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.