Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Story of Illegal immigrant spun a different way

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2002 10:00 pm | Updated: 2:24 pm, Mon Mar 19, 2012.

In December, I wrote about "Miguel," a former English as a Second Language student who had visited the classroom to share some good news.

Miguel had recently secured a $22 an hour construction job with full benefits.

Miguel, an illegal alien, was a good student, an upwardly mobile fellow and an overall nice guy. But the point of my essay, which I felt was abundantly clear, is that it is disingenuous for pro-immigration advocates to argue ad nauseum that immigrants only take jobs Americans won't accept.Joe Guzzardi

Clearly, a $22 an hour construction job with benefits and paid vacation is a good job. Unemployed Americans, of whom there are an ever-growing number, would jump at it.

And millions of employed Americans would love to trade up for Miguel's job.

In fact, if Miguel wants to swap jobs with me, I'll do it in a heartbeat.

But one prominent Californian, who read an Internet version of my column, spun Miguel's story a completely different way.

Ron Unz, chairman of English for the Children, declared in his newsletter that Miguel's success proves that illegal aliens without educations can come to the U.S. and prosper.

Unz is a self-professed proponent of unlimited immigration. His interpretation of Miguel's story serves his own purposes. But Miguel's tale, as I told it, proves that illegal immigrants compete successfully with some Americans for blue-collar jobs.

That Miguel has made it into the American mainstream doesn't mean, as Unz suggests, that every illegal alien will be as fortunate. Among those who come to America illegally, some prosper; some struggle and some end up in jail.

How, Unz wondered, did Miguel land his job?

While I don't know the details of the answer, falsified documents were certainly involved. To get his job Miguel had to commit at least three federal offenses: Entering the U.S. illegally, purchasing false documents and using those documents to obtain his employment.

Every time Miguel uses his phony ID to open bank accounts or obtain loans or social services, he compounds his crime.

This is very unfair to hard-working, law-abiding citizens who are trying to improve their lot. And I doubt if Unz would have such a generous opinion about breaking the law if he were directly victimized

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, about 10 million working Americans have a high-school diploma or less. And estimates of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S. range around 10 million.

The 1-to-1 ratio of illegal immigrants to working Americans with no more than a high-school diploma bodes poorly for our blue-collar workers. Those statistics cannot be interpreted any other way.

If you come to America with nothing, as two-thirds of adult Mexicans do, then any job at any wage looks good. And America is full of unscrupulous employers, big and small, eager to hire cheap labor. Read the stories about Tyson Foods if you have any doubts about the extent to which businesses will go to suppress wages.

Recently, the New York Times reported that the influx of low-wage earning immigrant workers has affected median household incomes in middle and upper-middle class communities across the country.

Steven Greenhouse, in his Dec. 22 story, "Median income drops are tied to immigrants," wrote that new census data showed that in counties with a major increase in immigrants - Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx as well as wealthier suburbs like Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester - median household incomes fell nearly 20 percent in the period from 1989 to 1998.

In Los Angeles, which has experienced a huge increase in immigration from Mexico, median income fell in constant dollars from $45,962 to $37,655 or a decline of 18 percent.

As with any study that suggests that immigration has a downside, the findings were immediately challenged. Some economists claimed that immigration plays no role in the decline in median income. They point instead to declining power of the labor unions, automation and poor schools that graduate unqualified students.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that while immigrants continue to move into highly urbanized areas, they are also for the first time settling in the suburbs. And median household incomes are falling in any county that has undergone a significant increase in its immigrant population. The relationship between a higher immigrant population and lower median household income cannot be disputed.

"This new phenomenon is reducing household incomes," said Robert D. Yaro, executive director of the Regional Plan Association in New York, referring to mass immigration. "It's consistent with the national phenomenon of the suburbanization of poverty."

As long as America continues to let under-educated, under-skilled people cross the border, the net result will be bad for America.

Tyson Foods and its shareholders profit from cheap labor. But the country as a whole does not.

Poorly educated individuals with limited skills either take away jobs held by Americans - construction, meat and poultry processing, hotel and janitorial services - or they go on social services. How else can they survive?

While I am disappointed by Unz's take on the impact of illegal aliens on American workers, I have great respect for his willingness to pause and read opinions that do not jive with his.

In his newsletter, Unz mentions that he finds contrary opinions "often interesting and sometimes challenging."

That is a lot more than I can say for the New York Times, which Unz refers to as an equal to him in its pro-immigration philosophy.

But the Times and other major dailies like the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, etc. ad infinitum, are dismissive and frequently insulting to anyone who dares dispute their immigration position.

Unz, at least, is willing to enter the fray, and he deserves credit for that.

Joe Guzzardi, an instructor at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly opinion column since 1988. He can be reached via e-mail.


Comments about this column? Send mail to the News-Sentinel newsroom.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE LODI NEWS-SENTINEL

To subscribe to the Lodi News-Sentinel, fill out our online form or call our Subscriber Services Department at (209) 333-1400.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 9 hours ago by Angie McDaniel.

article: Letter: U.S. suffers from total lack of…

Nice spin attempt there Mike. "Where have I said that ALL cops should be punished? Punished for what and how?" You support lo…

More...

Posted 11 hours ago by Angie McDaniel.

article: Letter: Leaders to blame for police dea…

Yeah, you can start by reading the original post before commenting with unintelligible information. The Constitution does not give American…

More...

Posted Yesterday by Shane Marcus.

article: Knights of Columbus annual crab feed

What kind of crab? There is more than one kind...

More...

Posted Yesterday by Angie McDaniel.

article: Letter: Leaders to blame for police dea…

Ed, stay on point. No one asked you to provide the top ten most dangerous jobs. I don't remember the last time an iron worker was threatene…

More...

Posted Yesterday by Shane Marcus.

article: Census: Young adults face higher povert…

You really cannot compare 1980 with 2014. Those were the Regan years, and although he wasn't perfect he never disrespect to the office (Co…

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Vote on the biggest local story in 2014: See poll below

It has been an eventful year in Lodi, from the antics of a wild turkey named Tom Kettleman to the announced closure of the General Mills plant. What do you see as the biggest story of the year?

Total Votes: 354

Loading…

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists