Sunday, March 26, 2006

Demogague of the week

We're not going to be rid of him soon, since he's running for president (as a Republican). Too bad. U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (Col.) is among the best at fanning the anti-illegal immigation flame, one that's becoming increasingly anti-immigrant.

Having lived in L.A. for seven years, I can tell you that city would fall apart in two minutes if all the illegals were deported. It's cliche, perhaps, but true: They drive the buses. They serve the fast food. They're the janitors and the groundskeepers. And when there's no work to be found, they'll wait on the street corner for someone to give them an odd job (often for a piddling return).

These are the people that Tancredo calls "a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation." That's not only blatantly mean-spirited, it's false. Not all businesses take advantage of the "illegal" work force; those that do should be prosecuted. Go after the dealer, not the user.

Those businesses that don't exploit the workforce, illegal and otherwise, benefit us all. Americans won't take a lot of the jobs currently filled by Mexican emigres, and if they're properly compensated (as would occur in a worker visa program), then the playing field is evened.

Credit to Bush for not caving into this rising tide of xenophobia, regardless of his motives (an unlikely union between the businesses lobby and social progressives may be all that stands in the way of new, draconian immigration laws).

Here's the America Tancredo wants:

In 2002, The Denver Post ran a human-interest story about a high-school honors student who couldn't get college financial aid because he was in the United States illegally. Tancredo tried to have the boy and his family deported. (He was unsuccessful.)

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