At first glance, one might think that the fight over whether to provide amnesty to “undocumenteds” is a fight between those who are selfish and greedy and those who care about people desperately wanting to improve their situations. In the aftermath of the failed Senate immigration bill, one might be tempted to ask why a nation that was built by immigrants seeking a better life should shut the door on people searching for the same thing? Unfortunately, this viewpoint makes the issue look deceptively simple: what if by granting amnesty we actually failed hopeful immigrants and present citizens alike?
We must consider whether crusading for the rights of “undocumented” people is actually a caring thing to do when its ramifications are considered. If fighting to insure that those who are not actually legally permitted to live here can in fact live here hurts perfectly innocent people, are those actions really kind and caring?
The United States has limited resources. There are a limited number of jobs, a limited amount of space, and a limited amount of money in our welfare system. While it could – and perhaps should – be said that we do not allow in enough immigrants, one must still acknowledge that there is a finite limit of people who can be added to the rolls as citizens and legal aliens before the quality of life for all people, except perhaps for the very wealthiest, will diminish.
The problem with the whole debate is that it has focused on whether or not we should grant amnesty to illegal aliens as if that were an isolated decision. The larger question that has been ignored is how many immigrants can the US support without hurting other hardworking families and lessening the potential benefits for the immigrants themselves?
Often undocumented labor has not really filled jobs “nobody wants,” but reduced the going wage for jobs to the extent that they become jobs “nobody wants.” In many cases, “undocumented workers” willing to work for relatively little have replaced union laborers, or others, who once were able to earn a good wage for their work. Because these workers will work for less and have increased the overall “supply” of workers, the going wage for jobs such as roofing naturally will drop. The union laborers may still want the job, but not at what they can now earn doing them. Who worries about these people and their well being?
Likewise, we must remember not only those who wish to emigrate from Mexico, but also from the rest of the world. We do many potential Americans injustice if we ignore them in favor of one group that happened to live in a neighboring country and hence could cross the border relatively easily.
Our country was built on the determination and desire for a better life that led many people from around the world to come here. St. Louis itself is a testament to that fact. Obviously those who act as if we should seal our borders entirely misunderstand how critical immigration is to this place we live. But, those who blindly promote amnesty for “undocumenteds” in the country illegally also have too narrow a view of things. In their quest to help a certain set of hopeful immigrants, they ignore the fact that there are many others either already here or wanting to come here from other parts of the world that are surely just as worthy of a chance at “the American dream.”
The question is not about whether or not we should help the poor and the immigrant, but which poor and which immigrants.
|Home About Connect: Twitter Facebook RSS|