Conservatives are still raving today over the proposed Immigration Bill.
Legalizing the status of (an estimated) 12 million illegal aliens in the United States is being looked upon by people like Mark Steyn as a capitulation.
If so, it’s a capitulation to reality.
Illegal aliens are here, because Americans want to hire them. because the US economy needs them.
They snuck over the Rio Grande in many cases, rather than arriving on steamships at Ellis Island and doing the appropriate paperwork, because Ellis Island is closed, and legal admission to the US via airports and bus stations was not an option.
I think quite of lot of my conservative compatriots have lost their marbles on this particular issue. How would you get rid of the 12 million+ people here, even if you wanted to? House to house searches? A new system of commissars inspecting every American farm, construction site, restaurant, assembly plant, and front lawn to catch people violating the law… by working?
Suppose all this was even possible. You waved your magic wand, and all those Hispanics were instantly gone.
Who’s going to harvest American crops you buy at the supermarket? Whose going to fill the shelves?
When you eat out, who’s going to bus the tables and wash the dishes?
When you want a house, who’s going to frame it and nail up the sheetrock?
Who’s going to mow your lawn and mine?
I’ve heard the answer from voices on the right: If you pay enough, you can attract native-born American labor.
Regional conditions vary, of course, but in a lot of places I’ve lived you’d have to pay high school dropouts like investment bankers to get them to work at all, and they’d still do lousy jobs.
If you eliminated cheap immigrant labor, the economic impact would be devastating to this country. The price of everything you buy would skyrocket. Produce, processing, and delivery costs would go right through the roof. Restaurant prices would multiply. Every little thing you buy in a retail store would go up dramatically in price, so that native-born stock boys and counter clerks could make big bucks. Prices of new homes would rise enormously, and their size and amenities would shrink.
How would you like $50 movie tickets? $35 supermarket tomatoes? $50 McDonald’s Happy Meals? And you’d be mowing your own lawn.
Of course, not all pay scales would rise. You’d just transfer a lot more manufacturing, assembly, and food processing jobs permanently out of the country.
Conservatives ought to be working on the issue of assimilation, and looking to welcome to the Republican Party a major new constituency of Roman Catholic, family-oriented, hard-working people. Those Hispanics will pay taxes, and be just as annoyed as the rest us of us by liberal elitist busybodies trying to tell them how to live.