Open Borders – The Other Side of the Coin
by Don Whitehead, Independent Affiliate of the Tennessee Green Party (Nashville)
U.S. Greens who call for an ìopen bordersî policy need to look at the broader picture in order to make a more balanced resolution to this moral dilemma. True, we have done an injustice to the illegal immigrants by allowing them in, and a far greater injustice by subsequently not granting them full citizenship rights. But before we grant them free and total amnesty, and open up our border completely to our impoverished Southern neighbors, we must explore the issue further.
Will an open border policy be a win-win situation for everyone?† Wall Street loves the cheap labor provided by illegal, and legal, immigrants. Whenever Wall Street is happy, a red flag goes up in my mind. The poor American citizens who lose their jobs and have their ‘living wage’ kept low definitely do not win. Why do the Greens not care for this injustice?
The neo-liberal conservative Mexican government loves an open border. Mexico has the lowest tax rate of any country in the world: a mere seven percent. This pales when compared to the 25 percent of the capitalistic United States and 45 percent of European ìwelfare states.î While it is true that remittances from illegal and legal immigrants help their poor families back home, the total ($30 billion) is small when compared to the Mexican government’s budget potential. An open border policy perpetuates this status quo of economic injustice. Why do the Green’s not care for this injustice?
The most balanced and fair solution is ìtaxed amnesty.î The illegal immigrants are immediately given full citizenship rights. The employer paid tax would be much more than the paltry fine proposed in recent Arizona legislation. The tax would taper off over the last five years. This tax levels the playing field for poor American laborers.
By additionally closing the border, labor wages would go up in the U.S. Even the recent minimum wage hike approved by Congress is far from providing a decent wage. If we were to triple the minimum wage, the welfare rolls would be cut at least in half. Capitalist conservatives who rage against welfare have created their own monster. With millions of more citizens in Mexico, the Mexican government would be forced to increase social welfare services. With U.S. labor wages so high, Mexican corporations would reap the benefits. Mexico’s economy would develop, and our poor Southern neighbors living standard would increase. Also, with a high U.S. minimum wage, there would be more consumer dollars flooding the U.S. economy. It is a win-win for both economies.
As it is, the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. America will continually consist of an upper class elite (Hispanic or not,) and a large underclass of immigrants living in near poverty, doing the work ìno American will do.í This situation existed in the U.S. before. It was called slavery. The only difference is now a lucky few of the slaves win in the lottery economy and have the upward mobility to become an elite. Do we really want the American Dream to continue to be like gambling in Vegas or winning the lottery? Or will the Green’s support a broader dream that we all can share in?
The views expressed belong to the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Green Pages Editorial Board, nor of the GP-US. Those with opinions about any of the articles are encouraged to post comments. All comments are first reviewed to screen out spam, not content.
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