May 01, 2006

"A Day Without Illegal Immigrants" - This is a BAD Thing?

Everyone probably knows by now that today, Immigrants around the country are uniting in protest to walk out on their jobs (for the day), boycott American Businesses and clog the streets of major cities. This is to show America how much that our economy depends on them, how much we need them. And that is exactly the WRONG statement to make to America: A cocky statement about how they don't need America, it is America who needs THEM.

Like my wife and just about every other American, let me say that I have nothing against Immigrants. Anyone who wants to come to America is welcome, so long as you respect your new country enough to learn our language and follow our laws to emigrate legally. Anyone whose first act in this country is to break the law and enter it illegally, is setting a bad precedent to the rest of their time here. Learning our language and our laws does not mean giving up your native tongue or culture. But you have to respect OUR country first before we respect yours. You came to us, remember? I would expect the same thing if I went to another country.

Learning English is not some pennance that we demand of them, it is for everyone's safety and prosperity. Speaking English in America will garner you more respect from people, and a higher level of success in business than work alone can ever grant you. Also it saves crucial seconds when immediate help is required from doctors or police. Melissa lost count of how many times people who called 911 had to be directed to a Language Support line, losing several minutes, when the caller couldn't speak English. It is also the best way to ensure that your children get the best education that we have to offer. Separate schools or even classrooms have never been equal in terms of educational quality.

There is no doubt about the opportunities available in this country. From the beginning, America was all about the promise of a new and prosperous life, and countless millions have found it here. It is a great complement that people think so higgly of this nation that they would leave everything that they knew to be a part of it. In my field, I have worked with countless immigrants from India, East Asia and even Canada, and they were among the most dedicated members of our team. Even if their English was clumsy, they were accepted and given respect because of the respect they gave this country.

I'll take a moment here to pick apart their main arguments:
(1) Illegal Immigrants take the jobs that Americans don't want to work. Well, NOW we don't want them, because we don't like the idea of being the only person that doesn't speak Spanish in the establishment. Everyone is uncomfortable in a place where they don't understand what is being said around them. Melissa was once offered a management job at an establishment outright, on the sole basis that she was white and could speak Spanish to the workers. We don't even want THOSE jobs. But if the workplace was returned to the native-speaking world, you'd have a lot more people willing to sling quarter-pounders.

Additionally, Americans wouldn't take the low pay, no benefits and being paid under-the-table that companies get away with. It's not that we wouldn't work the JOBS themselves for the most part, we just would be able to demand minimum wage, Social Security and Health plans, as official citizens. So in effect, what EMPLOYERS have done by hiring illegal immigrants, is force Americans who want to work these jobs to find other work, because we can't live at rates far below minimum wage.

(2) America was built "on the backs of Immigrants". True. However, almost all of these immigrants came over legally. Of course, there were shiploads of illegals brought in from time to time, like the chinese who were forced to help build the railroads, but the government did it's best to stem illegal immigration then, just as it is now. You are not like the Immigrants back then, because you are demanding that America change to suit YOUR needs, instead of changing yourself to suit the country. And I know my ancestors were immigrants once as well, but they took the high road and came here properly.

(3) Illegal Immigrants Contribute to the Economy. Sure, they have to buy stuff just like we do. But a large number of them send huge portions of their paychecks back to their families in the Old Country. So they're also taking a large amount of cash OUT of the economy and supporting their country of citizenship. This point also doesn't take into account the DRAIN that illegal immigrants put on this country. Almost all of them are paid in cash under-the-table, so they pay no taxes into the country. BUT they are sure to use tax-supported amenities like medical care, public schools, and police.

In closing: Attempting to force your way into legal citizenship is no way to get respect from America. Pushing this "We're already here... posession is 9/10ths of the law" crap, in order to justify cutting in front of countless others who are patiently, respectfully and LEGALLY trying to become citizens is not the way to get respect. It's elementary school bullying and the nation is not impressed.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with almost everything that you said, except that I have to point out that the best way for us to combat illegal immigration is to make legal immigration possible. At the moment, getting American citizenship is more difficult that getting through Med school, and that is not the slightest exaggeration. I have friends with doctorates who are leading their field in scientific research, who have been trying to get citizenship for more than 8 years unsuccessfully. I agree we should stop illegal immigration, but at the same time, we need the pressure release of allowing more legal immigrants into this country.