SC Senate Toasts Underage Drinking in Immigration Debate

Underage Drinking

Image by dlprager via Flickr

South Carolina is run by Republicans.  It isn’t too surprising that it has been eager to join the “me-too” movement with respect to enacting an Arizona-type immigration enforcement bill.  Yesterday South Carolina’s version passed the Senate.

There was a minor glitch in this chest-beating effort to get tough on undocumented workers in South Carolina. Somebody proposed making it a felony to produce fake IDs. Apparently at least one Senator had the presence of mind to realize that underage drinkers also need fake IDs to skirt the drinking laws in the state.  Whoops! They couldn’t have that.  What a disaster it would be for angry constituents to call their office because this bill was ruining their kid’s college experience.  So they carefully worded the bill “so that it wouldn’t apply to teenagers and 20-year-olds trying to get into a bar or club with a fake ID.”

We have an immigration problem in the United States.  Our economy depends on many more foreign workers than our immigration laws allow into the country to work. As a result, we have a large number of undocumented workers. However, the Republicans would rather vilify those who come to fill those unwanted jobs than to actually fix the underlying problem.

In South Carolina, we learned yesterday that our senators are eager to harass and arrest undocumented workers who contribute to our economy, but they are loathe to allow their efforts to inconvenience underage drinkers. They work to criminalize coming to America to find a job while at the same time giving a nod and wink to those who sell alchohol to minors.

I admit that there is a perverse sort of logic at work here.  One way to solve South Carolina’s immigration problem might be to make sure that the main job for students in South Carolina is to party and get drunk.  That way, when they graduate they would only be qualified for the sort of low-wage jobs that undocumented workers normally fill.  By increasing the supply of native born workers for these jobs, there would no longer be a need to look outside the U.S. for such workers.  Plus, the state could probably save some money by firing all of those overpaid public educators.

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