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Why Allow Unskilled Immigrants Into the U.S.?

Updated on July 16, 2019
Virginia Allain profile image

Virginia is a passionate progressive and now leads a group of women activists in her retirement community. It's not safe to ignore politics.

Let's Talk About the Need for Immigrant Labor


How Do You Answer When Someone Attacks Unskilled Immigrants?

"A friend posted this today. Comments from the person's "Trump friends" were disgusting. But I have no idea how to answer this. I know I disagree, but I cannot find the right words to explain how I feel. Any suggestions would be appreciated, including "It's not worth answering!" By the way, if I did respond, I would either Private Message or email the person. I know responding on Facebook would just result in a flurry of more nasty comments from the person's cohorts.

"To all my liberal friends (and I do have many)... I can't understand how anyone can support illegal immigration. The impact of the poorer, unskilled workers in our country is painful. Increased numbers of unskilled (or low skilled) workers drive down wages... especially in a supply & demand economy like ours. And the cost to taxpayers just gets higher and higher. So it's a double-edged sword for the low and middle class. Wages going down and taxes going up. Also, housing costs are being driven up, at the same time. Which doesn't help the homelessness issues we are seeing in many of our cities. I just don't get it!"

The question about how to answer a question like this was submitted by Marilyn C. S. of Central Florida.

Only 49.2% of all farm laborers are United States citizens, and nearly 3/4 farmworkers are foreign-born, with nearly 70% have been born in Mexico.

— National Center for Farmworker Health (2012)

A Friend Shared Her Experience

Joan S. said "I don't know a comprehensive answer but I can speak from my experience working for the University of Minnesota & Wisconsin in rural counties. There was/is a labor shortage in agriculture on dairy farms, poultry farms, hog farms, meat processing plants, etc. because "citizens" didn't want to do that kind of work. Immigrants both legal and illegal came from Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, etc. to work. Even Somalis moved from Minneapolis to rural Wisconsin to work at the turkey processing plant.

One Ecuadorian family I knew, had a son who went on to attend the University of Wisconsin veterinary school. He graduated as one of the top in his class and is now a large animal vet in Wisconsin ( which there is also a shortage of). Without these immigrants, agriculture would be in an even bigger crisis than it is. We need immigration reform, not Trump's policies."

It's a misconception that “liberals” support illegal immigration. I support people’s right to seek asylum and a path to citizenship. Personally, I think the conservatives have been so brainwashed they don’t see the others point of view

— Pamela W,

Immigrants Are Not the Problem


Understanding the Need for Unskilled Workers

Linda R. answered the question this way, " Because I know the type of responses any comment posted by an intelligent and informed Liberal will generate, I’m inclined to advise it’s “not worth answering.” However...sigh... I could not keep quiet and I’d probably not be too nice!

I’d probably post something along the line of:

I comprehend your statement about the impact immigration has on the “poor and unskilled” US worker. However, I respectfully disagree. I live in central Florida, and I see with my own eyes the menial and filthy labor being performed by immigrants on a daily basis in my community and in the orchards and fields surrounding my community.

  • Now, do you comprehend the fact that most of the jobs taken by immigrants (legal or illegal) are jobs that NO U.S. worker, skilled or unskilled, wishes to accept or will actually do?
  • Do you comprehend those jobs are given to immigrants by US employers because they do not wish—and, in fact, refuse—to pay living wages to their employees, even to U.S. citizens?
  • Does the cost to U.S. taxpayers, due to immigrant employment, continue to climb; are there actual statistics to support this statement, or is this simply a right-wing talking point?
  • Do you understand wages decrease primarily because greedy employers want more for themselves while paying little or no taxes to our government?
  • Every U.S. dollar an employer pays to an employee is one less U.S. dollar in the employer’s bank account!
  • Do you comprehend the citizens of the nations to the south of suffering immensely and much of that suffering is a direct result of the machinations of the USA in their nation’s affairs?"

Please, before you post another negative word about immigrants, do your research on this matter, and you might also consider studying your own family tree!

— Linda R.

In the past, there have been guest-worker permits issued for migrant workers to come in to pick crops. I suggest that our government look at reviving that option.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Virginia Allain


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