Despite the fact that every major survey of Americans displays deep support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform including majorities specifically among Democrats, Republicans and Independents, there are people who are vehemently, irrationally and insolently against such reform.
Here are the reasons to use those specific words to describe the opposition to Comprehensive Immigration Reform: (A) Rarely, if ever, do they use rational economic theories or facts as foundations for opposition; (B) They rarely offer any reasonable alternatives for repairing the immigration system around us that everyone agrees is clearly broken.
Opponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform range from poor uneducated Appalachian folks living in poverty as they have for two hundred years since the real America moved west, to “educated” Harvard Law graduates and Classics Historians at the Hoover Institution and people in between led by a new “Halloween Coalition.”
The original Halloween Coalition came into being in 1993 to oppose the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiated by President Bush (1), Canada and Mexico. The Coalition consisted of uber-conservative pundit and failed Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan (whom William F. Buckley chastised for being anti-Semitic), Jesse Jackson Sr., also a failed Presidential candidate, anti-Semite Black activist millionaire and Ross Perot, failed Presidential candidate who sabotaged President Bush (41) by siphoning off enough votes to steal the election for William J. Clinton who won with 41% of the vote. They were joined by the AFL/CIO leadership and some wild-eyed tantrum throwing Democrat and Republican congressmen.
The Halloween Coalition’s spirit has been brought back to life by the current discussions about reforming Immigration. Its arguments then were race based; it ran a hate Mexican campaign. Cartoonists published works showing a floppy-eared Ross Perot yelling “THE MEXICANS ARE COMING! THE MEXICANS ARE COMING!” American jobs would be sucked away into Mexico. Since then his son has moved Perot’s company to Mexico. The Coalition never raised intelligent reasons for Congress not to pass NAFTA nor to convince many Americans. They did convince a hard core of opponents. These same people are now opposing Immigration Reform. The commonality: Mexico.
Here are the reasons why immigration needs reform and why those here illegally should have their immigration status “adjusted (That’s a legal term).”
- Economic theory: millions of American jobs go unfilled in many parts of the country because there are not enough Americans willing to do that work. The key word – WILLING. Unemployed Americans refuse to work in certain occupations. They’d rather collect unemployment benefits that last years. The jobs would remain unfilled if there wasn’t a labor surplus in Mexico and Guatemala made up men/women needing work of any kind. Nature abhors a vacuum and so does the labor market. Demand creates supply; that is fact not just economic theory. There is no argument against this theory or fact.
- Labor theory: When there are more work-age people than jobs, there is a labor surplus. There have not been enough jobs in Mexico despite huge economic progress since the 1940s to employ all Mexicans willing to work. With massive job openings in the U.S. in critical fields of construction, agriculture and hotel/restaurant jobs. Given that vacuum, the most natural and inevitable movement of the Mexican labor surplus north to where jobs are available occurred with little hindrance.
- Free labor market: For all intents and purposes we had a free labor market for 20-30 years after the Bracero program was ended by the Kennedy/Johnson Administration at the behest of the Labor Unions. Up to 10,000 people-a-day crossed the border illegally in the 80s and 90s and practically all of them found work. Jobs need willing workers. The 1986 Ronald Reagan-signed amnesty for 3-million illegally present people and farm workers was the legal pinnacle moment of immigration reform.
- Border enforcement: In an effort to pacify the Halloween Coalition, President Bill Clinton created a strict border enforcement policy called Operation Gatekeeper on October 1, 1994 that placed new Border Patrol Agents on the border closely stationed to stop border crossings in the easy places. The result was people were driven into the mountains and deserts of San Diego, Arizona and New Mexico. That’s the good news; the bad news is that an average of 500 people a year – men, women and children – died in the mountains and deserts when hardly anyone died before Operation Gatekeeper – almost ten thousand men, women and children.
So, now that the current economic funk has driven Mexicans home and slowed more Mexicans from coming topped off by a huge plunge in Mexican birth rates that started in the 1990s that automatically shrunk the labor surplus, we are in a period when more Mexicans are going home than are coming giving us the grand opportunity to fix immigration. Shall we do so? Yes, the hysterical opposition notwithstanding.
Raoul Lowery Contreras (1941) was born in Mexico, raised in the USA. Former U.S. Marine, athlete, Dean’s List at San Diego State. Professional political consultant and California Republican Party official(1963-65)…Television news commentator, radio talk show host…published Op-Ed writer (1988 to present)…author of 12 books (as of 1-05-12). His books are available on Amazon.com.