President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that “none of us can claim to know exactly what [labor organizer] Cesar [Chavez] would have said about this [2014 immigration] fight, or any other.”
Chavez is a hero to progressives, but he actually waged a campaign against low-wage immigration.
Obama’s attempt to whitewash Chavez’s stance came during a short speech that he gave in the White House to the producers, actors and supporting crew of a new movie about Chavez.
The movie, which was directed by a Mexican, converts the union leader into a “civil rights” supporter of Mexican immigrants.
“I do think he would want us to remember that the [immigration] debates we have are less about policy than they are about people,” Obama claimed at the preview.
Chavez was born in Arizona, and viewed himself as an American. His greatest wins were in the 1970s, when he managed to triple farmworkers’ wages and boost mechanization by reducing the legal inflow of strikebreaking Mexican “Bracero” laborers.
Chavez called the illegals “wetbacks” and “strike breakers” because they bypassed his picket lines. “As long as we have a poor country bordering California, it is going to be very difficult to win strikes,” Chavez told a KQED TV interviewer in 1972.
At least one of his deputies called the border-crossers “scabs.”
He died in 1993, and his wins were diluted in the 1980s and 1990s, when the unions began welcoming Democratic-leaning illegal aliens, and the federal government largely stopped enforcing laws against the employment of illegal immigrant farmworkers. Since then, farmworkers’ salaries have dropped below the level won by Chavez, along with the salaries of many other Americans who are forced to compete with low-wage legal and illegal immigrants.
Obama, the progressive movement, and most Hispanic lobby groups are now backing the Senate’s June 2013 bill that would triple legal immigration to 30 million, and double the inflow of guest workers to 10 million during the next 10 years.
The Senate bill would allow farms to employ 300,000 foreign farm workers, at wages set by government, and reduce farmers’ incentive to invest in high-tech farm machinery.
A draft House bill would allow food companies to employ 750,000 foreign workers at government-set wages.
Opposition to the bill has been growing in a GOP populist wing, led by Sen. Jeff Sessions.
But passage of the immigration increase would be a big win for the Democratic machine, because most immigrants and poor farmworkers end up voting Democratic. So would many of the Americans whose wages and jobs prospect would be damaged by the inflow of low-wage competition.