April 22, 2020

WE NEED THEM MORE THAN THEY NEED US:

Italy to legalise 200,000 migrants to tackle labour shortage (MEMO, April 22, 2020)

Faced with a shortage of manpower as a result of the closure of its borders, Italy is looking to legalise the status of 200,000 migrants who live in the country illegally.

The agricultural sector is particularly badly affected by a shortage of labour after 300,000 seasonal workers were stranded outside the country, the majority were due to arrive from Eastern Europe.

Trump's Immigration Ban Is a Self-Defeating Distraction (LINDA CHAVEZ  APRIL 22, 2020, The Bulwark)

Immigrants make up about 17 percent of the U.S. labor force, but they are not evenly distributed across all sectors. They disproportionately work in service jobs - including as health care workers in hospitals and assisted living facilities - as well as construction, agriculture, and meat processing. The jobs they occupy are often low-paid but essential.

Most immigrant workers have legal status, but in some jobs, undocumented workers make up a significant portion of the work force. And in this pandemic, those workers are especially crucial to putting food on our tables, risking their lives in appallingly unsafe conditions so that we can continue to eat. Outbreaks at meat processing plants in Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and elsewhere threaten to disrupt the supply of meat nationwide. Does President Trump seriously believe that Americans will be lining up to take jobs on poultry processing or hog butchering lines, standing shoulder to shoulder with each other on cement floors slick with blood and viscera for 8 to 12 hours a day? When summer comes, will Americans take to the lettuce and tomato fields to bend over, harvesting our vegetables under the 95-degree sun? With unemployment compensation available, would you? [...]

While most immigrants work in the service economy, a 2018 study by the Brookings Institution indicates that nearly a third of our STEM workers and students are also immigrants or the children of immigrants. When researchers find a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, we shouldn't be surprised that an immigrant or first generation American will be on the team, or even leading it.

In the meantime, the orderlies, nurses, and doctors caring for patients in hospitals around the country are increasingly likely to be foreign born, with immigrants accounting for almost a third of physicians and nearly 40 percent of health aid workers, according to a study by the Migration Policy Institute. This is no time for President Trump to be riling up his base when immigrants are literally risking their lives to save us all.

Posted by at April 22, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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