Friday, July 17, 2020

Trump’s Guest Worker Ban Sparks New Focus on Immigrant Push for Labor Overhaul

Construction worker in NYC. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

“Most media coverage has treated the issue as a choice between bringing guest workers in and keeping them out. But there are better options.”

By Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, Truthout
July 15, 2020
President Trump’s decision to suspend the majority of U.S. guest worker programs for at least six months, announced in a June 22 proclamation, has provoked a lot of debate.

For Mark Krikorian, who heads the immigration-restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies, the suspension is “a bold move … to protect American jobs,” while South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham warns it will have “a chilling effect on our economic recovery.” [...]

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Trump’s Immigration Suspension Doesn’t Prevent Unemployment or COVID-19 Spread

The new policy wouldn’t have more than a minimal impact on joblessness in the United States, even if immigration actually determined employment levels — and it generally doesn’t.

David L. Wilson, Truthout
April 30, 2020
Late on the evening of April 20, President Trump tweeted that he was temporarily suspending immigration to the United States. For justification he cited what he called “the attack from the Invisible Enemy” — that is, COVID-19 — and “the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.”

Government officials had to scramble to make sense of Trump’s tweet, but by April 22, the White House staff had tacked together a presidential proclamation for Trump to sign.[...]

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Volunteers bring groceries to immigrants on lockdown. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Trump Welcomes More Guest Workers Amid Crisis While Rejecting Asylum Seekers

This type of exploitation hurts all U.S. workers, both jobless citizens and underpaid foreign workers, but the situation is rarely discussed in the media or in political debates.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
April 11, 2020
Two recent news items neatly sum up U.S. immigration policy during the COVID-19 crisis.

Asylum seekers are now being turned away at the border without even a chance to make their asylum claims; the excuse for the new policy is a March 20 order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, officials say the administration may expand the recruitment of temporary agricultural workers. The purpose would be “to get enough migrant labor to keep the food supply moving” while the crisis drags on.

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Photo: Davis Turner/Tribune News Service/Getty Images


Sunday, September 15, 2019

The US Has “Disappeared” More Than 42,000 Migrants. Where’s the Outrage?

Trump’s most insidious immigration program is operating under the radar

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
September 14, 2019
The most successful of Trump’s anti-immigrant measures up until now — and possibly the most vicious — hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves.

In operation since late January, Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), originally called “Remain in Mexico,” allows the U.S. government to push most non-Mexican asylum seekers into Mexico once immigration officials have cleared them to make an asylum claim. As of early September, the number of people forced into Mexico under MPP had reportedly risen to more than 42,000.[…]

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Immigration protest, Grand Central, NYC. Photo: Karla Ann Cote/Nurphoto/Getty Images

Saturday, August 24, 2019

ICE Raids Benefit Bosses by Creating Fear in Workers

In 2000, an immigration official admitted that the authorities rarely detained undocumented workers “unless the employer turns a worker in, and employers usually do that only to break a union or prevent a strike or that kind of stuff.”

David L. Wilson, Truthout
August 23, 2019
On August 7, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents carried out coordinated raids at seven agricultural processing plants in Mississippi, detaining 680 immigrant workers. Officials told The Washington Post that the operation was “the largest single-state workplace enforcement action in U.S. history.”

The massive operation generated terror in immigrant communities already traumatized by a massacre targeting people of Mexican origin in El Paso, Texas, days earlier, and much of the U.S.-born population was outraged by images of detained workers’ sobbing children.

As has happened after workplace raids in the past, news accounts noted that the employers remained free while their workers were led off to migrant jails in handcuffs.[…]

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ICE raid in Los Angeles. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/LAT via Getty Images

Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Progressive U.S. Policy Must Extend Beyond Open Borders

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Opening the borders is a realistic policy proposal, but we need to view it as inseparable from the broader progressive agenda.

By David L. Wilson, Truthout
April 13, 2019
Two recent articles — by Farhad Manjoo in The New York Times and Khury Petersen-Smith in Foreign Policy In Focus — make the case that U.S. progressives need to embrace open borders as a policy. Petersen-Smith adds that they should support it “without apology.”

It would certainly seem natural for leftists to support the right to migrate. After all, the socialist movement’s historic slogan has been “Workers of all lands unite,” and its anthem is “The Internationale.” But in the past few years, a number of people on the left
have come out against the concept.[…]

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Students, the Sixties, and How to ‘Fail Better’

By David L. Wilson, MR Online
March 13, 2019
           
Edited by John F. Levin and Earl Silbar (San Francisco: 1741 Press, 2019), 364 pages, $18.95.

In pop culture versions of 1960s activism, student radicals are often depicted as spoiled upper-class kids rebelling against their privileged parents, engaging in random acts of violence, and despising the nation’s wage-earning majority. In reality, the 100,000 or so youths in the student movement were largely drawn from the lower middle class, and some from the working class; their parents were frequently in general agreement with their children’s politics; the period’s radical activism was much more about leafleting, petitioning, and tabling than about confrontations with the police; and far from rejecting the country’s workers, a significant part of the movement considered finding ways to approach this class a central political issue.

You Say You Want a Revolution: SDS, PL, and Adventures in Building a Worker-Student Allianceis a useful introduction to the actual experience of many or most of the student activists a half-century ago.[…]

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