I’ve been busy with school and haven’t been able to post as often as I like, but I thought I’d put this out there.
Let me start by saying this. Despite what this may sound like, I’m really not trying to start a flame war her, but I know that my position is in the minority on this subject. So…
What’s our problem with immigration? I mean, aren’t we all immigrants if you look back far enough? I don’t know my natural history as well as I probably should, but my guess is even Native Americans came from somewhere besides our present day United States. In fact, isn’t the current theory that we call came out of Africa ultimately?
So, with this in mind, why do we have such a problem with modern day immigrants? Is it really necessary to build a modern-day Berlin Wall for the US Mexican border? Is it so bad that Mexicans want to earn some money to take care of their families? Somebody once called us the land of opportunity (Was it Phil Collins 🙂 ). What ever happened to that.
I was just listening to a discussion of the Guest worker program for immigrants. A company petitions with the government for permission to bring in a bunch of foreign workers – in this case, Mexican and Indian workers. The workers have to borrow as much as tens of thousands of dollars to travel here, and then they must also put up collateral to ensure that they’ll abide by the contract terms. This usually ends up being the deed to their homes. So, they come to the US much farther in debt than they were before the ‘opportunity.’
The company that brought them over under-pays them, and then says there’s not enough work. The workers end up sitting around not working, not earning money, and just getting deeper into debt because they still have to pay their housing and food expenses. Furthermore, the Guest Worker program doesn’t allow them to seek other employment. They must stay with the company that brought them over, or return to their country of origin, with all their new debt.
In some cases, these companies actually confiscate the workers’ legal documents. This way, if they ever cause a problem, the employer simply destroys the documents and then calls INS. If they’re undocumented, they’re deported immediately, at best. At worst, under new legislation that was passed recently, they can actually be subject to misdemeanor criminal prosecution and face jail time of as much as several months.
In one case, Indian workers complained about working conditions. They were fired and sent back to India. In another, the company actually had thugs sent to the families of the worker to threaten them.
Aside from being morally wrong, these situations are just unfair. Here we are, sitting in our cushy chairs while these people are being subjected to near-slavery conditions in our own country. Don’t they have a right to provide for their families without being harassed by the world’s economic elite?
Many will say that they’re taking away jobs that we could have, but that’s not exactly true. While they do thin out the job pool a little, a great many of them are doing jobs that you or I wouldn’t want anyway. Besides, we have the prerogative of seeking employment in foreign countries just as they are. The fact that opportunities in the US are more plentiful than in other parts of the world (at least I think so) only says that we’re lucky. It doesn’t entitle us to squander the benefit. We need to be a little less greedy. How would you feel if you had no home and couldn’t feed your kids? We should all ask that of ourselves the next time we throw a Mexican immigrant in jail for trying to find work.
I usually try to cite the sources of the information I share here, but I can’t remember where some of this came from. Fortunately, being a blogger is a little like being a podcaster. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t provide in-text citations and reference lists. With that said, I think I got most of this information from various shows by Democracy Now!. If you’d like more information, you can go to http://www.democracynow.org and search their archives.