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January 07, 2004

Comments

Jennifer Rice

Actually, the do get plenty of benefits from living in America. Free health care is one. From the comments on a similar post at www.businesspundit.com, "(illegals) suck away resources from schools, hospitals and the like (and in California, it is a SERIOUS drain on our taxes). A Proposition in California to do something - which passed by 60% - were overturned by the courts (so much for the voice of the people). I don't deny that they work hard, but they're still using the US infrastructure that's paid for by taxpayers.

Mike

In an ideal world a program (without loopholes) would be a great benefit to those landscapers and baby sitters. But there was no mention of limits to the types of jobs. The program proposed today would also be open to foreigners abroad who have job offers here. I can imagine that Wal-Mart and others will find a way to legally make those offers. Lastly, imagine ANY job that wasn’t already paying minimum wage. If the employer suddenly decides that wages for that job should lowered couldn’t they create a situation where no American were available to fill the position?

Regarding the foreign technology worker that finds his market value and adjusts his salary expectations – it’s still all upside for him. He can increase his expectations and as long as it is lower than the prevailing rate he is the more attractive candidate. He moves up and on to another job at a higher wage potentially edging out another American that might fill that slot while his old job is filled by another foreign worker. We have already seen numerous cases where policies that are supposed to be pro-business (lower costs or less regulation meaning higher profits leading to expansion and ultimately JOB GROWTH) instead leading to nothing but higher executive compensation. And, in some of these cases the executives just happen to be major campaign contributors.

Director Mitch

The problem is that few of those 5.9% unemployed are willing to come mow my lawn every week for $70 a month (like I have now). Or watch my neighbor's two kids eight hours a day every weekday for $350 a week.

These people aren't moochers. They work extremely hard. And let's face facts - most of them work for cash wages, for less than minimum wage, get no benefits, etc., etc., etc.

I am not thrilled about the policy, but I think you have to recognize how things really are along the border states and put in a policy that reflects reality. I am not sure Bush's does it, but you didn't offer any alternatives in your post except to rant.

Chris

Actually, I would say that the real problem is that government is dumping all these regulations on businesses in the first place. People coming to America to exchange their labor for money has been going on since the colonial days. It's nothing new!

As for the educated white collar programmer type who comes here and takes a job at 1/2 the prevailing wage..it obviously happens, but I'm not sure its a huge problem. Since they are educated smart people, I'll bet they figure out their market value fairly quickly and adjust their salary expectations accordingly. In my experience in the dot com boom days placing some Indian DBA's, this is exactly what happened. Anyway, I think I'd rather having them working here, where they might temporarily displace one US worker, versus working for a foreign company overseas where their talent may lead to the deminse of a US company that can't compete.

hp

Hi,

I wonder if this decision will, eventually, lead to a trend of "inshoring" whereby work will be outsourced to illegal immigrants through agents acting as intermediaries despite risks (in line with Jennifer's last post).

Being a recently naturalized citizen, I find this issue very interesting for its implications in both the U.S. and other countries.

Best regards,

hp

Jennifer Rice

Good point, but let's take that to its logical conclusion: American law-abiding employers are --in essence -- being penalized by paying higher wages than the law-breaking employers hiring illegals for the same kind of jobs. You're right, illegals trade their labor at a lower cost... but how will it impact society if we open our doors to more illegals, and more jobs get 'cheapened' by people who are willing to work for less than minimum wage? What is a job -- any job -- in the United States of America actually worth? BTW, we're not just talking uneducated laborers when we use the term illegal immigrants. There are plenty of educated workers who come here and work for less than minimum wage while they try to earn their green card. So what happens when an educated illegal from Europe or India is willing to take half the salary for a white-collar job (yes, this happens today)? You're telling me that this immigrant isn't taking away a desirable job from a citizen? A proposal like this applies to a computer software genius as well as an uneducated laborer.

Chris

Political issues aside, immigrants, legal or illegal, don't really take jobs from Americans. For the most part, they do jobs us citizens won't do, and often they trade their labor at a lower cost than we will.

Jennifer Rice

Thanks for your comment. I'm dating someone who's originally from England and it took something like 5+ years of effort to get his green card.

Ali

As a legal immigrant, I find the concessions to illegals irritating. If you don't have appropriate visas, you shouldn't be here, and deporting is a valid response to illegal immigrants. It's an insult to the time and effort we put in to maintaining legal immigrant status.

El Bizarro

You're right, you shouldn't comment on politics.

You should consider taking Mr Hicks advice on what to do if you're in marketing.

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