coverage of the so-called "Day Without Immigrants," CNNMoney is running
this story
about the impact of illegal immigrants on the nation's economy.

The front page reads: "Illegal immigrants are gathering across the nation for 'A Day Without Immigrants,' a protest meant to show the economic impact of immigrants. Many experts agree the economy is stronger because of illegal immigrants, but some see a negative impact on low skilled U.S.-born workers."

Is CNN saying that illegal immigrants don't actually take only those jobs that Americans don't want anyway? This is news only to American power elites that haven't considered (or don't give a damn about) the plight of thousands of Americans for whom the technological and economic spoils of recent decades has meant little or nothing. A host of factors (lacks of access, developmental care and educational opportunities among them) mean that while "most Americans with higher skilled jobs are better off for their presence", many other Americans are indeed suffering. If this isn't an instance of legitimate class warfare, I don't know what is.

While the article deigns to include important insight from Northeastern economist Andrew Sum and others showing that "the large supply of illegal immigrants has displaced low-skilled U.S.-born workers, particularly the young and the poor, from jobs," the article's headline still reads "Illegal workers: Boon for U.S. economy." The forgotten, downcast young and poor laborers (where is Howard Dean on this? Where is Jesse Jackson? Where, oh, where, is Ted Turner?) are mentioned in the article's subheading with a journalistic zeal usually reserved for spelling bees: "The U.S. has benefited from illegal immigrants, most economists say, though some low-skilled workers have been hurt."

If the Power Leftists controlling the mainstream media were unified in their opposition to illegal immigration (or if they really cared about low-skilled American labor), these headlines would be reversed and the real issues of social justice in this debate would be obvious. Those "few" US workers (including legal immigrants!)of every ethnicity displaced by the influx of illegals are the truly oppressed minority in this scenario, forgotten even by those who give lip-service to the downcast every election cycle. Democratic and Republican powerbrokers need to name this for the justice issue it is and stop playing games.


Anonymous Soma said...

I know this isn't exactly what you were talking about, but what about the U.S. foreign policies that drive conditions in the countries illegal immigrants are escaping from? This doesn't minimize your point--I highly doubt it's the low-skilled worker population in the U.S. that is propagating those policies--but I don't think you've told the whole story here. If the U.S. is going to take it upon itself to truly eliminate illegal labor in this country, then we also need to take it upon ourselves to take responsibility for conditions we help foster in other countries. Note that I am NOT taking the far-left position that the U.S. *causes* poverty in other countries...but I am saying that just becasue illegal immigrants are not U.S. born does not mean that we have no responsibility for their welfare, or even that we have less responsibility than we do for our own working poor.

I'm also curious to know your take on this: instead of "cracking down" on illegal labor, have we ever considered loosening immigration policy? I know a million people will rise up in opposition to that statement, so tell me, why would this be such a bad idea?

1:44 PM  
Anonymous a.s. said...

Reforming immigration isn't a bad idea, and as far as loosening immigration policy, that is, indeed, what all the buzz regarding amnesty is about. Amnesty proponents would have the US grant legal status to the millions of illegal immigrants already here with no questions asked. The specifics vary from granting legal "guest worker" status to granting full-fledged citizenship. Any approach to reform tantamount to throwing our collective hands in the air and saying we were just kidding about those pesky immigration laws all along is not acceptable. It's bad politics, bad jurisprudence and heinous national defense policy.

That said, I agree entirely that the US needs to be committed to ending policies that ruin the economic stability of developing countries. That is certainly a moral imperative wherever responsible nations under legitimate regimes are concerned. I would not want to make a blanket statement though. Very soon we will need to implement sanctions on Iran, and we need to allow for the use of the economic weapon in other regions in the future. I'm not actually in favor of sanctions because I don't think they can work given the current corruption in the UN --wiki the Food For Oil program in Iraq and the cozy relationship between Jacques Chirac and Saddam Hussein for more info, or watch as China and Russia block even the most reasonable attempts at censuring Iran-- but, under different circumstances, they might be a good alternative to outright war. Gandhi and Sadat showed us the leveraging power of economics in the last century, and I think we need to take those lessons seriously. So too must we take a stand for sustainable justice in the developing world as you rightly point out.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous BradCarroll said...

This is interesting. You should see this site:

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Janet Copeland said...

Yes Illegal immigration not always the illegals fault.

Illegal and legal citizens... employers have created this monster! Eventually when you keep stealing from the pot.... You go there and there's nothing left.. Oh well If the legal citizens aren't being helped you know it's been stolen and none of who it was originally meant for ever benefited. Lay the trap and you'll catch the theives!!!! Hope someone before me has been smart enough to figure it out. I am just a poor church mouse!

They are the ones who have ripped the benefits. It's been years and what I believe has happened is that it has gone too far and the americans are moving out because they have no jobs and can't afford to live. A false economy has been created. They have caused certain things to go up and their monies are not put back into the regular ecomony. the underground economy moves the illegal funds around and they never come back to benefit the whole like our democracy was meant to create. Falsely used identies have drained are public services by these illegals and without the true monies they have increased employers to make are never used on the American economy. I need more time and I would love to find a group think tank.....

3:01 AM  

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