Advocates Oppose Senate Immigration Bill Over Escalation of Border Militarization

Yves here. A reader asked yesterday in comments if I would write about the proposed immigration bill. I don’t mean to seem churlish, but this is basically an assignment. Please read Barry Ritholtz on the subject of assignments. I only get 2 days and 2 half days off a month from blogging and there are only so many topics I can cover, and there are already too many closer-to-the-core-focus-of-this-blog topics that I can’t get to due to time constraints.

However, since this is an important general news topic, I am posting this Real News Network video on the Senate version of the bill in the hopes that readers will share information and views in the comments section.

At the 50,000 foot level, the various immigration bills represent a major shift in philosophy, away from immigration rules having keeping families together as a significant focus, to one far more oriented towards giving business “needs” much higher priority. One of these “needs” is the claim that there aren’t enough STEM graduates, ergo, the US must issue more HB-1 visas. The reality is, if you are even a casual reader of Slashdot, is that we haven’t had much in the way of entry level jobs in IT for ten years. Engineering grads at NC will similarly tell you that engineering salaries are on the whole so low as to not make it viable to be an engineer (the most attractive use of an engineering degree seems to be to next get a law degree and do IP related law).

This segment focuses on some elements of the Senate bill that appear to be under the radar as far as media coverage is concerned. First is that the bill does not provide a path to citizenship for a significant portion of the current illegal immigrant population (frankly that’s been a feature of past immigrant “reform” bills too; the Hispanic community may have been promised more than it was ever going to have delivered on this front). Second is that is includes a large budget to militarize the border with Mexico.

More at The Real News

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  1. diptherio

    I don’t know what the big fuss over militarizing the border is. So we’re going to put as many armed guards on our southern border as there are in the Korean DMZ…big whoop. Look at it this way, how many S. Koreans go north illegaly to look for work? Not many, right?

    Seriously though, this bill sucks the big one. Maybe we should all incorporate ourselves, since no one seems too bothered by corporations (or corporate money) crossing international borders.

    1. from Mexico

      Funding for the border police will be increased from $18 to $40 billion.

      It sounds to me like the biggest winner of this bill will be the US’s hallowed police state.

    2. Carla

      You know, I kind of like that idea. A few million of us could incorporate, make secret contributions to 501c4’s (we could start our own 501c4’s with interlocking directorates), maybe hire a few lobbyists. Sort of like fighting fire with fire.

    3. nonclassical

      dipthi-bad example-most ameriKans may not be aware there are killer drones, operated by “viewers” remotely, but that CAN go auto, on border between N-S Korea…guess who’s coming home to roost??

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I love where McCain boasted that HIS plan for the border included a wall “even higher than the Berlin Wall”. Without even a wry smile of irony on the head fascisti’s lips. And as always the “cui bono?” analysis is telling. American corps are incented to offshore jobs, untaxed on the profits…onshore they want higher prices…so let’s crack down on the people who pick the veggies and scrub the floors?

  2. rob

    when all else fails.
    Nothing reasonable or responsible can get done.
    the long list of serious abuses has no detractors.
    the good of the american people,be dammned.

    so what does the sorry-ass bunch of schmucks choose to do with the small amount of time they actually call “work”…. lets see..
    Lets have a “corporate welfare bill”…
    lets build 700 MILES of fencing….(you know like the fencing that already exists that everyone goes over,around,through,etc.)This will be a giveaway to some contractor,and their suppliers.
    We can make it safe to bring in more workers who will work cheaper….Again a giveaway to large employers, who have the economy of scale to take advantage of these “cheap” visa recipients.
    Let’s not forget about doubling down on security contracts from privately owned/run firms who “watch” the border….

    Let’s see. Are there any other truly useless ways to spend money. Now, when we are supposedly so broke we can’t afford unemployment payments…

    Maybe we can put a fence up at both ocean shores. and between us and canada ,too….

    1. diptherio

      Hey, I like that! Maybe we could build a REALLY BIG wall on the Canadian border, perhaps with some big fans, to keep all that cold air out. We’ve already got enough cold-fronts down here as it is. Ooh, we could also build a wall on the Alaskan/Canadian border…that would be super-expensive…er…I mean, good for the economy.

      1. Massinissa

        Why stop there? Lets build a giant wall in the south china sea to ‘contain’ China!

        More walls = More jobs! Even if, you know, half the money goes straight into the pocket of some executive.

  3. DIno Reno

    This bill should be called what it is “The Cheap Labor Bill for Corporate America.”
    Under the guise of political cover for a path to citizenship, Congress has laid out plan to find cheap labor and further militarize the county. Recent history tells us that nothing else is more important to the ruling elite. Another win, win for the serious people.

    1. Pelham

      Exactly. I believe that even the congressional budget office notes years-long downward pressure on American wages due to this bill, especially at the lower end of the wage scale, precisely where we least need more downward pressure.

      Democrats like the demographics of immigration and Republicans tend to like the wage implications (which is probably true for a lot of Dems as well, though they wouldn’t say as much). Thus we have a perfect storm of representative democracy so warped that it actually thwarts the will of the people and undermines their best interests.

      We need a better, 21st century paradigm of representative democracy. Check out the True Republic project on Indiegogo.

      1. John

        Don’t feel left out. The downward pressure on the educated is going to get started in earnest.

        185,000 H1-B visa holders PER YEAR (actually with all of techs. exemptions the number will be much higher).

        They’re your job replacement. And if you’re over 45 you aren’t going to get another full time job again in your field.

  4. MRW

    Here the reason why:

    Israeli firm gets Mexico border wall contract

    How ironic. We noted in August that ex-Israeli security chief Uza Dayan was warning the US against emulating Israeli strategies in securing the Mexican border. Now it appears that Elbit Systems, an Israeli firm which is building the “Aparthied Wall” in occupied Palestine, has been awarded a contract, along with Boeing, to build the wall on the Mexican border. From Israel21C, Oct. 15:

    For possibly the first time ever, the words Israel and border are in the same sentence and it doesn’t have anything to do with its own borders. The talent and expertise that Elbit Systems (NASDAQ ELST) has employed for years in protecting Israel’s borders will now be put to use on US borders to keep Americans safe.

    Kollsman Inc., an American-based subsidiary of Elbit, has been selected as a member of the winning consortium by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the Secure Border Initiative (SBI) to supply technology to identify threats, to deter and prevent crossings, and to apprehend intruders along the US borders with Canada and Mexico.

    Kollsman, headquartered in Merrimack, New Hampshire, is a development, manufacturing and support organization providing advanced electro-optical and avionics systems to the commercial aerospace, military and homeland security markets. The company’s expertise includes enhanced vision systems, flight displays, head-up displays, thermal imaging systems, fire control systems, and advanced security and surveillance solutions.

    Read the rest here:

    1. nonclassical

      geez…I was “safe” before…and according to my friend Fernando-Texas-AmeriKan who lives-owns land on border, “NAFTA Highway” is building real bridges…

    1. Tokai Tuna

      Thanks, this is what the folk might not understand when they go into an agitated rage about ‘Gov’mint Spending’. Like everything else these days, our leadership just isn’t into spreading the wealth, or the housing, or the jobs, or the education, and so forth and so on.

  5. Ann


    I do apologize. I am the one who “gave you the assignment” yesterday. Of course you’re under no obligation to follow up on reader suggestions.

    In my defense, I’ve been reading your blog nearly every day since 2007. I don’t speak up much because I really can’t add better contributions than you and the community here do. But when you put quality content up here day after day, people will want to know your point of view on things! It’s really more of a compliment than an order, though I suppose it may seem like a burden at times.

    I do feel that this is an issue that has an “in your face” economic impact on people, although not equally for all people in the US. Both the response from the right and left tend to be highly inadequate, in my view, with neither side being very reasoned in the way they think these things through. Too many b-school platitudes; too many extreme responses–racist, charges of racism, et cetera. And too little information about workers’ real life experience comes into the debate.

    I’ve learned much from your commentary and from the community here over the years. So thanks very much, and cheers!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You don’t need to apologize, and I did feel a bit bad about making you an example (you were polite about asking, some people aren’t). It’s just that I feel chronically behind the eight ball, and having someone say “what about this?” makes me feel more stressed.

      1. Dwight

        Thank you for writing this. I have not been following the issue, and had no idea what was going on under the surface. The difference between what I thought was happening and what is really happening is very revealing to me. Corporate propaganda is insidious.

  6. F. Beard

    Without the government-backed counterfeiting cartel, the banking system, it is likely that American corporations would be widely owned and almost all of us would benefit from inexpensive foreign labor.

    But hey, keep trying to prove that a government-backed usury for stolen purchasing power cartel is a just, sustainable method of endogenous money creation. It’s only been 317+ years and counting since the BoE was established.

  7. rob

    Aside from the stupidity/greed that this bill is about.Aside from the disinfomation/vote steering to the ignorant among us…

    I have to ask.
    What is wrong with unlimited immigration?

    On one hand, we in the US are being told that because of the “demographic time-bomb”,of the baby-boomers retireing;we will never be able to ante-up to the social security contractual obligation that generations have become accustomed.Even if actual immigration can’t keep pace with days of old, there would still be a building in the better direction.More workers paying in, to help for those retiring,and all that.

    Then on another hand, there is the simple humanity of it all.People come here to work. many come to stay. If ,rather than steering people who want to cross the border to living in a “dark” economy of “coyotes”,cash,”under the table employment”,lack of identification,contributing to lack of accountability when it comes to traffic accidents,crimes,hospitalizations,etc.Instead of dealing with all that.There were simply offices on the other side of a border, where people could come in,supply information and ,say,a five hundred dollar fee for a greencard, and a path to citizenship if so desired.
    Then people would be easily signed up for payrolls,insurance,tax ID, And everything else the supposed economy requires.
    This would make the border areas safer for everyone. After all, it is not like people can’t drive right over both borders north and south. as well as sail,motor into the other two right now.Never mind what you can have shipped in a mammoth shipping container for forty thousand dollars.So,It isn’t like there IS actually ANY border security.Nor will there be.So let’s stop the pretense and get on with life. And stop persecuting those who wish to endure the trip to make a living.
    The bottom line is we are losing the transnational trade game to the corporations and their lawyers.Not the people who are as much dupes of their ruling elites as we are.
    I still think the best bumper sticker for immigration issues is “illegal immigration has always been a problem, ask any indian”

    1. Massinissa

      Maybe im being naive, but ive always thought that, between having mexican immigrants or shipping jobs to Mexico, having the immigrants may be the better plan…

      But I dont think about Immigration much. Ive never been able to personally decide whether or not its positive or negative. So much information for both sides. Its a complicated issue and one of the few major issues ive never been able to choose a specific side on. Not that there are only two sides, mind you.

    1. Massinissa

      Yeah, its ridiculous how people make such a fuss about immigration without asking WHY they are immigrating in the first place. Thanks fM for the posts.

    2. Alejandro

      “Harvest of Empire” by Juan Gonzalez, a co-host on Democracy Now, provides a historical counter to the conventional narrative of the so-called immigration “problem”. NAFTA is a recent chapter in a long history.

  8. Timothy Gawne

    Kudos for pointing out the lie of a ‘shortage’ of STEM graduates. However:

    “Border Militarization?” With respect, this is allowing yourself to be misled.

    Imagine that one stations armed guards on the windows of a house, yet keeps the doors wide open and refuse to allow anyone to even count how many people walk through. Debating the degree of ‘militarization’ of guarding the windows would be just silly.

    Most illegal immigrants enter this country legally – why walk through the desert when you can just hop on a bus and drive through the border post with no passport or visa (indeed, when the lines back up, sometimes with no ID at all). And of course the main event is the out-of-control cheap-labor-uber-alles legal immigration system.

    Whether or not we do build a wall on the southern border with barbed wire or not has no relevance to anything. It is a red herring, more like gay marriage than anything of real economic importance.

  9. mariopa75

    sounds like militarization will be more easily justifiable pork for contract money.

    On top of that, illegal immigration doesn’t sound much of a problem, rather itoffers some interesting sides : scared workers (arrest, deportation) are very much pliable, seldom if ever unionize, seldom if ever contact police … contrast that with miserables who eventually may figure they have an identity and a great interest in unionizing

  10. marcos

    It might be worth it to never have another fulltime job in tech again at my age if the influx of H1-B visas cratered the future job prospects of the douchebags who dominate the field and my San Francisco neighborhood.

    The onerous path to citizenship, the militarization of the border and the H1-B glut guarantee only one common policy goal: lowering labor costs for business and shifting more public resources into the security sector.

    Let’s hope that the Republican revanchists manage to shoot this turkey down because the Democrats are lining up to sell us all down the road again.

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