More than just a business, 1/23-1/30

1 Feb
A recent article in the New York Times described one incentive for providing a pathway to citizenship to undocumented immigrants: economic profit. The article highlighted a report from the Greater Houston Partnership which found that Texas would get at least $1.4 billion a year in revenue and that “…the law needs to be business friendly” and that “the untapped revenue would be accessible if immigration reform…allowed illegal immigrants the chance to work legally and pay taxes.” The economic rhetoric is also seen in other states, where legislators are supporting businesses with low-cost labor, while passing laws that discriminate against this labor because of immigration status.

The focus solely on profit and business is troublesome because it treats undocumented immigrants like a business. Given our weak economy, it’s convenient to emphasize the economic argument. From a business perspective, this may pass. But from a public health and social justice perspective, it doesn’t. Undocumented immigrants are not a business transaction. Their well-being is part of the health and well-being of our society at large. The rationale for providing a pathway for citizenship should have a deeper foundation – one that is based on human rights and social justice. Yes, undocumented immigrants should have the chance – the right – to work legally, and they should also have the right to enjoy the benefits of their hard work, like health insurance, and have the freedom to live without fear. In the US, a business or economic argument can be made about anything, but we must also equally emphasize the human rights and public health foundations for a healthy society.

In the News

Why Conservatives Want to Tax Poor American Children of Immigrants, Center for American Progress, 1.20.12
Republicans in Congress have voted for a bill that would fund the extension of the payroll tax break by eliminating the ability for parents who file income taxes with a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, meaning they do not have a Social Security Number, to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. A New York Times editorial also speaks out against this bill.The Politics of Immigrant Scapegoating: Not Just an American Past-time, Colorlines, 1.23.12
U.S. is not alone in its anti-immigrant attitudes and polices. Britain and Western Europe also have political figures who “waste no opportunity” to scapegoat immigrants.

Romney on immigration: I’m for “self-deportation”, CBS, 1.24.12
Despite being vocal about his stance against immigration in previous states, like South Carolina, Romney argues for “self-deportation” instead in Florida, given the state’s large Latino voters.

Military-only version of the DREAM Act, Miami Herald, 1.27.12
Remember how GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested that he’d support a version of the DREAM Act that didn’t have a college component? Taking a cue from Gingrich, a Florida Republican Congressman has now introduced just that, a House bill that proposes conditional legal status for undocumented young people who enlist in the military. Going to college, however, would not be an option.


One Response to “More than just a business, 1/23-1/30”

  1. AKG February 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Requiring that kids risk death and agree to oppress kids in other countries in order to get U.S. citizenship is obscene.

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