Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Midweek Grumblings aka. Immigration Reform Needed!

It has been brought to my attention that I have been an extremely slack blogger this past week or so. Why, why, why, you ask? Because I'm tired! Why, why, why, you ask? Oh, I'm so glad you asked. (my open invitation to rant ;0))

My husband has been completely unable to get any farm help. I believe he has gone through five new folks in the last month. He hasn't had a regular full staff since they expanded nearly three years ago. People beg for a job, then don't show up. They show up for a day or two, then walk off the job in the middle of the day without a word. They come in late. They leave early. One young man, after arriving over an hour late for work, asked to leave early to take his mom grocery shopping. Seems he wanted to leave at lunch time since she doesn't like to be out after dark. He had only worked two out of the previous five days. My favorite, and this one has occurred a few times, is the folks that don't show up for work for a few days - no call or anything- and then show back up to work as if nothing happened. Then when they get replaced, they apply for unemployment AND GET IT!!! What is the deal?

So, in the mean time, my hubby is doing all their work. And he is tired. And I am tired because I am picking up the slack from him working all the time.

Which brings me to my rant of the month - OUR LAME IMMIGRATION LAWS! Why is it that people fear bringing people into this country to work? Why do people fear that foreigners are going to take American jobs? There are plenty of jobs out there available. The thing is they require hard work. And so many Americans want a free ride. Now, I will try not to generalize too much. We do let SOME people into this country. We let Canadians cross over about any time they want to. We let European and Asian tourists come over at will. We don't extend the same courtesy to Latin Americans.

Here are a couple of examples I know of personally. My SIL is from El Salvador. Her daughter, who was 16, wanted to go to El Salvador for the summer. They did not want her to travel there alone. So....my SIL tried to get her sister to fly up from El Salvador for a two week visit, and then have her chaperone my niece on her flight. So they attempted to apply for some sort of temporary visa (I don't know all the proper terms). Our government happily accepted her more than $100 application fee - then refused her request. My SIL and BIL turned over all their financial info, wrote letters for appeal stating that they would be responsible for her during her two week visit, etc. - request denied, repeatedly. She wasn't allowed to even come for a two week visit! Okay, another example. I know a man who moved here from Honduras. He tried to get his wife and daughter a temporary visa to visit for a week - request denied. He tried to get his wife a working visa ( I think we could find her a job at the farm - no one else seems to want it) - request denied. Seems if he would like to see his family, his only option would be to leave the US. Of course, I could be wrong, but I doubt they would grant him permission to come back.

Why is someone unable to obtain a work permit, legally enter this country, as long as they retain employment, be paid minimum wage or more, and pay income tax, and not receive any government assistance? Would it not be easier for our government to monitor nonresidents?

I received a copy of an email that has been circulating the Internet. It shows pictures of an alleged dumping ground somewhere where people are reported to be crossing illegally into our country. It states that these people coming into our country are filthy people, and that this dumping ground is just an example of what they are going to do to our whole country. The email tells us that we need tougher immigration laws to protect our country from these people.

I don't see immoral people thumbing their noses at American laws. I see desperate human beings searching for a better way to provide for their families. I see moral people forced to do what is required to survive and avoid detection when other options have been exhausted. I see fathers and mothers who want to provide more for their children than the meager existence they are able to.

Of course there is good and bad in everything. There are people who take advantage of what this country has to offer. Unfortunately, my experience has been that a majority of them are people who were born and raised in this glorious country. They have never experienced true hardship. And they don't recognize the opportunities they have.

I am aware of a growing population of non English speaking people in this country. I don't want bi- or tri-lingual signs any more than the next person. But I don't think not giving people an opportunity to visit or work in this country is the answer to that, or any other, problem we face. I knew a guy when I was in college who had been in the USA for more than ten years and spoke NO English. I have met several others like him. But, they were all legal residents! So, require people here to work, study, live, to learn English - but let them come!

Where would this country be if we kept the doors closed? Where will we find ourselves if we continue to try to keep them closed?

Thanks for letting me rant! Hey, you know anyone looking for work? That likes hard work, and smelly animals?

5 comments:

Wendy M. said...

And rant you did...glad I inspired you to get back on the blog wagon! I enjoyed nosing into the Hunsucker world just a little today! :) Love you!

koinoniacommunity said...

Thanks Wendy! Sometimes it just really feels good to let it all out. I'm much better now.

Ann said...

I agree that there has to be something done about immigration laws...we can't just let the lazy, unwilling to work people come bum off the USA, then let the people that really have a legit reason or desire to be here and try to do it legally not get to come here....There's gotta be an answer!

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

ehhhhhh welllllll (you can feel it coming cant ya?)

I agree with you on many levels.

Where I get angry is those folks who live here and work here and then send all their money back home without paying taxes. As a former teacher I see all the burden put on the schools (free lunch, ESL services, etc) and it is bankrupting an already bankrupt school system.

So, while I really am in favor of "let them come" I think we need to make things VERY CLEAR how you do it, and how you go about it legally.

Chad works for a major automobile manufacturer and he frequently gets the INS in the building to round up all the illegal workers.

The other day I had to return something at walmart, and kid you not, I spent 50 minutes in line waiting on about 10 people in front of me, all of which were WesternUnion/MoneyGram'ing $$$ to Mexico. Then,a few weeks ago I was in the DMV to update my license and there was a man there getting his license---with an interpreter. My feeling is that if you can't read road signs in English you shouldn't drive here.

I'm just not a patient person when it comes to stuff like that and not knowing the language, or at least making an effort to learn the language. So, there ya go :)

koinoniacommunity said...

Lindsey,

I agree with you on so many levels, and even mentioned paying taxes and learning English as requirements for obtaining and maintaing a work visa. But here is the thing, as the present system stands, what means do we have of ensuring that happens?

We just do not let many Latins into this country legally. They are going to come here in an effort to provide a better life for their families. I know one family from Central America whose house has been destroyed from hurricanes a half dozen times in the last two years. They are unable to finance the repeated repairs, especially well enough that the house will withstand the next hurricane, on the limited income available in their area. They have children. If they want to come here and send money back to their country to care for their family, I have no problem with that. I do expect them to pay income taxes to our country first and foremost. We are completely unable to ensure that happens as long as we don't have a system for monitoring the folks that are here. Actually I do know a few Latins here with valid work permits, and they do pay taxes and social security, without the potential to collect from it.

I personally get annoyed when I encounter people making no attempt to learn English. I think all signs should be in English. But then I think back to the time I spent living in Israel for 1 1/2 years. I spoke Hebrew fluently by the time I left because I was completely immersed in the culture, and had a personal tutor provided by their school system. (kind of an HSL program):0) My parents didn't learn nearly as much, as work kept them busy and distracted from their learning. I remember having to interpret for my mom so she could buy groceries. It did take me quite awhile to get the hang of it though. Frequently I chose to speak English, even when I understood, because I thought I sounded foolish, and their English was better than my Hebrew. Strange thing was that most of the countries we went to had signs in their language and English, and many had numerous other languages listed.

And as a former teacher also, I know what a limited budget our education system in strapped with. But they actually encourage the students to apply for free/reduced meals. They get more government funding based on the percentage of students receiving free/reduced meals. The high school I worked at had the largest number of students on the free/reduced meal program in a three county region (in the top twenty in the state), and we had fewer than twenty Hispanic students in the whole school.

We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourself. I don't think we need to shoot ourselves in the foot to do it. We need to make sure the needs of our citizens are met. We just need to try real hard to not have an us versus them mentality. We are all the same in God's eyes.

I hope I was easier to understand this time around. Sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain, and although I undertand what I'm thinking, that isn't the way it comes across. Ever have that happen? :0)