While the pejorative ‘illegal immigrant’ is part of our lexicon now, thanks to the GOP, the US government still classifies them as unauthorized personnel, not a criminal offense, even while those of Latin descent find themselves incarcerated in privatized detention centers. On the scale of wrongdoing, it is probably on par with an individual smuggling a carton of cheap cigarettes or a couple bottles of booze across state lines just to avoid high excise taxes.
That said, progressives at the turn of the last century were right in opposing unauthorized immigration because globalization was non-existent. Today, money and corporations move freely across borders, but the people are stuck where they are, dominated by early 20th century rules. Surely if the things humans create can move through borders with little to no concern, why on Earth can’t people move, elements of nature herself? Every other animate thing on Earth moves freely across borders.
Instead, corporations from the US and other imperial capitalist states bend these smaller nations to their will, flooding their markets with cheaper products than they themselves can create or grow, trapping them in debt, while extracting the wealth from their nations, and then storing the wealth offshore instead of bringing it home. What a deal!
People need to be where they can find work–all people. Globalization should force us to reexamine everything, especially our views on unauthorized immigration. If this country should somehow democratically decide to drastically alter and cut back immigration of all kinds, then it will also have decided to cut the knees out from under every major corporation on which the global economy unfortunately depends upon. It’s all connected to corporate rule. Unauthorized entry into our nation works for big corporations, especially in agriculture, construction, and the service industries.