Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dark Skin Looks Illegal

Happy Kwanzaa. Today, FAIR, a group that promotes expulsion of undocumented workers, will release a report that claims costs of services are underestimated, and benefits are overestimated. Something tells me their 'statistics' will be as accurate as those the tobacco lobbyists in Texas used to fight a recent tax on cigarettes, which have just been refuted by actual returns.

Wonderful world view indeed, that designates late-comers to this country as 'illegals'. I will repeat what I said on Eschaton discussing this issue this morning. We took the land from its native population, without their permission, which makes us all illegals. The border closing on the southern border eliminates new population that is much closer to the native one than the European immigrants are.

And as GWPDA noted, much of the population growth in Arizona is immigrating in from our American northlands, New York and Wisconsin, for instance. The arrivals aren't used to seeing so much brown skin around them, and react with fear.

With this in mind, today's WaPo editorial on Arizona's new anti-immigrant law is jawdropping.

THE NEW ground zero in the debate over illegal immigration is Arizona, where the nation's toughest and potentially most far-reaching crackdown on undocumented workers and their employers is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. The Arizona law, passed resoundingly by the state legislature after Congress failed to enact immigration reform last summer, penalizes companies that knowingly hire illegal immigrants by suspending their business licenses for up to 10 days; on a second offense, the business license would be revoked -- what Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) has called a corporate "death penalty." Thus the Arizona law may become a test case for how much pain a state is willing to endure, and inflict, in the name of ridding itself of a population that contributes enormously to its economic growth and prosperity.

Illegal immigrants have flocked to Arizona for years to fill jobs that native-born people don't want. While the state's unemployment rate remains low, undocumented employees comprise an estimated 9 to 12 percent of the state's 3 million workers. Companies in agriculture, construction and service industries rely heavily on illegal immigrants, and any successful attempt to drive them out will have economic repercussions that may be severe.

In construction alone, Judith Gans of the University of Arizona has estimated that a 15 percent cut in the state's immigrant workforce would result in direct losses of about 56,000 jobs and some $6.6 billion in economic output. The direct loss to state tax revenue would be approximately $270 million. The study, and others like it, including in Texas, refute the arguments that illegal immigrants are an overall burden on state economies because of the education, health care and other services they require; in fact they contribute heavily to economic growth. [Emphasis added.]

The last statement that 'illegals' contribute to economic growth, is accurate, at least. But that the illegal immigrant community is only taking jobs native born Americans don't want is only partially true. Construction companies that pay less and attract undocumented laborers are putting a very real strain on traditional, high waged, construction companies. Cleaning companies with the same modus operandi have almost completely eliminated traditional, well paid, janitorial staff.

The need to send in officials to raid illegal employees is effort diverted from eliminating abusive employers. A living wage and health care would improve the work environment for all Americans, documented or not. It would also eliminate the need some of our population feels to chuck out people they fear.

Although an attitude toward undocumented Americans that feels they contribute to crime has motivated a lot of the bad feelings toward them, the statistics simply fail to bear out that fear.

Amnesty may be a dirty word to the ignorant, but it would be the wisest solution to our problems with an existing valuable resource.

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Blogger Ken Galo said...

You have obviously never been to Wisconsin.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Fair enuff. But the observation was not mine, it was from a resident of Phoenix who is very familiar with the mix there.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the biggest claims used to justify this racism is that illegals depress wages.

Sounds like AZ will now demonstrate the lie about that.

When wages stay low, what will business owners use as their convenient excuse then?

10:59 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Excuse-to-be most likely will avoid using the terms 'outsourcing' and NAFTA/CAFTA.

11:33 AM  

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