Tough choices

The migrant-worker problem is not a simple matter—but then, in this economic time, what is simple? Do you pay a U.S. citizen $15 an hour to hang your drywall, or do you hire an unfortunate lower-class member of society for $8 an hour who is also not paying taxes on his income?

As this problem enters all aspects of the work force, what do we see in the future? Maybe when you go to the hospital, you will find undocumented workers as nurses and doctors. Or maybe we can undercut the Blackwater forces by hiring a bunch of undocumented folks from Guatemala or Panama; maybe they would be more professional and not likely to kill the innocent. We might even be able to hire out a bunch of Costa Ricans to replace our Congress members; they might be able to ensure a balanced budget, and we wouldn’t have to pay them as much.

I know that this all sounds too simple, but think of the positive aspects: U.S. citizens can then go south and get gainful employment, or maybe even take political office. Personally, I would love to move to a place that doesn’t get a lot of snow and I could pick the fruit right off the trees all year round, but I have too much invested here to just leave.

I believe that incarcerating 12 million people would be an impossible and inhumane task, but there are much smaller numbers of the employers of the undocumented—and it would be much easier to identify, arrest and detain them, and, of course, seize their assets.

— Dan Gallagher
Hot Springs

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