Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Debunking the Myth of the Job-Stealing Immigrant

[This article has circulated widely among immigrant rights supporters. It makes some good points, but readers should keep the author's orientation in mind and think about why he's now interested in immigration. Davidson is a professional apologist for neoliberal economic policies, sweatshops, charter cities, etc. One of the people he cites, Giovanni Peri, is an advocate of guest worker programs, which he wants implemented without "the government micromanag[ing] permits, rules and limits." See the articles linked to after Davidson's piece.--TPOI]

By Adam Davidson, New York Times
March 24, 2015

When I was growing up in the 1980s, I watched my grandfather — my dad’s stepdad — struggle with his own prejudice. He was a blue-collar World War II veteran who loved his family above all things and was constantly afraid for them. He carried a gun and, like many men of his generation, saw threats in people he didn’t understand: African-Americans, independent women, gays. By the time he died, 10 years ago, he had softened. He stopped using racist and homophobic slurs; he even hugged my gay cousin. But there was one view he wasn’t going to change. He had no time for Hispanics, he told us, and he wasn’t backing down. After all, this wasn’t a matter of bigotry. It was plain economics. These immigrants were stealing jobs from “Americans.”

I’ve been thinking about my grandfather lately, because there are signs that 2015 could bring about the beginning of a truce — or at least a reconfiguration — in the politics of immigration. Several of the potential Republican presidential candidates, most notably Jeb Bush, have expressed pro-immigration views. Even self-identified Tea Party Republicans respond three to two in favor of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Every other group — Republicans in general, independents and especially Democrats — is largely pro-immigrant. According to Pew, roughly as many people (18 percent of Americans) believed in 2010 that President Obama was a Muslim as believe today that undocumented immigrants should be expelled from the United States. Of course, that 18 percent can make a lot of noise. But for everyone else, immigration seems to be going the way of same-sex marriage, marijuana and the mohawk — it’s something that a handful of people freak out about but that the rest of us have long since come to accept.[...]

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For Peri on guest workers:

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