Immigration Reform Requires Both Legislative and Cultural Strategies

http://www.renegadetribune.com/immigration-reform-requires-legislative-cultural-strategies/
By Torchy Blane

Building a wall won’t solve the United States’ migration problem. Mass illegal migration stems from issues that run deeper than the tunnels that burrow under such artificial barriers.

California is the nation’s hotbed of illegal migration, accounting for half of all undocumented foreigners entering the U.S. The state has the highest population and largest electorate. It’s dominated by Liberal Democrat machine politics and open-borders policies. In fact, 82-year-old state Gov. Jerry Brown recently declared it a sanctuary state for illegal migrants.

It’s important to understand that California is the largest agricultural state in the U.S. in terms of revenues, it’s the home of the movie and television industries, and it’s the center for cyber and computer technology. Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the state include Apple, Chevron, Wells Fargo, Alphabet, Intel, Disney, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Oracle, Facebook, Qualcomm, Amgen, PG&E, Visa, CBRE Group, Farmers Insurance, Edison,  Molina, PayPal, Pac Life, EBay, Netflix, Reliance, Saleforce.com, Charles Schwab, Tesla, Adobe, Clorox, Symantec, Mattel, Robert Half Intl. and Yahoo. This list is a mere sampling and by no means comprehensive.

These companies account for a significant portion of the nation’s gross domestic product. Most of these companies employ and benefit from a migrant labor force; and most use corporate revenues to sustain this practice by influencing politics, public policy and a globalist culture both within the state and nationally. Therefore, anyone interested in exploring the issue of U.S. migration is well advised to keep an ear to the ground in California.

Nov. 9 in the state’s capitol city of Sacramento, Capitol Weekly held a day-long conference on immigration that included several hours of discussion panels covering topics ranging from labor to dreamers and sanctuary cities. It should be noted that no pro-sovereign nationalist viewpoints were represented or explored at this conference. It’s nonetheless insightful and recommended viewing in terms of understanding the power structures, influence, rationales and barriers to reform.

Videos of the panel discussions are available here; however, in my view, the most relevant and useful portion of the event was “Panel 1: Labor and the Economy,” which you may view below. If you would rather not spend an hour on it, I’ve highlighted some the key takeaways below and provide some commentary.

‘Panel 1: Labor and the Economy’ Speakers

Dan Morain, panel moderator from the capitol’s metro newspaper, Sacramento Beefor which he is the editorial page editor and a political affairs columnist.

Jason Resnick, vice president and general counsel for Western Growers Association, an organization representing farmers growing produce in the western U.S. Issues for which it advocates include farm labor regulation, immigration and guest worker programs.

Sandra Diaz, vice president and political director for Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West, a union representing over 45,000 janitors, security officers, airport workers and property service workers across California.

Rob Sanger, manager of training services at California Manufacturers and Technology Association, a group that lobbies state legislature and regulatory agencies on behalf of California manufacturers.

Peter Leroe-Muñoz, vice president of technology and innovation at Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a California tech-sector lobbying group for immigration reform in the U.S. It claims there is a growing lack of skilled labor in Silicon Valley that could be closed by immigration reform. It advocates for increasing the number of H-1B visas and easing access to green cards.

Takeaways

There are 400,000 to 500,000 migrant farm workers in California and 1.5 to 2.5 million in the U.S., Resnick said. Approximately half of them are illegal workers using fake documents. The U.S. issues 200,000 H-2A visas annually to seasonal ag workers, but that meets only 10 percent of demand, he said. Approximately 7,000 to 10,000 ag workers are DACA recipients. Farmers, according to Resnick, would like an agricultural-worker program that allows people to arrive legally in the country, work a season and then go home, in a manner similar to the bracero program during WWII.

“We’ve relied on an illegal workforce for a long time,” said Resnick, labeling immigration “the third rail of politics” and arguing American workers aren’t willing to do hard labor and toil in fields. “Workers from Mexico are willing to do these jobs,” he said. “These are well-paying jobs with pensions, but Americans don’t want them.”

Drive across the countryside of the Czech Republic or Ukraine and you will see white people, both men and women of all ages, doing farm labor. For an American, it’s an odd thing to witness — though, ironically, a significant percentage of Americans are descendants of white migrant farmers from Europe. While many are proud of such heritage, it would be unthinkable to return to the soil as anything other than a farm owner. I imagine this would be even more unthinkable for black Americans who are descendants of slaves. Politically, it would be more acceptable to give impoverished black people welfare than tell them there are opportunities for them to work in the fields. Generally, culturally, to an American, doing farm labor would be viewed as a failure to fulfill the opportunity for which one’s ancestors toiled, whether black or white. So, yes, there is some work Americans won’t do.

Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a ‘cult of perfection.’ PHOTO: Dan Tuffs/The Guardian

There are solutions to this problem, however. First, stop overproduction and overconsumption. America is a wasteful, overweight nation inundated with cheap, disposable products and constant cultural propaganda promoting conspicuous consumption.

Second, America has 2.2 million people in sitting prison, doing nothing but serving time and draining public resources. When they’re released, they have little chance of finding work and no money. What are the odds they’ll return to crime? Rather, put these prisoners into productive use, and pay them minimum wage. For some, earning money would allow them to help support their family on the outside. For others who save their funds, it would allow them a real fresh start upon their release and reduce recidivism.

Diaz’s grandfather was a migrant farm laborer who came to America during WWII, probably under the bacero program. Today, she proudly advocates for the legalization and integration of undocumented workers. There are 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., and one in 10 workers in California are undocumented. In some cases, she said, illegal workers fled their own country because of violence spurred by U.S. activities abroad and bad foreign policy. She said she is seeing greater migrant flows and greater instances of abuse.

“Farm workers are being raped at work,” Diaz said. “As you have increased enforcement, you have increased trafficking and wage theft, and human rights violations and an atmosphere of fear.”

Muñoz is also the offspring of immigrants. His father arrived from Nicaragua in the 1930s. Now, this despicable lawyer and lobbyist is pushing federal and state legislators for a larger pipeline of foreign H-1B workers into Silicon Valley and is “actively opposing” the implementation of Trump’s border wall.

“We want to see flows of workers because among them are flows of entrepreneurs,” Muñoz said.

However, the H-1B program is a random lottery. It’s not based on entrepreneurial potential, education level or capacity for innovation. Rather, H-1B provides Fortune 500 tech companies with a supply of cheaper, lower-tech staff and thwarts the opportunity to help reestablish America’s dwindling middle class.

Muñoz said the demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) applicants is about 220,000 a year, but the U.S. only offers 85,000 H-1B visas per year. California receives more 45,800 of those H-1B workers. He argues that U.S. schools are only producing 50,000 computer science associate degree graduates (two-year degree) annually, which doesn’t meet industry demand of 125,000. Among those grads, half are foreign born and studying in the U.S., he said, which means there’s a 100,000-person gap between American computer graduates and the demand for applicants.

A 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) study tells a different story:

Michael S. Teitelbaum, vice president of the Sloan Foundation, opined that there are no general shortages of scientists and engineers. He went even further, to state that there is evidence suggesting surpluses: there are significantly more science and engineering graduates in the United States than attractive positions available in the workforce. Similarly, B. Lindsay Lowell and Harold Salzman have pointed to the disproportionate percentage of bachelor’s degree STEM holders not employed in STEM occupations.

Looking at the STEM labor market, Salzman and colleagues concluded that, for every two students graduating with a U.S. STEM degree, only one is employed in STEM and that 32 percent of computer science graduates not employed in information technology attributed their situation to a lack of available jobs.

In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 74 percent of those who have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM major are not employed in STEM occupations.

The BLS study also found computer and information sciences majors and engineering and engineering technology majors had full-time employment rates of 77.1 percent and 83.2 percent, respectively, and corresponding median salaries of $66,000 and $67,000.

A median salary of $66,000 a year may seem like like a good income, but in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, where these major tech companies are located, the cost of living is two to four times higher than the rest of the country. In fact, in these regions of the state, six-figure salaries are considered low income.

As a concession to U.S. workers for increasing the number of H-1B visas, Muñoz suggested raising visa fees and directing those funds toward STEM education. H-1B funds are already available for STEM education programs, but program administration is abysmal.

H-1B funds allocated to the Department of Labor to retrain workers are sporadic and inconsistent, Sanger said. Sometimes there’s none. At one time, $85 million was allocated to all 50 states. Was there ever a review to see if that money was spent wisely? Apparently not, according to Sanger, who called the system disjointed.

Sanger decided to test the system himself by searching the website of a Sacramento area community college for computer science classes. Just to look this information up was a daunting and bureaucratic process, he said. When he finally did access college’s course offerings, he found only one computer science class listed and it was held during business hours on weekdays. No online course was offered at all. Sanger said the community college’s primary role is to serve the incumbent workforce, and this is not happening today.

At the conclusion of the panel, the few people that were in the audience were invited to ask questions. One man said Hurricane Harvey cleanup is being performed by illegal immigrants because domestic workers don’t want to do it. Really?

“All these politicos say something must be done [about immigration] and they’re willing to do it, but nothing ever gets done,” he said. “So how honest are we being about the issue?”

To clarify, I’m not anti-immigrant. However, I’m not an open-borders globalist either. I’m a sovereign Nationalist, which means legal migration is fine. Each country’s voters should have the right to decide who to accept and when to do so. The migration process should be clear, rational, timely and enforceable. In a sovereign country, migrants are not allowed to storm the gates at will.

Fundamentally, the implied message Americans get from illegal immigrants and their supporters is that foreigners can and will enter the U.S. whenever they damn well please, even if it’s against the will of the people and breaks their laws. Migrants will stay however long they damn well want. While they’re here, we must subsidize their stay, whether it’s food, clothing, housing or health care and give them work, if they ask for it. If they commit a crime, just let it go. Don’t kick them out.

Companies that import, train and employ migrants for mid-tier jobs send an implied message to Americans that corporate America views them as spoiled, entitled, too expensive and too stupid. In sum, they’re not valued. But, of course, these same companies are happy to sell you their products made by those migrants as you subsidize both the worker and the company with your tax dollars. […]


This article originally appeared on The New Nationalist.

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