Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Movement and the Money

What’s behind the recent rise in wages for undocumented workers? It could be immigrants’ rights activism.
Graffiti on the Mexican side of the wall. Photo: Jonathan McIntosh / Flickr

David L. Wilson, Jacobin
October 16, 2017
Last Sunday, Trump’s White House released a list of immigration demands that Democrats must meet if they want to renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation. The demands, if met, would mean more criminalization, more surveillance, and more fear for undocumented immigrants.

Republicans justify this punitive approach by insisting that immigrants are “taking our jobs,” driving down wages for citizens and making the economic situation more desperate for all.

But a look back at a decade of data shows that if Republicans’ goal is to bolster wages, they’re going about it all wrong.[...]

Read the full article:


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Protect the Dreamers, but Don't Fall for an E-Verify "Compromise"

Liberal commentators have written favorably about the program in the past.... But E-Verify isn't really any better than Trump's "big beautiful wall."

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
October 12, 2017
E-Verify is back on the political agenda.

For years, politicians have wanted to force all of the country's 7.7 million private employers to check new hires against this online system -- which compares employees' documents with government databases in order to catch immigrants without work authorization -- but so far, the efforts to impose a universal E-Verify requirement have failed. Now the idea has been given new life by a tentative agreement that President Trump and Democratic leaders made on September 13 to promote legislation protecting the immigrants previously covered by President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).[...]

Read the full article:
Janet Napolitano touts E-Verify Self in  2011. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Friday, September 15, 2017

Why do we still have employer sanctions?

The AFL-CIO was one of the main supporters of employer sanctions back in 1986. It only took 13 years for the labor federation to learn its lesson: in February 2000 it officially called for the elimination of the policy.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
September 13, 2017
It’s now more than three decades since Congress created employer sanctions, a feature of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act that imposes fines on employers who hire undocumented workers. The measure’s proponents said the sanctions would slow unauthorized immigration by removing the “job magnet” thought to be drawing migrants to the United States. The House Education and Labor Committee wrote at the time that by reducing the number of undocumented workers the measure would limit “the depressing effect on working conditions caused by their employment.”

If that was the goal, employer sanctions have been a spectacular failure.[…]

Read the full article:
https://mronline.org/2017/09/13/why-do-we-still-have-employer-sanctions/


Friday, September 8, 2017

Renegotiating NAFTA Will Only Serve the Rich -- Just Like It Always Has


By David L. Wilson, Truthout
Monday, August 21, 2017
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect at midnight on January 1, 1994. That night, thousands of Indigenous Mayans rose up in arms in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, seizing at least five towns and declaring NAFTA a "death certificate" for people like themselves. This was just the beginning of Mexico's troubles in a year that brought countless protests, hotly disputed elections and the assassinations of two of the then-ruling party's leaders. 1994 ended with a sudden devaluation of the peso, the start of an economic collapse from which the country didn't recover fully for years.

NAFTA is back in the news this month: On August 16, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with his counterparts from Canada and Mexico, the other two NAFTA nations, to open talks on renegotiating the pact.

While it's true that NAFTA was just one of the many problems Mexico had in the 1990s, we have to wonder, given the renewed focus on the trade accord, why US mainstream media have carried so little discussion of the events that accompanied NAFTA's rollout in Mexico.[…]

Read the full article:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Are liberals having second thoughts about immigration?

For Democratic politicians and pundits this resistance to Trump might at first have seemed like a good thing, but Beinart’s article and the reaction to it suggest that liberals are starting to have second thoughts.

By David L. Wilson, MRonline
July 3, 2017
On June 20 The Atlantic posted an article by Peter Beinart claiming that the Democrats had “lost their way on immigration.”

Beinart is a respected liberal centrist—of the sort that supported the 2003 Iraq invasion until it started going bad—so the article created a stir among opinion makers. Rightwingers at Breitbart and National Review gloated. Liberals took Beinart’s thesis to heart: Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum endorsed the article, and Thomas Edsall quoted it in the New York Times. A Chicago Tribune columnist cited it as an “important essay.”

It’s true that Beinart makes some good points.[…]

Read the full article:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

What Do ICE Raids Mean for the Rest of Us?


By David L. Wilson, MR Online
March 2, 2017 

The national sweeps by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in the second week of February drew a great deal of media attention. Some of the coverage was devoted to analyzing whether the arrests of about 680 immigrants marked the start of a massive deportation campaign by the Trump administration. Some focused on the impact the raids had on the immigrants themselves and on their families, which often include U.S. citizens and green card holders. But there wasn’t much discussion about the impact of the raids on other working people—on citizens without immigrant friends or relatives.

For example, how much did these raids cost taxpayers?[...]

Read the full article:
https://mronline.org/2017/03/02/what-do-ice-raids-mean-for-the-rest-of-us/

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Marx on Immigration: Workers, Wages, and Legal Status

Marx wrote about immigrant workers nearly 150 years ago, and he was certainly not infallible, but a great deal of his analysis sounds remarkably contemporary.… Among his insights, largely ignored by economists and activists alike, is the one Marx considered “most important of all”: the way immigration can be used to create “a working class divided into two hostile camps.”

Photo credit: Values & Capitalism.
By David L. Wilson, Monthly Review
February 2017

On April 9, 1870, Karl Marx wrote a long letter to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt, two of his collaborators in the United States. In it Marx touched on a number of subjects, but his main focus was the “Irish question,” including the effects of Irish immigration in England. This discussion seems to have been Marx’s most extensive treatment of immigration, and while it hardly represents a comprehensive analysis, it remains interesting as a sample of Marx’s thinking on the subject—at least on one day in 1870.

Given the intense and often bitter debates over immigration now taking place in the United States and Europe, the letter to Meyer and Vogt has received surprisingly little attention from the modern left. Immigrant rights advocates in particular have ignored Marx’s thoughts on the issue, especially his remark—which reflects his assessment of how the capitalist system operates—that the influx of low-paid Irish immigrants to England forced wages down for native-born English workers. In fact, many present-day supporters of immigrants’ rights have taken the side of liberal economists who insist that immigration actually boosts wages for native-born workers.[...]

Read the full article:
https://monthlyreview.org/2017/02/01/marx-on-immigration/