Friday, March 31, 2006

Immigration Issue an opportunity for Democrats

According to Paul Krugman of the New York Times
“For now, at least, the immigration issue is mainly hurting the Republican Party, which is divided between those who want to expel immigrants and those who want to exploit them. The only thing the two factions seem to have in common is mean-spiritedness.”
Read the entire article (which requires a subscription) here.

This is an opportunity for the Democratic Party but there are dangers also. If Democrats can unite behind a policy which is seen as compassionate and caring to the Hispanic community but also protects low-skilled American citizens then Florida, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona could become blue states for a generation.

Paul Krugman cites studies which show that the influx of unskilled workers eager to work hard for low (by American standards) wages depress the earning of low skilled Americans. Democrats must resist the pressure from business interests to maintain the status quo and continue the influx of large numbers of unskilled workers.
On the other hand the proposals which call for the expulsion of illegal immigrants already here or that allow them to stay but with no path toward eventual citizenship are mean-spirited and are seen by the Hispanic community as racist.

If the Democrats can resist the pressures from the business interests and the xenophobes to which the Republicans have fallen victim and can unite behind an immigration policy which is seen as fair to all working men and women and supports the democratic idea of universal enfranchisement they could rebuild FDR’s coalition.


The Inside Dope said...

I sure do miss my regular Krugman! Darn the Times for going to subscription. Since Krugman was about the only thing I really wanted to read, I can't justify the cost.

The immigration issue is a hot one, not to mention very complex and thorny. I'd differ from Krugman in that I think it boils down to those who feel that immigration should be wide open and that once a person makes it onto U.S. soil, they should be given all the rights and aide and assistance any U.S. citizen is eligible for, and those who think there needs to be some limits, or at least control, on the alarming influx of immigrants.

I heard someone suggest that the U.S. take all the billions it currently spends on assistance to immigrants, the endless capturing, returning, and then capturing again, etc. etc. and establish a program in Mexico which would provide funds for establishing small businesses and development so that they can fix their own country and not have seemingly most of the population move into the U.S.
Others say that corruption is so wide-spread and entrenched that nothing would help.

I wonder if the last person to leave Mexico will turn off the lights.

Anonymous said...

Suppose we were to agree that the people from Mexico are coming as refugees from an economic system that keeps them in abject poverty? The INS does not consider these desperate border crossers economic refugees. Cubans who get their feet on U.S. land are considred refugees from a communistic economic system. CNN has a special on Chinese illegals. But they too are escaping from a communistic economic system. Our State Department and Congress view people differently. Haitians are persona non grata. Stalin's daughter was welcomed by the State Department. Bush says thats how democracy works in America, a nation of laws. Seems contradictory to me.