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March 10, 2006


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Now we see what "progressive" values really look like: Kick out immigrants, put America above all else, and screw the rest of the world.

Those who want to crack down on illegal immigration seek to boost the American lower-middle class (who are already richer and better off than most of the world, anyhow) on the backs of poorer nations, keeping them indebted, impoverished, and in the hands of violent fanatics for another century. For what? Are we really so arrogant that we'd rail against a drop in income from $30,000 to $20,000 is so horrible, when the median global income is still less than $1000?

Think about the *global* consequences of your actions and the *global* message it sends. Isn't that one of the supposed core values of the Greens?

Free trade, free markets, open borders and economic interdependence - those will bring *global* prosperity, as opposed to stuffing the wallets of isolationist nationalists who want to close American borders and declare workers who are vital in the global economy to be "illegal" and "unwanted."


Your comments could have been written in the propaganda departments of almost any mega-transnational corporation.

You wrote: "Are we really so arrogant that we'd rail against a drop in income from $30,000 to $20,000 is so horrible ..." This is the manipulation of stereotypical "liberal guilt." Hardworking middle, lower class and unionized Americans should feel bad because they simply want to protect their families???

The end result of what you seem to advocate is not only the exploitation of "illegal" immigrant workers, but the further exploitation of American workers. Lower and lower wages here, as well as in Mexico, is a dream come true for the NAFTA, FTAA and WTO elitists that advocate for, as you put it: "...Free trade, free markets, open borders and economic interdependence - those will bring *global* prosperity ..."

Here is a citation from a newly published book that you should read. 'The Global Class War: How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future and What It Will Take to Win It Back' by Jeff Faux (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Page 142.

"Vincente Fox, former CEO of Coca-Cola Mexico and unreconstructed champion of NAFTA, now refers to Mexican migrants in the United States as "heros" because their remittances to their families ran at perhaps some $17 billion in 2004, constituting the country's second largest source of hard-currency earnings.

"It is obvious that Mexico cannot develop by sending its most ambitious and industrious workers to the United States. It is not the poorest and least educated who migrate; it is the working-class risk-takers who, once in the United States, sacrifice to send home their exploitation wages. Mexico needs these people. It paid for the cost of their upbringing and education, in effect subsidizing U.S. consumers of low-wage work.

"Precisely because these are ambitious people, keeping them at home might cause trouble for the Mexican governing class. They might become restless in an economy in which the rich are getting steadily richer, the middle class is getting nowhere, and the poor are falling further behind. Indeed, for Mexico's oligarchs, the public focus on the condition of Mexican workers in the United States has the great virtue of diverting political attention from the condition of Mexican workers in Mexico."

Well, I'll be clear: I oppose NAFTA, FTAA, and the WTO, because they aren't free-trade -- they're trade-regulation bureaucracies. And I'm no fan of multinational corporations, either, although sometimes they *do* speak the truth.

We *must* move past the "us vs. them" menality in order to make headway in the immigration and trade debates. The fact is that both the American *and* Mexican economies benefit from the presence of immigrants to the U.S. who are willing to work at low wages. Summarily booting tens of millions of hard-working immigrants from the U.S. will not only devastate the American economy, but the economies of their home countries, which are greatly enriched by remittances -- which are part of the capital that people need in order to build self-sufficient lives.

And, yes, middle-class Americans *should* feel guilty for being overconsumptive and wasteful when there's such poverty and despair all over the world. These cycles of poverty and, hatred only increase every time the U.S. becomes more protectionist, isolationist, and xenophobic.

I'm greatly dissapointed that the Greens, who are usually on the forefront of these issues, aren't out there confronting the xenophobic madness that's running rampant across middle America. Are you really so desperate for a political win that you're willing to give in to the psychological of hatred and fear that's overtaking this country?

I am not familiar with the case of Mexico, but (illegal) migration and remittances are significant issues for Ecuador as well. Some sources suggest that from a total population approaching 13 million, as many as one million Ecuadorians may have emigrated to other countries (primarily the United States, Canada and Spain). (NB: The Mumford Center at SUNY Albany places the number of Ecuadorian immigrants in the US at around 400,000 [corrected from US Census data], most of whom are in the New York City area.) In 1999, Ecuadorian migrants around the globe remitted nearly $1.25 billion to relatives back home. Those remittances account for 10 percent of Ecuador's GDP and form the second-largest source of foreign currency after oil exports. (These remittance figures are from a 2001 report by the Inter-American Development Bank on remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean.)

Most of the Ecuadorian migrants are undocumented and work long hours at substandard wages. So, from our perspective, they are cheap, exploited laborers who help to drive down wages. From the Ecuadorian perspective, some may see them as exploited as well, but the predominant view is that they are rich. In Ecuador, the government estimates that a typical family requires about $440 each month to meet its basic needs, and the average salary is well below that (moreover, there is 10 percent unemployment, and approximately half the population is underemployed). So an Ecuadorian working in the US, even at substandard wages, can easily earn an entire month's salary in a week or less.

As in Mexico, (government) corruption is a problem in Ecuador. It is easy to suggest that all Ecuador has to do to solve its problems is end corruption, but the issue is much more complex. Like many Latin American countries, Ecuador has been systematically underdeveloped by countries such as the US, and World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies maintain that status quo. Now, I do not mean to cast all of the blame away from Ecuador itself. However, the US (along with its lackeys, the World Bank and IMF) is certainly responsible for contributing to many of the conditions that make economic survival difficult, if not impossible, for many Ecuadorians. And that situation has prompted Ecuadorians to emigrate en masse. What would happen to Ecuador if the US simply (and miraculously) wiped out corporate exploitation of cheap foreign labor and sent those immigrants packing? A more complex, multi-faceted approach is required. Before--or instead of--closing the door, we first must change other policies and help countries such as Ecuador and Mexico create opportunities at home.

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