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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Thank God For The Mexicans

by Thomas W. Roach

Thank God for the Mexicans. While many in America continue to wring their hands and shout their concern about illegal aliens in America, I say, “You don’t know how lucky you are”.

Here are some of the salient facts. There are currently estimated to be about 11 million illegal aliens in the United States. Virtually every able-bodied illegal alien in America is employed. The overall unemployment rate in the U.S. presently stands at 4.8% and has been very low in this country for most of the last 25 years.

If Pat Buchanan or Lou Dobbs or Tom Tancredo could wave a magic wand and return all illegal aliens back to their countries of origin tomorrow, there would be emergency legislation introduced by Congress within one week to return them all and put them back to work.

The fact of the matter is, the American economy needs the Mexican workforce presently here as much as those Mexican workers need us and it’s probably about time the American electorate comes to grips with that.

If you’re looking for who or what’s to blame for the current situation with illegal aliens, most make the facile conclusion that it’s those lawbreaking Mexicans who have no regard for U.S. immigration and employment laws.

Others blame those rapacious U.S. employers who have no regard for the law but only care about profits. Still others blame the Mexican government for “exporting their unemployment problem.”

The fact of the matter is, however, the real culprit at the root of this situation is the incredibly dynamic American economy.

Think of all the jobs created in the U.S. in the last 50 years. Before World War II few women worked outside the home. After the war there were so many new jobs that women joined the workforce in droves. Now in almost every household in America, both spouses work. Add to that the Amnesty of 1986. It gave green card status to 3 million illegal aliens (and eventually their wives and kids) who are now part of the workforce.

Then add about 900,000 legal immigrants –both family and employer sponsored – per year, who are here and hard at work. Finally, add another 11 million illegal aliens here and working and the unemployment rate in the U.S. is still almost as low as it’s ever been in the last 30 years.

The Europeans can only look at our immigration “problem” and drool with envy. Unemployment in France, Germany and Spain has averaged about 9% over the past 10 years. They have an aging population, a fertility rate that will ensure a decline in their native populations in the years to come and historical immigration populations that come from the same countries that have been producing radical Islamists, the likes of which bombed the commuter train in Madrid, assassinated Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam, blew up the subway in London and spent weeks last fall burning up the suburbs of Paris.

By contrast, our Mexican “problem” consists of individuals who, by and large, have an incredibly strong work ethic, are extremely family-oriented and share our Judeo-Christian view of the world. Having practiced immigration law in an agricultural area for the past 23 years, I can assure you I have never met one Mexican who came to this country with an ideological chip on his shoulder and wanted to blow the country up to avenge historical wrongs, actual or perceived.

There are many proposals presently being debated in Congress about America’s present immigration situation. Any real solution should include a path to legal status for those 11 million people already here and a process by which the U.S. government can continue to accommodate unskilled and semi-skilled workers in the future as the U.S. economy continues to expand.


About The Author

Thomas W. Roach practices immigration law in Pasco, Washington. His practice primarily involves family-based immigration, although he does a considerable amount of R-1, K-1 and medical doctor immigration as well. He graduated from Seattle University in 1971, the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1975 and received a Masters in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International Affairs in 1982. He first became interested in immigration law when he spent the year after completing college traveling by himself through Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. His first experience with immigration law was doing immigration case work as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Mike Gravel (Alaska) from 1977 to 1980 in Washington D.C.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


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