Ethnicity/Immigration blog #7

Coyote Capitalism and Gravity

Jeffrey Kaye coined a useful term in the first book for our class Moving Millions:How Coyote Capitalism Fuels Global Immigration.  I think the term is built on two central images that he painted well in the book.

The coyotes make their living bringing people across the political border without government authorization.  Most examples are people of various countries of origin coming North over the Mexico-US border.  These human smugglers offer the prospect of passage for an ever-increasing fee.  Their services are not guaranteed and are not always successful.   Many people relying on coyotes have limited options for entry into the USA.  I think this is usually the image many of Americans have of unauthorized immigrants, the poor Latino crossing over into the US by coyote to find work.  Many would be surprised how many companies rely on these migrants and how extensive the networks of labor are.

Capitalism, the economic concept for the globalizing US economy instigates people movements from around the world in a similar manner.  There are several forms explored in the book, however I will focus on two.  The first are prospects for profit motivating large corporations to alter economies in other countries, bringing social and economic upheaval.  The second is about gigantic US companies taking advantage of legislation that allows for temporary visas for certain types of specialized labor.

The former is illustrated by International Corporations creating economic situations that make migrating seem like a more viable option than staying.  Such a place that experienced an exodus as well as re-immigration is Łódź (Poland).  Here companies the “special economic zone” companies enjoy enormous tax breaks, creating jobs and motivating Polish ex-patriots to return.

The latter is best explained through Microsoft taking advantage of H1-B visas for accountants and computer experts.  Temporary specialists can come in by the thousands.  If it seems like there are not enough international experts whom the company can pay lower wages, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) will champion the cause to lift restrictions on the number of H1-B visas given out by the US government.

People often move for various reasons.  Many of the reasons lately are fueled by systemic issues such as the global economy and local legislation.  People and corporations find a way to take advantage of situations and people that profit the few and increase a divide between those who have and those who want to survive.  Such imbalance is not sustainable, and I think this kind of business will eventually fall.

Happy Dyngus Day!

With more polish people than usual in tow, we got to celebrate Easter with some fun traditions.  We at our usual breakfast meal on Saturday night (this time)… Barscz (famous soup), fresh kielbasa, fresh pierogi, hard boiled egg, gawumpki, cabbage & onions, horseradish, rye bread, and butter lamb.

Today is I think only the 2nd annual Dyngus Day parade in Buffalo.   Most of it happens in my old neighborhood.

Throw some water on someone today as a blessing for the year.