As the Department of Homeland Security prepares for an assault on businesses that hire illegal immigrants, Californians in particular can look forward to economic and social devastation.
The San Francisco Chronicle has an editorial that really draws the issue into sharp contrast.
Within weeks, the Dept. of Homeland Security, in concert with the Social Security Administration, is planning to send out waves of "no match" letters to employers. If an employee's Social Security information does not match those on file with the federal government, the employer will be required to fire the worker within 90 days, if the discrepancy can't be resolved. If the worker isn't fired, the employer will be subject to a $2,200 fine per worker, and stiffer penalties later on.
California's agriculture industry has a hard time employing sufficient people to pick crops with the use of illegal immigrants. It will be downright impossible without them. Food will rot in the fields; farms will go bankrupt; and, prices in stores will skyrocket.
While the editorial is excellent, it misses something obvious in its analysis of the Bush Administration's game plan: Strikes, Crime and Riots. If the administration is successful in its bid to drive illegal immigrants from the workplace, the immigrants will not return home: They will just join the ranks of the unemployed in this country. People sympathetic to their cause will go on strike. Illegals without jobs will either turn to crime or find themselves homeless. If enough rage builds in some immigrant communities, we could see riots.
All this activity will get news coverage, and it will embolden the right-wing, anti-immigration conservative wing-nuts who want to deport anyone who's in the U.S. illegally. Right-wing talk radio will be abuzz about how the immigrant menace needs to be rounded up. Come election season in California, if people are scared enough they'll vote for Republicans who'll be preaching anti-immigration, law and order stuff.
The Administration's goal is two fold, placate their xenophobic base and seize control of the largest state in the union. Think I'm crazy? Check out this story of a ballot initiative in California to divvy up electoral votes by congressional district.
Everything the administration does is about gathering and consolidating power in Republican hands. Don't forget that for a moment.