Thursday, May 09, 2013

W visas? What are they smoking in Washington these days?

I first heard about "W visas" on NPR this morning. Noodling around the Intertubes, I found this April 1 report on Slate attempting to explain the concept.

In a nutshell (and this truly is nuts) the idea is that employers who heretofore have relied on illegal immigrants as a substantial component of their workforce -- in the meat-packing industry, say -- will instead use workers who enter the country on these W visas. Unlike many other visa programs, this W visa will be geared specifically to the unskilled laborer, the guy who will supposedly take only 'jobs no American wants.'

This would be a great deal for the immigrant worker (we're not supposed to say 'guest workers') who would be in this country legally, with the opportunity to seek permanent resident status when the visa expires, and thus on a path to citizenship.

This would be a great idea -- if it weren't so obviously stupid.

Look: The statement that there are jobs that Americans won't take is a lame, transparently fraudulent lie. The truth is that restaurant chains and big box stores and meat packers don't want to hire Americans. They don't want to have to pay minimum wage. Thus, they hire illegals -- often through intermediaries, pretending to 'contract out' for certain services. However they hire them, our big businesses pay the illegals next to nothing -- and thereby squeeze out maximum profits. Why not? No one goes to jail for hiring illegals.

Does any sane person think that the MBA's who have perpetrated this fraud for decades are going to hire people with W visas and pay normal wages and benefits?

No, they're going to continue to hire illegals as long as they can find them, from wherever they can get them. And desperately poor people from Mexico and Central America are going to continue lining up for these jobs because $5 an hour or even $3 an hour is better than $1.50 a day back home. Every now and again, a bunch of poor slobs who wanted nothing more than to better their lives and the lives of their children will be rounded up and deported, just like now, while the greedy, selfish bastards who exploit them replace them without a backward glance -- or the least fear of meaningful legal sanction.

And if you think that immigration "reform" will result in meaningful penalties against the big businesses that benefit from illegal immigration, you're just as high as the lunatics in Washington.

The Right wants secure borders; the Left wants fair wages and an end to exploitation of immigrants. But they don't need "reform." They just need to enforce some of the laws they already have on the books: Put some MBA's in jail. Have a few Fortune 500 CEOs do the 'perp walk' on the evening news. It's already a crime to hire illegal workers and pay them less than minimum wage. Enforce these laws!

This would dry up demand for illegals -- illegal immigration would slow (maybe only the drug runners would have incentive to cross the border after this) -- and opportunities would open up for our kids to get jobs again. The busboy at your neighborhood restaurant might again be your neighbor's teenage son.

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