IF US WORKERS WANT A JOB---THEY WILL WORK FOR WHAT THESE IMMIGRANTS DO!
Johns Hopkins has an entire overseas business recruiting and bringing immigrant workers to the US. They are being compared to the Brown University involvement in the early US slave trade because that is what happens with many of these immigrants once they leave their home countries.
A few days on the American worker starts with looking at how neo-liberals and neo-cons are bashing their way to lower wages in the US through policy like Affordable Care Act and Race to the Top-----Immigration Reform and Trans Pacific Trade Pact. All of these policies have as a goal to lower the standards of life for all Americans to third world levels. None of those policies were meant to do what your pols told you they were to do. Better health care/better education for the poor----better protections for Hispanic immigrants already in the US----more professionalism?
When Microsoft hires an IT professional from say India----they pay 1/3 less than with a US citizen and that is why unemployment is high----it is why US college grads are having to settle for entry-level jobs, and it is why American students are being tracked into career colleges and low wage jobs. The Immigration Bill allows Bill Gates to bring his IT employees from overseas. Same for teaching and nursing and all categories.
SEE WHY THEY WANT TO GET RID OF CURRENT US PROFESSIONALS?
Working in the third world is not pretty for either uneducated or educated workers. They are simply human assets to global corporations. That is where you and I are going with our children and grandchildren if we do not get engaged to reverse this globalism----
Average salaries for Big Data professionals with Hadoop skills is Rs 13 lakhs per annum. 10 lakhs is about $22,000
On average, American data professionals earn three times as much as those in Asia and twice as much as those located in Africa.
"After all, some of the fastest growing job categories are expected to be in so-called "middle-skill" positions such as nursing, which do not require a full, four-year education."
A Registered Nurse must have a 4 year degree.
Why America’s Nurses Are Burning Out
A nursing shortage and long hours has led to high levels of burnout in nurses.
Video: Shift Changes in Hospitals Can Put Patients at Risk
Annette Tersigni decided at the age of 48 that she wanted to make a difference. She attended nursing school and became a registered nurse three years later. “Having that precious pair of letters – RN – at the end of my name gave me everything I wanted,” she writes on her website. Before long, Tersigni discovered the rewards – as well as the physical and emotional challenges – that come with nursing.
“I was always stressed when I worked, afraid to get sued for making a mistake or medical error,” says Tersigni, who was working in the heart transplant unit of a North Carolina hospital. “Plus, working the night shift caused me to gain weight and stop working out.” Tersigni moved to another hospital, but the long shifts continued. Three years later, she left her job.
Tersigni’s experience isn’t unusual. Three out of four nurses cited the effects of stress and overwork as a top health concern in a 2011 survey by the American Nurses Association. The ANA attributed problems of fatigue and burnout to “a chronic nursing shortage.” A 2012 report in the American Journal of Medical Quality projected a shortage of registered nurses to spread across the country by 2030.
Work schedules and insufficient staffing are among the factors driving many nurses to leave the profession. American nurses often put in 12-hour shifts over the course of a three-day week. Research found nurses who worked shifts longer than eight to nine hours were two-and-a-half times more likely to experience burnout.
“Our results show that nurses are underestimating their own recovery time from long, intense clinical engagement, and that consolidating challenging work into three days may not be a sustainable strategy to attain the work-life balance they seek,” says study author Linda Aiken, PhD, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Deborah Burger, RN, co-president of the union and professional association National Nurses United, doesn’t believe that long work shifts tell the whole story. “Most people can work a 10- or 12-hour shift if they’ve got the right support and right level of staffing,” Burger says.
“In order for nurses to feel satisfied and fulfilled with their work, the staffing issues must be seriously addressed from a very high level,” says Eva Francis, MSN, RN, CCRN, a former nursing administrator. “Nurses also need to be able to express themselves professionally about the workload, and be heard without the fear of threat to their jobs or the fear of being singled out.”
A new study suggests that nurses’ burnout risk may be related to what drew them to the profession in the first place. Researchers at the University of Akron in Ohio surveyed more than 700 RNs and found that nurses who are motivated primarily by the desire to help others, rather than by enjoyment of the work, were more likely to burn out.
“We assume that people that go into nursing because they are highly motived by helping others are the best nurses,” says study author Janette Dill, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Akron. “But our findings suggest these nurses may be prone to burnout and other negative physical symptoms.”
That finding doesn’t surprise Jill O’Hara, a former nurse from Hamburg, NY, who left nursing more than a decade ago.
“When a person goes into nursing as a profession, it’s either because it’s a career path or a calling,” says O’Hara, 56, who now operates her own holistic health consulting practice. “The career nurse can leave work at the end of the day and let it go, but the nurse who enters the field because she is called to it takes those emotionally charged encounters home with her. They are empathetic, literally connecting emotionally with their patients, and it becomes a part of them energetically.”
Besides driving many nurses out of the profession, burnout can compromise the quality of patient care. A study of Pennsylvania hospitals found a “significant association” between high patient-to-nurse ratios and nurse burnout with increased infections among patients. The authors’ conclusion: A reduction in burnout is good for nurses and patients.
Why So Many Of America's Teachers Are Leaving The Profession
Posted: 11/05/2013 5:51 am EST Updated: 01/23/2014 6:58 pm EST Huffington Post
The vast majority of teachers are working overtime without the tools or budget to manage the plethora of issues inside and outside the classroom. On top of that, administrators who only compound the situation by micromanaging the wrong things make the lives of teachers completely untenable with their lack of support.
Most teaching preparation programs including the one Mr. Owens attended do not adequately prepare anyone for life in the classroom. For many beginning teachers, "It was as though I had just joined the circus as an apprentice clown and was immediately required to juggle plates, bowling pins, butcher's knives, and axes all day long while walking along a tightrope in midair." Teachers make more decisions per hour than any other job including what to do with a student who falls behind, manage students with learning or emotional problems, tailor each lesson every day to up to 125 students or more who are somewhere between illiterate and highly gifted.
Sadly some administrators, students and parents instead of partnering with teachers, blame "teachers which is easier than doing a massive system overhaul."
We need "teachers who can present a passion for the greatness and potential of learning and the greatness and potential of America." I believe John Owens wanted to be one of those people. His unsuccessful attempt to complete one year in the classroom paints an ugly and honest picture of life in many American schools today. The statistics from the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future show that his experience is not unique as "in urban districts, close to 50 percent of newcomers leave the profession during their first five years of teaching."
Many non-teachers claim that teaching is an easy life with long vacations. However, as Owens shares his daily routine it is a job way past full time hours, "I spent virtually every waking hour -- 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. -- all week long on my teacher duties. Lessons, backup lessons, tutoring students during lunch and after school, PowerPoints, grading, inputting data, inputting more data, meeting with parents, observing experienced teachers to learn their techniques, meeting with my bosses, updating databases, writing reports, and trying to get help from someone for the struggling students in my classes." All teachers are familiar with the many hours required to keep lessons, grades and life engaging and organized.
Most of the teachers I have worked with have been caring and concerned both with doing a great job and meeting the needs of each student. However, "every second of the day was filled with demands and -- sadly -- students whose needs still weren't being addressed despite all the efforts I could put in." Even with the frustrations of not being able to do enough, Owens wishes to be a better teacher and contribute to his students and society but the principal is not interesting in supporting his contributions as a new teacher.
Owens creates an enthusiastic response from his students but he is reprimanding for his class being too noisy. He has many meetings and moments with the principal as he is warned that he will receive an unsatisfactory rating for his first year skills. He learns that "inspiring, empowering, really teaching these students" is not enough.
Many teachers are leaving the profession, as "America is demanding too much from its teachers without giving them the proper support to educate students effectively. Commitment, caring, pushing for results, and putting in a full work's day no longer seem to be enough...Often, I felt like a soldier dropped behind enemy lines with nothing more than orders. No weapon. No helmet. No hope of reinforcements." I was disappointed and frustrated to learn about his challenges, and it reminded me of many situations and schools were I have been forced to work with incompetent management.
Students want to share themselves and deserve teachers who can be present and focus on them from "Rikkie, the bright, defiant ninth grader, who did a long piece about how prison isn't so bad to a ninth-grade girl wrote about the day she saw her father get arrested in the neighborhood check-cashing store." Students need caring supportive teachers, not teachers who feel threatened that they will lose their job for showing enthusiasm and initiative. Teachers need to work in an environment where they can thrive.
In Los Angeles, new teachers and old can find mentorship and engaging lessons with the Los Angeles Science Teachers Network. In response to an overwhelming situation in 2009, I created this network for professional development, support and camaraderie. Administrators cannot do everything and we all must participate to improve learning for the children. Do not listen to the blame. Do something about it. We are each responsible to do what we can. Write a blog, start a network, help a child and find a way to feel supported in the classroom. America needs you.
About the Author: Lisa Niver Rajna was a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. She was the first teacher to appear on Career Day. She and her husband George are on a career break sharing their world adventures on We Said Go Travel.
This is why so many college grads are unemployed-----corporations are refusing to hire 4 year US graduates with a broad and in depth education and going with career college certificate/associate grads. Meanwhile, the number of skilled-labor hiring is soaring for immigrants staying in the US.
The American people as a whole are being tracked into vocational career paths that lead to low-end employment with the ability to get into higher education declining. The will to go to higher education is deliberately defused by the demand by corporations hiring for this career college, job-ready training status. So, American students are being forced into a path that will have them coming back over and over and over each time they change jobs and never having a deep understanding of a particular field or professionalism. This is not the students fault nor is it an indication that American students are not able to achieve.....it is how the privatization of public education is processing children. I've talked before about taxpayers now being the Human Resources Department for corporations. Today I am addressing how American citizens are being deliberately marginalized as the world's 'best of the best' become hired into the higher-skilled jobs. These people are not necessarily the 'best of the best'----most are simply connected to a wealthy family overseas.
This translates to lower quality of services as employees receive less education for employment----it creates constant turnover and less likelihood people are working in fields for which they are passionate---and all this creates a massive underclass-----WHICH IS THE GOAL OF NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS.
Above we see a deliberate expulsion of the American professional class, teachers and nursing, with burn out created by health care and education moving to profit-driven mode. Staff are commodities.
April 23, 2012
Why are college grads so underemployed? "More than half of America's recent college graduates are either unemployed or working in a job that doesn't require a bachelor's degree...."
When there were fewer graduates, a generic college degree used to be a valuable credential. Now that the market is flooded, diplomas count less, and specific skills count more. This means that, in many instances, associates and technical degrees may be more financially valuable than a liberal arts degree. After all, some of the fastest growing job categories are expected to be in so-called "middle-skill" positions such as nursing, which do not require a full, four-year education. It's one more sign that, for people seeking to fix America's employment picture, "college for all" is the wrong mantra. We need to be talking about "skills for all" instead.
Trades employees know the status of this dynamic best. What they do not know is that the competition for jobs currently between US workers and Hispanic workers will explode as Trans Pacific Trade Pact brings immigrants from all over the world to work cheaper than US workers. That is why having the national AFL-CIO leaders backing neo-liberals is not good. National labor leaders backing neo-liberals are saying---go ahead, flood the market with immigrants and we will organize those poor workers. The Hispanic workers now getting more employment will compete with labor from Africa and Asia with even lower standards of living than US immigrants. Hispanic labor is often only bringing in $40 and day----Asian immigrants are used to earning $2 a day.
This is what is planned for the infrastructure funding being promised by neo-liberals in Congress----they are waiting for Trans Pacific Trade Pact to allow for the flood of immigrants. Obama is going to take executive action to install TPP and those increased immigrant worker quotas and it will be large! Trade unions are being used by corporate pols thinking they are the ones to get these jobs.
AGAIN, IT IS NOT THE IMMIGRANT'S FAULT---LABOR KEEPS SUPPORTING AND ELECTING NEO-LIBERALS.
Most of the immigrants being brought to the US already are told they are coming to something much better than they get. The US is now involved in slave labor as in the Railroad Tycoons bringing the Chinese and Irish to work slavishly on US railroads---that is what neo-liberals and neo-cons are working to make of US workers.
We no longer have a wild west where you can go to make your own living---
Unemployment for trades in the US-----
Paving Equipment Operators ----20%
Structural Iron Workers ----22%
Rebar Workers ----27%
Mobile Home Installers ---36%
This is why US nurses and teachers are being burned out, why our unions and trades are seeing higher unemployment and it is why quality is falling in all industries-----neo-liberals and neo-cons are undermining US professionalism and the ability to earn strong salaries with outsourcing professional jobs. From manufacturing plants to high tech and medical professions-----US corporations are going to use the flooding of the US job market with immigrant workers in order to lower even further American wages. Remember, in third world societies doctors, lawyers, and Indian chiefs are as poor as everyone else. This is what the Immigration Bill passed by the Senate is all about and it is why Obama is yet again going to use executive orders to raise the number of high-skilled immigrant labor coming to the US. He will pretend it is all about Hispanic workers already in the US but it actually marginalizes Hispanic workers.
The American people who do not care how little people are paid must be ready for third world labor standards. People having not lived under US Constitutional law do not know what they have been missing----which is the point!
WHEN LABOR UNIONS, JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS, AND MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICA KEEP SUPPORTING NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS THEY ARE SUPPORTING THIS DYNAMIC. GLOBAL CORPORATIONS WILL BRING PEOPLE TO WORK ANY JOB AT ANY WAGE WITH TRANS PACIFIC TRADE PACT.
If you are an American you will work how those third world laborers work or be unemployed they say. US standards for business and manufacturing?
FORGET ABOUT IT---THESE IMMIGRANT WORKERS WILL NOT REQUIRE THIS.
How to Cut Skilled-Labor Costs
By Nancy Folbre July 30, 2012 6:00 amJuly 30, 2012 6:00 am
Nancy Folbre is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
To import or to outsource? That is the question. Recent discussions of expanding access to H1-B visas highlight the tensions between employers in the United States in search of highly skilled employees and highly educated American citizens who face increasingly stiff competition in the global labor market.
Much of the discussion about expanding H1-B visas focuses on whether there are particular areas of “skill shortage” despite persistently high unemployment. The more fundamental question is how much American employers can cut their costs either by importing highly skilled workers or exporting highly skilled jobs.
The answer is, a lot.
Since the 1990s, the global supply of skilled labor has greatly expanded and the technology for using this labor wherever it is has greatly improved. Why hire a more expensive employee when a cheaper one is available? Why pay taxes to educate and train highly skilled workers when other countries (and their families and taxpayers) will do that for you?
The disruptive impacts of globalization initially hammered workers without much education. Many workers holding college degrees remained optimistic about the benefits of international trade, celebrating improvements in their own purchasing power.
Now, my students can decide for themselves if lower prices will compensate them for reduced opportunities and lower wages. More than half of recent college graduates in the United States are either unemployed or are working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. Entry-level wages for employed college graduates were lower in 2011 than in 2000.
The current global recession isn’t the only cause. The economist Richard Freeman provides an extraordinarily clear account of what he calls “The Great Doubling” of labor supply resulting from structural changes that brought China and India more directly into the global marketplace.
Rather than relying merely on low-wage competition, China and India, like many developing countries, invested heavily in higher education and scientific training. While college graduates represent a small occupational elite within their large labor force, their absolute numbers are high compared with those homegrown in the United States.
College students in the United States who major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – often referred to as STEM fields – definitely face better prospects in the labor market than others do. But even they need to be aware of intensified competition down the road.
Many software engineers and others in the information technology field feel particularly aggrieved about the effects of the H1-B visa program. The computer scientist Norman Matloff, who maintains a Web site on the topic, asserts that it enables employers to hire younger and less expensive workers, leaving many highly skilled, older programmers in the lurch.
Workers with H1-B visas have a strong incentive to remain with the employer for whom it was issued in order to obtain a green card, allowing permanent residence in the United States, in a timely fashion. As a result, they have relatively little bargaining power.
Professor Matloff, who favors extensive changes to the H1-B visa program, also warns of the growing impact of outsourcing on jobs for computer science majors. Further, he observes that high-tech companies insisting that there is a shortage of STEM workers with advanced degrees in the United States don’t seem willing to invest much in increased financial support for graduate education.
Maybe college students should seek jobs that seem less vulnerable to global competition, in fields like health sciences. But I just read an article about health care companies sending jobs overseas that gave me palpitations.
The economist Alan Blinder asserts that high educational requirements can make a job more rather than less “offshorable.” Most large American companies have already figured this out – but it’s not clear how many college students have.
I hate to be the one to break the news.
We see Hispanic leaders understand what is coming----better than US workers. The problems listed below are about to soar as labor from around the world is brought to be exploited even more than our Hispanic workers. As Americans are silent about neo-liberal and neo-con assaults on our civil rights and liberties----think about what a third world autocracy looks like and how the people who are citizens fair---
That is where this 21st Century Economy is going.
We simply need to WAKE UP and engage in politics and send these global corporate pols packing. We can rebuild a domestic economy and reverse the damage to the US Constitution that was illegal to begin with. Do not allow yet another round of labor abuse build with these reforms!
NATIONAL LABOR UNIONS LEADERS KNOW THIS IS WHAT IS COMING----THEY NEED TO STOP SUPPORTING NEO-LIBERALS
New face of the war on immigrants?: US immigration reform
The reform plays a balancing act for a stable supply of cheap labour and a viable system of state control of immigrants. Last Modified: 10 Jul 2013 11:42 William I. Robinson
William I. Robinson a professor of sociology and global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
An immigration reform that’s inclusive of 11m undocumented people passed the US senate June 27 [Getty Images]
After years of false starts, the US Congress now seems set to pass some version of long-awaited immigrant reform legislation. On June 27 the Senate passed a bill that observers have referred to as the "most monumental overhaul" of US immigration laws in a generation and the House is set to begin debate on reform legislation later in July.
But immigrant rights organisations are deeply divided. Some groups have given critical support to the proposed legislation as the "best bill possible" under current conditions for the estimated 11-12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States to normalise their status. Many others, however, have rejected what they see as a punitive Faustian bargain. They condemn the bill as an attempt to deny rights, codify repression, legitimate the criminalisation of immigrants, further the militarised control of their communities, and reproduce a system of de facto labour peonage.
Although the bill supposedly provides a "pathway to citizenship" for immigrants, the conditions under which undocumented immigrants can legalise their status are so onerous that it is estimated that between one-third and two-thirds of the undocumented will be unable meet the criteria. This criteria includes having an income of 125 per cent of the federal poverty guideline, which would make millions of immigrants who now work for minimum wage or less ineligible, as well as no lapses of employment for more than 60 days during a decade of provisional status, paying hefty fees and fines, passing a criminal background check, learning English and US civics and history.
The bill denies immigrants access to public services. It does not lift the repressive "Secure Communities" and "287g" government programmes. These two federal programs establish broad collabouration between the federal government and local and state law enforcement in policing immigrant communities, in raids, detentions, and deportations.
More ominous, the bill hinges on so-called "border security". If proposes to increase spending by nearly $50bn on militarising the 2,000 mile US-Mexico border (some 3,200 km), doubling the number of Border Patrol agents to some 40,000 (one agent for every 88 yards or 80 meters), to add 700 miles of fencing, to deploy drones, Blackhawk helicopters, surveillance towers, sensors, and former army soldiers to the border.
It would mandate a universal "E-verify" system, by which workers must prove they are eligible for employment before being hired, introduce biometric ID for immigrant workers, stipulate unprecedented collabouration between local and state police agencies and the Department of Homeland Security for database sharing, detention, and transfer of detainees, and sets up a "guest worker" programme that amounts to little more than indentured servitude.
It is no wonder that National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights board member Hamid Khan described the bill as a model for the "surveillance industrial complex." Under the guise of public safety and security, "the bill is a political investment in the further strengthening and legitimisation of the police state," he said.
Global capitalism and immigrant labour
The reform...meets the interests of the immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex. Military contractors, Silicon Valley, law enforcement, construction and private prison companies stand to earn billions in profits.
The larger story behind immigration reform is capitalist globalisation and the worldwide reorganisation of the system for supplying labour to the global economy. Over the past few decades there has been an upsurge in transnational migration as every country and region has become integrated, often violently, into global capitalism through foreign invasions and occupations, free trade agreements, neo-liberal social and economic policies, and financial crises. Hundreds of millions have been displaced from the countryside in the Global South and turned into internal and transnational migrants, providing a vast new pool of exploitable labour for the global economy as national labour markets have increasingly merged into a global labour market.
The creation of immigrant labour pools is a worldwide phenomenon, in which poles of accumulation in the global economy attract immigrant labour from their peripheries. Thus, to name a few of the major 21st century transnational labour flows, Turkish and Eastern European workers supply labour to Western Europe, Central Africans to South Africa, Nicaraguans to Costa Rica, Sri Lankas and other South Asians to the Middle East oil producing countries, Asians to Australia, Thais to Japan, Indonesians to Malaysia, and so on.
In all of these cases, it is repressive state controls that create "immigrant workers" as a distinct category of labour that becomes central to the whole global capitalist economy. As borders have come down for capital and goods they have been reinforced for human beings. While global capitalism creates immigrant workers, these workers do not enjoy citizenship rights in their host countries. Stripped either de facto or de jure of the political, civic, and labour rights afforded to citizens, immigrant workers are forced into the underground, made vulnerable to employers, whether large private or state employers or affluent families, and subject to hostile cultural and ideological environments.
Neither employers nor the state want to do away with immigrant labour. To the contrary, they want to sustain a vast exploitable labour pool that exists under precarious conditions and that is flexible and disposable through deportation and therefore controllable. This super-exploitation of an immigrant workforce would not be possible if that workforce had the same civil, political and labour rights as citizens, if it did not face the insecurities and vulnerabilities of being undocumented or "illegal".
Driving immigrant labour underground and absolving the state and employers of any commitment to the social reproduction of this labour allows for its maximum exploitation together with its disposal when necessary. In this way the immigrant labour force becomes responsible for its own maintenance and reproduction and also - through remittances - for their family members abroad. This makes immigrant labour low-cost and flexible for capital and also costless for the state compared to native born labour.
In sum, the division of the global working class into citizen and immigrant is a major new axis of inequality worldwide. Borders and nationality are used by transnational capital, the powerful and the privileged, to sustain new methods of control and domination over the global working class.
The US economy has become increasingly dependent on immigrant labour. There are an estimated 34 million immigrants in the United States, 20 million of these from Latin America, and 11-12 million undocumented, most of them of Latin American origin.
This is, however, a contradictory situation. From the viewpoint of the dominant groups the dilemma is how to super-exploit an immigrant labour force, such as Latinos in the US, yet how to simultaneously assure it is super controllable and super-controlled. The push in the United States and elsewhere has been towards heightened criminalisation of immigrant communities, the militarised control of these communities, and the establishment of an immigrant detention and deportation complex.
The immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex
But there is another less evident dimension to the criminalisation of immigrants and the militarised control of their communities and the border.
The immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex is one of the fastest growing sectors of the US economy. There has been a boom in new private prison construction to house immigrants detained during deportation proceedings. In 2007 nearly one million undocumented immigrants were apprehended and 311,000 deported. The Obama administration presents itself as a friend of Latinos (and immigrants more generally) yet Obama has deported more immigrants than any other in the past half a century - some 400,000 per year since he took office in 2009.
Immigrant labour is extremely profitable for the corporate economy in double sense. First, as noted, it is labour that is highly vulnerable, forced to exist semi-underground, and deportable, and therefore super-exploitable. Second, the criminalisation of undocumented immigrants and the militarisation of their control not only reproduce these conditions of vulnerability but also in themselves generate vast new opportunities for accumulation.
The private immigrant detention complex is a boom industry. Undocumented immigrants constitute the fastest growing sector of the US prison population and are detained in private detention centres and deported by private companies contracted out by the US state. As of 2010 there were 270 immigration detention centres that caged on any given day over 30,000 immigrants. Since detainment facilities and deportation logistics are subcontracted to private companies, capital has a vested interest in the criminalisation of immigrants and in the militarisation of control over immigrants - and more broadly, therefore, a vested interest in contributing to the neo-fascist anti-immigrant movement.
It is no surprise that William Andrews, the CEO of the Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA, the largest private US contractor for immigrant detention centres, declared in 2008 that "the demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts…or through decriminalisation [of immigrants]." A month after the anti-immigrant bill in Arizona, SB1070, became law, Wayne Callabres, the president of Geo Group, another private prison contractor, held a conference call with investors and explained his company’s aspirations. "Opportunities at the federal level are going to continue apace as a result of what’s happening," he said, referring to the Arizona law. "Those people coming across the border being caught are going to have to be detained and that to me at least suggests there’s going to be enhanced opportunities for what we do."
Containing the immigrant rights movement
The "war on terror" paved the way for an undeclared war on immigrants by fusing "national security/anti-terrorism" with immigration law enforcement, involving designation of borders and immigrant flows as "terrorism threats," the approval of vast new funding and the passage of a slew of policies and laws to undertake the new war.
This war has further escalated in response to the spread worldwide of an immigrant rights movement to fight-back against repression, exploitation, exclusion, cultural degradation and racism. A major turning point in this struggle in the United States came in spring 2006 with a series of unparalleled strikes and demonstrations that swept the country.
The immediate trigger for these mass protests was the introduction in the US Congress of a bill, known as the Sensenbrenner bill, that called for criminalising undocumented immigrants by making it a felony to be in the US without proper documentation. It also stipulated construction of a militarised wall between Mexico and the US and the application of criminal sanctions against anyone who provided assistance to undocumented immigrants, including churches, humanitarian groups, and social service agencies.
The protests defeated the Sensenbrenner bill and at the same time frightened the ruling class, sparking an escalation of state repression and racist nativism and fuelled the neo-fascist anti-immigrant movement. The backlash involved, among other things, stepped-up raids on immigrant workplaces and communities, mass deportations, an increase in the number of federal immigration enforcement agents, the deputizing of local police forces as enforcement agents, the further militarisation of the US-Mexico border, anti-immigrant hysteria in the mass media, and the introduction at local, state, and federal levels of a slew of discriminatory anti-immigrant legislative initiatives.
Anti-immigrant hate groups had already been on the rise in the years prior to 2006. The FBI reported more than 2,500 hate crimes against Latinos in the United States between 2000 and 2006. Blatantly racist public discourse that only a few years earlier would have been considered extreme became increasingly mainstreamed and aired on the mass media. The paramilitary organisation Minutemen, a modern day Latino-hating version of the Ku Klux Klan, spread in the first decade of the 21st century from its place of origin along the US-Mexican border in Arizona and California to other parts of the country. Minutemen claimed they must "secure the border" in the face of inadequate state-sponsored control. Their discourse, as well as that of the Tea Party and other such groups, beyond racist, was neo-fascist.
Lifting national borders for capital and simultaneously reinforcing these same national boundaries is a contradictory situation that helps generate a nationalist hysteria by propagating such images as "out of control borders" and "invasions of illegal immigrants". Racist hostility towards Latinos and other immigrants may be intentionally generated by right-wing politicians, law-enforcement agents and neo-fascist anti-immigrant movements. They may be the effect of the structural and legal-institutional subordination of immigrant workers and their communities, or simply an unintended (although not necessarily unwelcomed) byproduct of the state’s coercive policies.
The crisis, cooptation, and reform legislation
White middle and world class sectors in the US faced downward mobility and heightened insecurities as the welfare state and job stability have been dismantled in the face of capitalist globalisation. These sectors have been particularly prone to being organised into racist anti-immigrant politics by conservative political groups housed inside and outside of the Republican Party. Anti-immigrant forces have tried to draw in white workers with appeals to racial solidarity and to xenophobia and scapegoating of immigrant communities.
The scapegoating of these communities reached a zenith in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse and the onset of crisis. The crisis intensified anti-immigrant hysteria, fueled by a right-wing, racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant movement. Dozens of state and local governments around the country passed repressive anti-immigrant legislation, among them, Arizona’s SB1070 and Alabama’s HB56, both of which institutionalised racial profiling and the terrorisation of immigrant communities.
The magazine Mother Jones built a database of hundreds of repressive local and state level anti-immigrant laws introduced around the US in the wake of SB1070, including 164 such laws passed by state legislatures in 2010 and 2011 alone. The database as well uncovered the extensive interlocking of far-right organisations comprising the anti-immigrant movement, other neo-fascist organisations in civil society (see above), government agencies and elected officials (local and federal), politicians, and corporate and foundation funders, lobbies, and activists.
If there is a broad social and political base for the maintenance of a flexible, super-controlled and super-exploited Latino immigrant workforce, the immigrant issue presents a contradiction for political and economic elites: from the vantage points of dominant group interests, the dilemma is how to deal with the new "barbarians" at Rome’s door. The state must play a balancing act by finding a formula for a stable supply of cheap labour to employers and at the same time for a viable system of state control over immigrants.
It is widely recognised that Obama’s 2012 reelection hinged heavily on the Latino vote, and that this voting bloc is expanding rapidly, something that has caused important sectors of the Republican Party to reconsider immigration reform. It may be that the 2012 vote gave the necessary impetus to bringing together a critical mass around the reformation of the strategy and methods for reproducing and controlling a reserve army of immigrant labour.
The reform legislation passed in the Senate on June 27 meets the interests of the immigrant military-prison-industrial-detention complex. Military contractors, Silicon Valley, law enforcement, construction and private prison companies stand to earn billions in profits. Agribusiness and the corporate sector will continue to exploit a largely captive labour force, racialised and relegated to second class status, especially among the millions of immigrants who will be unable to legalise their status, among new immigrants, and among those brought in as "guest workers". It is no wonder that along with corporate lobbyists staunch anti-immigrant conservatives such as Arizona governor Jan Brewer, FOX News commentator Bill O’Reilly, and Tea Party icon Rand Paul, have endorsed the bill.
The Obama strategy may prove to be quite successful in establishing the conditions for a reformulation of strategies and methods of immigrant social control and political co-optation. In the wake of the 2006 mass immigrant rights protests and the fierce state repression that ensued, Washington DC-based foundations broadly funded the more moderate and mainstream of the Latino and immigrant rights organisations, while the Democratic Party set about to separate the "establishment" Latino leadership from the radical organisers at the mass grassroots base and to recruit this leadership for the Obama project.
These diverse developments - state repression, anti-immigrant politics, establishment and Democratic cooptation - all came together in recent years and paid off by throwing the grassroots movement onto the defensive, bolstering Democratic Party hegemony among immigrants, and generating a critical mass for exactly the kind of conservative and repressive immigration reform legislation now in Congress.
William I. Robinson a professor of sociology and global studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.