What stage on the “Gandhi Scale of Social Change” is America presently at with regard to the immigration debate? Answering three little questions will help to the answer the question.
Since the publishing of my editorial on the coalition (i.e., Wake up Arizona) which is opposing the imposition of employer sanctions on business owners who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, I received dozens of communications within the first 12 hours following the publication. All but a scant few of the communications were supportive of the position for strong legal action, to the fullest extent of the law, against those who would knowingly hire illegal aliens. However, there were a few responses which strongly challenged the notion that we need to control our borders and reserve jobs for only American citizens and legal guest workers. I thought it prudent, at this point in the immigration debate, to answer three little questions frequently asked by those who are in favor continuing the lawlessness associated with illegal immigration.
1. Won’t businesses move out of the state rather than risk going to prison for violating the immigration laws and our standard of living decline?
According to the Heritage Foundation, each illegal alien costs Americans taxpayers $17,000. To those that would play ignorant (e.g., Wake Up Arizona) to one of the greatest threats ever to be faced by this nation, I ask what about the fact that American middle class wages, adjusted for inflation, have decreased by 23%, while corporate profits, from those who benefit from hiring illegal aliens, have increased over 300% in the same 30 year period? And let’s not forget that nearly 50 million working-poor Americans are without health insurance while an illegal alien can walk into any American emergency room and be treated for the cold or flu, free of charge. It has taken America a very long time to wake up to this travesty because the second and third jobs that many of us are holding down can no longer keep us out of debt!
To those that would insist there will be business flight from Arizona, I have a news bulletin; most of the businesses that could flee to the havens of cheap (i.e., virtual slave) labor, have already left. With regard to the illegal immigration debate we are primarily talking primarily about businesses that can only provide their services (i.e., service industry), locally, to Americans. It is apparent to many that several of our local businesses (e.g., Wake Up Arizona) want to exploit the cheap labor market in the same fashion as their global corporate brethren; and they want to do so at the expense of American jobs and the American middle class wage structure. Use your common sense; Do Americans really need to follow McDonalds out of the country in order to eat a hamburger? Is Click’s Tucson auto dealership the only place where one can buy a car? I have already made plans to shop elsewhere. What about you?
Nature abhors a vacuum. If Mac Magruder’s McDonalds restaurants, Wal-Mart, Kmart or any other mart were to leave town in defiance of our immigration laws, there will still be consumers who will have their unmet needs satisfied by a new generation of innovative, law-abiding entrepreneurial interests that would quickly fill in the gap. And this new generation of businesses will most likely obey the laws of Arizona and the United States. And to those businesses that will flee Arizona because we enforce our laws, I would say “Don’t let the door hit you in your assets on your way out of town.”
To suggest that we should worry about business flight for daring to enforce our immigration laws is to give in to a form of economic terrorism. I, for one, will not negotiate with, or be intimidated by terrorists of any kind.
2. “America will suffer economically if we do not have illegal alien labor. Don’t you care about the economic viability of our business interests?”
I not only care about our business and economic success, I care about the welfare of the illegal aliens (i.e., human beings) and the dangers that they face in coming to the United States. I admire the resilience of any person who seeks to better their life and most illegal aliens who come to America, do so at great personal risk. The problem is that these people are committing a felony as a result of their first action on American soil. Further, any business should be admired and encouraged in their quest to maintain a competitive advantage; so long as that advantage is legal and works to the public good. Patriotism and respect for the law aside, it is certainly not in the public good to aid and abet the commission of a felony, Mr. Magruder et al.
In a recent National Public Radio interview (7/6/07) with host, Madeleine Brand, Wake Up Arizona spokesperson, and McDonalds mogul, Mac Magruder said “…this comes down to a people issue, it comes down to a racial issue, because most of the people we're talking about are our brothers and sisters down south that are hardworking, wonderful people.. .“ Mac Magruder and his merry band of robber barons need to stop hiding behind the race card to justify the practice of hiring cheap illegal immigrant labor. I cannot remember any legitimate arguments which states that illegal aliens do not work hard and that they are not wonderful people. Mac Magruder and I are in complete agreement with regard to the fact that most of these people are like most any group of downtrodden poor in that they strive to find the simple pleasures in life, they are often generous and they are willing to work very hard to keep the wolf from their collective doors. Most of these people are desperate. Desperate employees don’t complain, form unions, strike for higher wages, they keep their mouths shut, do what they are told, they are grateful for their jobs and most of all, they will work for what they are offered. Pure unadulterated greed motivates business owners like Wake Up Arizona members in their advocacy against American and Arizona immigration laws. No reasonable person, on this side of the argument is questioning the character of illegal aliens as a group. However, all of us should be questioning the character of business owners that would perpetuate this unconscionable, modern day version of human trafficking in the furtherance of their bottom line.
If America limited the entry of foreign laborers to legal immigration and legal guest worker programs, how much human misery could we eliminate? Wake Up Arizona has conveniently been silent on this issue. The abuses (e.g., rapes, murders, blackmail, forced drug couriers, etc.) of the Coyote industry are well documented. Most importantly, dangerous and often deadly border crossings would be dramatically reduced. Surely, Wake Up Arizona members are in favor of SAFE passage into the United States by all persons who will eventually be hired by these businesses. Or don’t Wake Up Arizona members care about the risks related to how several of their future illegal aliens get here, so long as they just get here?
3. Come on, who are we really hurting? These people just do the jobs that Americans will not do. And besides, they are not hurting anybody.
The Pew Hispanic Center released a report in March, 2006, which tells a far different story. Pew estimates that illegal alien workers perform:
-25% of all agricultural jobs
-17% of all office and house cleaning positions
-14% all construction jobs
-12% of all food preparation jobs
This means that:
Harvard professor and Cuban immigrant, Jorge Borjas, as cited in his May 2007 study, Increasing the Supply of Labor Through Immigration, which was featured in The Center for Immigration Studies, found that by increasing the supply of labor through immigration, from the period 1960-2000, significantly lowered the earnings of native born workers. The effect of immigration on wages differs across education groups and racial groups. For example, the immigrant influx that entered the country between 1980 and 2000 lowered the wage by 7.4% for high school dropouts, by 3.6% for college graduates, and by 2% for both high school graduates and workers possessing some college. The economic impact is much larger for some specific experience groups within each educational category. Similarly, although this immigrant influx lowered the wages of white workers by 3.5%; it significantly lowered the wages of African Americans by 4.5%. Disturbingly, American born Latino wages saw a decrease of 5%. Dr. Borjas further found the rate of decrease was the same whether the immigration was legal or illegal; So much for the amnesty argument, Senators Kyl and McCain. Borjas determined that a 10% increase in the number of workers in a particular skill group reduces the wage of the workers in that skill group by 3.5%.
The figures do not lie!
If the Wake Up Arizona business community truly cared about illegal immigrants and honestly valued their personhood, these businesses would be investing in Mexican industry such as the development of the Mexican oil reserves which rival any in the Middle East. To do so, would undoubtedly help the plight of the Mexican people and severely limit the reasons behind illegal immigration. However, this would not fatten the bottom line of the oil industry which currently has a very cozy relationship with Middle Eastern governments who would take offense at the overture. It’s just cheaper to sit back and let the immigrants risk life and limb and come to American businesses.
One learned and respected critic wrote to me and said, “Laws- You just can’t get enough of them.” To that point I would say that most Americans simply want the laws which are already on the books, enforced. We do not need new laws, if the old laws are being properly enforced, which they are not. And if the underlying implication is that we do away with immigration laws altogether, then we are then left with only a North American Union on the way to global fascism within a neo-feudalistic economic system.
What about the original question which was posed regarding the present level America is at with regard to the immigration issue on what I dubbed the “Gandhi’s Scale of Social Change? " No question, Gandhi would say America is in a fight for its very survival.
Dave Hodges holds a masters degree in mental health counseling from the University of Phoenix and is a nationally certified mental health counselor. Dave has taught and written curriculum for high school and colleges for over 25 years. Dave has also been a basketball coach in high school and college during the same time frame. Dave is also a former Republican who left the party in 2003. Dave has appeared on several radio shows and has written for several web sites across the country. Dave Hodges is not aligned with the political right or the political left. He is a constitutionalist and believes that the answer to our country’s problems lies in following the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and following the United States Constitution. Dave Hodges is currently the spokesperson for the Arizona Coalition to Protect Personal Property Rights which is a grass roots organization which is tasked with the responsibility in assisting Arizonans in the defense of their personal property rights. Dave Hodges is also the Chairperson of the Constitution Party of Arizona. Nationally, the Constitution Party is the fastest growing party in the country and the party now stands as the third largest party. Presently in Arizona, a ballot eligibility drive is underway and will be completed by the fall of 2007. To find out more about the Constitution Party, please visit the web site at www.constitutionparty.org. If you would like Dave Hodges to speak to your group, or organization, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.