April 26, 2016


Americans are helping eight million people break this bad law (Uzoamaka Emeka Nzelibe, April 26, 2016, Reuters)

Too often immigration is seen as a problem for immigrants and their families. But if you hire someone to care for a family member at home, buy produce at the grocery store, eat out at a restaurant, or have your house cleaned, the fight to legalize the status of unauthorized workers is your fight, too.

According to the most recent data gathered in 2012, 8.1 million of the estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants were employed. They represented 5.1 percent of the United States workforce. Some of the industries with the highest numbers of unauthorized immigrant workers include landscaping services, private households, crop production, dry cleaning services, construction, and eating and drinking establishments. Thus, many Americans benefit from the work of unauthorized immigrants either because they employ these immigrants illegally or because the goods and services they consume are made cheaper by the use of unauthorized immigrant labor.

Unauthorized immigration and the hiring of unauthorized immigrants is a kind of workaround against immigration laws that do not reflect labor demands. As Americans have become older and more educated, the demand for lower-skilled workers, namely workers in occupations that do not require a high school diploma, has been met by immigrants. Yet lower-skilled workers only qualify for a handful of visas that would allow them to work lawfully in the United States, in part because U.S. immigration laws favor family immigration and higher-skilled temporary workers.

The lack of sufficient channels of lawful entry for lower-skilled workers makes it difficult for them to stand in line and wait their turn for legal entry and difficult for employers who need lower-skilled workers to find workers authorized to work, which results in rule breaking by both parties.

If so many people are breaking the law -- both immigrants and United States natives -- it begs the question: are bad laws happening to good people? Yes, and everyone implicated by these laws should be fighting to fix them.

Our fraternity used to routinely use semesters off to go work on geoseismic crews in West Texas.  Crews were about a third illegals then.  When you had a night off and went to Nuevo Laredo you'd have to smuggle them in and out of Mexico. And we had a kid who dreamed of returning home to open a cinder block plant, but he drove around in a red Dodge Charger with horse head decals on the doors.  We tried getting him to be more subtle, butr he loved that car.  He did agree to room with us at least.  

An unjust law is not a law.

Posted by at April 26, 2016 3:25 PM