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Send the Observer to name address city state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscription; send card in my name $20 enclosed for a one-year subscription bill me for $20 name address city state zip THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 the legendary RAW DEAL Steaks, Chops, Chicken open lunch and evenings 605 Sabine, Austin No Reservations now of Cornell University, formerly of the University of Texas seems to have difficulty understanding the practical implications of his arguments. Dr. Briggs, to his credit, refused to testify on behalf of the State of Texas when it was fighting the suit filed on behalf of the education rights of children of undocumented workers. The State contended, however, that Briggs’ work supported the State’s claim that it had no responsibility to educate these children. In that regard, the State was right. With the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, Dr. Briggs is apparently offering us the carrot while asking us to ignore the stick. It is true that Simpson-Mazzoli does offer an amnesty plan for undocumented workers one of the reasons it was opposed by Kent Hance. So does the Roybal bill. I did not mention amnesty in the editorial because I do not think the amnesty provisions justify the potentially discriminatory effects of the rest of Simpson-Mazzoli. For a more detailed discussion of the bill, I refer Dr. Briggs to “Simpson-Mazzoli: Supply-Side Immigration Reform” \(TO, in this issue. But more to the point: there is no documentation to support the conclusion that immigration from the south is a key factor in the causes of unemployment among low-wage-paying jobs. No evidence. Briggs blames the victim for the crime. Devaluation has caused unemployment. A U.S. recession has caused unemployment. Removal of U.S. industry to cheap labor sources in the Third World produces unemployment. As does a winter freeze. But immigration itself is not a major cause of unemployment. The greatest immigration has been to the areas of lowest unemployment. While the H-2, or guest worker, program is not created by SimpsonMazzoli, it is codified by the bill. Dr. Briggs knows very well that the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, under section H-2, called for a temporary program with major restrictions. The program has been extended by executive action and, under SimpsonMazzoli, will be institutionalized with no time parameters and, through amendments, with few safeguards for guest workers or U.S. labor. If Dr. Briggs is so worried about U.S. jobs, I should think he would oppose any bill allowing U.S. agriculture and industry to import workers at low wages and few rights for jobs that, in the case of agriculture, need no extensive certification of the fact that there is no existing native labor force to fill the jobs. It’s always dangerous to cite an authority on a civil rights matter who is not a member of the groups subject to discrimination. I don’t think it likely that Father Hesburgh will be asked for an identity card when he applies for work. But there are those living on the economic margins of our society who do not have checking accounts or credit cards, who may not even have a birth certificate or have one at their disposal, who will be turned away from jobs because of their ethnicity. And this is where the discrimination will occur. Not in the world of the resume and vitae. It will be in the world of day laborers, who may speak only Spanish or Chinese. It is no accident that the most vocal opponents of Simpson-Mazzoli are Mexican American organizations and the United Farm Workers. Recently a man who spoke only Spanish \(see “Political days in Deaf Smith County by local authorities because he could not produce any record, other than his baptismal certificate, to show he was a U.S. citizen. \(It is also dangerous to cite as a civil liberties champion a man who has certified Salvadoran elections and, as head of Carter’s commission on immigration reform, did not consider the ideological exclusion clause of the Immigration Act sufficiently dangerous I find it difficult to believe that Dr. Briggs calls the Simpson-Mazzoli bill “courageous.” It is a union-busting, discriminatory package with a sop amnesty thrown in to garner support. I also find it odd that Dr. Briggs says the Roybal bill is rightly not being considered seriously when it calls for the enforcement of fair labor standards and practices and strengthened border enforcement, in addition to amnesty, as well as a commission to study the roots of immigration from Mexico and how they can be addressed successfully. The bottom line here is that SimpsonMazzoli will do nothing to deter immigration from the south, but it will have a profoundly discriminatory effect on residents, legal and illegal, in this country. The trade-off for amnesty in Simpson-Mazzoli is not worth it. The linking of amnesty to border enforcement and labor standards enforcement makes eminently more sense. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5
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