March 30, 2009
Given the bleak state of the economy, with rising joblessness, it is telling that hardly anyone is talking about illegal immigration any more. Does that mean it's no longer a problem? Have all the Mexicans and Salvadoreños gone home? Not quite. I've heard anecdotal reports of voluntary repatriation that reflects the dwindling demand for labor, but that's only part of the story. As the Washington Post reports, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has ordered a slowdown in the pace of immigration raids, signalling a return to the lax law enforcement policy of the early Bush years (2001-2006). Supposedly, this is part of a switch in emphasis toward the businesses as opposed to the workers themselves. That's fine with me. It was pretty clear all along that one of the main reasons for Bush's reluctance to deal with the problem was pressure from business lobbyists.
Interestingly, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) is pushing to stop enforcement against employers that hire illegal workers. His ethnic feelings are a prime motivation, of course, but it's also interesting that a Democrat would work on behalf of business interests, at a time when Americans are in desperate search of decent, well-paying jobs. See americanworker.org; I saw a TV ad promoting that group a couple days ago.
By randomly checking the Year Ago Today blog page, I realized that yesterday was the anniversary of the tense (but ultimately peaceful) Staunton Republican mass meeting. Finally: the "decent interval" has passed!