Friday, June 4, 2010

Does Immigration Cost Jobs? Nope.

Does Immigration Cost Jobs?

I don't remember how many times I've read this article from But the fact of the matter is, immigration, whether legal or illegal, has little effect on available jobs. It actually helps us more than many people may want to admit (even with the whole healthcare issue). This will have to be brief, but yes, I do support some amnesty for some immigrants in certain situations - those under 18, especially those who are enrolled in school and intend to go on to college (as I don't believe children should be punished for what their parents do); anyone seeking asylum (which really should go without saying. That's the whole point of asylum!); some families, workers, etc. This is a tough issue for me, honestly, because I can understand the trials and merits of both sides of the argument... I don't consider immigration to be that serious of a crime, regardless of how someone gets into the country (I'm including visas in this too... it's complicated), and I believe that most people who do enter the US illegally with the intention to live and work here would actually prefer to come here through the "proper" means.... So amnesty does seem like a good choice, at least for the people already here. If they do not want to be citizens, they should be allowed the option of a guest work visa... But at the end of the day, it's still a visa, and the rules for that should be followed as well. (Again, visas are complicated... The rules for different types of visas are different; and sometimes you can get it renewed and sometimes you can't or you have to wait a few months; sometimes you can't go back home and you get stuck between countries... As much as I wanted to stay in Australia, my student visa would have run out eventually, and it's not like I wasn't in a position to arrange to stay longer... If you are able to get a visa, there are many international organizations that can help you try to obtain citizenship or a green card, especially if you get "stuck.") However criminal behavior such as gang violence, murder, armed theft, & these "terrorists" are another story-- by all means, punish away, within reason. Legalizing and taxing certain drugs would help with some of those problems. For the worst offenses, deportation has often been considered to be the top punishment, though I'm not sure how effective that really is... If they got here in the first place, who's to say they won't come back? Fences and walls too are a bit useless... 2006, President of Mexico vs. President Bush - conflicting viewpoints over the Secure Fence Act. Another example - Berlin Wall, anyone? There are ways to get around these things. It may be difficult, but where there's a will... I do have to wonder if granting amnesty would really encourage more people to come here undocumented, as opponents claim. I think if there is a way we could restrict it to people who were already here... It may not be all that realistic, but neither is trying to round up and deport every single undocumented person in the country, or stop every person trying to enter. Someone once pointed out that a major difference between immigration in the 1900s and today is that we had well-known sites like Ellis Island to centralize the whole process... Maybe that could help us facilitate and organize things today?

I don't personally see amnesty as being a reward for committing a crime, but I can see why some people might. And I can understand why some people may feel threatened by outsiders coming into our "home" and "taking over." After all, that's how the indigenous populations felt too... And every assimilated generation of the "melting pot" era. But I cannot, as a human being, condone kicking other human beings out of their homes and lives and shipping them "back where they came from" simply because they didn't fill out some paperwork and pay a few hundred dollars in legal fees. Though thinking about that reminds me of what my history teacher said... That whole "triangular trade" thing, since apparently using "slave trade" is "inaccurate" according to the Texas SBOE [rolls eyes]-- He talked about it being undocumented (forced) immigration, and the only thing that kept the majority of people from wanting to "send them back where they came from" was their economic value to society. He also pointed out how things have changed. Modern immigrants come here willingly (for the most part. I'm not sure children can really count there...), and do contribute immensely to society in so many ways, including economically. (And unfortunately, many people are still treated like slaves all over the world...) But that whole "send them back" sentiment is alive and well. Even for legal citizens...

And on that note, I also wanted to point out something else... The reason I chose to use "undocumented" vs. illegal is because of something learned in one of my counseling seminars. It's the same as punishing children - you don't actually want to say that the child is bad but that the behavior is bad. Emphasize the behavior. Otherwise, it dehumanizes the situation and has a profound affect on stigma, social perception, and self-view. (This all makes more sense in psych-world... Sort of plays into the reasoning behind "political correctness" -- which can get REALLY annoying-- but there's a lot of reasons for why it's important.)

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