Wednesday, December 20, 2006
So, Yeah, About Those Jobs That Americans Won’t Do
Don’t take this as a commentary on my feelings on immigration (either the legal kind or the illegal kind) or my feelings on some kind of guest worker program. Still, I really hate the argument from the unapologetic pro-illegal side that says Americans just won’t do the icky jobs.
Bullshit, I say. Americans will do any job, although they might not always like the work or the pay.
Whatever. The point is this:
There is a conversation to be had about the pros and cons of guest worker programs, open immigration, and border security. Like many arguments, though, the whole thing seems to descend into something about “Americans won’t do tough jobs” and some assumption that opposition to illegal immigration is somehow tied into hatred for folks with darker skin.
On the other side, there really does seem to be a contingent with an overwrought fear of the brown hordes coming to destroy our society and a belief that they are completely free-riders in our society. The costs of hosting these “undocumented” aliens isn’t that easy to figure, but the assumption that they don’t do anything to pay their way is simply incorrect.
Every gallon of gas, every purchase at the mall, every contribution of cheap labor, and much more all work to offset the cost of schools, health care, and other social services. I’m not comfortable saying that an illegal immigrant is a necessarily a net positive to our economy (not because the idea is incorrect, but because I don’t feel qualified to make the judgment), but the assertion that they add nothing it wrong.
The debate is too serious to be reduced to petty sniping and lies. So, let’s just kill off the “Americans won’t do the job” myth here and now.
None of which explains why, with Christmas just a few days away, I’ve managed to decorate the tree, but I haven’t sent out cards, finished my shopping, wrapped a single present, or found an opportunity to sing “O, Holy Night” at the top of my lungs to irritate and/or ammuse my co-workers. Their loss.
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