The Colorado Green Party's candidate for U.S. Representative in the 7th district takes a stand on illegal immigration in defense of the environment and working class Americans.
I support stopping illegal immigration into Colorado and the United States.
My support for this proposition is based on two criteria: our environment and the economy.
We must stablize our population growth here in the United States (and around the world) if we are to create a sustainable natural environment for future generations.
We need to reivigorate and empower the American working and middle class if we are to remain free and prosperous.
"Think Globally, Act Locally!" is an call for individuals to understand that solutions to planetary environmental problems can be accomplished though appropriate action taken within the realm of a person's own community.
I take the global warming phenomenon very seriously. The evidence for and consequences of this climate change are considerable. It is folly to delude ourselves into believing that human beings can have no significant impact on our global ecosystem. Indeed, it is simply common sense to ascertain that recent human activity must have an impact on our environment.
If we are going to start making serious efforts to mitigate the negative effects of global warming, it seems to me that we have to deal forthrightly with another "inconvenient truth" -- that there are simply too many people on this planet using too many natural resources.
Since the start of the Industrial Revolution about 200 years ago, we have consumed an enormous amount of carbon-based fuels for energy and products and fertilizer. In the space of just two centuries humans have burned what took millions and millions of years to accumulate on the Earth. In other words, perhaps up to half of the carbon dioxide captured in coal, petroleum and natural gas over geological eons has been released into our atmosphere inside the lifetimes of perhaps just four human beings.
How could that action not do something to our global environment?
What is also clear is that consumption of fossil fuels corresponds with the growth in human population.
This is the global dimension that should cause us to act locally for the sake of our own communities. And it is why I believe that in the United States we simply must put a stop to illegal immigration and take seriously the sustainablility of the human population we already have in our state and nation. This means that not only should we stop more people from coming into our country, but we should also support proactive policies here (and worldwide) to control population growth through peaceful, culturally respectful, and non-coercive means.
Just recently there were three news items that demonstrate the pressures of increasing population and the effects of global warming on our Colorado environment. On May 11, 2006, this appeared in the Rocky Mountain News: "Alarm sounded on water." The article said that
"Gov. Bill Owens declared a state of emergency for northeastern Colorado farmers Wednesday, as the state moved to shut down hundreds of irrigation wells along the South Platte River.
The declaration could translate into loans and cash to aid farmers in the region who, in some cases, have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on spring planting but now find themselves without enough water and facing the loss of their crops.
Owens' disaster declaration followed an order from the state engineer this week to shut down some 440 wells in order to protect flows in the South Platte River.
In the Rocky Mountain News the headline read: "Park nitrogen levels twice 'critical load." The report stated that, "Nitrogen compounds from cars, farms and power plants along the Front Range are saturating the soil, plants and water of Rocky Mountain National Park at levels at least twice the "critical load" the ecosystem can tolerate, according to documents made public Wednesday."
And then there is this look into the future:
Climate scientists say this month's shockingly early heat wave may provide a glimpse into Denver's future.
The temperature at Denver International Airport reached or surpassed 90 degrees on 12 of the first 14 days in June, according to the National Weather Service.
The hot spell included seven straight days of 90-or-higher temperatures, marking the earliest such streak since recordkeeping began in 1872. The mercury hit 102 last Wednesday, a record for the date and the earliest triple-digit temperature ever for Denver. ...
... Western heat waves are likely to increase in severity, frequency and duration in the coming decades as the climate warms in response to the ongoing buildup of heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases, said Gerald Meehl, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.
Future warming is likely to intensify the weather patterns responsible for heat waves in some parts of North America, including the West, according to a 2004 NCAR study published in the journal Science. Meehl was lead author of the study, which used computer models to simulate the future climate.
We don't need newspaper reports to tell us what all of us living here know from our daily experience: there is increasing traffic congestion; there is more sprawl out into rural areas; our water rates are up and there is the threat of more drought.
We also all know from our own intellect and intuition that there must be a sustainable level of population beyond which our impact on the environment becomes too burdensome and degrades our quality of life.
I think that we have reached that level already and perhaps even surpassed it. Therefore, we simply must stop the effects that illegal immigration and overpopulation have on natural resources and ecosystems in the United States.
Increasing the population in the United States is particularly troublesome. For instance, the CO2 emisssion by ton in Mexico are calculated to be 3.7 per person -- in the U.S. that number is 20.1! (From Wikipedia)
Not only do we need to reduce our current carbon footprint, but it is simply irresponsible to be permitting a situation that increases the number of people contributing to the American per capita emissions of greenhouse gas.
In other words, with the planet in a growing global warming predicament, we can hardly afford an increase in the number of people living in our country since it has one of the highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases in the world.
Moving to ecological sustainablity and taking action to stop global warming will not always involve important but simple measures like replacing your incandesent light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs or riding your bicycle once in awhile to the grocery store -- we are also going to have to make decisions that are unpleasant but substantive -- stopping the increase in our population by halting illegal immigration is one of those kinds of decisions.
Our porous southern border may not be our only worry if we are concerned about a vast influx of new immigrants.
Despite the fact that wages in this country keep falling, there are plans on the drawing board and already underway to open a legal gateway into the very center of our nation for the inflow of cheap labor and products and the outflow of good wages, benefits and jobs.
It is called North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition, or NASCO.
"North America’s SuperCorridor Coalition, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the world’s first international, integrated and secure, multi-modal transportation system along the International Mid-Continent Trade and Transportation Corridor to improve both the trade competitiveness and quality of life in North America.
"The NASCO Corridor encompasses Interstate Highways 35, 29 and 94, and the significant east/west connectors to those highways in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Corridor directly impacts the continental trade flow of North America. Membership includes public and private sector entities along the Corridor in Canada, the United States and Mexico.
"From the largest border crossing in North America (The Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Canada), to the second largest border crossing of Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, extending to the deep water Ports of Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico and to Manitoba, Canada, the impressive, tri-national NASCO membership truly reflects the international scope of the Corridor and the regions it impacts."
The main focus of this plan is the Kansas City SmartPort, an "inland port" via Mexico smack dab in the middle of the United States.
A document from Kansas City SmartPort includes this claim:
For those who live in Kansas City, the idea of receiving containers nonstop from the Far East by way of Mexico may sound unlikely, but later this month that seemingly far-fetched notion will become a reality.
Thanks to the evolving trade corridor between Lazaro Cardenas in the State of Michoacan, Mexico and Kansas City, Missouri, USA, cities and towns from the Mexican coast through the middle of America will soon benefit from greater participation in Asian-North American trade.
So consider these elements together -- Connect These Dots: A super transportation corridor running from Mexico to the center of the U.S, an inland ports network and ... Bush's guest worker program.
Now, take a look at this news report:
Ford Motor Co., which is planning to cut jobs and close factories in the U.S., said Friday that it would upgrade and expand three Mexican plants over the next several years.
Auto assembly plants in Cuautitlan and Hermosillo and an engine plant in Chihuahua will get the investment, Ford said on its website, without giving any estimates of cost or specific timing. The automaker said it had not decided where to locate a new, low-cost North American auto plant.
Investing in Mexico may rankle union members in the U.S. Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., plans to cut 30,000 jobs in its home market and close 14 North American factories by 2012 as it loses U.S. market share. The United Auto Workers union represents only U.S. workers. ...
... The Oakland Press of Pontiac, Mich., reported this week that Ford planned to invest $9.2 billion in its operations in Mexico between now and 2012 to build a new plant and boost production of engines and transmissions. The newspaper said it had obtained a 28-page company document detailing the plans. ...
... Mexican manufacturing workers earn the equivalent of about $17.38 a day on average, according to the website for the Mexican ministry of labor. A Ford UAW auto assembly worker earns about $27.31 an hour, according to the UAW website.
It becomes clear that Bush and Cheney and their transnational corporate cronies are preparing to open a gateway that will further dissapate the sovereignty of the United States on the sacrifical alter of NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA for the false god of "free trade."
It is clear that Ford is on the path to ending the manufacture of automobiles inside the United States and the good jobs that build those cars. Ford will make the cars in Mexico and ship them on the Super Corridor into the U.S. Do you think Ford will cut the cost of its cars to reflect the decreased cost of labor and benefits, or will it just increase its profits and compensation for company executives?
Additionally, if Bush and the transnational corporations get their way, as in the Kennedy-McCain immigration reform bill, we get a "guest worker" system that will bring thousands and thousands more workers into the country to depress wages and benefits.
I oppose "guest worker" type programs. If there is a genuine need for more labor in this nation -- that will not undercut the wages and benefits of current American workers -- then they should be admitted as part of the regular immigration process.
Let me be very clear -- unrestricted, open immigration, either legal or illegal is a threat to wages and benefits of the American working and middle class. The addition of thousands if not millions of people into the labor pool further dilutes the political critical mass that would be necessary for greater unionization, for national health insurance, for a livable wage. Progressives and liberals risk all of the social changes they advocate for when they favor amnesty and open borders. When there is always some one ready to work for less, work with no benefits, work to send money out of the country -- then there will never develop the demand to improve the standard of living of American employees -- Bush and the transnational corporations know this.
Now I understand that illegal immigrants come to the United States because the situation in their own homelands is dire. By far the vast, vast majority of illegals come here for laudable reasons -- to improve themselves and their families. But basic common sense and clear thinking tells us that a surplus of cheap labor drives down wages and benefits.
I urge everyone to read these two articles by Thom Hartmann. He explains the economic consequence of illegal immigration to working class America in a most articulate and persuasive manner.
I also recommend this article:
I do not believe that there should be some kind of "mass deportation" of illegal immigrants. But I do think that measures can be implemented that encourage illegal immigrants to go home.
First, I support putting the employers and exploiters of illegal immigrant labor in jail. Fines are not enough. For some businesses, paying fines for breaking the law and hiring illegal immigrants is considered a cost of doing business. But if we make sure that these illegal employers spend real time behind bars, this unacceptable practice will stop. We need to make sure that CEOs and owners also are subject to jail penalties if they try and evade justice by subcontracting services that hire illegal immigrants -- the law must apply to all.
This news story shows how the Bush administration has utterly failed to meet its obligation to secure the borders and protect and advocate for American workers:
The Bush administration, which is vowing to crack down on U.S. companies that hire illegal workers, virtually abandoned such employer sanctions before it began pushing to overhaul U.S. immigration laws last year, government statistics show.
Between 1999 and 2003, work-site enforcement operations were scaled back 95 percent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which subsequently was merged into the Homeland Security Department. The number of employers prosecuted for unlawfully employing immigrants dropped from 182 in 1999 to four in 2003, and fines collected declined from $3.6 million to $212,000, according to federal statistics.
So, here are the proposals I support to start solving this illegal immigration problem and raise up the living standard of working and middle class Americans. This is the Federation for American immigration Reform proposal that I have slightly modified.
Secure the Borders
Extend fencing and increase border security on both borders
Implement ‘virtual border’ technology where appropriate
Increase manpower (Border Patrol Agents, CBP Agents)
Substantially increase detention space (end Catch-and-Release)
Uniformly apply expedited removal of illegal entrants
Expeditiously implement comprehensive entry-exit (US-VISIT) system
Apply Strong and Serious Worksite Enforcement
Implement mandatory Electronic Eligibility Verification System
Reduce number of documents permitted to show work authorization
Increase and consistently apply civil and criminal penalties against employers of illegal aliens
Dramatically increase the number of Worksite Enforcement Agents
Permit civil actions for employers against other employers who fail to verify work eligibility of their employees
Eliminate federal preemption on employer sanctions (i.e. allow states to impose stricter penalties)
Eliminate Document Fraud
Rapidly increase and implement use of biometrics in immigration documents
Secure the Social Security card (counterfeit and tamper-resistant, laminated like a driver’s license)
Reform the Unwitting Accomplices: the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Internal Revenue Service
Reform tax laws so employers cannot use employment of illegal aliens to their advantage (i.e. deduction of wages and benefits)
Provide increased resources for IRS to investigate and apply sanctions for fraudulent tax returns submitted by employers and aliens
Restrict use of ITINs (Individual Tax Identification Numbers) to only tax-related purposes
Require SSA to share information with Department of Homeland Security on issuance of no-match letters to employers
Bar work performed illegally from counting towards Social Security
Encourage State and Local Law Enforcement Authorities to Enforce Immigration Laws
Clarify that there is no preemption
Require federal reimbursement for state and local law enforcement expenses directly related to illegal immigration except where local sanctuary policies encourage illegal immigrant settlement
Enhance coordination and information sharing between local and federal law enforcement
Eliminate State and Local Benefits
Withhold federal grants to public universities that enroll aliens who have neither legal residence nor a valid visa
Encourage laws denying other privileges and benefits to illegal aliens
Give Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice the Resources Necessary to do Its Job
Establish an Assistant U.S. Attorney General for immigration enforcement within Department of Justice
Provide additional immigration judges
Provide additional prosecutors
This position statement on immigration and population and the economy is a reflection of how I hope to represent the citizens of Colorado's 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
I did my own research; I am not by any means an expert in this area; I talked to people; and I thought about this issue. I did not 'consultant' any political consultants. I did not have access to any polling data from 7th district voters on this topic. I did not receive 'talking points' from the Green Party on immigration -- indeed, I am most assuredly at odds with the great majority of Green Party activists on this particular issue.
There are undoubtedly specific items in this statement that I did not get right or have facts I have not interpreted precisely.
My foundational principle in running for the House of Representatives and if I get elected, is to be an independent agent, dedicated to doing what is right and what is in the best interests of my constituents. Since, as a Green Party candidate, I will only accept campaign contributions of $500 or less from individuals -- receiving or "earning" political money from any kind of special interest is not in any way a motivator for the positions I take on this or any issue.
Isn't that a refreshing thought? Don't you wish all of your elected officials could say that?
So, I ask for your vote whether or not you agree with me on any particular issue ... because I will be forthright, honest and principled in my representation of you in the Congress.
That is not just political rhetoric -- it is how live my life, how I run this campaign, and how I believe we must change politics in this nation if we are to build a truly free and representative republic.
Dave Chandler for Congress