The Chronicle today led with a story about business group The Greater Houston Partnership opposing the Department of Homeland Security’s new “no-match” regulations which would penalize employers of illegal immigrants with fines and criminal charges.
It seems that last year, the Social Security Administration sent out letters to over 12,000 Texas businesses, each of which had at least ten employees with fishy Social Security numbers.
The partnership has created a group to lobby against the new regulations, and will raise $15 million to $20 million from its members to lobby for immigration reform.
Jeez; the last time those folks got this riled up, it was to fight a proposed hike in the minimum wage. Oh, wait, one big employer quoted anonymously predicted that if these rules go into effect, “wages could go up significantly.”
I can see a lot of dire consequences to the application of immigration and labor laws. For one, we’d have to learn to cook our own food, as rising prices would limit how often we could eat out. I think the acreage devoted to St. Augustine would fall, and xeriscaping would gain popularity as we look for landscaping methods requiring less labor and less water. Rising costs of homebuilding might shrink the size of the houses we build, saving materials and energy. Higher costs for roadbuilding might slow the rate at which we pave over the state. And we might have to institute a draft to supply personnel for our foreign military adventures, replacing the 5-10% of foreigners in our armed forces.
And as for the poor devils we’re demonizing, those that don’t turn to crime, becoming fodder for our growing criminal justice industry, (the “injustice system”) might return to their home countries, where their voices and energies could help their societies progress.
This reminds me of a scene in Billy Brammer’s “The Gay Place,” a novel of Texas politics in an earlier period of one-party rule. In it, the Governor, styled after LBJ, disappeared from a barbecue on his ranch, and showed up later in his touring car, stoned drunk, accompanied by a small town mayor he’d brought back from across the border. He announced that he had agreed to give Texas back to Mexico, the whole state, and that the Mexicans, likewise, had agreed to give it back to the Indians, “the first chance they get.”