Saturday, April 15, 2006

Migrant Labor in U.S.

I've said before that I fear President Bush's guest worker program would amount to little more than a corporate recruiting program. Now I read from the Associated Press that such recruiting is already taking place. As reported by Julie Watson and Olga R. Rodriguez, U.S. companies are working directly with illegal sumggling operations for undocumented immigrants, paying transportation costs so as to get cheap labor entirely dependent on the companies for whatever rights they can get in this country. President Bush's plan would simply legalize these arrangements, with the position of the workers staying the same. It will be revealing to see if reports such as this cause a certain segment of activists upset over illegal immigration to shift some of their ire from workers whose skin color and national origin are different from their own to the companies which take advantage of and partially fund the trade in them as a commodity.

While I believe we must control our borders for national security reasons, I have nothing against workers who are here illegally. The issue along the Rio Grande is much as the same as at the Strait of Gibraltar. The demands for workers in the north and the economic imperatives for migration in the south are simply too great for the human flow to be shut off; the most we can do is manage it. Meanwhile, Democrats should shift the focus of this debate from the workers to the companies, allowing them to point out both the flaws of the President's plan while positing realistic solutions.


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