co 0 a 0 _J 0 0 0 a. “The whole purpose of the bill is to lead the American public to believe that something has been done, while the economic basis of the phenomenon has not been, is not going to be, touched.” bill in 1970 all the way to the present have asked for sanctions on employers. And the current bill, the Simpson bill, includes sanctions on employers. My answer to that is: but those have been projects; they have not passed, yet. That is, again, not just by chance. And, at the same time, you ought to see what sanctions on employers mean in the current legislation. Number one, the question of undocumented immigration is maintained because these current projects establish an exemption: employers who have less than four employees. It doesn’t apply to employers who have less than four employees. Therefore, this is part of the contradiction. The American public is led to believe that the law responds to control the border. But at the same time it leaves a loophole, tremendous loophole, for those employers who employ less than four. Well, it just happens that Mexican undocumented immigrants are hired the majority of them by employers who have less than 15 employees. A great, great proportion of the employers of undocumented immigrants are in the area of small businesses, houses, small units. Big employers don’t hire undocumented immigrants, by and large. .. . This bill reflects a very common view that demand has to be protected, that the demand of the labor force from Mexico has to be protected. So it is totally incongruent with the vision that the United States has to take, to regain control of its borders. That to us is a mockery. Because if that would be the case, why leave a loophole of less than four workers for an employer to be in a situation where he is subjected to the law? And even then you find that there are no mechanisms for enforcement. The enforcement of that particular law is something that is so lax that, again, sanctions for employers are not going to end the demand. It is not designed to end the demand. The whole purpose of the bill is basically political. The whole purpose of the bill is to lead the American public to believe that something has been done, while the economic basis of the phenomenon has not been, is not going to be, touched. . . . The economic forces at play are going to continue and are not going to be affected significantly if this bill becomes law. Except one thing, that it’s going to increase the criminalization process of the undocumented immigrants. And that is going to cheapen their labor. Will the amnesty provision in the current bill serve to decriminalize the status of the undocumented immigrant and perhaps increase the value of their labor? One of the most significant changes in the current Simpson proposal, as compared to the Simpson-Mazzoli proposal, is precisely in that notion of amnesty. The dates have been changed, making it more restrictive for people who have been there since 1980. That puts the Mexican undocumented alien in a situation which is not going to be beneficial. Except for a very small, very minute proportion of the Mexican undocumented immigrants. The reason, of course, is that the great majority of Mexican undocumented immigrants tend to stay in the country for a period that is far shorter than the law allows. We have estimated this based on our research. Even though the length of the stay of undocumented immigrants has been experiencing a certain growth. It is longer now than five years ago, due to the more strict operations of the INS and Border Patrol this more strict operation of the Border Patrol has produced the paradoxical effect of prolonging the average stay of the undocumented immigrant. Even with these changes, very few undocumented Mexicans will qualify for this proposed amnesty. In Texas, we have found the average stay is eight to ten months. And the stay in California is from one year to a year and eight months. The proposed amnesty will probably benefit undocumented immigrants from countries other than Mexico, countries that do not share a border with the United States. Consider the supply of labor. I recently read a Brookings Institution prediction that some 900,000 people per year are entering the Mexican work force. Do you agree with that figure? More or less yes. How much of that can be absorbed by the Mexican economy? Well, before the crisis, before 1982, there was a six-year period where the Mexican economy was absorbing more than that. After 1982, there was a tremendous diminishing of that, but even then there were new jobs for as few as 400,000. That has been increasing steadily, ever since 1982 to the present. It is to the point that you can ask here in Tijuana and you will find that there is labor shortage here in Tijuana. Something that people just don’t even imagine. In this country, Mexico, labor shortages? Yes . . . you can ask any maquiladora [border factory] industry representative. They will tell you the difficulty they have looking for plumbers, painters, carpenters, 8 AUGUST 16, 1985
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