Democrat and Independent Thinker..."The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." -Nietzsche

Commenting on many things, including..."A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from." - Keith Olbermann

Monday, May 28, 2007


Recently, I've modified my views on immigration. I've come to the conclusion that the only answer is to actually put illegal immigrants on the fast track to citizenship. In fact, to make citizenship mandatory.

Why? Because once they are citizens, their employers must pay them at least the minimum wage, offer them benefits if their other employees are offered benefits, and they will be required to pay taxes and their medical bills along with the rest of us. All of which will solve the disparities of having so many millions of illegal immigrants in our society.

It's not the "illegality" of their presence that is the problem. The problem is that their status as "illegals" allow them to be both taken advantage of and to take advantage of available services.

So, I was especially interested in this additional Krugman column (excerpt):

In 1910, almost 14 percent of voting-age males in the United States were non-naturalized immigrants. (Women didn’t get the vote until 1920.) Add in the disenfranchised blacks of the Jim Crow South, and what you had in America was a sort of minor-key apartheid system, with about a quarter of the population — in general, the poorest and most in need of help — denied any political voice.

That dilution of democracy helped prevent any effective response to the excesses and injustices of the Gilded Age, because those who might have demanded that politicians support labor rights, progressive taxation and a basic social safety net didn’t have the right to vote. Conversely, the restrictions on immigration imposed in the 1920s had the unintended effect of paving the way for the New Deal and sustaining its achievements, by creating a fully enfranchised working class.

But now we’re living in the second Gilded Age. And as before, one of the things making antiworker, unequalizing policies politically possible is the fact that millions of the worst-paid workers in this country can’t vote. What progressives should care about, above all, is that immigration reform stop our drift into a new system of de facto apartheid.

Now, the proposed immigration reform does the right thing in principle by creating a path to citizenship for those already here. We’re not going to expel 11 million illegal immigrants, so the only way to avoid having those immigrants be a permanent disenfranchised class is to bring them into the body politic.

h/t Tennessee Guerilla Women

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