What's Tony Thinking

Immigration, A Few Things Worth Knowing


Do you ever listen to Thom Hartmann? His show is carried in the Seattle area on weekday mornings on KCBS (91.3) Progressive radio, I think it is called.

Hartmann was focusing on immigration today, pointing out the following: we have laws on our books that prohibit employers from hiring non-citizens. Canada has the same. Canada, however, enforces those laws, which is why over the years Americans in search of work have not crossed the border to Canada. They won’t be hired. We do not enforce these same laws.

Why not? Who is responsible for this flaunting of “law and order.”

These laws stopped being enforced in 1986 at the behest of the Reagan administration. Was Ronald Reagan determined to create employment for (illegal) immigrants from Latin America? Not exactly.

No, but he was determined to break the power of unions. Dropping enforcement of labor laws allowed him to accomplish his union-busting goal — and to create a huge incentive for people to cross the border into the U.S. to try to find work.

Got that? It was a Republican who gave us our immigration problems.

Yes, things are different now, sort of. Most of the immigration at the southern border is being driven by violence, poverty and corruption in three countries, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. These countries are riddled by corruption and ruled by gangs. You would flee too.

How about taking steps to stem the flow of fleeing people at the source? In a piece I drew from several months ago a missionary in Honduras pointed out how the U.S. could make a difference.

Make it difficult, preferably impossible, for those corrupt politicians, businessmen and judges from these three countries to enter the U.S. These people spend a lot of time in the U.S., at their homes in Miami and Atlanta.

When they are expecting a child they come to the U.S. for the child to be born so he/ she will have automatic U.S. citizenship.

Start calling out these officials whose corruption permits and sanctions the violence in their own countries, the violence and poverty that causes people to flee and to join immigrant caravans.

Seize their assets in the U.S. Prevent them from entering the U.S. to live their lives of luxury. Don’t permit them easy access to U.S. citizenship for their offspring.

This commentator did also call for cutting off U.S. aid to these countries, noting that it doesn’t get to those it is intended to help. That is something Trump has recently done or threatened to do.

Long ago the biblical prophet Amos delivered an indictment of the wealthy who “are at ease in Zion,” who “recline on beds of ivory and lounge on their couches, who eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall, who sing idle songs . . . but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph (their impoverished fellow countrymen).” (Amos 6, selected verses).

Right now, the U.S. is aiding and abetting the wealthy but corrupt elite of Central America while blaming the harassed poor who come to the border seeking respite and sanctuary.

A comprehensive overview of these issues appeared in the Brookings Institution newsletter this morning. Check it out here. Very worth reading. The author indicates that current policies and approaches of the Trump administration will only aggravate the flow of would be immigrants. The only reason to pursue such policies is to drive the policy of a wall and provide fodder for political demagoguery on the issue.



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