The baker's dozen in employment (part 2)

For better or for worse, our economy finds itself sharing its conjugal bed with the employment fact that one in thirteen jobs in this United States is being filled by someone who crossed our borders without appropriate documentation.

Are these baker’s dozen jobs the scrapings from the bottom of the employment barrel? Are they the least desirable, least paying and most servile positions? Generalizations abound in the answers given to these questions, some drowning in irrationality, while others suffering from a lack of social justification. After all, if viewed with a minimal sense of fairness, shouldn’t many of these physically-demanding jobs be compensated at a multiple of, instead of less than, minimum wage?

Although there are many vocal individuals, and groups, calling for action to restrict the wave of unauthorized immigration, most Americans simply feel unaffected by it… whether they are or not. Culturally, economically and politically, whatever changes are taking place, do so at a pace which does not seem to them to be cause for alarm… whether it is or not.

A few communities have been profoundly changed by this tide of immigration, but most have not. So there hasn’t been much of a cry at the grassroots for either a stricter enforcement of present laws, including an effective patrolling of the borders; nor for a change in immigration policy.

But as disinterested as a majority of the nation’s population is on this issue, the debate rages on between those who see a multifaceted danger in continuing with these broken borders, and those who do not see it as a problem at all. And, if taking sides on cultural, economic and political issues were not enough, security or defense against terrorism has been added to the debate.

Economics has been the preponderant issue in the debate, and whether or not we are importing poverty by allowing this massive influx of “paperless” immigrants. Most studies that I have come across, conducted as all-inclusive cost-benefit analyses… where at times even social costs appeared quantified, were scientifically lacking, often initiated by organizations or institutions trying to prove “their point.” Even those studies which gave an appearance of scientific rigor were blatantly lacking, oftentimes assigning causal effects to intervening variables. Study after study has had a tower of Babel effect on whether or not this wave of immigration is overall positive to our economy. Whatever our views are on the subject, there will be studies “proving” our point. Even our great “economist-astrologer,” Alan Greenspan, got into the act when he said that these illegal workers increasingly play an essential role against inflation in the American economy.

Culturally and politically the issue of broken borders is far more difficult to tackle than that of economics. The two advocacies are not only poles apart, they are totally in conflict. While some Americans view this unrestrained immigration as the eraser that will make disappear the predominance of their language, values and customs; others see the eventual acceptance of these migrants, and the empowerment from future census results, as a way to achieve what had been de-facto denied to them.

Carried to an extreme, given the population make-up and historical realities of California and southwestern United States , the cultural and political issues could prove to be a political great divide. Such could be the case if the radical Chicano movement gains more followers to their Aztlan dream, conquering by vote what they claim was taken from their ancestors by force. A secessionist movement within two to three decades is plausible, one unlikely to attain its self-determination objective… but achieve other goals in the process. Far-fetched? Not when you consider that 4 out of 5 people crossing the border illegally are Hispanic, most of them from Mexico .

Our capitalist system almost begs for open borders, but a less anarchical undertaking is probably more suitable. It is doubtful, however, that either Congress or our elected CEO will exercise the leadership necessary to enact a workable immigration policy. Not now, not in the near future.