Cheap Labor First, Healthy Families Last

Bill Scher

The conservative movement has long been split on immigration. Nativist conservatives fear diversity and want to keep immigrants out. Corporate conservatives fear paying fair wages and want cheap immigrant labor.

As neither camp cares about the well-being of workers on either side of the border, neither bothers to propose comprehensive, workable solutions to our broken immigration system.

The Bush Administration is in the corporate camp, promoting temporary guest worker programs intended to keep wages down.

This week, the White House floated its latest proposal, making it very clear that’s still all about the cheap labor. The LA Times reports:

A White House proposal for overhauling immigration laws would abandon the long-standing practice of admitting immigrants seeking to reunite with their families, instead giving preference to applicants based on the nation’s employment needs.

Cheapr labor first. Keeping families together last.

The proposal includes disincentives for illegal immigrants to exit the underground economy, with much steeper fines than last year’s Senate bill, and a requirement to leave the country before getting a green card.

And it also denies workers the money they have already paid into the Social Security system.

Like all of Bush’s past proposals, it doesn’t impress the nativist conservatives, who don’t want any path to citizenship. And it doesn’t impress immigrant advocates either.

To see what comprehensive reform of our broken immigrant system really looks like –reasonable path to citizenship, strong border enforcement, and job creation south of the border — check out Straight Talk from Campaign for America’s Future.

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