It may be a little ambitious, but I hope that this will be the first in a series of articles based upon the old Native American adage that one should not judge another until one has walked a mile in the other's mocassins. The series hopes to challenge you to think critically.
This first "Mocassin Diary" will deal with an immigration issue.
One common argument heard in the current debate on illegal immigration is that U.S. employers deliberately exploit undocumented workers to take advantage of them. There is some truth in the statement, but it paints a picture with too broad a brush.
More below the fold:
It is an argument that seems to be sympathetic to the plight of the undocumented worker and places the blame squarely on the unscrupulous employer who deliberately hires the worker for the purpose of taking advantage of him or her.
Now let's take a walk in the mocassins of an employer:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested five unauthorized workers employed by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) today, capping a year-long joint review of the utility's hiring records by ICE and LADWP that resulted in the arrest of eight unauthorized workers overall.
This is contained in a press release on the website of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service.
What? The unauthorized workers are arrested? Not the evil employer? What gives?
Well, it seems that the employer, a government agency, did not deliberately hire these employees in order to take advantage of them.
"In many cases, companies such as DWP seek to hire legal workers, only to have their efforts undermined by employees who present counterfeit documents or knowingly violate the conditions of their admission," said Julie L. Myers, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE. "When a person uses fraud or false documents to obtain a job, they mask not only their true identities, but also their motives and, in some cases, their criminal history."
I think it is fair to say that the argument that U.S. employers as a whole exploit undocumented workers does not apply universally. I also think it is fair to say that we really do not know how many employers have unfairly been accused of being exploiters. Ironically, for employers like the one in question here, an earned legalization program just might make sense. It just might help them keep their experienced staff - people who have proven their ability to serve their employer while paying their fair share of taxes.
Funny thing this story - it suggests that just maybe, there are no easy answers to our illegal immigration dilemma and that maybe, just maybe, comprehensive immigration reform might truly be in order.
What do you think?