I think that there is no difference between "legal" and "illegal" immigration regarding Mexico as well as Canda. I think since NAFTA all Canadian and Mexican immigrants to the U.S. are legal.
The hideous NAFTA treaty, at the heart of the immigration debate, was negotiated by elites of both U.S., Mexico, and Canada to enrich these elites; NAFTA allows subsidized corporate U.S. agribusiness to sell in Mexico, which destroyed much of Mexicos small subsistence farmers who weren't subsidized. Starving Mexicans farmers then move north in desperate search of jobs, and across the socalled "border" are declared "illegal," given the worst, lowest paid, most dangerous jobs and now will be hounded as "criminals" in Arizona. It wasn't a "border" for corporations just for starving people. The corporations can enrich themselves on both sides of the border. NAFTA always has been grossly unfair. NAFTA , of course, allowed corporations to move jobs to Mexico, destroying whole communities in the U.S. and driving down wages--we in the trade union movement fought a losing battle against NAFTA in 1996.
In contrast, in the European Union (EU) when they opened up many new counties to corporations operating in these EU new countries also let residents of these countries move at will as legal residents to all EU countries. Also EU to stop massive immigration from pooer to richer countries invested in infrastructure such as highways in poor countries like Ireland, Portugal, Greece, so there never was massive flows of immigration to richer countries. But the U.S. in NAFTA just smashed up the economy of Mexico's poor farmers. We should immediately legalize all Mexican and Canadian immigrants.
Instead we in the U.S. endlessly scapegoat immigrants our economic policies have forced here out of starvation and desperation. We in the U.S. never take any responsibility for NAFTA or the damage we've done. The Arizona law gives police the right to stop anybody who looks like they might be without documents--just like the Gestapo. People in the U.S. have in our history never been forced to produce documents to show who we are. Until now.
A lot of people say that "legal" immigration is OK but "illegal" is not. The people who make the distinctions between "legal" and "illegal" immigration should think about France right before World War II. Many people in France who with the approach of World War II said, "We'll keep the French Jews who have citizenship but we'll let the Nazis have the illegal poor Polish Jews who fled Poland to get away from the Nazis." After all, France had the Great Depression, and many French citiziens were unemployed. A Polish Jew could be taking a job away from a real French citizen. A Polish Jew could be lowering wages by working less than a French citizizen.
Everybody knew the Polish Jews were running for their lives but many French didn't give a damn. They were perfectly happy and did turn them over to the Nazis. When the Nazis occupied France, however, they took all the Jews--French citizen Jews and Polish refugee Jews. A friend of mine was a 2-year old with Polish refugee parents in France. After the Nazi occupation of Paris, her mother and she fled underground and survived underground while her father was picked up in the Nazi roundup of Paris, deported east to the death camp, and murdered.
It's the most basic humanity if you smash up Mexico's encomy as the U.S. has done to allow Mexicans to come here legally. Period. Also, legalizing Mexicans and Canadians to be legal in the U.S. would allow them to participate fully in union drives to raise wages. Allowing a group of people without rights to work in the U.S. drives down wages. We need to reverse this process, and we will only really bring up wages for people here when we give full legalization to Mexicans and Candian immigrants to the U.S.
Finally, there's a great book called Treblinka by Jean Francois Steiner about the Jewish prisoner's organizing a resistance movement within the death camp Treblinka. The prisoners who began organizing were in Camp Number one, which was hell, and they knew of Camp Number Two, which was an even worse hell. The rebellion organizers had the dilemna of organizing just within Camp Number One and leaving Camp Number Two behind. Simone de Beauvoir in her introduction to the book Treblinka says, "Two men from Camp Number One chose to go down into the inferno of Camp Number Two to enlist the two hundred pariahs who were imprisoned there in the revolt. To do this they deliberately made a mistake in their work, which could just as well as have been punished by torutre and death as by transfer." The prisoners--all of them--rose up and destroyed the death camp Treblinka. They escaped to freedom.
The moral is that any improvement in living conditions of lives of people in the United States has to include everybody including all Mexican immigrants and Canadian immigrants. If we in any way collaborate with the elites who say we will give some jobs if you let others--the socalled illegal immigrants-- get thrown into hunger or starvation or jail or homelessness we are lost. If we want to stop people losing their houses and jobs and pensions, we also have to care about the immigrants from Mexico who bacause of our policy NAFTA already have sustained huge loss of their jobs, their families, their farms in being forced to immigrate.
We are all in the same boat surrounded by an ocean of sharks. We can keep everybody in the boat or we can start throwing people out of the boat. Which will it be?
Causes Julia Stein Supports
Doctors Without Borders