Surface    |    Backfill    |    About    |    Contact


11.10.06

"Immigrants Are OK, Because We Can Exploit Them"

It bothers me the way "immigrants will work for low wages" gets turned around and used by ostensibly pro-immigrant people. They tell their opponents that we shouldn't worry about the brown horde swamping our McDonaldses with Spanish, because we citizens benefit from having our vegetables picked and our children cared for by people working for a few dollars a day.

From a pragmatic perspective, it's a step in the right direction insofar as it stymies attempts to restrict immigration. After all, immigrants' own behavior is a pretty clear indication that if given the choice between crappy working conditions in the US and returning home, they'll take the former. But immigrants' acceptance of those poor working conditions shouldn't become the justification for allowing them to enter and stay in the country. It says "Immigrants are OK, because we can exploit them."

Indeed, it seems that any viewpoint that would claim to be pro-immigrant (rather than just pro-immigration) has to oppose those poor working conditions. At a bare minimum, it has to oppose the way that fear of deportation undercuts immigrants' ability to access the basic protections provided to citizens. Freedom from sexual harassment and poison fumes (for example) are human rights, not special privileges of citizenship.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home