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The Immigration Bill is Dead – Hooray!!

What a rotten piece of legislation! It might well have been called the “Nice Guys Finish Last” bill, for all of the people who were trying to get admission to this country the legal way. They were all pushed to the back of the line by people entering the U.S. illegally and this bill was going to legalize the situation.

All in all, I can’t think of anything that was right with it.

  • The supporters wanted to provide a “path to citizenship.” There is already such a path – go back to from where you came, make an application and wait your turn, like everyone else.
  • The supporters wanted the law to be family friendly. First, it was the illegal immigrants themselves who created the any problems that might divide families. To keep families together, deport illegal immigrants and their minor dependents. Let them sort it out when they get back to their own countries. Second, what about the families who have been here legally for decades or centuries and who built this nation? They have been working hard get wages up so that they could get the kind of life they have earned. The illegal immigrants have snuck in, working for less and undermining the efforts of all of the citizens who were here before. (Unions have seen this kind of behavior for a very long time in strike situations. The perpetrators are generally called scabs.) There were no jobs Americans wouldn’t do. There were just jobs that some businesses wanted to pay for with starvations wages. Without the illegals, people and their unions could raise those wages to something a person could live on.

The liberal politicians supporting the bill were showing their true colors. They had to choose whether to do something for the working people of this country, or they could support the businesses who have been breaking the law for years to get cheap labor. They chose business.

One expected most Republicans to support a pro-business law; that’s part of their general philosophy. It was heartening to see some of them choose to do the right thing. President Doofus performed as expected.

  • I know the song – the illegals were just trying to make a better life for themselves. Any pickpocket, car thief or burglar could say the same. Making a better life for yourself at other people’s expense is not the way things are supposed to be done in this country, according to its ideals. That’s why workers, unions and Americans in general have been fighting for over a century against companies that have adulterated foods, pumped harmful chemicals into the air and the water, and maintained unsafe work environments, where people got maimed and killed on the job. Allowing people to continue sneaking under the fence and undermining the system here that people have struggled to build would be just the same as scrapping all of the health, environment and safety laws that we have managed to put in place. For Democrats and, especially, for union leaders and activists, the problem is this: how can they expect to hold businesses to the letter of the labor, wage and hour, safety, health and environmental laws while they themselves are trying to do an end run around the immigration laws? Do they think businesses won’t notice?

Unions who have catered to illegal immigrants or have otherwise supported the current situation have made a terrible mistake. It’s one thing for a union to say that the immigration agents should stay out of any union organization effort; companies were using them to spirit away union supporters and take away the chances for a union for the legal residents involved. The immigration people can sort things out after the vote has been taken. It’s quite another thing to put into labor union contracts provisions to protect the jobs of illegal immigrants who get deported, until they can sneak into the country again, as a union representing janitors has done. (I found out about this while taking a class at a community college on immigration issues on the job, offered to union activists. I’m as strong a union supporter as there is, but learning that horrified me.)

  • Many of the backers of the bill have acted in a most sleazy fashion. The prime example is all of those knuckleheads who have called bill opponents “racists.” Such name calling is always a sign that the name callers have no good answers to the questions raised by the people they are trying to insult. If they had good answers, they would state them.

I don’t know if this incident  made the national news: here in the Los Angeles area, just prior to the immigration bill failing, opponents held a rally in an area called Leimert Park. They went to the trouble of getting a legal permit for their march and rally in a local park. Bill supporters called a counter-demonstration and deliberately blocked the route of the legal marchers so that they couldn’t get to their rally point in the park. Then the LAPD, to its continuing shame, would not open the path so that the legal marchers could continue. If the proponents of such piece of legislation must resort to these kinds of tactics, it says to me that they really don’t have much going for them except loud voices.

I could go on a lot longer, but that’s enough for now. Congress passed the laws that are on the books now. It’s time politicians stopped trying to gut them; they should call for the government to enforce them. It’s the legislators’ job to find the money to get the job done and let the rest of us get on with our efforts to make the country a better place.

June 29, 2007

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