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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

We Should Honor and Welcome Immigrants -- And We Need Them!

 I’m writing this week from an Alaskan cruise. Finally, a post-pandemic vacation on a ship where everyone had to be fully vaccinated and also test negative before boarding. (Not possible in Florida, thanks to their idiot governor — will that policy win him re-election? Let’s hope not!)

Anyone who has been on a cruise ship knows that 90 to 99% of the crew is international — mostly Filipino, but also Caribbean, Central American and other Asians. On our ship there are 1,800 crew serving 2,500 Americans. A crew member I spoke with could only name three American co-workers.

Without immigrants, legal or illegal, our vegetable and fruit growers would be hard pressed to get laborers at any price, and roofing companies would be hard pressed to replace hundreds of roofs after a hail storm.

America needs to come to terms with the kind of racism epitomized by Donald Trump’s immigration policy. We need to appreciate those who walk hundreds of miles or more to enter America to make a living and support our economy.  

1 comment:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree that immigrants are an important part of our past in building the United States and will be important to our future as well.
    We must stop demonizing undocumented workers while also enjoying the fruits of their labor. Cheap landscaping, cheap fruits and vegitables, cheap roofing work and meat packing and a thousand other things. U.S. citizens are unwilling to work those jobs at the current wages. If we had no immigrant labor, there would be higher prices in most industries. Immigrants, espececially "illegal immigrants" are victims of all kinds of rip-offs. Many construction companies make it a habit to hire these workers and then short them on pay and benefits. The immigrant has no recourse. Sometimes, they don't pay them at all when the job is completed.
    George W. Bush was, in my mind, a worse president than Trump. He made war into a profitable enterprise for his supporters and made decisions that were in direct controvention of established law. Torture, Guantanamo bay prisons, extrodinary rendition and the Afganistan and Iraq war which did nothing for U.S. interests and hurt the U.S. in the long run. Trump was horrible but he was ineffective. Bush was horrible but with Cheney and the rest of the Neo-Conservatives, knew how to operate the levers of power to the detriment of the people.
    Okay, I digress.
    George W. Bush had a pretty good plan for immigration but it was killed by the party. It would have granted amnesty to certain applicants and created a road to citizenship for those who wished to enter the U.S. as low paid labor.
    It's not rocket magic, there is a sensible and somewhat easy solution to this problem.
    What we need is a group of polititians who are willing to do the hard work of defining the problem, defining the cost of the current actions and design a system that is both cheap and easy to understand. It will involve letting a lot of foreigners into the U.S. as guest workers and giving them a way forward.
    Mostly, we as a country, need to reconginize how much we need immigrants.
    With our falling birth rates, we need new taxpayers and workers more than ever. What better source than a bunch of folks who are willing to walk across a continent for a better life?

    As an aside, I worked with a technology company for a while. There was a German engineer working there who invented a way to figure out the heights of buildings from a photograph taken directly overhead. It was complicated and sophisticated and had great potential in national defense. The company submitted it to the defense department which quickly classified the technology. Sadly, the inventor, being German, was suddenly prevented from working on it. It was so absurd that it was funny.