I have a really, really stupid question, so please bear with me. It is a legitimate question that I thought perhaps some of you could answer. Let me start off right away by saying it is an "economic" question, not a "cultural" question -- so I would like to take that off the table right now. We in Canada and in the United States are all the children of immigrants. On my mother's side I am a first generation Canadian, and on my father's side I am second generation. Where I work, part of our process is assisting the Canadian government with the immigration surveillance program. People apply for immigration to Canada, either from their home countries, or from within Canada once they have arrived here. It is a meticulous process but it is fair and most people pass it. I'm sure the United States has a similar process. These are people who want to come here for a better life for themselves and their families, and they go through the due process.
Last night on ABC's 20/20 I watched a program about an American man in the United States who had worked hard, had a university education, married a woman he loved, had two children, the home of his dreams and had earned a good salary. The so-called "American Dream", right? But because of the recession, he had gone from earning $750,000 a year to delivering pizzas for $8.00 an hour plus tips. He was grateul for the pizza delivery job because it was honest work and it put bread on the table for his children. That is a story that seems to be repeating itself all over North American -- oh, yes, here in Canada too. I know a doctor here who has recently had to come out of retirement -- at the age of 70 -- because the recession wiped out everything he had.
Here is my question. If people who were born in North American, or who have come here through the legal process, are not able to get jobs, why are folks hiring illegal immigrants to do those very jobs? It may sound like a naïve question, and I know there are people who will jump in here and yell "discrimination". No, no, no, it's not about that, it's about people who live here who have lost their jobs, being squeezed out of the job market. Is there something I don't understand? I know one answer is "Well, illegal immigrants will do jobs no one else will do..." but I don't buy that. There is a whole other angle here. I believe these folks are being exploited. People are getting rich off hiring cheap labor.
Illegal immigrant workers are the invisible labor force in America's economy. Often performing jobs nobody else wants, usually for low pay, they are killed on construction crews: shot for cash as late-night store clerks, and crushed, impaled or electrocuted while working as landscapers. At a time when U.S. workplace deaths are generally declining, immigrant workers - many of them here illegally - are being killed on the job in ever greater numbers, especially the new wave of undocumented workers from Latin America and Asia. ... Business Net
Because these people are invisible, no compensation is made for their impoverished families. Often these folks are heavily indebted to the human traffickers who smuggled them into the country, and spend their lives paying off their debt, rather than having the opportunity to better themselves in their new country. They often live in fear -- in fear of the police, in fear of their employers and in fear of being deported. They don't have access to medical or dental care, or any of the other rights we all take for granted. They work and live in unacceptable slave labor conditions.
In 1999, four rusty old freighters arrived off B.C.’s coast, carrying 590 Chinese illegal immigrants. Among them, 134 children were travelling without parents or a legal guardian. Many of these children had families in China who were expecting them to work in Canada and the United States and send the money home. In 2006, six Korean women were found by RCMP officers, huddled in the bush near Osoyoos and the US border. These women stated that they were expecting to find work in restaurants and other service sectors in the United States and knew they would have to pay $3000 - $5000 to their human traffickers upon arrival. Can you imagine how long it would have taken them to pay that off?
There is big money to be made in human trafficking. I guess my naïve question is, why has this been allowed to happen?