Illegal immigration is one of the biggest political issues of our time. The recent package of executive orders has only appeared to pour more gas on a fire that has been burning for decades. Over the years, an argument often used against illegal immigration is its threat to the jobs of American citizens. But perhaps we only have ourselves to blame.
I am not talking about a lack of immigration reforms. I am not referring to guarding our borders. This is about hiring practices. But I can almost guarantee it is not in the sense you probably think. Do I think illegal immigrants should take American jobs? No. But I do not believe reserving those jobs for American citizens will make things right. What is wrong is that illegal immigrants are capable of performing so many jobs either at or above the same level as the average American.
First of all, we as Americans should be outraged. Regardless of our feelings about immigration, we should be outraged that so many American jobs are being staffed by illegal immigrants. We should be outraged that the millions of jobs being outsourced actually hurt Americans. And if you are one of the Americans who has lost or been passed over for a job due to illegal immigration, you should be especially outraged.
The reason we should be outraged is very simple. We as Americans often brag about America being the greatest country on Earth. We go on and on about the hardworking American workforce. We laud our technological advancements and industrial achievements as a society. But the hard truth is, illegal immigration is not what put the jobs of most Americans in danger. Illegal immigration is not what has ravaged our economy. The real problem is we as Americans have failed when it comes to equipping ourselves.
Consider this. When you blame illegal immigration for the loss of American jobs, you are actually saying something utterly ridiculous. You are affirming that a random guy from a third world country with little to no skills or education…is capable of doing the same work as an average American. Basically, we are begging for jobs which only require “human” as the primary qualification. As much as hard work is an honorable value, the quality of the worker truly determines how replaceable they are.
How about we get real for a moment. The people whose jobs are endangered by illegal immigration are not engineers, medical professionals, lawyers, writers, executives, teachers, social workers or IT technicians. The jobs illegal immigrants tend to fill are more along the lines of crop pickers, line cooks, cleaners, gardeners and factory workers. If their English is decent, maybe they can be a telemarketer. And if they are particularly unlucky, they can be forced to work in sweat shops or the sex trade. Are these really the jobs average Americans should be scrambling for?
If we as the American workforce truly want to make ourselves safe from the threat of illegal immigration, we must improve ourselves. We must become more educated than most other people in the world. We must acquire skills random people cannot easily perform. We must stop believing simply being American makes us a world class commodity. We must demand that our quality of education no longer be based on our parent’s zip code. We must demand that a college education no longer mean a lifetime of debt. We must demand that our nation equip us to once again be the world’s premier workforce. In short, we must demand that America actually do more than coast on past glory which may soon be overshadowed by larger developing nations.
That is of course, unless your problem with immigration is less about jobs and laws and more about racial prejudice. In that case, everything I have said is meaningless. Feel free to continue with business as usual.
By Corey Dorsey
Image by skinbus