I sit in the factory parking lot waiting for my labor to walk across the street from their apartment. That massive hive of apartments full of worker bees who daily work long hours for short wages to produce sweet profits for sour employers. And now I am one of those sour pusses taking advantage, though in good company. Immigration reform, illegal aliens, and the rancor about them seem as ludicrous to me as the clowns espousing them as I watch the undocumented masses stream through the broken gates of the fixed system which promises as much misery as money. While employers openly exploit undocumented workers weekly; police stop them and ticket them for a taillight out, turning without a signal, and no drivers license – but seldom arrest them even though they are illegal; landlords fleece immigrant families with high rents, little service, and sometimes dangerous environments; restaurants and markets and clothiers cater to their hunger and thirst and need for a shirt on their backs. No complaints about the brown people as long as their money is green. No complaints about the twenty minute delay when immigrant children exit multiple school buses on many main roads at monster complexes as long as their parents have worked overtime for under the minimum wage. No complaints if the false driver’s license gets the desperate soul from the church to the job site on time. Oh, wait, my contractors have arrived.
I sit in front of the TV each night trying to understand this immigration issue while the din of protest about it blares out from the outraged screen. Who is being harmed by honest labor by willing workers and profiteering employers? Yes, there are bad people in the immigration community, but that ratio of bad to good does not exceed that of citizens as a whole, I’m sure of that. Yes, there are good people, citizens, who are out of work because of the good cheap available immigration labor, but this does not really seem to be the issue, I think. No, I don’t feel bad that I’m possibly hiring someone with documentation problems, or that a citizen might be employed in the immigrant’s place, or that my benefit will end with a crime by a criminal immigrant. I’m happy as a clam and feeling fortunate as well as I pickup my jovial workforce and join the flow toward, what I jokingly call, the Tower of Babel.
I don’t speak Spanish, except in jest. If I attempt it, I’m told to take a rest. God bless the long lines of multiple school buses on many main roads at monster complexes that take young immigrant children and produce superb citizens, magnificent athletes, productive workers, and young adults who speak English! Yes, when you have a crew which includes a young one who speaks the lingua franca, you reduce the Tower of Babel to a mere three stories, much like the apartments, as the thick American employer tries to communicate rapid English and thin Spanish to the skilled immigrant contractor through his or here bi-lingual exceptional child in a back and forth, sometimes comical exchange.
Admittedly, I have not paid much attention to immigration until now because now it affects me. I know very little Spanish. I know about green cards. I about people crossing the Rio Grand, formerly known as wetbacks. People become illegal aliens in this country because they have no other options. They are desperate. We, the United States government, are not accommodating, but we do need these workers. Most of the following text was copied or modified from the webpage of American Immigration Council. The total number of green cards available for all less skilled workers is 5,000 a year, for the entire country. Even in those cases where family ties do exist to apply for legal entry, individuals abroad face years or decades of waiting for a visa to become available. The annual Diversity Visa program makes 55,000 green cards available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. That means people from Mexico, China, the Philippines, India, and other countries with higher levels of immigration to the United States are not eligible.
By employing possibly undocumented workers am I taking jobs from native born citizens? If immigrants actually “took” jobs away from significant numbers of native-born workers, then one would expect to find high unemployment rates in parts of the country with large numbers of immigrants, especially recently arrived immigrants who are presumably more willing to work for lower wages and under worse conditions than either long-term immigrants or native-born workers. Yet there is little apparent relationship between recent immigration and unemployment rates at the regional, state, or county level. An analysis of 2011 Census data found that, at the county level, there is no statistically significant relationship between the unemployment rate and the presence of recent immigrants who arrived in 2000 or later. Immigrants continue to be nearly twice as likely as the native-born to become entrepreneurs, with the rate of new entrepreneurs being 0.52 percent for immigrants, compared to 0.27 percent for the native-born.