When asked, "What kind of policy changes would address the
root cause of the immigration problem?" Here's the answer I posted on Facebook. This evolved from a conversation I've been having over the past week with a Phoenix Republican on Daniel Patterson's (D-LD29) Facebook page.
It starts with a reframing of the issue. The fear-mongers like to say that the US is being invaded by illegals. But it sure seems to me like less of an invasion than the fact that they're being driven. We can't just simplistically explain away the ravages of corporate globalization by scapegoating. We're confusing effect with cause. For example, we want to believe that it's not wage depression due to NAFTA, or job loss due to off-shoring for higher profits, but that it's unsecure borders that are allowing "illegals" to come steal our jobs and consume our social resources.
The reality is that people's lands and livelihoods are being taken from them (all over the Global South) as a direct result of foreign and domestic policy that benefits a very narrow band of special interests. Understanding the cause is the first step in creating solutions. Scapegoating and only slapping band-aids on symptoms will make life worse for Arizonans, as well as everyone else. And, it can be objectively shown that these same US policies are responsible for a deteriorating quality of life for the majority as well as the quickly disappearing middle class.
We must also keep in mind that there's not a single fix, no magic bullet, but a number of interrelated strategies. We have to at least be honest about how the system we've setup is operating, what its real-world consequences are as opposed to what the theory insists should occur, and see what areas of agreement both sides in the debate can find to both return America to its greatness on the world stage and improve people's quality of life (which is too often confused with standard of living).
The actual policy response to immigration starts with strengthening local economies, both our own and Mexico's. This means ending subsidies for BigAg, dumping NAFTA and the WTO, and moving beyond the myth that export economies actually help anyone--besides Central Banks, that is. We must end the practice of off-shoring jobs in the race to the bottom as we elevate profit above people and planet. Profit does have its place, but I have a hard time believing it is more important than life. Further, states must reclaim their sovereign right to revoke corporate charters when harms outweigh benefits to society. If corporations want to claim the rights of
personhood, then they must also accept the responsibilities. We must also start being honest about the need for family planning, pre-natal and childhood nutrition, equitable access to health care, and elderly care. This would go a long way toward lowering birthrates without draconian Chinese style mandates that many opponents like to insist would be necessary.
What it comes down to is that if people's needs can be met in the homes with the families that they love, they won't feel the need to go somewhere else.