Hypocrisy on immigration and misc matters

There’s a scene in The Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufresne is talking to the warden about getting money from the state to add more books to the prison library. I don’t have the exact quote, but the Warden says something along the lines of, “As far as I’m concerned there are only three uses for taxpayer money: more walls, more bars, and more guards.”

That’s how Republicans in Washington pretend to feel about immigration reform: more fences, more patrol agents, and more deportations.

But at the state level the truth is made plain for all to see, the GOP is rolling back voting rights, attacking free markets, and gutting immigration laws to protect corporate profits and benefit special interests:

House members backing House Bill 786, which eases requirements for employees to be checked against the federal E-verify system, passed with even more cushion. House members voted 84-32 in favor of the bill, also sending it to the Senate.

The bill would extend from 90 days to nine months the amount of time that an employee could work without undergoing a background check in the E-verify system, which is meant to ensure workers are legal U.S. residents or citizens.

“We’ve got a 9 percent unemployment rate, and here we are with a jobs bill for illegal aliens? It makes absolutely no sense,” Rep. George Cleveland, R-Onslow, said.

Cleveland backed McCrory’s veto, as did sheriffs around the state who said it was important to enforce current immigration laws.

But agricultural interests, including Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and roughly a dozen growers’ associations, said they needed the bill.

“Ninety days will not work for the farmers in my area,” said Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, the House majority whip.

The Republican Party — the professional side, pundits and elected politicians — doesn’t care about illegal immigration and never has. They’ve been the party of Big Business for decades that hasn’t changed.

Aggressive enforcement of immigration laws through the E-Verify program would go a long way towards slowing illegal immigration by making it nearly impossible to work in the United States without documentation, but it’d also put a dent in corporate profits and deprive many businesses of slave labor. And that’s something that Republicans won’t do even at the risk of national security (their own framing.)

Also of interest in that story is the GOP-dominated legislature overriding a veto of a drug-testing program for welfare recipients. As far as I know, there are several facts that apply to these programs without exception. First, they are created by Republicans. Second, they cost between $10 and $20 million to run. Third, they find that drug use amongst welfare recipients is well below that of the general population. And fourth, they rarely save the state more than even $100,000.

If you want a fifth, blowback legislation to also drug-test legislators meets fierce resistance every single time.

Say what you want about unhelpful rhetoric like “Republicans hate the poor”, but given behavior like this, it’s not like the Republican Party’s reputation for being dicks to poor people isn’t well earned.

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* If you read this column for stories on economics, this may be of interest to you. Onalytica released their August 2013 list of influential economics blogs. Paul Krugman’s NYT blog tops the list. Economix, FT Alphaville, Vox, and Marginal Revolution round out the top five. There are a total of 200 blogs ranked.

* I don’t have much to say about Syria right now. I can’t give you odds on the different resolutions passing Congress but I don’t think it’ll matter. If President Obama didn’t care about getting a mandate from Congress for Libya, he won’t care about getting one for Syria.

I seriously doubt that limited airstrikes will negatively impact Syria’s unconventional weapons capabilities. Furthermore, it’s highly unlikely that the US will strike chemical weapons facilities directly for fear of causing civilian casualties. The Obama administration understands that, although I doubt most of their supporters in Congress do.

That American lives won’t be in danger really misses the point. There’s more at stake than that. Syrian civilians will be placed in danger, Syrian military who had nothing to do with the alleged attacks will certainly be killed, foreign relations with Russia will deteriorate even further, and Syria has threatened to attack Israel in retaliation which places Israeli civilians in danger that aren’t in any danger right now. And that’s no empty threat, Syria has that capability.

From the highest possible view, an attack on Syria will further destabilize the Middle East with no guarantee of ending the alleged chemical weapon attacks. To the contrary, the probability of ending the alleged attacks is very low.

* I’ve written about the crypto-currency Bitcoin quite a bit this year, although not on Newsvine. In the interest of full disclosure, I began experimenting with currency trading this week and plan to continue exploring fiat and crypto-currency trading this year.

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