- 65% of Americans think it's more important to restrict illegal immigration at the border than it is to expand legal opportunities for immigrants to have jobs.
- 44% say illegal immigrants currently working in the US should be forced to leave, while 39% believe that illegal immigrants already in the US that have jobs should have a way to stay."
Forty-four friggin percent! (Why am I shocked? 29% still think Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11.) As I've said many times, I just don't get the harm and see many benefits from legalizing immigration levels high enough to meet US labor demand, indeed it's probably necessary for the future of the economy.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, those 44% are talking about forcibly deporting one out of every 20 American workers! Forget for a moment the human rights implications (though they'd certainly be unforgettable if that unhappy day ever arrived), a lot of people don't get the role of immigrant labor in redneck economics and how damaging it would be in the Southwest.
The guys at the day labor site aren't taking jobs from Americans. They're creating small businesses for the rednecks in pickup trucks hiring them each day. Housing, groceries, lots of the basics would get expensive really quick if you took away that labor pool. Sales taxes paid by immigrants support many public services they cannot legally access. When they pay rent, their landlord uses a portion to pay property taxes that support schools and public infrastructure.
Want higher taxes, more expensive motel rooms, bigger grocery bills, skyrocketing housing prices and an endless black hole of spending on a militarized border? Fine - pander to that 44%. Throw them a bone. But to do so will harm the economy more than it helps our security.
The whole, angry melange reminds me of Thomas Frank's analysis in What's the Matter with Kansas? of working class religious right activists who supported politicians based on social issues whose economic policies left them unemployed. Must 44% of Americans pay $20 for a bunch of grapes, $100 for a cheap motel, and $250,000 for a 1200-sq. foot home before coming to their senses? Will they even then, or would there be someone else to blame?