Casey

It’s not the time for immigration push

Published 4:10am Thursday, June 27, 2013

There have been many times in the nation’s history when we needed new ingredients in the melting pot.
In times of rapid economic growth, sometimes the demand for workers is too great to be met by the existing work force.
This is not such a time.
Unemployment has hovered around 8 percent nationwide for more than five years now. If you add in the exasperated workers who have simply given up looking for a job, the numbers are even more eye-popping.
Why then is it so important to pass an immigration bill that will add at least 11 million new people to the labor force by offering a “path to citizenship” to those already here illegally?
I truly wish I knew. Yet that seems to be the only issue Congress is concerned about.
Many characterize the opposition to comprehensive immigration reform as hard-hearted, even racist, feelings toward those here illegally, those “living in the shadows,” as the common cliches go.
But what about some concern for actual Americans, those born here, or who waited their turn for legal immigration?
Especially among those with fewer skills, those who didn’t go to college or even graduate high school?
Will the addition of millions of new workers with similar skill sets help them get a job?
Well, if you were applying for a job, do you think it would be a good thing or a bad thing to learn that with a stroke of the pen some politician added a few hundred new applicants with whom you’ll have to compete?
That will be the plight of those on the bottom of our economic ladder. And unfortunately, nobody in Washington seems particularly worried about them.
The Republican power-players, I believe, would love to see an influx of new citizens because a larger workforce would drive down wages, leading to bigger profits for the big businesses they’ll depend on to fund yet another reelection drive.
Democrats want to see it because newly legalized immigrants are likely to need help from our social safety net, giving them new opportunities to buy votes out of Uncle Sam’s wallet.
The regular folks out there, who have done most things right, but had a bit of bad luck, what of them? They better get used to misfortune, because if this bill goes through, it’s not going away any time soon.
Black Americans stand to suffer the greatest betrayal by their leaders in Congress. Rather than defending the employment opportunities of their most vulnerable constituents — who suffer under a jobless rate near 25 percent — their leaders just can’t wait to get 11 milllion-plus new voters signed up. How are low-income Americans of every stripe going to become self-sufficient when their chances are watered down with an instant swelling of the labor force?
Folks ask me some times what party I side with, and I often have a hard time saying. It’s pretty much impossible to say right now, because I find it hard to fully trust anyone who managed to be elected to office.
There must be something in the waters of the Potomac River, because once they get to D.C., their priorities change.
Many Republicans were ready to run freshman Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the 2012 presidential election. But after a year or so in Washington, his conservative credentials were cast aside.
He joined the Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group that hunkered down in a back room somewhere to write this current immigration bill. It runs thousands of pages long, and its specifics are hard to discern even for the most seasoned political observer.
Yet with special favors and hidden perks, he peeled off enough GOP colleagues for a 60-vote cloture motion, meaning they’ll barely even talk about it in the Senate anymore.
I’m sure everyone has fully studied it, about as certain as I am that some dogs wake up from their naps singing “La Cucaracha” and dancing the samba.
I bear no ill will against immigrants of any nation, and have known many great Americans who were born outside our borders. But to put those who overstayed their visas, those who snuck across our borders, in line ahead of those who followed the rules?
It’s unconscionable.
And worse, it undermines the rule of law that undergirds our entire system.
When a computer get gummed up and stops working right, sometimes you’ve just got to shut things down and start from scratch.
After so many betrayals of the least among us, maybe it’s time to hit reset on our political leadership.
At least the Blue Screen of Death stops finding new things to screw up.

David D. Goodwin is political editor of The Wetumpka Herald. Contact him at david.goodwin@thewetumpkaherald.com.

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