Saturday, February 20, 2021

Crediting Xenophobia—Rather Than Organizing—With Raising Workers’ Wages

 For years, the media narrative has been that repressive immigration policies—billions spent on immigration enforcement, families torn apart, thousands dying on the southwestern border—ill somehow lead to wage hikes. They haven’t, and they won’t.

By David L. Wilson, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
February 19, 2021

The Economist (2/15/20) ran a brief article last year with a startling headline: “Immigration to America Is Down. Wages Are Up. Are the Two Related?” Maybe, the article’s anonymous author answered, at least for the short term.

A few on the right were quick to cite this conclusion as support for former President Trump’s efforts to deter immigration.[…]

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                                                                                Photo: Magnum

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

America Through Nazi Eyes

This 2019 Dissent article "America Through Nazi Eyes" provides fascinating information about the US influence on Nazi immigration policies, but it also contains two errors in its discussion of the US policies.

1. The Naturalization Act of 1790 didn't limit immigration to “free white person[s]"; it denied immigrants of color the ability to become citizens through naturalization, as its title indicates. In other words, immigrants of color could immigrate here, have their labor exploited here, and pay taxes here, but they couldn't become citizens.

2. Chinese people weren't all "excluded from citizenship in the late 1800s." Most were excluded from citizenship, and almost all were barred from immigrating here, but in fact there were Chinese-American citizens.

People of Chinese origin automatically became citizens if they were born here, based on the 14th Amendment (as upheld by the Supreme Court in Wong Kim Ark, 1898). But Chinese immigrants couldn't become citizens through naturalization; the Naturalization Act of 1870 extended the ability to naturalize to "aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent," but not to other immigrants of color. And the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 completely barred Chinese laborers from entering the country, although some more privileged Chinese still could come here.

These may not seem like major distinctions, but it's important to understand that while the US originally had racist limitations on naturalization, it didn't limit immigration itself until later. The first federal laws limiting immigration appeared in the late 19th century with the anti-Chinese legislation.

Bus Station, Durham, NC, 1940. Photo: Jack Delano/Library of Congress

America Through Nazi Eyes
By Omer Aziz, Dissent
Winter 2019

In September 1933, an important policy document known as the Prussian Memorandum began circulating among lawmakers and jurists of the Third Reich.[...]

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Democrats’ immigration agenda: Bolder, but not bold enough

Yakima Nation members march with immigrants. Photo: David Bacon/Capital & Main

By David L. Wilson, MR Online

September 23, 2020

The immigration plank in this year’s Democratic Party platform is a reminder that real immigration reform isn’t going to happen without serious grassroots organizing.

The platform, which the Democratic National Convention approved on August 18, is largely based on a 110-page document produced by six policy task forces that former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders set up in May. According to the New York Times, the Democrats were seeking “to assemble a new governing agenda…far bolder than anything the party establishment has embraced before.”[…]

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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Anti-Immigrant Policies Are Not Only Cruel, They Also Have an Economic Cost

Legalization and a fair work visa program would raise wages for many U.S.-born workers as well. This wage increase would in itself provide an important stimulus to an economy facing its worst crisis since the 1930s.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
August 19, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the government agency that processes visas, green cards and citizenship applications, claims it’s going broke. USCIS officials are threatening to furlough some 13,400 employees as early as August 30, after itially planning the measure for August 3. The furloughs would add to what was already a huge backlog in application processing, creating a disaster for tens of thousands of immigrant applicants. As many as 126,000 people already approved for citizenship may not be naturalized in time to register for the November elections.

Trump administration officials blame the agency’s financial problems on the COVID-19 pandemic...

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U.S.-Mexico border fence in Playas de Tijuana, BC. Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Trump’s Guest Worker Ban Sparks New Focus on Immigrant Push for Labor Overhaul

“Most media coverage has treated the issue as a choice between bringing guest workers in and keeping them out. But there are better options.”

By Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, Truthout
July 15, 2020
President Trump’s decision to suspend the majority of U.S. guest worker programs for at least six months, announced in a June 22 proclamation, has provoked a lot of debate.

For Mark Krikorian, who heads the immigration-restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies, the suspension is “a bold move … to protect American jobs,” while South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham warns it will have “a chilling effect on our economic recovery.” [...]

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Construction worker in NYC. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Trump, asylum, and the Honduran drug traffickers

There doesn’t seem to be much public outrage about the blatant hypocrisy of Trump using the Navy to threaten Maduro while bonding with Hernández on Twitter.

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
May 9, 2020
On April 30 the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was charging Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares, a former head of the Honduran National Police, with “conspiring to import cocaine into the United States.” According to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, the ex-police chief carried out some of his crimes “on behalf of convicted former Honduran congressman Tony Hernández and his brother,” Honduran president Juan Carlos Hernández.

This is the third time in less than a year that the U.S. government has linked the Honduran chief executive to drug traffickers.[…]

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Add captionDEA agents with Manuel Noriega after 1989 invasion. Photo: public domain

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Trump’s Immigration Suspension Doesn’t Prevent Unemployment or COVID-19 Spread

The new policy wouldn’t have more than a minimal impact on joblessness in the United States, even if immigration actually determined employment levels — and it generally doesn’t.

David L. Wilson, Truthout
April 30, 2020
Late on the evening of April 20, President Trump tweeted that he was temporarily suspending immigration to the United States. For justification he cited what he called “the attack from the Invisible Enemy” — that is, COVID-19 — and “the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.”

Government officials had to scramble to make sense of Trump’s tweet, but by April 22, the White House staff had tacked together a presidential proclamation for Trump to sign.[...]

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Volunteers bring groceries to immigrants on lockdown. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images