Time for some phony bluster
It's an election year here and that means we are due for an extravagant display of phoniness.
No, I'm not referring to Mitt Romney's version of blow-dried, pre-packaged, focus-tested, pollster-approved posturing. I mean good old American bluster. The kind that involves getting yourself worked up into a lather about an issue that you won't remember in two or three years when the headlines are dominated by corruption scandals and indictments for cabinent members and lobbyists. The kind of hearty bluster that you can summon up just by turning on the Fox News Network where it oozes out of your television, forming a sticky gooey mess on your living room floor.
A presidential election! Cue the Orange Terror Alert! Strike up the righteous indignation. Demand a congressional inquiry into... wait for it... immigration reform! A phony issue if there ever was one.
Which American citizen isn't an immigrant (or the grateful descendant of one?) Unless you're a native American, you stand on pretty precarious ground trying to muster up a valid case for blocking immigation. "Pull up the drawbridge behind us, Marge, there's more coming, and I don't want to share the pie!" And if you're a native American, well then you should be chuckling as you light your cigar with a $100 bill in the back of your Bentley which was paid for with the lost wages of a working stiff who blew his load in your casino last week. "Bring 'em on, more grist for the mill."
The facts about immigation are generally positive. Immigrants provide economic benefit to both the US and to their home country, where they send remittances that exceed all foreign aid. Immigrants in America do jobs that American citizens won't do: hard labor in agriculture, health care, elder care and housekeeping. These are workers who are coming here to work, not leech off of social services. And it's not just raw labor: many immigrants provide valuable skills in the science, medical and technology fields. One third of all Silicon Valley companies were started by Indian or Chinese-born immigrants. 40% of the science and engineering PhDs working in America are foreign born. And one third of all US Nobel prize winners in physics were born abroad.
The proposals on the table to manage immigration are worse than stupid. They consist of hypocritical nonsense that will achieve nothing, except to send tax dollars in the direction of a few well-connected government contractors who specialize in building long fences. And yes, a few more jobs will be created in the Border Patrol to harrass tired immigrants and harry them as they pass through the desert. Already the increased policing on the border has caused many illegal immigrants to stay put inside the US rather than shuttle back and forth between work in the US and home. Ironic. Looks like we're fencing them in, not out.
The people who vote for these measures apparently lack the foresight to consider the consequences of reduced immigration. Do you like fresh lettuce? Grapes? Strawberries? How about a freshly-mowed yard? A clean kitchen? Or perhaps a clean kitchen in your favorite restaurant? There are no American citizens lining up to do these jobs. If immigration is reduced, then you can expect the price of fresh produce to skyrocket when the wages rise high enough to attract citizen workers. How much are you willing to pay for a head of lettuce? 20? 30?
If those prices strike you as unrealistic, don't forget that oil was only $50 a barrel a few years ago. It just crossed the $100 threshold, fueled of course by our blundering President's bellicose rhetoric about Iran and our continued thrashing in Iraq. Prices have a way of rising when the government intervenes.
Don't expect these views to be aired any time soon on Fox News. There you will see the usual squadron of puffy windbags pontificating and feigning righteous fury. Phony gasbags like Bill O'Reilly will roll their eyes and raise their voices and pretend to be really angry about immigration, lashing out at politicians who offer "amnesty" to illegals. Legions of their mindless fans will nod along at home and believe that they, too, should be furious about illegal immigrants even though we get the benefit of their labor. You can find crap like this on Cafe Press. Ugh. The ignorance.
McCain comes from Arizona, a state that is exposed to the full brunt of immigrant traffic, and yet he had the courage to stand up for his principals and economic common sense and propose an immigration bill that was at least partially sensible. It reflected the economic reality that the US economy depends upon illegal immigrant labor in many sectors. But watch McCain pay the price for this principled stance during the next round of primaries. You can count on Mitt Romney and all the consultants that money can buy to spread the nasty distorted lies about McCain and amnesty for illegals. Lovely. Typical sleazy Republican attack ads. Shame they are wasted on a fellow Republican. Gullible people will fall for it. This stuff fouls the air and makes it even harder for the average guy to understand that we, as a nation, depend upon immigrants for huge chunks of our prosperity, technology, and comfort.
Before you cast a vote on the basis of immigration, stop and think for a moment. How did you get to this country?
If you want to learn more about the facts involving immigration, go here.