Monday, April 12, 2010

Labor unions an intriguing part of immigration reform debate these days

Immigration reform was the topic of interest at rallies and protests taking place across the United States this weekend, including one held on Chicago’s West Side.

That rally managed to draw a crowd of just over 1,000 people, including many political types eager for voter support going up as high as Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. His appearance at that rally, where he said that immigration reform must pass Congress “this year,” was the primary reason the Chicago rally was even acknowledged in national news reports – most of which focused their time on the Las Vegas rally where immigration proponents were trying to tout the re-election chances of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

BUT FOR ME, the intriguing part of the Chicago rally for immigration reform wasn’t who showed up – it was largely the usual (and expected) suspects. It was where the rally was held.

It was at Teamster City, 1645 W. Jackson Blvd., which is the primary facility for the Teamsters labor union in the Chicago area.

Not that it’s uncommon for political protests and rallies to be held there. But the fact that this particular event was held there means we have the Teamsters on the side of the immigrants and their proponents on this issue.

Which, to be honest, means we have most labor unions on the side of the immigrants on this issue.

I FIND THAT aspect to be interesting because most of the people who are opposed to immigration reform (or think that immigration “reform” should be defined as an increase in deportations) try to claim that their opposition has little to nothing to do with ethnic hangups.

Instead, they argue they are concerned about these non-citizens coming to our country at a time when we’re in an economic downtown and taking jobs from U.S. citizens.

Now some of these people manage to unmask their racial and ethnic hangups when bringing up this point when they say the low-level jobs now being done by these undocumented workers are jobs that could easily go to African-American people on welfare

Seriously, I have heard it. In their perfect world, black people wash dishes and do other menial jobs.

BUT BACK TO the point. It really has nothing to do with anyone taking away jobs from anybody else.

Because if it did, these labor union types would be the most outspoken opponents of immigration reform. We’d be seeing and hearing them in great numbers engaging in trash talk about the issue.

Instead, we’re seeing the unions realizing that these people are in this country to work, and that stabilizing their immigration status makes it less likely that companies would be able to hire them out of a sense that their uncertain status in this country makes them more likely to put up with abuse at the hands of an employer.

I’m not exaggerating. Anybody who doubts this ought to look at the organized labor rhetoric that occurred some two decades ago (and which we still hear traces of today) when the North American Free Trade Agreement was put into place.

THE UNIONS WERE more than willing to spew the official party line that thinking of Canada, Mexico and the United States as one economic unit would undermine the labor protections they had fought so hard to obtain throughout the years. Which played along with the nativist rhetoric that our country should not want to think of itself as an economic partner (or any type of partner, for that matter) with Mexico.

So I find it encouraging to learn that the unions are on the side of the immigrants,seeing them as mere workers who are trying to earn a living.

Now I realize that for some people, the fact that organized labor is now on the side of immigration reform will be a turnoff. Of course, most of those people likely are ideologically inclined to oppose immigration reform, regardless of who aligns in its favor.

But I like the idea that the ranks of organized labor, which includes many people whose families’ ethnic origins don’t go back that far, is willing to take a stand on this issue.

FOR THE BIGGEST problem faced by the immigration reform proponents is that the perception being spread by the nativist opposition is that this is an issue that no one other than a Latino has any real interest in.

Even though many immigration rallies wind up including many people speaking in an Irish brogue or in some eastern European dialect, too many people want to ignore this issue on the grounds that it is purely Latino in composition.

Which is why I was glad to see someone like Durbin (who often brags about his family’s Lithuanian origins) be willing to take a stance, instead of relying on Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., to do all the talking and political heavy lifting on this issue.

That may well be what persuades some GOP-types in Congress (some seem to think that veteran Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is a potential swing vote) to consider the issue seriously. Which could be the key to actually achieving a vote in Congress during 2010.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Richard Durbin and Luis Gutierrez are becoming national leaders in the political debate ( over immigration reform.

1 comment:

Brittanicus said...

As American discuss the E-Verify system to remove illegal immigrants from being hired. Also the 287 G, local police questioning procedure for detaining illegal immigrants in the interior of our country. Both policies are under constant attack by some questionable politicians such as Sen.Harry Reid of Nevada and the usual conglomeration of business lobbyists, their paid lawmakers and the open border sector. But more importantly the border region has suddenly entered the spotlight, owing to the untimely death of Robert Krantz, a cattle rancher murdered on his own property. In an article that originated from the Wall Street Journal, columnist Leo banks wrote about the battleground along the US-Mexican border. The awful occurrences that seemed to have been completely ignored by people--WE--place in Washington to protect us and run this nation. According to Mr. Banks their are daily incidents where these people are afraid to leave their homes.

That those who venture out have to carry a weapon, securely lock up their houses and valuable possession in safes before venturing out.. Nothing is sacred as groups of roaming persons have attributed to a sense of fear for their safety. Its a very dangerous place that one has to carry a firearm when leaving their home for a daily morning ride on horseback. With hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens cutting fences, leaving piles of trash and tracking across ranchers lands every day, so it's truly a miracle that this type of tragedy doesn't happen more often.

A quote from the NumbersUSA staff, who get down to the border several times a year state, "We are well aware of the sieve that the White House and Congress want the border to be.They don't want a totally open flow of tens of millions to cross the border. But they do want a sufficient number of illegal aliens to cross to provide the cheap labor sought by campaign contributors and to satisfy the various ethnic-grievance lobbies who consider virtually any kind of border enforcement to be racist or directed at their particular national origin." Most people know by now that the border was treacherously under funded and not the double fence as originally planned. WHERE IS THE US MILITARY? WHERE IS THE FULLY ARMED NATIONAL GUARD? WHY DIDN'T JOHN McCAIN JOIN REP. DUNCAN HUNTER IN MAKING SURE THE BORDER WAS A DOUBLE FENCE AS ORIGINALLY DESIGNED?

Its for sure that the amount of deaths from drug trafficking will soon spill over the border, as the border has never been sealed by numerous administrations. Specifically now that President Obama, Sen John McCain and other open border legislators are contemplating another MASS AMNESTY. Call it what you will such as "a path to citizenship" is still AMNESTY even if you pay taxes and learn English. The only way Americans will tolerate immigration, is coming through the front door legally, like thousands have done for years. As yet the SAVE ACT programs as E-Verify, the 287 G, laws have not been rescinded, due to the publics attention. But Sen. Schumer and Graham are busily in underground debates to distract all of us, with the new plan to introduce the National Biometric Card. Although those in Washington say immigration reform is dead, the truth its neither black nor white where our leaders are concerned? Hopefully the Tea Party movement surfaces illegal immigration as a No.1 that will decide the fate of America's survival. This encompassing the problems of overpopulation, siphoning of the welfare system and demanding any legal immigrant living here must learn English.