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View Diary: Immigrants Like Me (118 comments)

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  •  I'm all for the rule of law (1+ / 0-)
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    ... I just want to get the laws right, before we skip ahead to harsh enforcement techniques. To that end, let's ask ourselves what problem we are trying to fix.

    First, I'll say what the problem is NOT. It is not that some guy took a job that he needed, and that was offered to him (blame the immigrant). It also is not that some  employer offered a job he needed done to the only guy who would take it (blame the employer).

    The real problem is that the combined impact of plentiful immigration and an anti-labor, anti-regulatory policy environment has been to degrade wages and working conditions in the US. To fix that problem, I would propose these things:

    1. Increase minimum wage to a living wage.
    1. Regulation and enforcement of working conditions.
    1. For employers, vigorous enforcement of wage and working condition requirements, and relatively mild penalties for hiring "out of status" workers (I like that term!).
    1. For workers, real legal protections for reporting wage and working conditions abuses (regardless of status), and relatively mild penalties for being caught "out of status".

    The predicted results: Better wages and working conditions for all workers, including US citizens. Americans will now take jobs because they pay enough to live on. Employers will not seek "out of status" workers because they can no longer exploit them. Employers will not discriminate against job-seeking Latino citizens out of fear of heavy penalties for inadvertantly hiring "out of status" workers. Immigration (legal and otherwise) will tend to match real employment needs, because Americans will fill most good jobs, and the crappy jobs will no longer be on offer. Police and civil authorities will have greater access to Latino communities because the terror of ICE will be lifted. Overall, our economy and society will cease evolving towards ever-greater structural dependence on a permanent underclass of cheap workers with no rights.

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