Ralph Nader, 2008: Securing the Border Protects Americans from Wage Loss

Ralph Nader, 2008: Securing the Border Protects Americans from Wage Loss

Video of Ralph Nader, published in 2008, shows the liberal stalwart calling out many of his fellow liberal friends for abandoning a push for American sovereignty by securing the border. The objective was to protect American workers from wage loss, “infectious diseases,” smuggling, and more.

“The important thing is that we have to control our borders,” Nader said in the video, in which he was being interviewed by someone from the organization Glassbooth.org. 

“Anyone who thinks we should have open borders is an apostle of the Wall Street Journal low-wage policy in this country against minorities. That’s one, and we need to control our borders not just in terms of immigration that’s illegal; we need to control in terms pollution, which is a horrendous problem, smuggling, which is a horrendous problem, and infectious diseases,” Nader went on to say.

Nader continued by saying the way to raise the minimum wage is by controlling immigration policy so that large numbers of foreign workers can’t drive wages down for American workers. He also argued that “a lot of liberals” have abandoned pro-American sovereignty immigration policies, in favor of open borders ideas, to the detriment of Americans – especially minorities.

“The second is, we need to crack down on employers who are blocking a $10 minimum wage and therefore can say, ‘Oh, Americans don’t want to do this work,’” Nader said. “Who wants to do this work for under $5.15 under terrible workplace conditions? So it’s a low wage policy that’s the root of this approach. A lot of liberals have bought into it because they confuse the strategic policy by the Wall Street Journal types with civil rights.”

Nader also argued that there is not much need for more imported foreign high-tech workers via H-1B visas, since not only does that hurt Americans seeking such jobs, it also hurts other countries worldwide.

“The third is, we should prohibit brain-draining the rest of the world with these H-1B visas,” Nader said. “The idea that the richest country in the world has to pull in scientists, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, nurses from all these third world countries that are desperate for these skills is a poor sign to the extreme. Why are we brain-draining the rest of the world? And then we wonder why the rest of the world is not developing economically.”

Nader concluded by arguing that increasing illegal aliens in the workforce or increasing the number of foreign workers in the labor market drives wages down.

“And finally, and this last thing is really important, and this area is when you have illegal workers in this country—and then they get hired and their taxes are being withheld—you give them the same fair treatment as all other workers,” Nader said. “You can’t have it both ways. Now that’s not only humane. But it tends to reduce, attenuate and pull down a little bit this impact on wage conditions in our country.”

Nader hasn’t yet responded to a request for a followup interview to see if he still feels this way—a viewpoint that wasn’t always exclusive to one political party or another, but it’s now almost exclusively held by populist Republicans like incoming Senate Budget Committee chairman Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). Democrats used to fight for American workers over illegal aliens but have largely abandoned those efforts in the years President Barack Obama has been in the White House.

One of the most notable shifts in the Democratic Party away from helping Americans over illegal immigrants has been with Obama himself, who in his 2006 autobiography actually wrote that Americans are hurt by waves of illegal immigration.

“[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” then Sen. Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat, wrote in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

”Not all these fears are irrational,” Obama wrote in the passages which were highlighted by The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro on Monday.

“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama wrote. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

But it’s not just Obama who has abandoned working men and women across America on the immigration battlefield. Back in 2007, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) fought to protect American workers’ wages from a wave of new immigrants both legal and illegal—working against amnesty then. 

“If enacted, I believe the bill will lead to the exploitation of workers, including the 12 million undocumented immigrants we all hope to put on the path to legalization,” Boxer said in 2007, when she opposed the immigration bill from the now late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). “I also believe it will exert downward pressure on wages at a time when we are already losing our middle class.”

“Boxer was not alone,” Andrew Stiles, then writing for the National Review, wrote in July, 2013 when Boxer abandoned her support for American workers over immigrant labor. “Sixteen Democrats, including labor-union allies Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Tom Harkin (Iowa), voted against the final bill that year, many after expressing similar concerns about its potential impact on American workers. Fast forward to 2013, and those concerns have all but disappeared.”

In 2013, however, Democrats had abandoned American workers completely. They all voted in lockstep for the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration bill—joined by 14 Republicans.

Stiles, who now writes for the Washington Free Beacon, wrote a satirical post on Monday criticizing Obama for taking the exact wrong lessons away from the midterm bloodbath that delivered the U.S. Senate majority to Republicans, emboldened the GOP’s U.S. House majority, and saw statehouses and governors’ mansions go red nationwide. In it, he jokes that when George W. Bush’s Republicans lost his second term’s midterm elections almost as badly as Obama’s Democrats lost these midterms, Bush went right on and privatized Social Security–as he has always wanted to do, and still believes is the right thing to do–as if the voters never spoke. Of course, Bush didn’t privatize Social Security via an executive order, because he read the election results correctly–but Obama, whom the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan argues is the president most-isolated-from-reality-and-everyone-else since Richard Nixon, plans to move right ahead with his executive amnesty plans as if there wasn’t an election. At least for now.

This case is even more sinister than if Bush tried to privatize Social Security via executive order after his party was resoundingly defeated in those 2006 elections. That’s because Obama himself is on record many times actually admitting he does not have the authority to do what he is about to do anyway.

In July, 2010 Obama said that he didn’t have the authority to give legal status to illegal immigrants–and even if he did, he wouldn’t, because it would cause a “surge in more illegal immigration.”

“There are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws,” Obama said. “And often this argument is framed in moral terms: Why should we punish people who are just trying to earn a living? I recognize the sense of compassion that drives this argument, but I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair. It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision. And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration. And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally.”

In October, 2010 Obama doubled down on the idea he didn’t have the authority—referencing that July speech.

“My cabinet has been working very hard on trying to get it [immigration reform] done, but ultimately, I think somebody said the other day, I am president, I am not king,” Obama said. “I can’t do these things just by myself. We have a system of government that requires the Congress to work with the Executive Branch to make it happen. I’m committed to making it happen, but I’ve gotta have some partners to do it.”

Over the next several years, even throughout 2014, Obama has consistently and publicly stated the belief that he doesn’t have the authority. Yet now he’s about to do it anyway, with the entire institutional left–which again, used to stand up for working Americans–cheering him on. 


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