The not-so-white elephant

Ah, the White House. We hardly knew ye.

After years of characteristically nativist lip service denouncing undocumented immigration and tacit support for a proposed 2,000-mile steel fence along the United States-Mexico border, Republicans in the Bush administration appear to have yet again reversed their rhetorical track.

In last month’s Bush-backed Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, every single undocumented worker living here illegally since Jan. 1 of this year or before would be granted permanent legal status and access to a Social Security number, with some minor stipulations – amounting to what is essentially total amnesty for an estimated 12 to 20 million such individuals in the United States.

Let us pause to slap ourselves into a lather that somewhat resembles this previously antithetical political reality.

Finished? I’m not, because I know that there are three reasons for this calculated faux-ideological gear shift.

One: We know that corporate America loves undocumented workers, because they drastically drive down the cost of labor. Let’s face it – most of them work soul-murdering jobs for longer hours and fewer pesos than even the most meagerly educated U.S. national. This particular applicant pool is also motivated by desperation and fear, which probably does pretty good things for worker productivity.

Second, immigration has proven to be a remarkably successful wedge issue distracting and dividing the American public – keeping them frothing at the bit about a colorful social issue while our schools and libraries deteriorate and the middle class collapses under crushing debt.

Third, this amnesty expedites the ruling class’s march toward a hypothetical North American Union, which would merge the United States, Canada and Mexico into one cooperative political and economic entity designed to counter the European Union and China in security and prosperity.

According to the Financial Times, the 5-year-old euro currency has already surpassed the U.S. dollar in international cash circulation, leading many American multinationals and think tanks to fear that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will cancel the petro-dollar and begin trading oil in euros.

If Big Business gets its way, expect the “amero,” or North American Dollar, to show up at a cash register near you.

Alas, fear not, friends. In today’s dollar-store America, no Juan gets left behind.

Adri Mehra is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected].