The Great Debate
What if someone with a deadly and mysterious infectious disease arrived at one of the largest urban centers in the United States? Certainly, we would expect the White House to consult the finest scientific minds in the federal government, academia and medicine to develop the best, most evidence-based approach to the contagious crisis.
It only seems like the latest immigration crisis hit by surprise, turning up suddenly on the U.S. border from someplace deep in the jungles of somewhere else.
My path to the United States, 20 years ago, was far less traumatic than that of the 52,000 unaccompanied children from Central America who have arrived at the southern U.S. border since October. Since many of these children don’t qualify for asylum, immigration officials move them to detention centers — after which they eventually face deportation proceedings.
One thing the overwhelming majority of Americans agree on, regardless of political party, is the need for immigration reform. Not only is it one of the keys necessary to create a healthier national economy and critical to America’s security, growth, and prosperity, it is also an integral component for the success of American business.
As House Republicans mull maiming the Senate’s immigration bill, a thousand pundits are asking what their moves will mean for future elections. Meanwhile, far from the spotlight, some courageous immigrant workers are asking whether Congress will finally disarm employers who use immigration status to silence employees. If Congress punts on immigration reform, or merely passes an industry wish list, it will have doubled-down on complicity in a little-discussed trend that’s driving down working conditions for U.S.-born and immigrant workers alike: For too many employers, immigration law is a tool to punish workers who try to organize.
Old vaudeville joke:
Man goes to the doctor. Says he has a pain in his arm.
“Have you ever had this problem before?” the doctor says.
“Yes,” the man answers.
“Well, you got it again.”
Now look at the Republicans’ immigration problem. Have they had this problem before? Yes. Well, they’ve got it again.