By Joe Guzzardi
January 20, 2012
The United States is the only country that condones—in fact, encourages and rewards—illegal immigration. No other national leader brazenly pardons aliens as President Obama has done with his unconstitutional administrative amnesty. Despite crippling unemployment, Obama’s forgiven aliens will be rewarded with work permits.
Where else but in the United States are throngs of aliens allowed to gather publicly in the capitol city, as they did two summers ago in Washington D.C., to demand rights to which they aren’t entitled? Only in America would illegal immigrant college students occupy the U.S. Senate and, while referring to themselves as “in the shadows,” insist that Congress pass legislation which would allow them to pay reduced tuition rates even though the DREAM Act has been defeated at least ten times in the last decade.
Try this in Mexico and you’ll land in jail for a good long time.
Nothing stops wanton violation of U.S. immigration laws. With the country in a sustained recession and jobs at a premium, President Obama is unwilling to lift a finger. Presidential candidates bold enough to suggest that the border should be sealed and legal immigration curtailed risk being called “racist,” the most feared pejorative.
In California, with the largest legal and illegal immigrant population but also with a double digit billion dollar budget deficit that’s five years old, Governor Jerry Brown passed a state version of the Dream Act, scotched E-Verify which would insure that newly hired employees are legally authorized workers. The often heard argument that aliens do jobs that Americans don’t want doesn’t apply in this economy.
Our leaders could benefit from a brief, recent immigration history lesson drawing on the example set by a Hispanic icon.
Cesar Chavez, a third generation American and so admired that his birthday is a California state holiday and his image appeared on a U.S. postage stamp, was a vigorous anti-illegal alien activist. Despite countless attempts by the open borders lobby to portray Chavez as an illegal immigrant champion and staunch la causa defender, labor leader Chavez understood supply and demand. Each time an illegal alien entered California, he posed a risk to one Chavez’s workers. The more recently arrived the immigrant, the more likely he would toil for lower wages.
A rough, tough labor leader who headed the United Farm Workers union, Chavez was the first person to call the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service when he learned that a recently arrived group of migrants were job hunting. Chavez understood that his responsibility was to protect his members’ against encroachment from cheap alien labor. Chavez, who considered the INS his ally, offered UFW staffers to the agency to help it patrol the California/Mexico border. If only President Obama and Congress were as determined to protect workers as Chavez was. The role immigration plays in depressing wages cannot be overemphasized.
In California, which has more immigrants than any state, 16 percent of the population lives below the $22,000 family poverty line. Yet many of them work. In 38 percent of poor families, at least one works full-time and in another 25 percent, one or more works part-time. These are immigrants who have taken either minimum or below minimum wage jobs that once paid well.
Many of the American workers they displaced are now on welfare or collecting unemployment.
We may not have hit bottom yet. But unless we enforce our immigration laws, we soon will.
Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns, mostly about immigration and related social issues, since 1986. He is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and his columns are syndicated in various U.S. newspapers and websites. Contact him at [email protected]