What if I told you that you could oppose illegal immigration without being a racist? What if I told you that you could love illegal immigrants, but still want them to come here legally? My personal relationship with my Mexican co-workers has given me a unique perspective inside the life of an illegal immigrant. I firmly believe we need to put Americans first and if allowing people to come here illegally harms this great country, then I think we need to find a practical solution to secure our borders.
Over the last two years I spent my summers working 50 hours a week in a kitchen and I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I worked as a line cook at a 3 star Italian restaurant in Castle Rock, Colorado. The restaurant is named Sienna at The Courtyard and we are known for our energetic bar, scenic patio, and elegant fountain; in my opinion it’s the best restaurant in town.
This job felt like home to me, I worked with a lot of childhood friends and made a lot of new friends in the process. However, the work itself was greasy, hot, and extremely rigorous. The high physical and mental demand of the job taught me more than cooking and people skills, it taught me how to be a man. I strongly believe every boy should at some point work as a dishwasher or cook because it teaches you accountability, humility, and how to perform under pressure.
In my case, working in a kitchen also taught me a fair bit of Spanish. I didn’t know a word of Spanish before working at Sienna but after leaving I was able to communicate with coworkers who couldn’t speak a single word of English. The funny part was I couldn’t figure out how to turn my Spanglish off, I found myself speaking in Spanish even around my friends and family. Being one of only two white people in the kitchen I hardly ever spoke English unless I was translating for the rest of the restaurant.
Illegal Immigration And Minimum Wage
The reason why Spanish was so necessary was because the kitchen was largely made up of illegal immigrants. These illegal immigrants received an income below minimum wage meaning they had an unfair advantage of what wages they could legally accept. Someone in competition for the job wouldn’t stand a chance because the law permits a certain wage. If you’re competing against someone for a position and you both have the same skill sets, but the law permits you to request a required wage, you lose all your negotiation power. This means that close to 15 of my employees stripped 15 Americans from jobs because of political technicalities. This is just a small example on the scale of 15 jobs, however this is happening all over the country, forcing millions of Americans out of work.
The Workforce Participation Rate
Currently the labor force participation rate is at a staggering 63% while the U3 unemployment rate sits at a manageable 4.7%. The true statistic to look at here is the labor force participation rate. Once you stop looking for work you are no longer factored into unemployment and therefore leave the labor force.
What Democrats won’t tell you is this is directly affecting the lower class, particularly the African American community. Upper class America isn’t competing for the lower paying entry jobs, in fact they are probably employing them, and at a fraction of the cost.
Senator Bernie Sanders notably made the comment:
“If poverty is increasing and if wages are going down, I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into this country as guest workers who will work for lower wages than American workers and drive wages down even lower than they are now.”
Sanders realized the issue of immigration wasn’t an issue of racism but an economic issue of poverty. If our citizens are unemployed to the point where they quit looking for work all together, we can’t afford to let more undocumented immigrants in.
Illegal immigration also hurts revenue in the U.S. economy. 90% of what my coworkers made was sent back to their families in Mexico. Don’t get me wrong, I love these people like family and I want them to have all the benefits that I have, but sometimes we have to acknowledge the implicit consequences of explicit decisions.
The U.S. economy relies on the circulation of currency within the country; if the money is made in the states then spent in Mexico, it stimulates the Mexican economy two fold while damaging the U.S. economy two fold. Essentially the cost is incurred in America while the benefit is invested in Mexico, giving us a net loss. This will become a detrimental factor on our overall economy if we don’t fix the immigration problem.
In addition to the fact that illegal immigration hurts the working class and decreases American revenue, it also creates more costs. When you have more people taking from the system than people paying into it, the system crumbles. Kind of like social security ‘cough’ ‘cough’. This is yet another factor playing into the magnitude of our insurmountable debt.
Illegal immigrants receive the benefits from infrastructure, health care, education, policing, firefighters, and welfare without paying taxes. These services most certainly aren’t free. That means the costs fall onto the tax paying American. So essentially we’re paying more in taxes then we receive in services because we are paying for ourselves and also supplementing illegal immigrants.
The Two False Narratives
The problem with the countries current narrative is that there are two conversations going on. The first is that Mexicans are rapists and criminals who want to come here and take our jobs. I’m sorry but I’ve met a multitude of hardworking, law-abiding illegal immigrants who just want to provide for their families. The second conversation is that anyone who wants any limit to immigration is a racist. I’m sorry, but I care about myself and my neighbors first and when hard working Americans can’t get jobs than I have a problem with that. We need to stop with the name-calling and race batting and come to terms with what is right.
We are a country founded on immigration that strives on diversity, however we need to secure our borders in order to protect the well being of our American citizens.