(Rarely invited - barely a guest)
With talk of Immigration reform looming before Congress, I thought it would be a good idea to start looking at the Illegal Immigration question as its been posed for easily past 50 or so years. Today's particular installment puts us in 1973, a little less than a year after Congressman Peter Rodino introduced a bill to address the illegal immigration issue. It wasn't terribly popular and it ultimately did nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigration into the U.S. Here is a documentary produced as part of All Things Considered from NPR on July 16-21, 1973.
Peter Rodino (discussing The Rodino Immigration Bill): “This law is intended to provide some kind of a red flag and penalties for the employer who knowingly employs illegal aliens. It’s a fair bill, it’s designed to provide for an orderly flow of immigration, to eliminate the incentive of the illegal alien who comes into this country believing that here is his only opportunity and I sympathize with him because I know a good many of these people are unable to get jobs which will give them the kind of existence they could find here. But on the other hand, it disrupts the orderly flow of immigration in this country. It swells our welfare rolls, it prejudices the working conditions of those people who are on regular labor standards, it also serves really as a vehicle to exploit the very illegal alien.”
At the moment, it would seem the tidal wave of illegal aliens has subsided simply because there is little or no work to be had. But I suspect the reason there hasn't been an effective piece of legislation dealing with the issue of illegal immigration is that it effectively cuts off a source of cheap and exploitable labor which, lets face it, is a bargaining chip held over many states in lieu of companies packing up and heading overseas. Although, to be fair, most immigrant workers have been field labor in the area of agriculture - and that's something you can't export overseas.
It will be interesting to see which direction this all takes in the coming months/years. Like Health Care, Immigration reform has been something talked about but rarely acted upon since World War 2.
Stay tuned for more examples.