Iron Pundit: Day Without Immigrants - Phil's Rambling Rants — LiveJournal
Iron Pundit: Day Without Immigrants|
I have always found the argument that "We need the immigrants because they will do work Americans won't." to feel very subtly racist. And many of the sentiments expressed by demonstrators yesterday(as reported on the news) that they have a right to be here to be vaguely threatening to citizen ship and ultimately to property rights. Which, when you think about it, is what citizenship boils down to. A citizen "owns" a piece of the country. A noncitizen doesn't. So this guy is saying that he "owns" something that should be my right to give him, or not.
I'm not even going to get into uncontrolled immigration and the carrying capacity of the country. Although somebody should.
I don't think there are any jobs Americans wouldn't do for enough money. The scene in The Magic Christian with the swimming pool full of pig offal comes to mind. However, very few non recent immigrants would put out the level of effort the migrants do for the level of remuneration they receive. A lot of businesses would have to change their operating models if they had to pay real American wages, and in the long run that's a good thing. However, in the short run I think we're better off allowing those businesses to bring in immigrants who are willing to do the job for legal minimum wage than accept the disruption to our economy of having them shut down or greatly restructure.
As a citizen, I don't have a problem with sharing the benefits of citizenship with people who are willing to work that hard, as long as they're willing to meet me halfway and become Americans -- by which I mean learn the language and at least as much about our history and government system as we teach our own kids, and vote and participate in broader civic life rather than totally holing up in their own tight-knit communities, not eradicating their own culture.
As to the carrying capacity of the country -- I think that's a much more racist argument than the "jobs Americans won't do" argument. America is overpopulated, but the places the immigrants are coming from are more overpopulated.
Some of the "they'll do the work we won't" is racist in nature, yes. More of it, or at least more that I've encountered, centers around employers paying illegally low wages. It's not that there are *jobs* an American won't do that an immigrant will, it's that there are pay rates that an American won't accept, because they have legal recourse, but an immigrant will because they lack that recourse. If the (existing) laws that penalize companies for hiring illegal labor were enforced, then we'd see whether it's the task, or just that Americans won't put up with being illegaly exploited and underpaid because they don't have to.