Monday, March 27, 2006

Immigration, What a Mayhem

You have probably heard of all the fuss over the hottest topic of these days, immigration. Latino and pro-immigration groups held massive rallies across the country in major cities from Cincinnati to Los Angeles. All this is over a piece of legislation that was passed by the House of Representatives, making it a felony to enter the United States illegally. There is nothing wrong with passing laws requiring foreigners to travel and work in the U.S legally. But being unrealistic is the problem. The House bill does not address the real issues; American businesses’ need for cheap labor and Latin America’s poor economic condition that drives her citizen’s to the north. The House bill is just an election year reaction by the republican majority under the leadership of James Sensenbrenner (chairman of the judiciary committee) and John Boehner (majority leader). The Republican base, unhappy with the abominable state of our borders, rightfully demanded action from congressional leaders. But before passing such laws one must first calculate the costs and benefits of such legislation.

1- America needs cheap labor. Neither John Boehner of Ohio nor Nancy Pelosi of California is willing to deny America the cheap work force she desperately needs. When was the last time you saw Jim Underwood and his pregnant wife picking oranges for 16 hours a day for only 4 dollars an hour?

2- Voter sensitivity: both parties realize the sensitivity of the issue. After all, Americans get rather worried when they learn about 12 million illegal immigrants on nightly news. No one will ever come out in favor of illegal immigration (and they should not). But leaders of both parties tend to forget about the immigration issue during non-election years and only speak about the immigration mayhem when their party’s position in congress is in danger.

3- Growing Latino power: the Latin American community is the largest and the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. To politicians, that translates into votes. No party leader in his/her sane mind wants to upset the Latinos. Bush’s guest worker program, for instance, was an effort to please the Latinos while bowing down to the Republican base.

America needs real solutions. I am pro-immigration for I am a proud immigrant/U.S citizen myself. But rash decisions with simple and crowd pleasing answers cannot provide the nation with long lasting solutions to this grave problem. After all, it is an election year. When was the last time you saw politicians doing something constructive while begging for votes?

-Arash Aramesh

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