Reflecting on the Shifting Politics of the Immigration

ARTICLE: David Gutiérrez, “The ‘New Normal’? Reflecting on the Shifting Politics of the Immigration Debate,” International Labor and Working-Class History, Fall 2010

In this article Gutiérrez writes about what policy makers in Washington fail to see (most likely because they are blinded in their discussions about things like family reunification, what to do about “illegal” immigration, DACA, and things of that nature). The real issue, writes Gutiérrez, is “the ongoing destructive trend of the hyper-exploitation of all workers in an increasingly integrated global economy, regardless of citizenship of specific workers – and therefore, also, the erosion of the institution of citizenship as a source of political power and guarantor of rights” (121).

On the first page of the article, Gutiérrez writes that discussions about things like expulsion of “illegal” immigrants and who gets to be a citizen (“paths to citizenship”) obscures the underlying issue of “capitalist economic development.”  He expands on his argument about capitalist economic development when he writes that “the driving dynamic in today’s political economy is the constant pressure on American employers to find sources of labor from which they can wring profits at a rate comparable to foreign employers”(120). Which foreign employers does he mean? And what does he mean in his last sentence in the paragraph — “In this world a worker is a worker however you dress her up.” – and what is the only logical conclusion?

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