Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Guest worker piece draws fire. . .as usual

A recent opinion piece in The Arizona Republic made a case for a workable guest worker program, and this in a state with the toughest laws against undocumented workers.

The writer of the piece relates how the U.S. population is aging and the country will need more young people to tend and harvest our fruits and vegetables. Or make the beds in our hotel rooms. Or mow our lawns. Or shuck our oysters. Or degut the chickens or whittle the beeves in our huge factory-like meat processing facilities.
(OK, the writer didn't mention all of the nasty, hot or bloody occupations open to any red-blooded U.S. citizen needing a job, but seemingly always only able to attract willing foreign-born workers.)

But, judging from the posted responses to the piece, you would have thought that the writer had just endorsed the Communist Manifesto with a return to Prohibition tossed into the mix. Write anything positive about allowing foreign-born workers into this country to work or perform services (even, educated, hi-tech types) and, wow, you're sure to hear from "America is only for us Americans" crowd, apparently not mindful that — assuming they're not native Americans — they or their ancestors were once immigrants.

In the case of the recent newspaper opinion piece, more than a couple of the responders pointed to our nation's high unemployment rate as an argument against allowing guest workers to take these repetitive, often exhausting, low-paying jobs. . . and this at a time when our national lawmakers have extended unemployment benefits for the chronically unemployed yet again. We can only imagine the response of guest workers to this extension — nice work if you can get it, right?

Read "Guest worker program is vital to U.S." in the
Arizona Republic and if you think we're full of beans on this issue, fire away. — Ron Hall

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