Gosh, I'm sick and tired of the attacks on immigration - the latest a move by "conservative" representatives to revoke birthrights for children of illegal immigrants. I put the quotes because I hate labels, and being a conservative myself, don't think its conservatism as I see it to oppose immigration, for reasons I will discuss below.
First a disclaimer. I'm a LEGAL immigrant, and proud of the contributions immigrants, legal and otherwise, have made to this country, be it starting IT firms, running gas stations, serving in academe, or working diligently on grape and strawberry farms. But this is not a post on legal immigration - that seems, for the moment, a less contentious issue, except among leftist unions.
OK, over to the illegal immigration issue. Here's why it's not prudent to oppose illegal immigration - they come because we need them! Pure and simple, supply and demand. We have a serious labor shortage in this country, especially for backbreaking jobs like working in labor-intensive farming operations. (For a touching story of one child and his family's travails as a illegal farmhand, read the firsthand account called 'The Circuit' by Francisco Jiminez). Let's see, at present the US unemployment rate is somewhere south of 5%. By traditional standards, that should have triggered inflation - know why that hasn't happened. Two words - cheap labor ... be it in the form of (mostly illegal) immigration, or outsourcing.
Demographics played a big role in America's surge over Britian and the European powers, but now the same demographic factors threaten US economic supremacy. Short of figuring a way to create working-age humans in the lab, the only way we can get enough productivity at low inflation rates to support the Baby Boomers is immigration.
So whether you are a poor blue-collar worker trying to buy affordable groceries, or a middle-class professional trying to make some money in the stock market, a retiree trying to preserve the true value of your nest egg or a company trying to keep your costs down, stand up and be thankful that there are poor Mexicans willing to risk their lives for the peanuts we throw them to scrub our floors, clean our toilets, make our sandwiches, pick our fruit or process your meat!
Oh, and by the way, I couldn't help but notice the comment from Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), suggesting that rather than seek an outright vote which would likely lose (or at least get vetoed by President Bush), supporters seek to hide the provision in a likely-to-pass bill. This is an old cheap trick by senators and congressman, one that really has to stop! Not that I would have expected that much from Tancredo, who is already in my Hall of Shame, for his stupid comments on taking out Mecca.