By David Simmonds
The McCain Kennedy Immigration bill seems to please no one. Not the Republicans, not the Democrats, and not the Mexicans. It seems as if no one really wants to tackle the issue in terms that people understand. What I understand, very clearly, is that if the Bush administration really wanted to stop the flow of undocumented workers from crossing the southern border, they would fine and jail the employers who hire them. I assure you, if the hard-working Mexicans who travel north to work could not find jobs, they would stay home. I have talked to enough of them to know that this is true. It would cause an immediate catastrophe in Mexico, but it would force the Mexican government to address the problems that have been systemic throughout their society for a very long time.
It is argued that the Mexicans we hire are doing jobs that American will not do, but that is only partly true, or maybe not at all true. They are doing jobs that Americans shun for the wages being offered, but Americans would do most of those jobs for the right money. And have you hired a construction crew lately? Not along ago these were well-paid middle-class jobs, but here in SoCal they are mostly Mexican workers who are not here legally. And they work damn hard. I haven’t seen a gringo hanging drywall in years. How can they compete with a crew who will do it cheaper?
We now have some very strange alliances on this issue. I’m a political progressive…always have been. But I believe that our open borders are hurting the American worker, the middle-class, by driving down wages and busting unions. I love the U.S. and Mexico, but I want Mexico to address their problems and find a way to keep their husbands and sons home with their families. They deserve to be allowed the opportunity to live and work in their great country.
I was looking for a mobile mechanic on Craigslist recently and called a couple of guys. They both asked where I lived and when I told them they said that was too far for them to drive…about 20 miles. Compare this to the men you see on the street corner, who have traveled a couple thousand miles, hoping to get a day’s work for $10 per hour, most of which he will send home to his village. You see what I’m saying…there’s no easy solution here.