Just a few weeks ago, it came to light that Republican candidate Meg Whitman had employed an undocumented migrant, Nicky Santillan, as a housekeeper for the better part of 10 years. Shortly after her termination at Whitman’s hands, Santillan’s lawyer held a press conference, where the housekeeper not only revealed that she was undocumented, but also that her employers had known about her legal status since 2003, when the social security administration revealed that her supposed social security number did not match her name.
The issue involving Whitman’s own hiring of an undocumented worker points to a larger matter in the United States today. We currently live in a country with a mass influx of migrants from many different countries, particularly from our neighbors in the south, Mexico and the rest of South America. Approximately one million migrants come to the United States every year, and about 500,000 are absorbed by the American economy. Out of those one million migrants, somewhere around half of them are actually undocumented migrants. A majority of these migrants end up in the lowest paying jobs in the United States, often taking up unskilled labor as a means to earn a living.
Now, while I have no problem having a disagreement with others on the right wing, today I still fail to see why the economic conservatives on the right seem to be on the wrong side of the issue according to their own ideology!
The left is in favor of a regulated economy, the right is in favor of a de-regulated economy. The left is often concerned with the moral consequences of globalization, while the right looks at the net effects of globalization. The right is the first to point to the positive net effects of free trade as evidence that the sum total of net effects always ends positive when we simply allow economic incentives to run their course and allow the invisible hand of the market to do away with inefficient producers, rewarding those businesses that are the most efficient at allocating resources effectively.
Similarly, free trade is good for the global economy in the sense that it lowers barriers to competitors abroad and removes artificial incentives to buy from inefficient companies inside the country. The reasoning here is that if a company selling a similar product in China can compete with one that is made at home, then the company in China is the most efficient at maximizing scarce resources and should therefore be rewarded with a profit. While we might lose a job here in the United States, we can put that labor to better use in a different industry we are more efficient in.
My question to those on the right who want to close our borders is this: How can you on the one hand fight for a de-regulated economy for American, foreign, transnational and multinational companies but at the same time refuse to de-regulate the flow of labor in and out of the country, particularly when this de-regulation of markets can be applied to migrant labor as well? Send me your response @ twitter.com/davucsb