Anti-immigration populists should be able to endorse the litmus test issue of "abolishing ICE," as demanded by the gang at Chapo Trap House, provided that the organization that replaces it becomes an armed enforcer of a $25 minimum wage, primarily targeting employers rather than workers. How could the Bernie crowd be against that?
We saw in an earlier post that ICE raids are ineffective at substantially shrinking the size of the illegal immigrant population because they create an untenable tension between major blocs of the GOP -- law enforcement and the labor-intensive sectors of the economy, whose greedy employers seek to cut costs and maximize profits by hiring cheap labor, meaning immigrants.
ICE will never be able to do their job to such an extent that it severely cuts into the profit margins of these labor-intensive sectors like agriculture and most small businesses (like a restaurant). They will be limited to occasional high-profile cosmetic raids to placate conservative voters, while leaving the illegal population basically unchanged.
And their raids only target the supply of cheap labor -- the immigrants -- rather than the demand for it -- the employers. That's backwards, since the endless demand for cheap labor is what continues to attract hordes of immigrants who supply that demand. Cut off the demand, and the suppliers of cheap labor -- immigrants -- will find no one to hire them. Unemployed, they will return home, or at worst go to some other country that does not police greedy employers like we are bound to do in a populist climate.
The surest and fastest way to clear out the illegal population, and to restrict legal immigration going forward, is to jack up the minimum wage, in effect outlawing cheap labor -- and thereby ending large-scale immigration de facto. If employers have to pay $25 an hour, they'll hire Americans rather than immigrants, to get more bang for the buck.
Likewise if we give any illegals amnesty, like the DACA people, all of the costs ought to be paid by the 1% -- cheap housing in elite zip codes, a jacked-up minimum wage paid for by employers in those zip codes, and so on.
Whoever brought the illegals here in the first place ought to be the only ones paying for their continued presence -- not the working class whose wages are being undercut, and whose housing prices are being bid through the roof, due to massive immigration.
Now of course the GOP won't go anywhere near those solutions, not only because they want mass immigration to continue supplying cheap labor, but because it would shift the paradigm away from "what's best for employers" to "what's best for workers".
Luckily, we're entering a period of gear-shifting out of the Reaganite paradigm, and into a Bernie paradigm. So the re-aligned Democrats can push these pro-working-class policies and not only attract populist voters per se, but also anti-immigration voters who understand the indirect yet no less massive effect they would have on immigration levels.
This has the benefit of making immigration, in the sphere of public debate, into an economic issue rather than a racial, ethnic, or national-origin issue -- much more palatable and politically unassailable. Whoever opposes it can easily be pilloried as just a shill for greedy employers who demand endless cheap labor, largely in the form of poor hordes of immigrants who they ruthlessly exploit by paying sub-minimum wages.
To further the re-alignment on immigration, ICE ought to be disbanded or re-branded, and given a whole new mission -- to threaten or actually use collective force in order to uphold the new jacked-up minimum wage laws. No good legislating them if employers are free to flout them. Arrest any employer who breaks the law, and seize their assets. If those assets suck, liquidate them for whatever you can, otherwise continue running the business but keep the profits for the government, with the proceeds going to pay down the debt, pay for the funerals of Americans killed by illegals, or whatever other pro-social purpose.
The new ICE could spend some small level of resources going after the immigrants themselves, since we also can't allow scabs to cross the minimum wage picket line. But that should be a far lesser role of theirs. Targeting the demand for cheap labor ought to always come before targeting the supply.
And unlike in a paradigm where the GOP is the dominant agenda-framing party, the new ICE could actually carry out these tasks in a paradigm where the populist Bernie Democrats are the agenda-framers. Their party is not controlled by the labor-intensive material sectors like agriculture, retail, and assorted crappy small businesses that fill up today's strip malls.
The new ICE would never have a reason to target employers in the sectors that control the Democrats -- Wall Street banks don't hire illegals, Silicon Valley doesn't depend on hordes of $5-an-hour immigrants, and neither does the corporate media cartel or Hollywood. These are all informational sectors, which are not labor-intensive and therefore not sensitive to the price of labor. They don't hire many people at all, since they scale up their operations without similarly scaling up their workforce or man-hours, and they pay handsome salaries to the lucky few.
The situation has gotten so out of control for so long, that somebody in the elite stratum is going to have to pay massive costs when we finally straighten things out. That will necessarily be those whose profits depend on cheap labor, meaning the material sectors who control the GOP. Fortunately, the coming turning of the multi-decade regime cycle is going to put into power the Democrats, whose elite sectors will not suffer massive losses when the minimum wage is jacked up by law, and enforced by teams of men with guns.
Democrat elites can breath a sigh of relief knowing that it will be their political and economic rivals who will go under when populism and de facto anti-immigration becomes the new normal, as Reaganism gives way to Bernie-ism.
And old school Trump supporters can rest easily, knowing that the immigrant population is going to come way down, however odd they may feel about the mechanism of change. Sorry, no epic raids with brown people dragged away in handcuffs, which may make for good right-wing theatrics, but which doesn't put a dent in the problem.
Instead it'll be live-streams of fat-faced cuckservative employers thrown into vans, while screaming that they didn't know -- I swear! -- that those Tagalog-only speakers were working at his place for less than $25 an hour. But right-wingers can always embellish on those images for their own meme warfare purposes. "Guess you should've hired Americans, then, bitch!"