[WARNING: THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN IN REALTIME]
So, I did a video this morning about how ironic it is that Arizona Immigration Law has had the unintended consequence of increasing the number of Mexicans in Colorado. So much for stopping illegal immigration on a state level!
Anyway, after the video, I was thinking about real, practical, out-of-the-box solutions to the whole immigration issue. Damian called me and we both were on the same page about a possible solution, so I figured I’d share it with you.
My idea was simple: create a work visa for low-wage workers that would be tied to jobs here in the United States. Undocumented workers in the United States would be eligible to fill out the form — if they already have a legit job, the visa form would just be a formality. This wouldn’t be citizenship or a green card, just a work visa that protects the rights of Mexicans, insuring they at least earn minimum wage for their work.
Also, this would create an incentive for workers in Mexico and other countries to fill out a form, instead of crossing the desert in order to enter the USA. It’s much easier to fill out a form, and the visa app would be tied to a job opportunity — so I imagine it would be kind of like a job application with immigration rights built in if the applicant is accepted.
As for enforcement, the Federal and State governments should focus on corporations, not individuals. If corporations are forced to hire documented workers at a living wage, this will eliminate the incentive for Mexicans to cross the border for slave wages and conditions.
I did a quick search at the State Department website, and found there’s an H-2A and H-2B visa for temporary workers in agriculture, hospitality, construction, and other low-wage jobs. So … perhaps the application process needs to be simplified? Companies need to be given an incentive to help workers from abroad fill out the forms properly? It seems like the pieces to the puzzle are there; it’s simply a matter of putting it together.
I also found a news release that said, basically, the US Department of Labor had passed new rules to make sure foreign agricultural workers are treated equally with native-born workers. So, again, it seems like things are heading in the direction I’m advocating.
“I have to tell ya, America,” that this leads me to conclude that the Arizona Immigration Law debate is much ado about nothing. It doesn’t seem like the law is necessary, given the visas that are out there and implemented rules (The United Farm Workers have applauded the new rule enforcement, for example).
Doing some more research here … there’s an AGJobs bill making it’s way through Congress that would make “2 million farm workers … guest workers and eventually … legal residents.”
I read the bill summary, and it sounded good to me. My only issue is capping the number of immigrants … if U.S. born workers get preference under current rules, I’m not sure why a cap is necessary. To me, if there’s room for more immigrants, let them come. Wouldn’t that be good for the economy, having an expanded base of consumers? You would think the Rush Limbaugh’s of the world would embrace this … but I’m sure the right-wing talkers will find “devils” in the details to harp on and rile up their unpaid lobbyists, er, I mean listeners.
This brings up a point Damian made while we spoke on the phone — basically, that we’re open-minded to new ideas, theories, and evidence that can change our perspective of the world. Most people we know, however, will cling to their own ideas and beliefs like it’s some kind of warm security blanket. In this case, there will be people who refuse to accept the realities of immigration, and legitimate steps that are being taken to solve problems, because of their closely held beliefs.
I mean, it is hard to embrace new realities as they become known, but as sentient beings, I believe we have an obligation to push forward,accepting facts as they become available, adapting as we go. It is my sincere hope that this post will help someone out there understand the immigration issue better, and act accordingly.