Amnesty and Your Avocados

Immigration as an issue took front and center stage at the GOP debates - along with other issues in what was a substance-filled evening - in the much-analyzed Rubio-Cruz confrontation. But while amnesty is postulated as inevitable by many within the GOP establishment, it is helpful to consider how geography influences voters’ views on this key issue.

Victor Davis Hanson - an old-fashioned California conservative - has proposed that America is at risk of losing it's rural influences. The countryside losing it's role as keeper of virtue in the face of the seething, relativistic, decadence in the major urban corridors. Put a little more prosaically, 27 of America's 30 major urban centers voted Democrat in 2012.

The issue of food and specifically, California's enormously productive agricultural sector, and water is a dividing line across the State of California where once major water projects united voters with a view to progress. But think about immigration in California and that very sector. One can argue that the agricultural sector in California has been, and remains, one of the major magnets for illegal immigrants from Mexico.

The successful urban entrepreneur may have a rooftop organic garden in Brooklyn for her carrots. But many urbanites don't give a damn where their veggies come from. And they are happy to buy imported produce if it's reasonably fresh and reasonably priced. So imagining a ring of tractors with armed farmers cutting off Los Angeles or San Francisco always has a fly-the-stuff-in solution. Even if that's about as practicable as 10,000 Berlin Airlifts every single day, it exists at least in the minds of the urbanites who give little importance anymore to food security. And their solution to energy security is to replace the current energy industry with renewable power as quickly as possible without regard for costs. At least for their server farms in the southwest. And as for Apples manufacturing facilities, they are mostly in Asia anyway. Knowledge workers in Silicon Valley don't anguish over their monthly utility bills as a rule.

As Joel Kotkin points out, Democrats may be morphing into a post-industrial party. Let the Red States have their (former) fracking boom, we won't worry in New York and California where industry accounts for far less than 10% of the economy. And here immigration is funneled through tech industry needs in the form of demands for more H1-B visas. Like utilities in California who save a lot of wage expenses by firing experienced, capable and well-educated Americans to bring in cheaper replacements who need training before they can actually do the job.

Amnesty for the illegals who work in agriculture. H1-B's for inexperienced workers from abroad to take over jobs in tech. The issue of immigration is on both sides of America's urban-rural or tech-industrial divide.

Posted by Keeley at November 16, 2015 5:34 PM
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