Recently I have been debating with a person who believes in expelling immigrants from Latin America simply because of their immigration status. This is our debate. There are three persons here, Gary Rumor that’s me, Hempman and Dean. It started with my posting about the Beck Rally. Let me know what you think.
Gary Rumor: The Tea Party seems to be at a point where it can draw a crowd equivalent to the Anti-War movement. That means they are no longer just astroturf. They have a constituency and will be able to win elections…
Who are these people. They are mostly white older middle class or formerly middle class who feel that they have lost the country to a radical elite bent on enforcing equality for minorities on their backs.
Some of them are the white working classes who we should have on our side. They have been suckered in by nativist rhetoric that proposes that by closing the borders and kicking out illegal aliens their jobs will be protected. This is patently wrongheaded. The jobs are lost due to outsourcing by capitalists seeking the cheapest labor they can find and often as not that is China. The illegals are for the most part doing jobs that American citizens don’t want, dirty back breaking jobs and low pay service jobs where they compete with high school kids…
Hempman: I think that there are right and wrong assumptions being made.
They have been suckered in by nativist rhetoric that proposes that by closing the borders and kicking out illegal aliens their jobs will be protected. This is patently wrongheaded. The jobs are lost due to outsourcing by capitalists seeking the cheapest labor they can find and often as not that is China.
BUT – I have no doubt that they understand that NAFTA and Asian imports are also undermining their jobs. But, they are confused into thinking that these are separate issues. They fail to understand that the anti-union government and even anti-union unions have completely undermined the value of their work and turned people into replaceable cogs in the corporate machinery.
Nonetheless, true nativist rhetoric says that importing illegals to steal local jobs and undermining the wage base while shipping out other jobs whether through NAFTA or other trade agreements, or shipping in slave labor supported goods are equally dangerous to the local economies. (you should choke back the vomit and actually go to some of these gatherings as I have, you would see I am correct in this analysis.).
The illegals are for the most part doing jobs that American citizens don’t want
Again, not quite correct. The illegals are here talking those jobs – and accepting illegally low wages and no benefits that end up contributing to degradation of the local economy to the point that it becomes more difficult for people in OTHER jobs to get living wages from their employers. The fact remains that Americans DO want the jobs, but what they do NOT want is to be ripped off and see their standard of living destroyed.
Illegals don’t give a squat, they think it perfectly reasonable to jamb 20 - 25 people into substandard housing meant for no more than three or four, and will live in ramshackle labor camps that are nothing more than junk shacks.
I can only speak to what I actually see in places I frequent – if you know illegals who don’t do this, I suspect they could be the exception. In my apartment complex alone, the landlord complains that when he softens his heart and lets illegals move in, they inevitably move in a raft of people, living and sleeping in shifts, those whose turn at the beds and couches and floor space are not due loitering around the grounds, the kids unsupervised littering the grounds and vandalizing the place.
Gary Rumor: I live and worked in the Los Angeles region where close to half the population is Latino and there are plenty of illegals especially from Central America. We have long experience here with illegals and they have been incorporated fairly successfully in the local economy. They work in the sweatshops downtown LA making fashion accessories. They work in almost all the restaurants and bakeries in LA. Many of the more fly by night industries in the region have illegals working for them, Most of the agricultural laborers and the domestic servants of the wealthy are illegal. Landscaping and lower level construction is done by illegals and if you need a hand moving or remodeling you can go to any Home Depot and find dozens of illegals waiting for work.
But I have never had trouble finding work because of undocumented workers. Where I used to work they had undocumented Filipino workers. I might say that employing illegals depressed my wages, but I could also say that because they hired illegals they could afford me at my higher wages. As an estimator part of my job was to make sure our company was competitive. Sometimes that meant using low wage piece workers no questions asked. Or it meant losing the job and everybody having their hours cut back including high paid machine operators.
What I have found is the illegals help make certain domestic industries competitive that would have been otherwise outsourced overseas. Other industries simply would collapse if it were not for illegals. That is not saying taking advantage of people is good.
There is constant agitation here among these immigrants to join unions and fight as best they can to better their working conditions and even though sometimes they are forced to pile up more in an apartment than we consider healthy. that is a result of the economic conditions they face and the expensive housing market here. Nobody prefers to live 25 to an apartment and to say that is normal for certain people is simply buying into racial stereotypes.
My own argument is that we should unionize and raise every ones wages but then the bosses will take the jobs overseas and/or force the unions to give back gains. That happened to most private industry unions and now the bosses are going after public employees. What we need is not constant give backs and blaming some poor slob from Mexico, because that is the old divide and conquer routine used by bosses since the beginning of time. We do need solidarity and a strong legislation making it illegal to ship jobs overseas, for a start. Then we need a revolution and workers control but that is down the road. But it all starts with worker solidarity.
This is from Factcheck.org. I had to wade through a bunch of immigrant bashing sites to find something that seemed based on real data.
“Does Immigration Cost Jobs?
Economists say immigration, legal or illegal, doesn’t hurt American workers.
May 13, 2010
Do immigrants take American jobs? It’s a common refrain among those who want to tighten limits on legal immigration and deny a “path to citizenship” — which they call “amnesty” — to the millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. There’s even a new Reclaim American Jobs Caucus in the House, with at least 41 members.
But most economists and other experts say there’s little to support the claim. Study after study has shown that immigrants grow the economy, expanding demand for goods and services that the foreign-born workers and their families consume, and thereby creating jobs. There is even broad agreement among economists that while immigrants may push down wages for some, the overall effect is to increase average wages for American-born worker
Hempman: We’ll have to agree to disagree. I can find legitimate studies that prove the exact opposite. A real life case study right here in Delaware proves that illegals have severe negative impact on local employment and economic factors. The construction industry here was being so badly undermined by the use of underpaid illegals (that were also producing substandard, in some cases dangerously so, work) the state passed regulations requiring all construction contractors AND subcontractors to register, get business licenses, and prove citizenship to do so. Legitimate job offers in the construction industry here more than doubled in three quarters. Similar restrictions were passed on food workers, landscaping and agriculture – all with similar results.
Your opening sentence simply proves what I said. The illegals work in sweatshops – well, guess what kind of wages are paid there and why they are called sweatshops. These illegal businesses have no right being in business if they can not do so in a legitimate way. Illegals are provably contributing to yet more illegal activities by your own statement.
You can use circular logic to say that you could not get the jobs without illegal workers. That is the SAME EXACT ARGUMENT used to justify slavery. It leads to only proof that the use of illegals undermines legitimate employment. The only reason you HAD to use slaves is because your competitors used slaves, without slaves you could not compete. That undermines the entire economic aspect of the local employment scene.
The only reason for using illegals was to crank up the bottom line. How many local’s would have loved to have had those jobs had the illegals not undermined the wages? And, because they are illegal, who is going to help them improve working conditions so it is no longer a literal sweatshop with lord knows what kinds of dangerous conditions? All you do is prove what I said. If I were you, I would not be so ready to excuse my own bad behavior in slave trade.
Now, not only are people not getting legal jobs making living wages, and not paying legal taxes, they now do not have the money to support the local economic structure.
Nothing but dead ends.
Here in Delaware, regulations in the food industry mean you have to be able to prove that you are a citizen to get the job, even tossing burgers in a fast food joint. Wages are improved and working conditions have improved. Since passing regulations to support local, legal workers, Delaware’s employment front has shown more significant improvements than pretty much anywhere else. Illegals have provably had a negative impact on job conditions when regulations to preserve local employees has demonstrated impact in every aspect of the economy.
Factcheck is more than a touch questionable. I would not depend on anything I find there without independent verification.
Shame on Nike and people who buy it. Shame on Martha Stewart and K-Mart. Shame on import regulators who turn a blind eye to goods shipped in illegally. Shame on legislators for bending over for the corporations and allowing them to actively undermine local economies on ALL fronts.
As far as I can tell, illegals are the new slaves. It isn’t the slaves at fault, it is the assholes (unfortunately you seem to be one) who claim things can’t be done without them. It isn’t just the importation of slaves, it is allowing legitimate work to be shipped to places where the slavery is even more overt.
All you managed to prove is that loose borders, both from importation of slaves or exportation of local jobs, is destroying the American economy and a reasonable standard of living.
Gary Rumor: Your logic is fine if we were a closed system but the USA is not. We are part of an integrated world economy and there is no way around it and simply put the corporations would not allow what you say to happen, not on any large scale that put a dent into their profits.
Delaware is a state that gives corporations more loopholes than just about any other state in the nation. Ironic that they care so much about their workers when their corporation laws are “advanced and flexible” to suit the needs of today’s fortune 500 companies, including Delaware’s “highly respected Corporations court”, to quote from the State of Delaware brochure “Why corporations choose Delaware?”
What you are proposing is to create a fortress America. Sort of like what Pat Buchanan suggests. Fortify the borders, enact national ID cards. Enforce ID checks like the state of Arizona is enacting. Reinforce the state and its apparatus all for the sake of protecting low wage jobs for Americans. I would like to see how many US citizens are willing to work as farm workers in the fields here in California.
Unless we are willing to spend a much higher percentage of our incomes on food, there will be too much pressure from industry to allow either illegals or temporary workers or whatever, low wage workers to do the manual labor required in agriculture. We simply don’t have any Okies left willing to work the fields for minimum wage. Perhaps this will stimulate more automation in agriculture, more square tomatoes that taste like wood.
Your point about slavery is apt. Capitalism is a form of slavery or indentured servitude. There are the well treated house slaves mostly white and the poorly treated field slaves who now are brown mostly.
There are people in other parts of the world who would be happy to do work we consider to be intolerable. It is a fact of life. It could change. If the Tea Party types win the elections and decide it is more important to cut government spending than to prime the pump of the economy we could see unemployment at 35% or more. Then we may again see a generation of Americans glad to work for minimum wage again. Won’t that be grand. If there are no more illegal aliens then who will we blame for our desperate straits?
I say the problem is structural. It is in the nature of capitalism. But perhaps I am simply blowing smoke. Perhaps we should allow the red states to enact anti-immigrant legislation and the blue states try an amnesty program and see which economy does better.
Hempman: I no more asked to be born here than anyone else asked to be born where they are. But, I want my neighborhood to be a healthy, clean, livable area, where people can afford to buy their own homes, the water supply is clean and dependable, the air is breathable, people can get affordable health care, food is cheap, travel easy, and other standard of living issues are reasonably and rationally managed.
To be point blank about it, if you can’t or will not try to make your corner of the world better, and have voluntarily let it get so bad you HAVE to move, what makes you think I want you near me? So you can have the same fucked up attitude? (the rhetorical “you”) So you can come here and degrade the local employment situation while too fucking lazy to take care of your own corner of the world? To come here and put greater demand on local resources such as schools and food and the environment when you are too fucking lazy to do something about your own neighborhood?
If you don’t want to obey the laws about immigration and are willing to destroy the local economy by taking work away from locals and undermining the wage and benefit base, what other laws are you willing to break that will continue to degrade my corner of the world? (until DE passed worker protection laws, there was a huge problem of illegals driving with no car insurance, getting into accidents and taking off, leaving economic hardship in their wake. I know, I still have a three thousand dollar debt from fixing a car from that situation.
How, you say, do I know they were illegal? The dumbasses stopped and only took off after they tried to pass off counterfeit licenses and insurance cards on me (another regulation makes insurance companies issue counterfeit resistant cards, and our licenses have holograms in them). I actually recognized them and knew about where they lived. I went there and tracked them down. DEPORTED. But I still got stuck with the bill. Fuck ‘em if they can’t obey reasonable laws.
Allowing people to steal local resources through illegal employment is far more degrading to everyone involved than if they would simply take care of THEIR OWN CORNER OF THE WORLD first. Exactly where is the social justice in underpaid workers destroying the local economy and job market? Exactly where is the dignity in that? Exactly where is the common sense, social justice and dignity in a slave trade mentality that excuses abusing illegal workers just to get the contract?
YOU say “a few crumbs” to “marginal” workers. That is a lie based on a misrepresentation. How, exactly, are 20% of local carpenters and other building laborers “marginal” and how, exactly, is preserving local jobs for legal workers “a few crumbs”? How, exactly, is creating broader employment, with better pay and benefits at all levels, anything like your claim?
Just because YOU DON’T LIKE that people who have lived and worked here for most of their lives want their standard of living protected does not equate the way you claim and does not make your claims reasonable.
If you want to revolutionize the lives of the illegals who want to illegally move here, GO THERE and HELP THEM make their own corner of the world better. Don’t think you can come to my neighborhood and steal our jobs with substandard wages and the willingness to debase yourself and the illegals.
Know why Delaware passed worker protection laws? PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE WANT THEIR WAGES AND BENEFITS and other resources protected from degradation. We VOTE THAT WAY and ACTIVATE THAT WAY and MARCH THAT WAY and make the politicians pass laws that protect our limited resources (it isn’t perfect, but it is a shitload better than LA, SF, DC, NY and about 80% of the rest of the world).
Simple test – What do you pay for a gallon of gas, a pack of smokes, an apple, a steak, a loaf of bread, water, sewer, a 1,000 sq. foot 2 BR apartment? in order: $1.57/gallon, $5.37/pack, about $.08 an apple, too much, but probably cheaper than you at $2.99 a pound, $1.39 a loaf, about $60 a quarter for a family of three, about $80 a year for sewer, and last but not least about $850/month. What’s that like in LA, SF, NYC, wherever you live? What are the roads like? Last time I spend more than 15 minutes traveling 25 miles are three years ago, in the middle of a blizzard. It is illegal to build buildings here more than 10 stories high. We NEVER have a water crisis. Power only goes out in really big storms, not when too many people are running AC. There are no sweatshops, almost no illegally underpaid workers (though a living wage is not universal, yet), and since passage of labor protection laws, the employment situation on all levels has improved faster than nationally, and no doubt better than where you live.
You can only have so many people live in an area, before it begins to degrade the resources. Look at how badly polluted NY and LA are. They are also among the worst in protecting local resources. Where’s the dignity and social justice in that? Do something about YOUR corner, before you even think about coming here and fucking with MY corner of the world.
(an allegory) If I am smart enough to grow my own food, and I and my family and maybe some others from my community can eat from that food, NO ONE HAS A RIGHT to demand access to that. Why should we starve because you can’t grow your own food? If you are too fucking lazy to grow your own tomatoes, don’t come stealing them from my garden, you could get shot. There’s your revolution for you. Even the best farmers can only get so much food out of the land. You can only process so much sewage and supply so much water. There are only so many jobs to go around (and then the job market and economy crashes).
There are far more ghost towns that simply exceeded how many people local resources could support, than those that failed for any other reason.
I really like the lifeboat allegory. Local economies and employment resources are exactly like a lifeboat. Too many people in the boat, and everyone loses. Build your own lifeboat, I’m working on mine.
Gary Rumor: Come on those corporations are not in Delaware, the incorporation there is a legal fiction to avoid tighter regulation in other states. They are shell companies. As for giving up, not on your life. I believe in revolution. I just don’t think that nativist approaches will work without enhancing the right wing and destroying the chance of social justice and dignity for all people in the country and on the planet. We have to fight capitalism and just because a state is throwing crumbs to a few marginal workers does not mean they are helping the working class.
Hempman: What you like is slavery with no fight. Everything you say is a rationalization of corporate dominance and slavery. That isn’t logic, that is capitulation.
Up until some time in the 50’s importing goods was a difficult process meant to preserve American jobs and a reasonable standard of living. Slowly, as illegal immigration began to climb and one concession to corporate profits after another was rationalized using your “logic”, the economy became more and more unmanageable, and now there is no reasonable standard of living except for a dwindling group, and everyone else can go to hell. All based on the retarded claim that the U. S. would have to be a “fortress”.
Hey, you may not like the facts about Delaware, but the fact is that only by protecting local employment could Delaware hope to preserve the corporate atmosphere. No point in trying to have a corporation friendly state if there is no one left to legally fulfill the jobs.
You can try to characterize me as a Buchanan type, but it is far better than your George Wallace mentality.
Unless we maintain a standard of living, it will not matter how cheap you think food prices are (which is total bullshit in any case – I just paid more for three pounds of hamburger than it cost to fill my gas tank just ten years ago). The very reason wages are low is because illegals are used to undermine the wage base.
Minimum wages in ag? What planet are you on???? The wages are literally less than half minimum wage in illegal employment. Meanwhile, big agribiz who employs the most illegal ag workers rakes in skyrocketing profits while cranking up prices. It is cheaper to hire illegals than automate.
There goes that racist bullshit about workers in other parts of the world doing work Americans would consider intolerable. Racist bullshit. It is like you have some sort of brain damage where you write something about pushing wages lower in one paragraph then in the next you forgot that. In the meantime, what you also forget is that the real issue is that in other parts of the world, the standard of living is already destroyed by just the sort of crap you are selling – borderless economies. So, they already have a fucked up situation, and are willing to do anything for any crappy money. All you prove is that by allowing the standard of living in America to corrode as it is, we can get to be a fucked up third world pit just like them.
You totally miss the point about slavery. There is a huge difference between the sort of wage slavery that results in a manageable economy that mostly protects its workers, ala the 40’s, 50’s and even into the 60’s and the importation of illegal workers to undermine that standard for the corporate bottom line what is part and parcel if an unthinking open borders hire the illegals they’ll take any shitty job for no pay or benefits and fuck everybody situation that now exists. If you fail to see the difference, then you are hopeless.
It would be ironic, to allow the blue/red dichotomy you suggest. It would be a complete reversal of the pre-civil war slave days, only this time the Pubes would be against slavery and the Dumbos for slavery. Then there really would be another civil war. Maybe it would be good for this country to realize how fucked up illegal immigration really is.
Dean: Anything that supports of the corporations that is the BASIS of the Delaware economy is bad. Dupont and the chemical industry and the corporations which which are officially headquartered in Delaware, but run the exploitative capitalist system around the war, is the ruining the world’s environments and its people. Delaware may be a nice place to live but the economic system that is run from there (officially) is shit.
Workers of the world should be able to move anywhere they damn well want to, or need to, including the US of A, and including little old Delaware. They should also get equal work for equal pay (at least!). If it wasn’t for the laws that create borders (and the idea of illegals, and ICE to deport them (where they came from!) they could organize with other workers. We shouldn’t be pitting one group of workers against another (including being against the brain work Gary had to do), but organizing them (and everyone else) against exploitation, environmental degradation, and oppression.
Hempman: Old news – Delaware still favors corporate legalese, but to dismiss advances that have improved the local job and economic situation based on that is simple minded foolishness, at best. Saying that making working conditions better for working class people in Delaware based on some half-assed notion from the last century is meaningless drivel at best, and mean spirited hatred on its face. DuPont is all but a dead company, and has no influence over Delaware law, anymore. Get with this century.
Workers of the world should be able to move where they want, provided they are ready to obey local laws, including obeying those preventing the degradation of the local job market and economy, pay their taxes that support local government such as roads and other necessary services, obey health laws that prevent dragging dangerous diseases around, obey laws that prevent unhealthy and dangerous sweatshop situations, obey laws that prevent bad workers from creating hazards and then disappearing, and obey laws that prevent overloading other local structural (like water and sewer resources), environmental (yeah, we ALL want the pollution of NY or LA) and standard of living (like not destroying wage base and benefits) resources and many other reasons to maintain rational local control over local employment and housing.
If you don’t want to obey the rational laws protecting these local resources, go the fuck home, and that isn’t here.
Without some semblance of RATIONAL, LEGAL immigration, sewer systems fail, employment fails, the environment fails, and many other essential systems are easily overwhelmed. Only a simple minded fool would fail to recognize these facts.
What we should not be doing is making half-wit excuses for undermining local employment, economic, structural and environmental resources so we can pretend that anyone should be able to do whatever the fuck they want with no thought for what the impact of that actually will entail.
Gary Rumor: The biggest tax evaders are all those corporations who incorporate in Delaware. You insist on blaming a small minority of illegal immigrants when the problem stems from the way corporations have been allowed to run rampant and roughshod over the well being of the American people. Corporations get huge tax breaks, have undue influence in lobbying the legislative branches of government both local and national and have control of the major media to deflect attention from themselves and to propagate misconceived ideas such as that illegal aliens are to blame for economic problems in the USA.
Another reason why the American Taxpayer doesn’t get much bang for his buck in services is the bloated military budget. We spend more on the military than all the rest of the world combined. What do we get for it, corporations have an enforcer to insure third world countries live up to the IMF restrictions and the resource extraction and cheap labor deals that corporations negotiate. What do the American people get, cheap consumer goods. We have lousy health care, collapsing infrastructure and crappy schools because the money goes to the military and corporate interests. Just look at a country like Germany with 6 week paid vacations, national health care and great infrastructure. Why don’t we have the equivalent? They have immigrants too. But they don’t blame economic or social problems on the Turks or Arabs, or Eastern Europeans.
You have to look at the big picture. You will never be able to restore the kind of socioeconomic conditions that existed in the 50’s and 60’s unless you deal with the structural problems in capitalism. You are dreaming if you think kicking out a few illegals will restore that kind of workers prosperity. The prosperity was a direct result of the war. We had bombed the competition out of existence and then had an boom in rebuilding their countries and supplying the needs of everybody else while the rest of the industrialized world rebuilt. By the end of the 1960’s we were no longer the only dog in the game and by the 1970’s it began to show in the erosion of workers incomes.
Even if there are 10 million illegal immigrants, that is a drop in the bucket in a nation of 300 million. You might argue that if they were gone that would be 10 million jobs for Americans but that is not true, Many of those jobs don’t pay enough to support an American and the industries would simply collapse by having to price themselves out of the market due to foreign competition. Also in a depression such as we are having the jobs that Americans will do simply have dried up.
To drive out the immigrants means enacting and enforcing laws that will have detrimental effects on the civil liberties of all of us. That is what the ruling class wants. They figure this will give them one more means to track and control the citizenry and give the feds the national id card they wanted under Bush that civil libertarians opposed and were able to defeat. Now they come up with this ‘illegal immigrant threat scam and try to railroad the national id card legislation under the rubric of protecting jobs for Americans when all they really are doing is gaining a new method of control. The only new jobs will be in the Homeland Security Department and the ICE prisons.
Hempman: I guess, like George Wallace, you fools can call slavery, degradation and actual injustice caused by illegal employment a good idea.
Gary Rumor: What does George Wallace, a long dead southern racist politician have to do with this debate about the position of immigrants in American society or coming to an understanding of the current crisis in capitalism? That is just a bogus label. Just as your attempt to label wage slavery as chattel slavery. The injustice is to the immigrant worker who has to work for such low wages due to his or her illegal statues, not to the employer taking advantage or to the consumer benefiting from the cheap product provided by the labor of the immigrant.
The easiest and fairest answer is amnesty for immigrants who have been here for several years and paid into the system with their sweat and blood and not been able to reap the benefit due to their legal status.
Immigration laws change all the time. Up until the 1920’s the USA accepted a huge number of immigrants from Europe. Probably your grandparents were immigrants. But the same laws discriminated against Chinese and Japanese immigrants. Eventually they were changed to restrict immigration altogether with the subsequent rise in illegal immigration from places like Ireland and eventually Mexico. Is your problem with the fact that these immigrants are brown skinned just as a previous generation were opposed to immigrants because they were yellow skinned?
For that matter borders are artificial constructs. The USA conquered a third of Mexico through armed aggression in the 1840’s. The Mexican citizens now became US citizens. Native American Lands by prior possession and by treaty were infringed upon by illegal Anglo immigrants and it was called Manifest Destiny. Now Hispanic immigrants (Spanish and Native American mixed race people) are reversing the process Manifesting their own Destiny by reoccupying the lands their forefathers lost to Anglo predation. Destiny is a bitch when you are on the receiving end. But it doesn’t have to be hard. We can accept the return of the dark skinned inhabitants as fellow humans and brothers in the melting pot that is the USA or we can turn the country into a fortress trying to preserve something that no longer exists, a fantasy of America that once was.
As I have said elsewhere we have to work to make this land a fair place for all and not just a playground for the rich.