Read this viewpoint this morning and wanted to share it. I’ve not heard it described this way before and find that it really brings some clarity to how Id been trying to wrestle with my thoughts on this.
One of the prominent justifications for allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. really troubles me for human rights and justice reasons.
That argument is that Americans don’t want to do the jobs illegal immigrants fill, and they fill these jobs at below-market wages precisely because of their illegal status in the U.S., usually working outside of the labor laws. Like it or not, illegal immigrants fill an economic need to keep our overall costs to consumers down because higher costs could hurt our economy.
So essentially the justification is that we will import a permanent underclass to fill an economic us, coexisting in our society without ever fully assimilating with little or no hope of upward mobility because they are not legal. This justification seems less about immigration that means participation in the U.S. and more about a bottom-level working-poor class to serve an economic utility.
This justification is very different from the history of immigrants in our country who filled low-skill labor jobs, but who participated fully in the U.S., assimilated, and improved their socio-economic position. They not only filled an economic utility, but were primarily participants in the country because they were legal.
This sounds like it boils down to using a group of people for economic gain. I think it’s a despicable justification. In addition to the legal and security problems of illegal immigration, there is a serious moral problem of allowing a permanent underclass of human being for their economic utility. American immigration should not be about using people; it should be about welcoming them to fully participate legally in our country.