Illegal immigrants depress wages, lift costs

Catherine E. Mille

In a recent Argus Leader, Sister Gabriella Crowley wrote a letter stating Americans have no compassion for immigrants. She said we will pay for that lack eventually. Crowley is passionate and caring but wrong in her assertions. We are neither anti-immigration nor anti-immigrant. We are against people coming here illegally.

We know why they are coming, but that is no excuse for breaking our laws. We have a rather liberal immigration policy. People are allowed to come here for myriad reasons and stay for different lengths of time.

The constant mantra - they do work Americans won’t do - is maddening to real Americans who do all those jobs, just at a better wage. In 1987, the base pay at John Morrell was $11.69 an hour. Today, with the help of immigration, some are starting at $8.50 an hour. Is that a job Americans won’t do? No, it is a job Americans won’t do for that wage.

Immigration drives down wages, and illegal immigration drives down wages even more. Americans work more hours per week than any other industrialized country. I wonder why Mexicans don’t work as hard to change the problems in their country as they do to sneak into ours.

The reason Americans are unhappy with the influx of immigrants is the amount of money spent on them. Most of the jobs that illegal immigrants get do not offer benefits. When an illness happens, they go to emergency rooms for help. They cannot pay that bill, so that drives up health care costs to paying Americans.

It is the cost of everything for illegal immigrants that Americans resent. What does it cost to have special classes for Spanish-speaking children? What does it cost in free lunches? It is the cost, always, that irritates hard-working, tax-paying Americans.

Yes, it is sad when children of illegal immigrants return to an empty house after their parents have been detained. Yes, it is sad these children have to be taken somewhere to be cared for. It is all sad, and it is fixable. Stop coming here illegally. This is not our fault. We did not ask these people to come here without documentation.

Americans always are expected to be guilt-ridden because we have more. We have more because we work more. We don’t take days off to celebrate a saint’s day. We don’t have time to march in the streets when we are unhappy. We don’t sneak into another country and ask for rights we don’t deserve.

Breaking the law should carry a price. These people gambled and lost. Are we monsters for finally noticing that 12 to 20 million people don’t belong here? No, we are law-abiding people, and we expect the same from anyone choosing to live here with us.