Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Immigrant Reform Arguments that Induce Screaming

Arguments and points raised that make me want to pull out all my hair and stuff them in my ears or something. Hence giving literal meaning to bald mary.

1. Taking away American jobs from Americans.

This is such a complicated, thorny problem that reducing it into a sound bite is really frustrating. The fact that there is little to no evidence to support this seems to matter very little. There is however a fairly manipulative and misleading basis for this connection. Studies that draw a correlation between decreased native jobs and increased immigrant labor. This is a strange analogy to me. Illegal immigrants come to this country to work, and the jobs they find are not registered, moderated monster.com work. So the fact that someone who is willing to pick tomatoes for 10hrs a day for below minimum rate wages, is more likely to be employed doesn’t mean much. My point is that illegal immigrants are in this country mostly to work, while this is simply not true for natives. It’s an odd comparison to make to begin with. It hardly shows that these immigrants are taking away jobs from Americans. The truth is that we have no real idea that the jobs that undocumented workers typically take would even exist if there were no illegal immigrants.

Legal immigration is a different view on this issue. The jobs that legal immigrants take are more likely to be jobs that Americans compete for, so presumably they do take jobs away from Americans. However, is that such a bad thing? Legal immigrants who get these jobs aren’t getting them because they are immigrants (they get them despite it, in so many cases); they get them because they have better qualifications. Isn’t that what we would want to happen?

Even if you don’t agree with that, what is undisputed is that these jobs hardly contribute significantly to overall job loss. This is also true for out-sourcing jobs which raised so many hackles in last year’s elections. The more communities that contribute to the work force, create small businesses and develop neighborhoods (thereby spending money and contributing to the market) only improve and enrich the economy.

2. They are illegal, isn't it illegal? So they are punishing something illegal. What's the problem?
The argument is not about whether or not illegal immigration is illegal, it is whether it should be criminalized into a felony. The problem is that coming into this country and working for 80 hours a week for $5/a day is not the same as raping and killing someone. These are not criminals. You are not allowed to pretend they are not workers who form a huge part of our culture, our economy, and our political system. This is a country that has been built on the sweat and the blood of immigrants, it is disgraceful the utter contempt with which the Republican Party has returned the favor.

3. Illegal immigrants shouldn’t acquire status that legal immigrants worked so hard to get.

-This makes me gag a little. I feel like shouting, “don’t you dare use me to sell your sorry ass policies!” This is an argument custom built for Americans who don’t actually know any immigrants—legal or illegal. The HR: 4377 resolution creates a hostile environment for legal and illegal immigrants alike. (Check this out if you have real player--interviews of legal detainees conducted by CAIR)

Any guest worker program is an inherently sensible policy—it encourages illegal immigrants to get documented, bringing them out of secrecy—something that salves both immigrants and protects our borders. The more we know about who lives and works here, the better we are able to understand our threats. For immigrants, the necessary secrecy that surrounds illegal status increases their risk of violence, and exploitation. Its exact counterpart is the HR: 4377 resolution which doesn’t have any guest worker provisions, will drive undocumented workers further into the shadows and isn’t actually feasible in any sense of the word.

My other posts on immigration here and here.


Anonymous Casino Bonuses said...

Better late, than never.

8:34 PM  

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