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Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The Great Alien Debate
I’m torn on the immigration debate that is waging in the press these days. It’s definitely a hot issue with passionate views on both sides. As someone who works in the careers industry, I find it interesting to watch the debates. I can see both sides of the issue.

As an American born in this country, I feel very privileged. We are the richest society in the world and enjoy more freedoms than any other country. Our forefathers (all immigrants, primarily) founded this nation on principles of freedom – freedom to pursue happiness, freedom of speech, freedom to demonstrate – and we are very protective of those freedoms. However, with freedom comes an obligation to follow the laws that provide that freedom in the first place.

We work with clients from all over the world whose main objective is to come to the United States to work. India, Japan, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, Chile – you name the country and we’ve probably worked with someone there. These clients are not uneducated laborers, either. They hold PhDs, Masters degrees, and have years of experience in highly specialized, in-demand fields such as medicine, computer science, and global business management. These highly qualified individuals spend thousands of dollars in expenses to land a job with a company in the US. In Ukraine, just to take a train ride from Kharkov to Kiev to fill out the application for a US visa costs a whole week’s wages but these people do it because they really want to come to the US to work and make a better life. We help them through resume development that positions them well to seek employment with US companies.

Obtaining a work visa to come to the US legally is a long process fraught with mounds of red tape and expenses associated with travel, notary services, etc. Honest people in other countries can wait years to obtain a visa to come to the US. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem fair to these smart, well-educated individuals to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who have come to this country outside the law.

On the flip side, I wonder what would happen to our economy without the cheap labor that illegal aliens provide. Housing costs would skyrocket even higher; produce costs would go up; hotel costs would increase. The overall cost of living here in our nation would go up if we had no cheap laborers to do the low-end jobs for small wages. Would some industries collapse completely without illegal alien labor? Maybe.

I can also sympathize with those who come here illegally looking for better wages, healthcare, and education for their children. It would be hard to live in a very poor country right next door to the richest and freest nation in the world. I can’t say that I wouldn’t be influenced to sneak across the border myself. As a very entrepreneurial person, I understand taking my fate into my own hands and taking risks.

Finally, I witnessed the attack on the World Trade Centers first-hand. I assisted in the evacuation of lower Manhattan. Having borders that leak like a sieve concerns me greatly because I know it isn’t just Mexicans coming across into our country. We could have a “silent invasion” of people intent on doing us great harm and they would be in our backyard before we could react.

So what is the solution to the immigration issue? I don’t know. It will probably be something simple. Solutions to such complex problems usually are.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 /


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