Dear Talk of the Nation staff,
I was pretty offended at yesterday’s show on the new law in Arizona. You chose to feature a virulently anti-immigrant guest, presenting him as a learned expert. You had no other guest on the show to present a cogent opposing opinion. The host lobbed softball questions, staying within the smooth-talking guest’s framing of the issue. Overall, the effect of the whole segment was of a clever and misleading opinion piece that came down on the side of racism and fascism.
Once and for all, let’s make it crystal clear: It is not migration itself, but the criminalization of migration, that hurts working people. The more civil vulnerability immigrants experience, the greater their exposure to workplace exploitation. And once the boss can get away with paying someone less, he or she can pit groups against each other to pay everyone less. That’s why solidarity has always been such a vital principle in the labor movement. Any law that makes the lives of immigrants more precarious is a law that weakens the working class as a whole. By the same token, a law that completely opened the borders, according all working people the same rights and protections on the job, would tremendously strengthen working folks everywhere, including here.
I was sorry to hear that Prof. Kobach found it “amusing” that infrastructure in the Mexican state of Sonora is so decimated that it struggles to support returning emigrants. It is, of course, largely the impacts of NAFTA and the actions of U.S.-based multinationals that have plunged Mexico into such desperate poverty that people are forced to head north in the first place. That’s not some cute irony; it is the heart of the problem.
 Transcript, “Controversial Ariz. Immigration Law Defended,” Talk of the Nation, 4/30/10, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126390888
 Immigration Policy Center, “U.S. Immigration Policy in Global Perspective: International Migration in OECD Countries,” http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/us-immigration-policy-global-perspective-international-migration-oecd-countries
 U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Immigration Myths and the Facts: Behind the Fallacies,” http://www.uschamber.com/NR/rdonlyres/e33skwh6fpcle6afyoz44ysuqkmtjaq3wrlhszzufr2fyucjuaxk7dvtzuoin6bej7gje7isy2yo6rmc5hb6n4kxdje/14484ImmigrationMythFacts.pdf