This fall, Americans are going to witness a brutal and ham-fisted "crackdown" on illegal immigration by the Bush Administration. It will be a stark and tragic illustration of what happens when a vocal and well-organized minority of hardliners hijacks the country's legislative process.
The results are entirely predictable - the results of bad public policy are in some ways easier to forecast than good. [...]
In every case that people blame foreign-born workers for decimating native employment in an industry such as roofing or meat-packing there were lax regulations and busted unions --the conditions that allowed employers to turn them into undesirable occupations for Americans -- before there was a shift to undocumented workers.
The crackdown will hurt a few employers that rely on illegal immigrants, but anyone who thinks the Bush Administration -- effectively a mouthpiece for corporate America -- will truly threaten employers' supply of cheap labor doesn't appreciate how great the cost of losing our immigrant workforce would be.
After a few months of these photo-op raids, Bush will declare victory over illegal immigration, and cite statistics showing that the flow of immigrants from Latin America has decreased. The claim will be bogus, but the data will be legit -- the current wave of immigration peaked in 2001 and was decreasing before the right realized that immigrant-bashing was a good, pseudo-populist wedge issue.
That brings us to the easiest prediction of them all: despite the fact that the flow of immigrants has been decreasing since well before Bush decided to make a showy crackdown, most reporters will be too lazy to fact-check the administration's claims and a lot of Americans will end up believing a policy that could never in a million years work is in fact working beautifully.
Sounds about par for Bush's course: convince people that chicken shit is chicken salad and they'll happily chow down. Mmmmm - please sir, my I have another?
Here's the money line:
More likely, he is trying to punish the hardliners within his base who have derailed all the efforts to pass a balanced set of immigration reforms. After all, it is not often that a senior Republican official announces a new White House policy and then says, as Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff did recently, that "there will be some unhappy consequences for the economy out of doing this."
That's it in a nutshell - the one - the only - policy Bush has gotten anywhere in the vicinity of being right, and the racist xenophobic good christians and phony patriots in his base won't have anything to do with it.
Those morons want a crackdown. Actually, they'd like to see everybody with a complexion darker than Appliance White sent back "where they came from". They want to see laws that have been ignored in favor of cheap labor for as long as anybody can remember enforced mightily all at once and the devil take the hindmost.
Bush is saying, "You don't like my policy? You don't think we need these people? OK then, WATCH THIS!"
Bush won't let it go too far. He's still beholden to the other half of his party, the big money half, so he'll use a lotta flaps and no throttle as usual, and give the morons what they want without actually doing anything, and then he'll lie about how much he's accomplished. As usual.
He's just gonna fuck with a lot of 'little people' and make their lives miserable. As usual.