Immigrants actually help the job market, at least in California

Scarlet Pimpernel

demned elusive
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Limburg, Netherlands
What with all the brouhaha lately about immigration and fences in Mexico and whatnot, I found this article, from, an online San Francisco newspaper, interesting:

"Immigrants in California do not compete with U.S.-born workers for jobs or depress their wages, though they do push down the wages of previously-arrived immigrants, a new study by the Public Policy Institute of California found.

The study comes amid a volatile national debate over immigration and the question of whether and how much the influx of immigrant workers has affected wages and employment for people already in the United States. Some past analyses found that less educated American workers, particularly high school dropout, suffer from at least modest wage and job competition with immigrant workers. But UC Davis economist Giovanni Peri, who completed the study released today, determined that in California immigrants' presence has not affected high school dropouts and that U.S.-born workers on average experienced a 4 percent wage boost between 1990 and 2004 from immigration...."

Study: State immigrants don't hurt wages for U.S. workers
State immigrants don't hurt said:
"There's not one labor market for everybody, but different markets for different skills and tasks. The overall effect could be more productivity and higher wages."

Amen to all that.

The underlying issue to my mind is that Mexico's economy is so punked up that these people would opt to risk their lives, leave their families and friends, and live in a foreign culture and society where they are often despised. And they are not doing it for themselves, they are doing it for their people back home. Admirable, no? Courageous for sure.

It makes me angry that some Americans want to put the smack down on them. The problem is rooted in economic paradigms of exploitation. Until we go grassroots, revere the Earth, build sustainable communities, and care for all our sisters and brothers everywhere, even by welcoming them exploited into our communities--until then, we're just playing a shell game of politics and policies.

As Joy Harjo says, the real revolution is Love.

Just my thoughts. Peace.
I think the real issue is legal versus illegal immigrants... documented versus undocumented. The USA continues by far to have the highest immigration of any country. Is there really an excuse for NOT obtaining lawful entry? It must be nice for illegal immigrants to live in a country without paying taxes... while taxing the state's healthcare.
Well, I can think of one...not excuse, really, but reason that someone might not obtain legal entry to the US...the sheer stupidity of the process in many cases. I know of no country where it is as difficult to get in as in the US, even just as a tourist. Friends of mine, coming on vacation to the US, have been reduced to tears by the rudeness of the passport authorities. I know of one case where a five-year old girl, entering the US with her father who had gotten a job as a university professor, was asked if she had ever been a member of the communist party, or if she had the intention to practice polygamy while she was in the country. I mean, really.
Maybe if the department of immigration used a little more common sense, there wouldn't be so many people trying to avoid their notice.

And the fact of the matter is, Americans have been complaining about the latest wave of immigrants, and their lack of education, and the fact that they're going to steal jobs from natives and undermine our way of life and destroy the economy, since the very beginning. Benjamin Franklin published tirades about the stupid hick German immigrants which he saw threatening to take over the country. Hmm, hasn't happened yet, Ben.
If you enter my house without knocking on the door then I consider you a criminal. I think you seriously confuse legal versus illegal. There is no excuse for ILLEGAL immigration. None. Absolutely, positively none.

Visit any foreign country and you will likely be asked a question or two on entry about your purpose. If anything, not enough questions. I have been to a number of countries and have had the same. Some countries or companies within will confiscate your passport and then you are subject to their whims just to get back home.

Legal versus illegal immigration is as much about protection of the person's rights than anything. While the workers who are illegal are CHEAPER than those who are legal, it is just one company being illegal to gain a competitive advantage over others. Treatment of the workers follows suit. If anyone wants to work in a sweat-shop, then I suggest moving to China instead or a rich country like Saudi Arabia.
What if I walk into your house without knocking, but bearing pie and balloons. Smiling and dancing?

cyberpi said:
There is no excuse for ILLEGAL immigration. None. Absolutely, positively none.

Puh-leeeze. Tell that to the Mexicanos living in abject poverty. I bet you they can give you several good reasons. Tell the American Indians there's no excuse for illegal immigration. Oh golly gee, I forgot, the Indians didn't have anti-immigrant laws and weren't obsessed with property, concepts of me and mine.

cyerpi said:
Legal versus illegal immigration is as much about protection of the person's rights than anything. While the workers who are illegal are CHEAPER than those who are legal, it is just one company being illegal to gain a competitive advantage over others. Treatment of the workers follows suit. If anyone wants to work in a sweat-shop, then I suggest moving to China instead or a rich country like Saudi Arabia.

The little wages that are paid under the table to Mexican immigrants are bank when they get sent back to la familia still living in Mexico. Yet I agree that's no excuse to pay Mexicans less, and the companies that exploit them are run by despicable human beings.

As far as anyone wanting to work in a sweat shop, come on. You're not that ignorant. No one wants to work in a sweatshop.
What if I walk into your house without knocking, but bearing pie and balloons. Smiling and dancing?
Then you would be sharply rebuked and most likely thrown out with an invitation to obey the law of my house next time.

Pathless said:
Puh-leeeze. Tell that to the Mexicanos living in abject poverty. I bet you they can give you several good reasons.
Within the USA a legal immigrant earns more than an illegal one, save for the fact that they then have to pay taxes. In Mexico, why not strengthen one's own house in Mexico to become prosperous rather than flee it to seek iniquity elsewhere? There is no reason a city in Mexico can not be made more prosperous than one North of it... I have been to Mexico City and several smaller non-tourist cities. There is no reason to not live in Mexico and struggle to make it better.

Pathless said:
Tell the American Indians there's no excuse for illegal immigration. Oh golly gee, I forgot, the Indians didn't have anti-immigrant laws and weren't obsessed with property, concepts of me and mine.
From what I read native Indians were plenty concerned with illegal immigration, and rightfully so. Mexico also has the same problem on their Southern border.

Pathless said:
The little wages that are paid under the table to Mexican immigrants are bank when they get sent back to la familia still living in Mexico. Yet I agree that's no excuse to pay Mexicans less, and the companies that exploit them are run by despicable human beings.
The rightful way to equalize the lines of law from person to person in country to country is NOT by seeking lawlesness... which is what both the illegal immigrant and the employer who hires him seek for their own gain.

Pathless said:
As far as anyone wanting to work in a sweat shop, come on. You're not that ignorant. No one wants to work in a sweatshop.
Yes, they do. I have not personally been to China but some friends have. Some of it is oppression, some culture, but some misplaced values. In Saudi Arabia I found migrant workers from the Philippines and one that I remember was sadly in need of dental care. They leave their families and send money back because their situation at home was seemingly worse. In fact when I was there, there were Western families from the USA working there with various companies. They too were earning greater money than they would at home and then it is not taxed by the USA. Yet those families were not thrilled to be living in conditions or by laws they didn't like. I bet you that Saudi Arabia knew each and every one of them... at that time they had taken their passports on the way in.

The defense for ILLEGAL immigration is weak. It is a call for lawlessness. Rather than trying to promote living lawlessly, why not develop arguments to improve the immigration? Are the laws broke? From what I read here:
Components of Population Change
Over the last 7 years, 23% or nearly 1 in 4 new US citizens were LEGAL immigrants. In other words for every 3 babies born, someone born outside the USA became a LEGAL citizen. Given the death rate, nearly 43% of the growth in Americans came from outside the USA (foreign born). So what is the excuse? Those numbers do not even include the illegal ones. The USA welcomes migrants... that has not been the problem. Appreciating the value of law has.
cyberpi said:
They leave their families and send money back because their situation at home was seemingly worse.

And this is exactly why people from Mexico risk their lives to come to America and work illegally. From what I am able to gather, they do it illegally because it is damn near impossible for them to immigrate legally. Conditions are bad, bad, bad in some places in Mexico. It's hard to strengthen a home when it is made out of scrap metal and cardboard. Minimum wage in Mexico is the equivalent of $4 per day.

I maintain that nobody wants to live in a sweatshop. Filipinos, Mexicans, Chinese, Americans, Canadians, Nigerians, Egyptians, Nicuaragans, Chileans, the list goes on and I don't give a damn what country a person is from, no human being is going to raise their hand and say, "Yes, please, I would like to work 60-80 hours a week in deplorable conditions." It is a sad commentary on the state of the "world economy" when people do voluntarily move away from home to go work as slave laborers so that they can send money back home. And that is what it is. It is most certainly not an indicator of a person saying, "Yes, I would like to work in a sweatshop, please."

What if that was you?

If it was me, I would roll over and die.

Or not. Maybe I would be stronger than that. Strong enough to move out and away, to slave away under oppressive conditions so that my family could get some cold hard cash and buy food.

The laws are corrupt. Ultimately, these economically-oriented laws are rules imposed to keep some people in security while the majority of humanity struggles to subsist and survive. Borders do that, too.

I don't value rules over human beings.

That is how I see it, feel it, and believe it.
So your aim would be to help make the USA more like Mexico whereas mine would be to help make Mexico more like the USA. The greatest immigration is from Mexico and yet many US factories have moved to Mexico. I have been to Mexico and by your comments I recommend that you visit too someday. If and when you do I recommend obeying their local laws. Your choice.
Oh-kay. (ahem)...

You sure like to put words in people's mouths, don't you? And operate on assumptions.

I have been to Mexico. Albeit I went as a tourist when I was in middle school with my family: we went to Cancun and then down to Yucatan Peninsula to see the ruins there. What I remember from my time in Mexico is not very relevant to the issue at hand, but give me a minute to reminisce:
  • In Cancun, the beaches were beautiful white sand and the most clear water I have seen, far outshining the blue-green clear beauty of the Gulf Coast of Alabama that I would visit four or five years later.
  • There were stark, stark differences between my white tourist ass and the people that lived in Cancun. For example, I wore a shirt that said "Coca-Cola." Some of the people whose paths I crossed probably worked in factories that made some similar such sugary substance as *Coke is IT!*
    • My weekly allowance as a child of white privelege probably approximated what they would take home in a week of working. I would guess. The closest I have ever gotten to factory working conditions is probably putting things like coke bottles to my lips.
    • So yes, I am aware of my white privelege here in the US and as a tourist in Mexico. I am not proud of it these days and don't think, even in my ignorance, that I ever have been proud of it.
  • Also: puke on the bus that we rode. Under my feet. It was the only seat that hadn't been taken. And that is perhaps a privelege in itself, having to pull my legs up to my chest to avoid them getting splashed and caked with sun-baked vomit while my mom, horrified, fumed under her breath about the barbarity of the conditions and the filthiness of these Mexicans. All the while her blood pressure rose, and that is the only thing that changed on that bus.
  • Being in a shop. Lots of trinkets for tourists to buy. Lots of beautiful, beautiful things, too. My dad bought us a marble chess set for something ridiculous like 800 pesos. I have no idea how much money that is, but it ain't what you would pay for the same marble chess set in the U.S.
  • In the same shop, I mildly harangued la madre mayor ('scuse me while I try to learn Spanish) over whether or not the cassette tape of INXS I wanted to buy was actually recorded in English, or if I would not be able to understand the words because they had been dubbed in Spanish. I was confused because the titles printed on the tape itself were in Spanish. I asked her repeatedly because I wasn't sure if she was understanding my question--I was after all, talking to her in English. She understood me. Repeatedly she assured me that the songs were indeed in English.
    • In hindsight, what the hell gave me the tenacity as a young kid to assume that this bilingual matrona wouldn't understand my complex English language skills? Ingrained social programming, for sure. How much I didn't understand--not just the language, but the absurdity of the scene.
    • Let me sketch it out a little more, reverse the story a bit. Let's imagine that we live in a parallel world where the world's economic leader is a place called Los Estados Unidad de Mexico (or the more accurate Spanish translation--I am open to suggestions) and I am a shopkeeper in a corner of the exotic vacaton destination of the impoverished nation to the north. I will pretend that I am of Navajo descent with a mix Irish, Scottish, German, and Russian peppered in. I run a shop where I sell hand-crafted chess sets, original woodcut prints, Indian beadwork, as well as an assortment of CDs, books, and teas. In the spring and summer--tourist season--Spanish-speaking capitalists swarm our village to experience the desert and quaint days-gone-by lifestyle. Most of them come in and speak slow Spanish to me, ask questions that embarrass mostly them (although they are not aware of it!) and also me, and ogle over the exotic blankets, beads, and stylized prints, speaking of "primitive grace," and "exotic heritage." I speak fluent Spanish in addition to English and of course my native Navajo language. Yet the tourists assume that I do not understand them, that they need to speak their Spanish slowly, carefully. Enunciate every crisp Spanish syllable.
That's just a story I made up. I think it illustrates a point. It may be a bit off-topic, but it is relevant to my experience as a tourist in Mexico.

Other things I remember about Mexico are the pyramids of the Yucatan Peninsula--Chichen Itza specifically. Standing at the top, mostly intellectually ignorant of the deeply sacred site I was rooted in (I was like 12, after all) but completely in awe and emotionally tuned in to something.

cyberpi, I can only speak for myself and my truth. I recognize that you see things differently than I do. We could go on tooth and nail in argument for many more posts, but I have better things to do.

And quit being so (censored) condescending to me. Ask me questions, do not assume. I may have different ideas than you, but that does not make me wrong, someone to be marginalized with arguments or browbeaten into submission. I have much experience with falling for both of those tactics, bro, and let me tell you right now that I got toughened up somewhere along the way. I'm tired of being written off or assumed to be ignorant of the "facts."

In my ideal world, people would have the spirit, joviality, and community spirit of Latinos.

One last story. Once, when my car broke down at 11:30 PM on a mountainous highway in North Carolina, I tried to flag down help (soon after this incident, I got myself a damn cell phone). People blew by, some of them even honking and yelling at me. I was desperate and even had someplace to be, so after five to ten minutes of hopelessly trying to flag down help on the side of the road and continually being buzzed by people on their way to important destinations, I got back in my car and got it to limp to the next exit. There, I was happy to see another car with it emergency flashers on, pulled off to a side of the road. I pulled in behind that car, stopped mine, got out, approached, intending to ask for help.

The woman of the car quickly jumped back into the passenger's side. The man looked at me fearfully and suspiciously, holding his cell phone. "Hey," I said, "Is you car broke down? Mine is, too!"

The man then told me that they had seen me on the side of the road back there (and now they were suspicious because I had been able to limp my broken-down car to the exit) told me that he had called the police for me and they would be here soon. Then he got into his car, his female partner telling him to "hurry!!!" slammed the door, and peeled out, leaving me there with my broken-down lumina in the dark. And the police were on their way to the side of the highway back there where my car had broken-down first. Great.

Fortunately, not half a minute later, a car stopped. In it were two Latinos and a Latina. She was wearing an incredible prom/wedding dress, and was going to a party. These kind people took me to a gas station where I was able to call my dad for further help. They asked me if they could stay with me while I waited (despite the party they had to get to, I am now realizing!), but I told them it would probably be a while before my ride came. They reluctantly went on their way, having given me quarters to make the call! Even at my insistence that I already had change!

Do I want America to be more like Mexico? Maybe I do.

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Pathless, that was a long post and I surely appreciated your sharing it but what does it have to do with LEGAL immigration, jobs, or obeying law? I'm not trying to 'brow-beat' you, but I haven't seen an argument here to look up to.

Rather than go down the path of racism, or ethnocentrism, I'd say that I have some stories both ways there, but I shall skip both so that I don't promote racism and instead respond to your post with what little I've seen of Mexico in kind:

By the way I suggest that the vomit was surely a foreigner, because most Mexicans can handle the heat, water, and alcohol. I've experienced similar in the USA at an amusement park and I've once added my own... I didn't find either one very amusing. The touristy spots anywhere do tend to attract a culture that is, well, defiled.

I've been to Mexico City, which is older than any city in the USA... big and nothing like the touristy places. A must see but you do have to leave the hotel and get around. There is a variety of people that I simply do NOT see in the USA or even Northern Mexico, which I'm told is native to Mexico City and from further South... I can't remember the name, but some people there have a distinctive shaped head and facial features that are unique. Are the houses different? Sure, so is the climate, but there are also trailer parks in the USA in the middle of the desert that are well beneath the houses in Mexico... and I saw some pockets of extreme oppulence. Marble floors, the works. To build better houses in Mexico takes building better houses... it can be done. Surely the standard of living there has been steadily improving. But you do know the city is a little different by the traffic and when you see private security with MP5 automatic weapons around the necks, with flack jacket standing guard in the heat outside at a building like a public library. I didn't see any violence and I was told Mexico City is very safe, but allegedly due to the security. People were friendly and of good cheer, despite my broken Spanish.

I've also been to smaller towns like Zacatecas... beautiful town with cobble streets, a sky tram across it. All of the Corona beer in the world is made there. Food is very different, nothing like in the USA... but I liked it. Overall a very clean town, inland off the tourist track. Older cars, yes... but a standard of living far exceeding many countries in the world. Anyway, apparently the Mexico I've seen was a little different than the one you have. There are a number of towns where some form of industry has taken off and if the tourism isn't there then it can be rather pleasant. Some of it has been seeding from factories leaving the USA but there is economic growth in relationships with European and South American countries too.
Rather than go down the path of racism, or ethnocentrism, I'd say that I have some stories both ways there, but I shall skip both so that I don't promote racism...

Hi. Probably I have been projecting a bit of my own issues and biases onto you during this discussion. It's a human thing that I do.

cyberpi, we aren't finding much common ground here. I think that is because we are looking at the same issue through two very different lenses.

I guess that's cool with me.

You speak of ethnocentrisim. It seems to me that the whole issue of illegal vs legal immigration is rooted in ethnocentrism. Threatened by an uncontrolled influx of immigrants, white America desires to control the borders tighter.

Economically speaking, the article linked in the OP speaks to the situation in California.

I suppose my opinion is informed mostly by my dissatisfaction with the current power structure in the United States, which to my mind is one based on fear, media control, absurd financial obsessions, obsessions with convenience, military power, and a general disregard for the simple sacred act of living day-to-day. Illegal immigration is only a "threat" because of a current economic system that prioritizes money, commodities, and easy access over human dignity.

That is my point of view.
Namaste Pathless,

as has been pointed out, the issue isn't immigration. the issue is legal immigration vs. illegal immigration and the difference is vast and, strangely, often ignored by the media who insist on mis-characterizing the discussion as racism or other forms of bigotry.

let me put to you in practical terms.

you live in a community that has community services, firefighters, for instance. your community has a buget for firefighing based on the amount of revenue the community can generate from various taxes, property, school etc. every member of the community pays school tax even if they have no childern in school or even childern at all. the community benefits as a whole when the childern of all are educated.

when illegal immigrants move into this community, they consume the same resources as all the other residents.. firefighters respond to put out fires, paramedics provide ambulance service and so forth. even though the population has increased the funds have not and, as a consequence, the entire community suffers due to the lack of funds to properly provide services for the amount of people that are using them.

the other strange part of this is the seeming victim mentality which is oft imputed unto the criminal for his plight which drove him to comit the crime. we do not forgive other criminals when their situation forced them to comit a crime why are these criminals given special treatment?

one of the defining aspects of American democracy is the concept of all people being equal under the law. many of the beings that are in the country illegally are not given this treatment because they fear to seek out law enforcement officials when something happens, like an employer witholding pay or what have you. this is a very serious and real consequence of living as an outlaw and something which, strangely, is oft ignored by the media in their campaign to present people of differing views as bigoted racists.

please.. stop with the old "indians didn't want immigrants" cannard! it's driving me insane! i would suspect that you would not be able to find one example in history of a culture looking forward to being consumed within a foreign culture.

of course they didn't want illegal immigrants! they couldn't stop them from coming, however, and their culture has nearly been destroyed; even the Sacred Mountain has been descrated with the faces of people being carved on it!!

this is a pattern of history which has been repeated ad naseum and it is only recently in human history when nation-states have been able to prevent this from happening... and not all nation-states can do it alone.. many of them need help and that is a whole other discussion.

in any event, i suppose that i would sum up my post with this phrase:

immigration = good
illegal immigration = bad


Personal Experience...

70's I lived in Northern California, orchards, grain, beans and potato fields...

Planting season a few but harvest season illegal migrant immigrants everywhere...right up till the season was over then INS would come in with buses to take them home. Standing at the buses and driving the workers to the buses were the farmers. Nobody was charged and the farmers would tell them when to be back next year. Without them you wouldn't have crops on your table, period. It isn't that there aren't enough legals to do it, there aren't enough people to do it, or those willing to travel and live in the hunting shacks and tents and trailers that were provided for the time while harvest season lasts.

Currently their are hundreds of thousands of illegals (now I am generalizing, multiplying what I know by the small area I know it in) working in good paying jobs paying MORE than their share in social securty, fica, suta, futa, state, local and federal taxes. These are union carpenters, electricians, plumbers, cement finishers and laborers...$15-40 per hour and more. When a company hires someone and their SS# does not match their name, the instructions are to change their tax status from whatever dependents to ZERO SINGLE. They could have said, or have 2 or 9 dependents could be married but their withholding is held at the highest rate...until they correct the SS#. If they don't their is no additional filing to INS or the IRS, taxes are witheld and paid. The trick? They can't file a return, they can't collect social security....they pay in at the highest rate, and get nothing back, from State, from Local, from Federal, from SS from anyone....ever.

So the farmers benefit in that they get the crops out of the field and to the market. The corporations benefit with having employees. The construction companies benefit with willing employees. We as citizens have full shelves of veggies and fruits, new homes being built, and products to market. The IRS increases its coffers as well as the State and Local services you were concerned about.

So if you are earning between 30-80k this year....look at your deductions...and how much you would have paid in taxes if you had zero deductions...and multiply it by say a million or two... significant numbers....
It is an interesting argument and thank you wil for showing me an error in my initial argument. If something illegal is good... then why not just legalize it? Wil presents a way that I had not seen here... to still keep the paperwork on people who work in America through their employment. Then to struggle against the practice, impose a sin tax. It is similar to a SIN tax where you can hug that smoker because he is helping pay for the roads above and beyond you, as a percentage of his income... and you can hug that alcoholic because he has paid more for your school than you have, as a percentage of his income. All the while you can feel good opposing his practice monetarily and still get the benefit of his work.

I still consider it wrong, and here is the rub. Why not publicly make legal what was illegal? What does LEGAL mean? Ultimately it means that the society somehow, democratically, collectively, accepts that it is good and allowed, and does not enforce a law against it. I do sympathize with Pathless's argument that LAW in the USA is far, far from perfect. Federal law in my opinion is mostly controlled by an elite crowd in DC, allegedly representative. Yet, I wish to promote the good aspects of law between people, and to move towards something even better rather than backwards. If illegal immigrants are not accepted, registered, AND given a VOTE in the very law they are subject to, then someone has re-accepted SLAVERY. The immigrant has no voting power... if he did, then he would be a legal American. I don't want his taxes if he has no vote... that is a step backwards. If an African says, "YES, I want to go to America for a better way of life... make me a slave in your farms." Some Americans say, "NO... we abolished slavery... it is illegal". Another says, "He doesn't pay taxes". The African says, "You racists, I want to work". A farmer says, "Hey wait a minute, I want his help... he'll pay taxes". What is wrong with that picture?

I can see that it is hard for two bordering cities living on each side of a fence, kind of like two children born into two different families and having to accept two different laws. The employer in one city wants to hire the people of another city, and vice-versa. The people in one city want to work for the people of another city, and vice-versa. Similarly the parents of one family want to love the children of another family, and the children of one family want the opportunity that they see in the parents of another family. Why can't all be families be the same and all children given the same opportunity?! By proximity the two neighboring cities on opposite sides of the border are closer to each other in climate, mother-nature, etc... so why shouldn't they be allowed to form agreements (laws) locally without the burden of cities distant to help determine their laws?

I don't have all the answers, and I don't post to look necessarily for common ground. I equally look for the differing viewpoints. Whether I have agreed or disagreed, I appreciate all who share theirs... I'm going to walk away seeing something I didn't before. Therein I see a true value in migration or of taking the leap of faith into someone else's world... may we never lose sight of that in this giant melting pot.
I believe this is why their exists a movement afoot for the 'guest worker' card. And also why there is a movement against it. Tons of lost revenue should it happen. So for the past 30 years that I've been aware of what is going on around me, it has been treated as a necesarry evil by the powers that be.

I've never seen INS come with the busses before harvest was finished. Nor one turned away from work. They show their fake ID, fill out the forms, when they get their check and see they are only taking home 60% they make a this 60% better than what they can make under the table for someone else? And then either stay at work or go...

Truth is our country is really getting in dire straits when it comes to construction as well, someone willing to do the back breaking work, in the heat, in the cold, in the weather, someone that can read a tape measure, and blueprints, run some men, show up for work everyday...these people are getting more and more rare...hence the illegals moving in and filling the void.

Soon the tide will turn regarding the pay of the handyman, the Doctor, Lawyer, Computer geek will say what?? Your salary is higher than mine...and the plumber will say...I didn't make this much when I was a Doctor either.

You think I'm joking, right now working on construction sites are folks from India, China and Pakistan with engineering degrees and doctorates that labs and offices won't hire because they are over qualified....
I too see many polarizations in the world and they are scary in that a person realizes a correction is coming. They are exciting in many ways... well, because a correction is coming.

I tend to look for the cause of the polarizations and oppose it, and yet as a person who judges right from wrong, I am seemingly a person who helps to make them. In that sense, everyone is. But the polarization that interests me is ultimately soul and body, because it is the real one people do not see.

For example though, the US - China relationship. In the USA people live in a capitalist market and dislike communism or socialism, yet they buy goods from China (Walmart) because it is cheaper. In China (many countries) people oppose the rule of America, and yet most slave away in shops to work for them. If brought to mind, the Americans could boycott purchasing from China and the Chinese people could boycott working for whoever. A big, huge correction, and both sides would physically lose. So why not drive the polarization... it produces good things? Or does it. I see that someone somewhere has a vice to overcome to de-polarize.

I feel that the guest worker program helps to drive the polarization for the wrong reasons. Perhaps coming to America is NOT as much an act of Faith, but one today born of greed... thus reversing the situation. Those PhD's and hard workers coming to America are starving their homeland of the brainpower that it desperately needs... which could help to produce jobs there in those countries. At the same time, many who immigrate across borders seemingly help to knit away the polarizations. Exciting, scary times.
I'm really interested in everyone's input, and glad that everyone is being friendly (after perhaps a little initial testiness) about a subject that generates strong opinions. But that's typical of this site, and why I enjoy it here so much. :)

I agree that illegal immigration is a big problem, and one that needs to be addressed. But the opinion I see a lot of people having is not so much, "oh, those blasted illegal immigrants" as "oh, those blasted Mexicans and other Hispanics." If there's been talk lately of building a fence on the Canadian border to keep out those dangerous Canucks, or off the West Coast to keep out the Asians, I've missed it.

After all, the Asians work hard, go to college, get good grades. The Mexicans just want to take over our jobs, right?

I've done enough immigrating in my lifetime and lived in enough immigrant communities (both in the US and elsewhere) to know exactly how stressful, scary, exhausting, frightening, and emotionally draining immigration is. I would venture to say that people ALWAYS immigrate to create a better life for themselves. They don't immigrate to take over the country or destroy the natives' way of life. (The people who do that are called colonists, and they come with a military.) After all, immigrants come to a particular country because they appreciate the way of life in that country.

You try leaving everything you've ever known, all your family, all your friends, all your possessions except for what you can easily tote yourself, go to a country where you don't speak the language at all, or just barely. You don't know how the legal system works there, you don't know how the social system works there, if the lights go out in your apartment you don't know who to call about it - for that matter you don't know what the system is for finding an apartment (not every country puts classified ads in the papers, even assuming you could read the papers). You don't even understand people's body language and tone of voice - if someone says something to you, you aren't always sure if they are angry, making a joke, or just stating a fact, and you aren't sure how to respond to make it clear what you mean. You can't get permanent residency until you get a full-time job. You can't get a full-time job until you get health insurance. You can't get health insurance until you get permanent residency. You really want to learn the language, but it takes you a while to learn the system enough to figure out how and where language classes for immigrants are offered. And because you don't have a decent job (not being able to speak the language very well and all), you discover, when you do find a class, that you can't afford it. Once you somehow manage to learn the language a bit, there are plenty of people who won't hire you, because whatever your education back home, it isn't recognized here. Plus you have a funny name. And during all this, you have almost no contact with your family and friends in your native country, because after all, international phone calls are REALLY expensive, and with your earnings, you can't afford to call that often. You can't afford a tv, couldn't understand it if you got it, and books in your native language are really hard to find. It takes a while to crack the social code here, so unless you're lucky enough to move into an enclave of immigrants from your native country, you don't really have many friends to go out with (even assuming you made enough money to go out much anyway). You spend a lot of time alone in your room doing not much.

Sounds like a blast - I can see why so many people want to do it.

What I think is, if conditions in someone's home country are so bad that all of this seems like an improvement, the least we can do is make the process of immigration as easy and humane and sensible as possible. And not waste time and energy asking five-year-olds if they're communists, or berating would-be tourists to the point of tears.

I'm not saying Americans should let down the floodgates completely and holler, "Y'all come!", but I am so sick of the argument that immigrants are going to destroy American life as we know it.

I've seen a political cartoon from roughly the 1850's, when a lot of Irish Catholics were coming to America. People were seriously afraid that this was a Vatican plot to take over the country. In the cartoon, reptilian-looking bishops are swimming up the Mississippi, their mitres equipped with crocodile teeth, to the horror of the citizens trapped on the banks. In the background, the Capitol building is sporting a Vatican flag on one side and an Irish flag on the other, and has been redubbed "United Roman Catholic States" or words to that effect. Off to the side, Lady Liberty is being led to the gallows. We haven't yet started paying taxes to Rome, so I would guess a lot of that worry was unfounded. I see a lot of the same sort of panic these days about Hispanic immigrants.

"At this rate, white people will be in the minority by 2050!" or whatever the date is. So? So what?
Scarlet Pimpernel said:
If there's been talk lately of building a fence on the Canadian border to keep out those dangerous Canucks, or off the West Coast to keep out the Asians, I've missed it.

Unfortunately, I haven't. I actually heard Idaho Governer Butch Otter make a case for a fence along the border with Canada. He pointed to "terrorists" leaking into the US from this country, citing heavily an incident at the border a few years back where a potential "terrorist" leaked through. I don't think that I am mis-remembering him actually advocating for a wall/fence.

Some of the arguments for the wall/fence along the US/Mexico border also incite fear by presenting this argument of preventing "terrorism." This argument, I think, holds little water.

A discussion for another thread perhaps:
Approaches to lessening "terrorism": build walls or examine deeply programmed, widely unexamined foreign policies?​