Friday, March 19, 2010

Immigration -- the Ultimate Hypocrisy

President Obama has agreed to push immigration reform and in exchange, the Hispanic caucus has agreed to vote in favor of health care. I find both causes worthwhile, but I find the country's attitude about immigration reform generally full of hypocrisy. Immigrants are the support for agriculture in the U.S. Growers say, "I can't get a citizen to do these jobs". But what they really mean is "I can't a citizen to do these jobs for the amount I'm willing to pay". OK, we all like cheap food, so, in order to make a reasonable profit, growers have to reduce their labor costs.

People who object to immigrants, generally feel that they receive services while they do nothing. Of course, these are the same people who ship your and my jobs overseas where the labor is even cheaper to maximize their profits. It's an interesting hypocrisy from this group of people.

I have long thought that the U.S. needs to admit that this shadow economy exists and make "guest worker" type rules which allow farmers to charge less for labor, but gives the immigrants who perform the labor some rights and chances to better themselves.

It will be interesting to see how the immigration debate plays out. If the health care debate is any indication -- and I'm sure it is -- the debate will be divisive.