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Harry Reid's Assault on American Workers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Assume there are 100 people in your community who do the work you do and 100 jobs for that type of work that local employers want to fill. You are in a pretty good position: You can stay employed.

Now assume there are only 95 people in your community who do the work you do and 105 jobs that local employers want to fill. You are in an even better position: You can stay employed and demand a higher wage because the demand for the work you do exceeds the supply of able workers.

You are, in fact, like all workers in a free society, a small business owner. You are an enterprise of one. You have something of value to sell, which is your labor, and you have a right to hold out for the highest price you can get from willing buyers. Harvard Law School graduates have this right, and landscape laborers have this right.

It is at the heart of free enterprise, a core element of our American way of life.

Now suppose the government decides to stop enforcing the nation's borders and immigration laws, allowing 25 people from a foreign country who do the same kind of work you do to illegally enter the United States, settle in your community, and begin competing with you and your neighbors for the jobs you hold.

With additional illegal aliens pouring across the border daily, there are already 120 people seeking the 105 jobs of your type in your town.

A few of your lifelong friends are laid off. Your own job is threatened. Your employer slashes wages, and you accept the pay cut because the supply of workers now exceeds the demand.

You begin wondering when you'll see a pink slip in your pay envelope.

The illegal-alien families, which pay less in taxes than the formerly higher-paid American workers, put their children in public schools, secure health care at public hospitals and place a net financial burden on their neighbors. Taxes go up; the quality of services goes down.

This is before the recession.

First, economic growth slows. Then, it stops. Then, it drops off a cliff. Month after month, hundreds of thousands of additional workers are thrown from their jobs as the economy tumbles down a mountainside.

What policy changes do congressional leaders recommend as employment plummets?

In Washington, D.C., today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is plotting an attack on the surviving jobs of American workers.

"I'm going to do comprehensive immigration reform," Reid told reporters last week. "I'm not going to do it piecemeal. That's an excuse for everybody to do too little.

"We're going to do it all at once, and we're going to have comprehensive immigration reform that will include taking care of our borders, a decent guest-worker program, bringing the 11 million people out of the shadows, doing something that's so important with the employer sanctions bill that really is a catch-22 for everyone and a number of other things," said Reid. "We're going to do it all in one piece of legislation, not give people an excuse that they voted for one thing and think that they're through with it."

What Reid means by "bringing 11 million people out of the shadows" is making illegal immigrants legal -- thus rewarding illegal behavior and encouraging further illegal immigration.

What he means by a "decent guest-worker program" is giving employers the power to import foreign workers into the United States and keep those workers laboring here in a status that is inferior to a free American citizen or permanent legal resident.

These imported "guest workers" would not have the right to sell, or withhold, their labor at any time, place and price they choose -- like real Americans do. Such workers would be subject to federal laws and regulations meant to hold them captive to the employers who imported them.

Such workers would be half-slave, half-free -- and part of a country dividing against itself.

What Harry Reid is proposing is an assault on American workers and the principle of free labor. It is as contrary to the American way of life as the federal government owning General Motors.

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