Right Wingers Fail on Immigration Law Enforcement
This year, the issue of illegal immigration has been twisted for political purposes by right wingers in the Republican Party and Democratic Party alike. These right wingers emphasize the cultural threat of foreigners, especially Hispanic foreigners, to anglo-American culture. They have shamefully promoted the interests of one cultural identity, that of English-speaking Americans over all others. In their minds, it’s an electoral strategy that can’t fail. After all, the majority of Americans do speak English as their only language. That’s a big voting bloc, and so the right wingers are willing to ignore the rights of the minority of Americans who speak languages other than English, trying to force official business to be conducted in English only. The callous exploitation of cultural bigotry by right wingers is reason number 20 to elect a progressive President in 2008.
The fact that the right wingers are using the issue of illegal immigration to stir up ethnic hatred among Americans should not obscure the fact, however, that the status quo of illegal immigration causes real problems. American workers and immigrant workers alike suffer when they are employed illegally by bosses eager to save money and escape laws that protect workers.
The problem isn’t really illegal immigration. The problem is illegal subemployment. It’s the availability of illegal subemployment by greedy American bosses that encourages people to risk their lives crossing the border through the scorching desert, in airtight shipping containers, or through document fraud. The lawbreaking bosses who engage in subemployment of immigrants undermine the American economy and keep wages artificially low.
Wouldn’t you know it, the Republican right wing has done a terrible job of dealing with illegal subemployment of immigrants. In fact, after gaining control of the federal government, the Republicans seem to have worked to make illegal subemployment easier. The statistics show a flagrant Republican disregard for the law in this respect. For the eight years that Bill Clinton was President of the United States, the yearly average number of punishments for bosses breaking the law by subemploying undocumented immigrants was 698. Under George W. Bush and the Republican Congress, that average has fallen drastically, to just 80 punishments per year during Bush’s first term in office, and only 3 fines for subemployment against criminal bosses in 2004.
Progressives will hold criminal bosses to account, punishing them when they break the law. The right wingers have proven that they are willing to just look the other way and allow illegal subemployment to continue. That’s reason number 21 on our growing list of 2008 reasons to elect a progressive President in 2008.
Post Script: Check out Jim’s article about the Ohio Republican bill creating special investigative units to track down illegal immigrants. Note that the Ohio Republicans are all too happy to exempt the criminal bosses that hire these immigrants go without any investigation. That seems to be the Republican way: Hunt down undocumented foreign workers, but allow the bosses who exploit them for cheap labor to operate without fear of punishment.
Indiana Congressman Steve Buyer can't seem to get anything done other than special favors for big corporations. Indiana can do better. We need someone to stick up for the people! Bye bye Buyer!
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