Which title sounds better to you? "Undocumented Worker" or "Illegal Alien?"
When you watch the news, count how many times you hear each phrase. Which one do you think strikes more fear in the average TV viewer? There are a lot of conflicting truths, but I rarely hear a word about the "Illegal Employers."
The other night, Jesse Jackson was the guest on the faux-news "Colbert Report" and was being hammered by Colbert's right-wing persona about immigration. What Jesse kept saying was that "these people were sent for." If you think about it that way, it seems kind of odd to only blame the "illegals" and not the people who provide the jobs to bring them over here. I'm not saying it's OK with me to cross a border without permission. Until the day comes when every world citizen has the same rights as privileges, borders are a practical necessity. I just find some people's indignation about immigration a little odd, when they are probably not that removed from someone who hires a gardner, nanny, or cook. We all probably have a favorite restaurant we like to go to, and we probably don't think too much about who's working in the back, cleaning the dishes, and cooking our food.
American citizens work abroad, but we don't expect them to behave like they're not Americans. But somehow when we ask people to come work here, we also want them to wave American flags too. Today, at major demonstrations, the word was put out to demonstrators to put away the Mexican flags, and only wave US flags. A smart, if somewhat cynical move.
In the last dozen years or so, we have become used to a low annual inflation rate, but at what cost? We buy lots of cheap items made in China. Are we willing to pay American citizens to do the same work as those Chinese? If we make the Mexican workers apply for citizenship, pay taxes and fines, and learn English, how much more will we have to pay to have the leaves blown off our lawns?
This is much more complicated than any 40-second news bite can swallow. Do undocumented workers take American jobs? Definitely. Do they also use public services such as health care? For sure. But once again, this reminds me of the burden the employers are shirking, just like the de facto reality of Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart pays their workers so little, that that the employees can't afford healthcare, and end up using the public emergency services for their health care. The public picks up the tab for Wal-Mart that Wal-Mart should pay. In the case of the illegals, we all pick up the tab for their services that should be paid by any conscientious employer.
No wall can be built high enough to keep people out who are 'being sent for.' If we can stop illegal hiring, the number of illegal aliens would shrink dramatically. That is, of course, if you're willing to pay a little more for a head of lettuce.