Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Political Economy of Migration

By David Bacon
New Labor Forum, June 2007

[Note: This article previews an argument that will be made at book length in Illegal - How GlobalizationCreates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants, Beacon Press, Fall 2008]

Mr. Sensenbrenner's Family Business

In December 2005, Wisconsin Congressman James Sensenbrenner convinced his Republican colleagues (and to their shame, 35 Democrats) to pass one of the most repressive immigration proposals of the last hundred years. His bill, HR 4437, would have made federal felons of all 12 million undocumented immigrants in theU.S., criminalized teachers, nurses or priests who helped them, and built a 700-mile wall on the U.S.Mexico border to keep people from crossing.

Representative Sensenbrenner is more than just a leader of Congressional xenophobes, however. His family is intimately involved in creating the conditions that cause migration, and then profits from the labor it makes available. In fact, the Sensenbrenner family connections are a microcosm of the political economy of migration itself. [...]

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