It seems to me that we may be overthinking the entire immigration question. The very problems and issues confronting America suggest a solution amicable to all parties. Let us more closely examine the issue.
On one hand are those who favor open borders, amnesty and a path to citizenship. Many of these are the would-be immigrants themselves and their home countries.
The governments of those people are unable or unwilling to provide the simplest services or economic opportunities for their people. To do so, would mean the dictators and oligarchs that rule would have to curb their own corruption and even permit the underclass a voice in their ruling circles. This is intolerable because it would necessarily mean such adverse concepts as accountability, power sharing and a fewer dollars pouring into their pockets or off-shore accounts.
Yet to forcibly crack down on those seeking economic and political reform is to risk armed revolt. Even if the existing order were to retain control, it would cost money and might even put some of the oligarchs in physical danger.
So, they must seek a third path.
That is emigration for the opportunity seekers. They facilitate the movement of these elements into the United States via a variety of mechanisms. Mexico’s government-funded Grupo Beta aids would-be immigrants in a variety of ways, including issuing publications on how to cross the Mexican-American border in safety.
In addition, the Mexican government, through its consulate in the United States, issues Matricular Consular identification cards, whether in the U.S. legally or not, as an official identification that is recognized by various commercial group on the American side of the border, thus bypassing the inconvenient obstacle of having legal status to obtain other documents required for such things as housing, banking and the like that encumber U.S. citizens and legal aliens.
The immigrants themselves of course are anxious to flee intolerable conditions in their own countries. Often the mantra is heard that these immigrants do the work Americans refuse to do.
That is not quite accurate. What they are doing is working for wages and conditions that Americans would refuse, largely because those salaries and conditions are illegal. However, as oppressive as these conditions seem to an American, they are still many times better than those allowed by the corrupt oligarchs in their home countries.
So, we see on the other side of the border governments that are happy to export their working class so they may hold on to their privileges, and the workers themselves who may obtain a standard of living far above what they could expect in their homeland.
On this side of the border is an unusual alliance of capital and labor, Republicans and Democrats.
Capital is delighted at the prospect of a workforce that is satisfied with sub-minimum wage salaries, no benefits, no workplace rights and nowhere to complain about working conditions. This means an increase in the bottom line for capital, thus satisfying both management and the stockholders. Consumers are also delighted in that prices are kept low.
Organized labor is also happy with the situation. This glut of cheap labor depresses wages across the board for all workers. As American workers become more dissatisfied and insecure, they turn to organized labor to protect their jobs and salaries.
The unions gain strength and influence so long as the migrants pose a threat to legitimate workers.
Both major political parties also stand to gain from the status quo.
Democrats see their voter rolls grow, as they are perceived as defending yet another downtrodden minority, while their coffers swell with contributions from organized labor, ethnic hucksters and liberal celebrities anxious to prove that they actually matter outside the fantasy world of entertainment.
Republicans also see a more energized voting base as unrestrained immigration brings increased crime, lowers property values and overwhelms social services. The GOP’s coffers bloat with contributions from business interests that rejoice they have found a workforce that actively seeks semi-slavery status.
Herein are the seeds of a solution amenable to all parties. This is a solution that will prove to be even more beneficial to the interests of the home countries, organized labor, capital, Democrats and Republicans than the status quo.
I propose the United States revive the practice of indentured servitude.
Different from involuntary servitude (more commonly known as “slavery”), indentured servitude is a voluntary condition. One party offers labor for a certain period of time, generally seven years, and a second party offers to purchase the indenture, or contract. Upon conclusion of the contract, the indentured party becomes a U.S. citizen.
This concept will be a boon to the home countries of the indentured servants. Presently, undocumented immigrants send much of their meager salaries back to family in the home country. This infusion of hard American currency is welcome by these countries as it trickles through their crippled economy and finds its ways into the hands of various government officials through bribery and other means.
But under the indentured servitude system, the home countries can directly sell the labor contracts to American concerns. That way, the home country government pockets the entire fee, rather than skimming a meager percentage as it filters through their economy.
Not only do they export their surplus labor and reduce domestic would-be reformers, they also stand to gain a financial windfall.
American capital will also be delighted with this solution. Rather than expensive negotiations with each individual employee or union, the employer simply purchases the labor outright. Obviously, there will be the expense of housing and feeding this labor, but it will certainly be cheaper than the present situation; Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., has solved this problem.
Also, should it be necessary to cut the workforce, capital can sell the labor to the highest bidder. Under the present system, the company gains nothing by laying off an employee except for saved future salary and benefits. Under bonded indenture, the company actually stands to make money by the sale of surplus labor.
At first blush, it is tempting to believe the organized labor might oppose such a program. However, I believe that even they stand to gain significant benefits from bonded indenture. Consider that the unions themselves are free purchase any number of labor contracts. They can then resell these contracts for whatever the market can bear.
What is equally important is that they could simply hold the contracts off the market entirely, thus creating a labor shortage. This, in turn, would lead to an increased demand for non-indentured labor, which the unions would supply from their membership rolls. More union members working means more money flowing in to the unions’ pension plans through mandatory dues.
So, organized labor also benefits from the indentured servitude system.
The Democrat Party would also find the plan acceptable for a variety of reasons. First, is the plan offers the clear-cut path to citizenship that the Democrats have sought for so long. Since most of these new citizens will come from non-European societies, the Democrats can parley their racial grievance skills into recruiting new voters. After all, the newly enfranchised workers will be lacking immediate employment and thus will be anxious for government-financed subsidies in housing, education and health care.
Republicans will also delight in the solution. Bonded indenture means it will be much easier to keep track of foreigners within our borders, so a major security issue is resolved. The benefits to business will stimulate the economy. As profits increase, the stock market will respond accordingly. Consumers will be delighted that prices are kept low, thanks to lowered production costs. Also, with government no longer being responsible the health or education of the undocumented, the public will see an easing of the strain on public services and infrastructure
I offer my modest proposal, not in the hope of any personal gain, but in the sincere desire to resolve this rancorous issue that has proven so divisive to our society. I trust that sanity will prevail and see indentured servitude enacted as the law of the land.