Arizona and Immigration: Xenophobia or an attempt to reign in the social costs of immigration?


I’ve not weighed in the the Arizona law, but the cartoon above pretty much sums up my assessment.  The law is intrusive and won’t do much to stem the tide of illegal immigration—at least outside of Arizona.

This is yet another issue where the true underlying cause of a social phenomenon is not discussed.  Xenophobia on the immigration question replaces a reasoned analysis of why the condition exists and, by extension, who’s really responsible for it. Of course, the reason for illegal immigration revolves around economics.  The Mexicans need jobs and certain employers here need near slave labor.  The fact of the matter is that the Mexicans wouldn’t be here unless there was an economic inducement for them to come.  Of course, those who’ve benefited from their presence want to keep their rock bottom wage advantage and the status of the immigrants doesn’t afford them the luxury of demanding much from those who employ them, so what really happens is that the profits they support are private while the costs of illegal immigration are public and to be borne by all.  In part, the Arizona law is a kneejerk reaction to controlling these costs while the other part is pure xenophobia.

This is like slavery redux in a way.  In states like  South Carolina and Mississippi, whites brought in so many slaves that they were outnumbered in certain areas and became fearful politically.  One of the reasons why Mississippi was so virulently racist revolved around the reason of keeping black folks in check so they couldn’t assert themselves politically.  Also, the end of the civil war spawned a number of “send them back to Africa movements” and although Liberia was established for this purpose, there were simply too many  black folks to send back nor was everyone willing to go back.

I understand the need to control who comes into the country and we need to do what is necessary to secure our borders, but there’s no way that we can send millions of people “back to Mexico” and there needs to be a way for these people to become citizens.  Without a doubt there are some social costs to be borne by the rest of us for their presence.  My position is that those costs ought to be borne by those who enjoyed the profits, so perhaps the hospitality, fruit growers and the construction industries ought be made to pay for these social costs via a special tax assessment so the rest of us don’t have to. 

2 Responses to “Arizona and Immigration: Xenophobia or an attempt to reign in the social costs of immigration?”
  1. Brother Greg L:

    Let’s back up in time and consider the past labor conflicts with those who undercut their wages and “labor monopoly”. These were called “scabs”. Organized labor realizes that scabs are a threat to their interests. Back when “consumers of labor” attempted to nullify the damaging effects of these scabs they not only went after the corporation but also the “scabs”. (I have no slanderous intent by using the word “scab” upon the Mexicans)

    How does anyone explain the gross difference in today’s debate?
    On the wake of a report from LSU that details how Black Americans have been negatively impacted in the job market by the uncontrolled influx of illegal workers the NAACP and other Civil Rights operatives are silent. To date the results of an informal study which showed that a White man with a criminal degree has an easier time in finding a job than a Black male with a college degree.

    The claim of racial profiling is merely a ruse.
    What we have is some people who are allowed to CHERRY PICK as they retain their moral high ground.
    Note, however,that the same NAACP recently joined with the labor unions for a massive protest on Wall Street to DEMAND that the Wall Street banks pay for jobs since they destroyed the job market. I have a video of a contractor at the Atlanta airport violating labor law and hiring illegals. Do you see the NAACP protesting at this job site?

    The bottom line is, Greg L, there is a need to cut the cherry picking and force any one who wants to speak with credibility to confine themselves to comprehensive and TIMELY solutions and be held accountable for all of the results.

    At present they are able to show outrage over the possibility of racial profiling while express OUTRAGE over high unemployment rates in the black community. They are always absolved of their complicity in some of these issues.

    • Greg L says:

      “The bottom line is, Greg L, there is a need to cut the cherry picking and force any one who wants to speak with credibility to confine themselves to comprehensive and TIMELY solutions and be held accountable for all of the results”


      The NAACP’s biggest challenge is one of relevancy which is why they have to cast around to latch onto any issue that comes up that seemingly ties into discrimination. Since overt discrimination targets are getting less plentiful for black folks, they’ve expanding their tent to encompass Hispanics as well.

      The most relevant thing that can occur in our communities today is economic development, but that can’t occur until there are safe predictable environments in which to conduct business. So that means that crime and a host of internal social issues have to be addressed first. In the main, the NAACP and other groups aren’t trying to develop the capacities to align themselves with this very relevant mission as this sort of thing tends to increase their accountability as addressing any of these issues successfully requires that we measure our progress towards attainment of stated goals. When the “goal” is altering someone else’s behavior (i.e. racism), one can always say that progress wasn’t possible because the “other guy” refused to change. Obviously, that redirects the attention away from their lack of relevancy and places the blame on the “other guy”.

      This is my problem with the whole of the “civil rights” regime and barring a radical reorientation, I don’t see the NAACP, Al Sharpton, Jesse and the rest of them as being integral to any real solutions mainly because that’s not their focus and will never be. We need new leadership. That leadership must be economically independent and from the entrepreneurial/managerial tradition. It must know how to plan and, above all, how to execute. I’ve always maintained that these type of leaders wouldn’t even need to confront the “pretenders on the throne”, but just put them on trial by running up some results and let the people choose on that basis.

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