Illegal immigration and economic power

Illegal immigration is the issue which has the potential to genuinely undermine the US landscape of freedom and economic power. If politicians are unwilling to address the core issues, America will suffer for generations to come. Illegal immigration is a multifaceted problem for the United States, and therefore politicians are unwilling to develop a solution, at least not yet.

It seems that our representatives in Washington are more concerned with how their actions will affect their political base, and thus their ability to remain power rather than making honest evaluations of the impact 11 million illegal immigrants are having on the American economic engine. After all, if the politician isn’t able to engender support and win voters by his or her policy decisions, why make a decision at all? Why not pass the problem onto the next senator or congressman, and make them deal with the political hot button rather than risk taking a dive in the next popularity pole.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the current estimate on the number of illegal workers in America is over 12 million, with 400,000 arriving each year. This number breaks down to 1100 illegal immigrants per day entering this country. For the Democratic Party, who typically builds large social support programs in order to influence voter support, this group represents an up and coming power base. For the Republicans who lean toward supporting business efforts in order to stoke the fires of our economic engine, this group represents huge amounts of inexpensive labour.

However, for the people of our nation, these groups of immigrants represent the following problems rather than a potential voter block. •    For the labour unions, inexpensive labour represents a virtual coup which will undermine for their stranglehold on American labour force. •    For the American social services sector, these illegal immigrants represent a drain on the limited economic resources allocate to serve the poor and the needy of our country.

•    For the educational system, the influx of non-English speaking students has created a significant strain on educational progress, and educational quality at a time during which the educational system is already lagging behind world standards. Illegal Immigration and Labour At the heart of the argument is the claim that illegal immigrants are only here to do work that Americans will no longer do. They work the fields, landscape, and take low wage jobs which Americans refuse to do.

Vicente Fox, the Mexican president, has recently said that "Mexicans do jobs that even blacks won't do. "   While this idea is distasteful to hear, the general concept is unfortunately accepted by many politicians. Therefore, according to those who support illegal immigration, they are a necessary part of the American economic landscape. To some level this claim is accurate. Our nation has always had a class of peoples which worked below the economic parity, and produced much for little pay.

When our nation was settled, African slaves were imported in the South. Their work fuelled the textile industry, and made it possible for America to move to the forefront in this industry. During the 1800’s, and the nation’s westward expansion, the Chinese immigrants, nicknamed ‘coolies’ fuelled the expansion of the western frontier by providing labour on mines and carving the trans-continental railroad across the nation. These industries connected east and west, and again fuelled the fires of the American economic engine.

The contribution of the people cannot be ignored. However, after a civil war over slavery, and nation wide persecution of the Chinese at the turn of the 20th century, does America want to return to the position of taking advantage of one people group in order to fuel its own economy? Should America’s legacy be that we build a great civilization on the backs of the poorest and least educated citizens? Caesar Chavez, an iconic leader for the poorer Hispanic worker, worked to bring labour standards up for migrant and labouring Hispanics.

His ground breaking work (no pun intended) is honoured as being equal to that of Martin Luther King’s efforts for the black community. According to the Guerrilla News Network, Chavez and the united Farm workers of American fought against illegal immigration. He knew that labour rates rose and falls, not as a function of the employer’s good will, or their ability to make a profit, but rather as a function of availability. If the labour pool is small, then wages rise. If a labour pool is skilled, then they can ask for higher wages and expect to receive them.

However, if the labour pool is vast, unskilled and uneducated, the employer often will take the risk of employing the lower skilled worker in order to increase their profits. The market forces on labour and wages cannot be abrogated, and as a result, the migrant worker’s living condition stay low, and they have no hope of breaking the cycle of poverty. For this reason Chavez, along with government and religious officials of his day marched against illegal migrants, and often turned them into the government agents.

In a nation that thrives on quality lifestyle and purports to be a leader in the world in the quality of life we afford our citizens, that same quality life must be supported by quality jobs, high quality skills, and higher than average wages. These three elements cannot be separated from each other. If the labour rates available to workers drop, so do their economic power to pull themselves out of poverty? For this reason, illegal immigration is a treat, not a help, to the American economy.