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Me, Agree With Bush?
Suddenly the illegal immigration issue is hot. Poor Mexicans and Central Americans are pouring over the southern border. They are finding jobs, yes, but they are also stressing health, education, and justice systems in a number of states. It's so complex. Are they contributing to our economy or destroying our nation? They say we have 11 million illegal immigrants. They broke the rules, yes. It's not fair, yes. But I agree with Bush on this one: we need a guest worker program... and fast.
The hard hearts who want to criminalize illegals just aren't thinking. Who is going to round up all the "felons" and where will they be put? Huge Guantanamo-like prison camps? If you think school children in Los Angeles are upset now, wait till they see their relatives dragged off tractors, beaten into submission, packed into trains and hauled off to camps somewhere to await trial. No matter how you play it, it's ugly.
So we need bring the illegals out of the shadows and onto the books.
Meanwhile, the following must be addressed:
Our lousy relationship with Mexico. Why the enormous overpopulation and poverty? Did our support of free trade rip the factories out of Mexico and over to China? We need a global perspective, but taking care of our neighbors means taking care of ourselves.
Our open borders. A big challenge, but probably more a symptom than a root cause. We can't treat people like illegal drugs. And even with illegal drugs, we know that interdiction at the border is no solution at all. It doesn't deal with supply (desperately poor Mexicans). It doesn't deal with demand (agribusiness, construction industry, etc.).
Our addiction to cheap labor. What ever happened to labor unions? Illegal workers are kept too terrified to take advantage of union protections. This is the silent conspiracy between government and businesses driven by cheap labor. While we're bring illegal workers out of the shadows, we also have to air this terrible exploitation.
Message to American people: we're screwed. Our cheap labor prices and low inflation are lulling us into thinking all those tax breaks to the fat cats are trickling down. Sorry. The fat cats are investing their easy money either in off-shore businesses or in businesses that can exploit cheap, non-unionized labor.
Somehow we need to level the playing field and bring everything out into the open. Think globally but play fair.
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