I get so sick of hearing people talk about our immigration problem in the United States. They all have the same tired arguments about how “illegals” (their word, not mine) are “destroying our Country.” Most discussions I hear about immigration take a fairly simplistic problem, and complicates it to the nth degree. “Build fences!” “Militarized border guard!” Yadda Yadda. The problem is, these armchair political theorists are fighting the wrong portion of the problem.
You see, there is another far more nefarious illegal partner involved in illegal immigration: US Employers.
When people cry out that “illegals have taken their jobs,” they direct all the anger at people who just came here seeking a better life the same way most of our ancestors did, albeit they entered this country sans documentation. Why did they cross the Northern border instead of migrating to countries like Guatemala? That answer is pretty simple. The jobs are in the United States, and that is where the part of this problem US citizens should be pissed about lies.
If US employers from farmers to factories to Wal-Mart weren’t willing to hire undocumented workers, the very people we hear so many complain about wouldn’t have come here in the manner they have to begin with. Don’t’ get me wrong. I’m all about personal accountability, but that’s just the point here. US employers should be accountable to the fact they hire undocumented workers—and what’s more, they should be accountable for the fact they also exploit them.
Many undocumented workers work in unsafe environments for a lesser wage than a citizen would, and without benefits, thereby making them ideal employees for these companies. Undocumented workers are barely above being slave labor. Yet, rather than US citizens being enraged that human beings are being exploited, and that it is US companies that encourage so many immigrants to enter the country illegally by way of continuing to employ them, we, instead, point our angry fingers at people who are just here to escape abject poverty.
Tell me something. Do we really believe that people who don’t even speak English are better qualified for and are stealing our jobs? No. Despite the huge communication barrier, undocumented workers are being illegally employed every day because companies know that unless they are caught doing so, they can save money by exploiting these folks. Even if the employers are caught, the repercussion is a fine…a FINE. It is still the undocumented citizen who pays the real price: deportation. So, these employers practicing unethical, illegal employment practices get by easy. Maybe, if we citizens demanded stricter regulations and punishments for exploiting human beings—and in some cases encouraging human trafficking, our “immigration problem” might come to a screeching halt. The real simple truth is that if there were not jobs here for them, immigrants would not be crossing without going through the proper channels. It really is just that simple. The problem, then, rests on the shoulders of employers who are willing to illegally employ and exploit undocumented citizens.
But then again, when have we, here in the US, ever been worried about unethical exploitation of human beings? Don’t like that question? Think I’m being overly dramatic? Ask a Native American or other Person of Color.
( Cover image via: http://www.prepaid-wireless-guide.com/illegal-immigrants-and-prepaid-cellphones.html)