Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The New Jew?

I have been saying for a long time that Immigrants, particularly from poor countries are the new Jew. For centuries when a scape goat was needed Jews always fit the bill, but over the last twenty years or so the immigrant has become the one to blame.

Now, in the US immigrants have come under fire from time to time, starting around the early 1900s when thousands of Irish and Eastern Europeans were pouring into the country. They were looked upon as stupid and lazy, even though they worked long hours in the worst of conditions in order to achieve the American Dream.

The difference today is, now the US has some safety nets set up for it's poorest citizens and many people jealously guarding their earnings from taxes claim that poor immigrants only come here to receive social services.

While I agree that we are educating illegal aliens in our public schools and that many of these children receive free breakfast and lunch I don't believe that they are receiving most of the social services that many critics claim. Most immigrants work hard and keep their heads down, they don't want to attract the government's attention by applying for food stamps, CHip and medicaid.

For many years I drove through construction sites all over the city of San Antonio each quarter to conduct a housing census. The majority of the workers were hispanic and spoke little English. They were working their butts off, many times working on Saturdays and Sundays.

I live in a right to work state so the construction workers are not unionized. I have heard that in northern states where the workers belong to unions, they stop work for all their scheduled breaks regardless of whether or not they are holding up traffic or causing problems at the work site. I'm sure if they worked on Saturdays and Sundays they would get time and a half. I know that's not the case for illegal aliens, in fact many times their employers don't pay them minimum wage and in some cases don't pay them at all, because they know the illegals won't report them.

Now I realize that the unions are worried about being under cut by illegal labor. But is this really the fault of the illegals? Who does the hiring?

I agree that illegal immigration is a problem that needs workable solutions, but I don't think building higher fences is the solution. Right now the US only allows about 3,000 unskilled laborers per year to enter the country legally. According to the Pew Hispanic Center estimates, there are 12 million illegal aliens in the US as of March 7, 2010. Three thousand is such a paltry amount in comparison to the number of illegal aliens it's not even funny.

There are several things that could be tried:

1. Raising the limit of unskilled laborers to a reasonable level and setting up a hiring center for them to find jobs, thus requiring the employers to pay decent wages that don't undercut wages for citizens.

2. Help Mexico to build their own economy so that there are more decent paying jobs for their citizens.

3. Lowering our country's demand for illegal drugs by instituting drug rehab and prevention programs.

I'm sure there are many more solutions that I haven't thought of that would help fix the problem, probably several things put together would work.

So far the beginning of this century has been a time filled with anxiety: terrorist attacks, wars, economic meltdowns, religious fanaticism, social problems, natural disasters, Global warming. Blaming the immigrants for all of our problems won't change things.

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