They May Be Illegal But…

Below is a question from me to Houston Chronicle columnist Loren Steffy in regards to his May 20 article about our dear friends in Texas: illegal immigrants. (Sarcasm intended.) Loren was gracious enough to answer my question.

Q: Why can’t the job shortages you address in your column today be filled by workers already in the United States who are unemployed?

I am on the same page with you as far as making the process easier for workers from abroad to legally work here, but how do you answer the argument that we could fill those shortages with jobless citizens who live here?

A: Because the numbers don’t work. Right now in Texas unemployment is about 3.8 percent. Most economists believe 4 percent means there essentially is no unemployment. So if there are 1.1 million illegal immigrants here, even though some of them may not be working or may not work regularly, the size of that gap means even if we could train all 450,000 people on the unemployment rolls, we wouldn’t close it.

What are your thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “They May Be Illegal But…

  1. The sterotype that illegals are taking the jobs of lazy citizens is untrue. Illegal immigrants make a fraction of minium wage or what a legal citizen would make at a given job. Its an unfair fight. The illegal worker is ALWAYS going to be cheaper than the legal worker. Its not even close! While the goverment cannot control the everyday homeowner from hiring illegals to do the work of a professional handyman, we can enforce rules on Business owners. Today we do not hold Business owners responsible for the injustice of unfair wages. In fact these advantages entrepenuers are looked at as heroes…providing a charity of sorts to a group of indivuals that have no rights. Any legimate business must have legitmate workers. Its the law and it is what is right. No one can live on these measly wages that these remedial jobs pay…lets get the minium wage increased for goodness sake! And lets enforce the most basic of laws and provide rights under the law to every person that is able and willing to work.

  2. I just wish there was a quicker way for companies — who legitimately need them — to bring in workers from Mexico or wherever legally without having to wait five, ten years.

    I do think the enforcement of rules on business owners will force them to adjust and find legal ways to successfully operate. Regardless, if we are experiencing a labor shortage, we need laws that facilitate that labor getting here legally.

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