So Donald Trump has released an immigration plan. I’d be lying if I said that I like all of it but I like the predicates he announces for any immigration plan.
1. A nation without borders is not a nation. There must be a wall across the southern border.
2. A nation without laws is not a nation. Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation. Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.
What is missing from this is any of the stuff that has cluttered up previous plans. His focus is on America and Americans. There is no “pathway to citizenship” or “dreamers”. And while the details are not necessarily all that conservative (do I really want more ICE officers? Truly?) and some of it is balderdash. But in the main I think it goes in a direction we should be looking. It does not reward lawbreakers and it gets rid of some of the perverse incentives that create the current schizophrenia where one government agency is trying to deport illegal aliens while another is giving them welfare benefits and educating their children. It ensures that cheap illegal labor, or even cheap H1B labor, can’t be used to displace American workers. Simply put, if you can’t agree on points #2 and #3 (I am very ‘meh’ about a wall but not opposed to it) then it is more than a little unclear what kind of immigration policy you would support.
This has the US Chamber of Commerce’s official newsletter, the Washington Post, in a turmoil. If Trump’s plan is taken seriously we are looking at Armageddon. Why Armageddon? Because the illegal workforce will be reduced.
REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Donald Trump, who unveiled his immigration platform over the weekend, says America’s illegal immigrants “have to go.” Although the large majority of Americans don’t agree, Mr. Trump is appealing to a more sympathetic audience: the most conservative slice of the Republican primary electorate.
So let’s take Mr. Trump’s plan at face value and examine the impact of deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.
Keep in mind as you read the next two paragraphs that the Washington Post puts itself on record as being in favor of employers illegally hiring illegal immigrants. It is in favor of a system that puts these workers largely outside wage-and-hour and OSHA regulations. It is endorsing a formalization of identity theft so taxes can be withheld, or, conversely it is endorsing the non=payment of taxes by both worker and employer.
A useful case study is California, whose economy accounts for about 13 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and whose 2.6 million undocumented workers include almost a tenth of the state’s workforce.
For starters, the state’s farms and orchards, where a third to a half of agricultural workers are undocumented, would be crippled. So would their output, comprising more than half the fruits and vegetables consumed in this country. The labor market in construction, where about 14 percent of workers are undocumented, would be severely disrupted. Ditto for hospitality, child care and landscaping.
With 93.9 million Americans out of the labor force and the percent of the workforce that is unemployed or underemployed at 12% we should be willing to take the risk.
Then they trot out the dreamers:
Mr. Trump says he would keep families together if they include legal and illegal immigrants, but they’d all “have to go.” Does that include the 13 percent of California’s K-12 students who have at least one undocumented parent? How about the U.S.-born children of nearly 4 million unauthorized immigrants nationwide, most of whom have been in the United States for well over a decade?
First and foremost if one parent is a US citizen the child is not affected by Trump’s proposal. We also don’t know anything about the marital status of the parents. So the 13% is quite meaningless. If they are married, though, the parents have to make the decision about where they wish to live. This is called “personal responsibility.” As an aside, wouldn’t California save a lot of money on K-12 education and specifically on targeted services if this happened?
What happens next is incredible. A couple of weeks ago one of the twits on ABC’s “The View” got in trouble for saying this about Trump’s immigration statements:
“If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?”
Compare that with what the Washington Post editorial board:
Even if every unemployed American in those states took an undocumented worker’s job — wildly unlikely, given that most Americans are unwilling to do the dirty jobs filled by many immigrants — it would still leave hundreds of thousands jobs unfilled.
That could have been written by a literate Kelly Osbourne.
From there we go straight on to the Zombie Apocalypse:
What Mr. Trump proposes is nothing less than manufacturing a humanitarian upheaval on a scale rivaling the refugee crisis in Syria. Notwithstanding his cavalier rhetoric, there’s no evidence Americans would tolerate such a mass uprooting of people who have planted deep roots in this nation.
The parade of horribles that the Washington Post lays out — to the extent what it describes are even bad — will never come to pass. A agricultural guest worker program could address the issue of who picks crops. That would have the side benefit of putting those workers on the books, paying taxes, and being covered by basic labor law. Machinery is available to do some of these jobs and some jobs in construction and is not widely employed because illegal immigrants are cheaper.
We are at a point on immigration where we have to decide whether we are going to open the border to all comers or we are going to enforce the law. The current system, the one the Washington Post supports, provides an unlimited supply of disposable workers to American corporations while working against respect for the rule of law and against the interest of American workers. There is much in Trump’s plan that is malarkey — making the Mexican government pay for the wall by confiscating worker remittances? Seriously? — but it is hard to look at his organizing principles and disagree with them.