First, as expected in any argument regarding immigration, some will suggest that those opposed to illegal immigration are racist. This is the least convincing and, thankfully in the current debate, the least serious argument advanced on behalf of defenders of illegal immigration. While, of course, there are racists who will condemn illegal immigration, they make up a miniscule fraction of those engaged in the issue. The vast majority of those opposed to illegal immigration are ordinary, hardworking Americans who play by the rules.
Second, a commentator on radio this evening, representing La Raza, suggested that efforts to stop illegal immigration will also hurt not only legal immigrants, but U.S. citizens as well. Therefore, no effort should be made to reform immigration policy and law. This argument is specious because it draws a false conclusion: if a law aimed at addressing some issue, x, is flawed, then the proposed law must necessarily be reformed or dispensed with altogether. It does not follow that there ought not be any such law. Moreover, to suggest that citizens and immigrants---both legal and illegal---are equal in the eyes of the law is to degrade those persons who emigrated to this country following lawful practice.
Third, an owner of a fish processing plant in New Bedford, MA has suggested that employment in his factory may be sustained only by illegal workers based on:
b. due to the nature of fish processing, the need for labor is unsteady, uneven (i.e. 80 hours of work from one laborer may be required one week, but just 20 hours on another week), and in unpleasant working conditions (i.e. long hours[at least some weeks]in damp, cold conditions);
c. if enforcement of laws prohibiting illegal labor were implemented, the business would be economically unviable and would, therefore, need to close down
b. If the employer followed fair labor practices and laws the overtime compensation for busy weeks would make up for the lack of income on off weeks.
c. Are we really better off, as a nation and a society, having businesses whose existence is apparently premised on the exploitation of labor? If the employer paid living wages to its workers they would be happy, the employer would be a good citizen/neighbor, and the product's cost would be worth the price. And besides, has anyone even considered the cost and strain on the Social Security Administration and its benefits for American workers in connection with the cost of Social Security benefits paid to illegal immigrants who are here in the first place to provide cheap labor to American business owners? In other words, is bankrupting the Social Security Administration worth the cost of employing illegal workers who do not contribute to, but who collect, social security and related benefits and services? Is bankrupting the nation worth the cost of processed fish?
Constance Lavender is a pseudonymous HIV positive freelance e-journalist from Galloway, New Jersey. Ms. Lavender believes that a free country is premised on a free press. Her work has appeared in numerous online venues including OpEd News and the Gay Financial Network.