April 01, 2006

Doing the jobs Americans don't want to do

I'm torn on this immigration thing in the US right now. All this waving of Mexican flags and the banning of the American flag in a Colorado school really gets my blood boiling, and makes me want to stand with the Minutemen on the Arizona border.

However, I also see this as the moment I might have been waiting for all my life. Is this the moment that the United States will finally relax their stringent laws enough to let me in, and let me make a home for myself? Well, maybe. But is that what I really want?

Do I want to live in an America overwhelmed by Mexican immigrants? Do I want to live in an America that is no longer an exclusive club, but a place just anyone can wander into? Yes and no.

Back in the day, in my grandparents' generation and before, all you needed to come to America was the a boat ticket and to be able to prove you didn't have smallpox or TB. Maybe you spent a week or a month on Ellis Island, cleaning up. But then you were free to seek your fortune in the land of promise. You were free to dream the American dream. Perhaps you started off stocking shelves or working on the docks while your english improved. Maybe then you opened a little pizza shop or sold tomatoes from a cart. Eventually, either you or your progeny were able to aspire to more. A chain of restaurants or groceries; a college education... the options were limitless. Anyone could wander into America - and anyone could become someone.

This immigration bill is being sold on the premise that "guest workers" will be allowed in to do the jobs Americans don't want to do. What are those jobs? Well, I assume they're things like garbage collector, warehouse worker, Taco Bell employee. But think about the words the jobs Americans don't want to do... Like picking cotton, growing rice, cutting sugar cane...? This bill is advocating having foreigners come into the United States to become the new slave population. Instead of letting the market dictate that if no one wants to be a garbage collector for $6 and hour, maybe you could find someone if you offered him $10. Instead of letting employers and business owners come to the obvious conclusion that there is no longer any such thing in America as cheap labor, they are instead importing people from an impoverished country like Mexico, and expecting that they will never want anything better for themselves and their families. The short-sightedness of this plan is in the fact that sooner or later, these Mexicans will want their own tomato carts, their own pizza shops, their own college educations.

And then who will collect the garbage?

Posted by RightGirl at April 1, 2006 04:36 PM | TrackBack

I think everyone is ignoring the dirty little secret about this whole illegal immigration controversy: namely, how some politicians seem perfectly willing to let illegals in, hoping to win their votes.

What's Job #1 of any politician?

Getting re-elected.

Why NOT support a bill that creates 12 million new voters?

Posted by: Barry at April 2, 2006 03:05 AM

There is a much simpler reason - because the current approach results in a lot of people coming into the country to work who dont officially exist. Illegals are extremally untidy, keeping them out is expensive - and many still get in.

Give it a try, I suppose. Whats the worst that could happen? American culture is extremally powerful, they will assimilate.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at April 2, 2006 05:45 PM

Well, President Vicente Fox Quesada has something to say about it to Jorge, in new cartoon. "Globalismo Foxybush."

Posted by: gringoman at April 3, 2006 08:28 PM

Illegal immigrants are currently being paid below (way below) the legal minimum wage and many work more than the standard 40 hour work week. Businesses and individuals can get away with paying such paltry wages to illegals because they know that the illegals won't complain because they are here illegally. Once they are granted amnesty then the illegals will also demand at the very least minimum wage. So we are back to finding cheap labor again to "Do the job Americans won't do" or should I say won't do for less than minimum wage.

Also guest workers won't be paid "slave wages" they will be paid the minimum wage allowed by Federal Law. So I don't see a "slave" industry being formed.

Another point I would like to make is that there is a huge backlog of people who wish to immigrate to the USA legally. Why should they wait patiently and follow the laws when it would be so much easier for them to illegally enter the USA, pay a fine and then get a free pass to stay in the USA legally. The message our politicians are sending with this Immigration Reform bill is: Go ahead break the law, you'll be rewarded for it.

Posted by: chezdiva at April 5, 2006 09:38 AM