Thursday, February 25, 2010
Dear Mexican: I’m a lifelong resident of Arizona and have worked side by side with illegals for 25 years as a bloquero. In all that time, I never knew ONE of them to be an aspiring American. Their loyalties remain with their home states, they listen to mariachi and cumbia, and their trucks sport lots of Mexican flag bumper stickers. Most of all, they’ve kept our wages below the national average – ask any construction worker. That’s supposed to be okay? Because they work dirt-cheap with no benefits? Wouldn’t opening the borders be a further reduction in quality of life for us American citizens who work beside these vatos? If I want to live in the Third World, I’ll move to Mexico. --Tucson Timmy
Dear Gabacho: Y’know, that’s been the same argument used against immigrant laborers since Samuel Gompers was agitating to keep “Mongolians” from reaching our Pacific shores and railing about hordes of southeast Europeans destroying the gains that his American Federation of Labor made for the American working man. “The workers of America have felt most keenly the pernicious results of the establishment of foreign standards of work, wages and conduct in American industries and commerce,” the union pioneer wrote in a 1916 issue of the American Federationist. “Foreign standards of wages do not permit American standards of life. Foreign labor has driven American workers out of many trades, callings, and communities, and the influence of those lower standards has permeated widely” – wait a minute, how did Glenn Beck manage to sneak himself back in time? The great irony, of course, is that immigrant labor is the most bountiful spigot in the modern-day labor movement, and always has been. American workers need cheap labor, legal or not, to spur them into class consciousness and better their lot – or do you think Old Man Rockefeller simply allowed the eight-hour work day to happen out of the goodness of his heart? Oh, and your concerns about your unassimilated colleagues? Again, Gompers: “Of course the children of immigrants go to school, and after a few years they become Americanized. But how about the grown-up persons, the adults? Who makes an effort to Americanize them? The labor organization.” Instead of whining about non-assimilating illegals, maybe you should help them become Americans? If you don’t, then you have no right to chillar.