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 What Would We Do if All the Illegal Immigrants Left? 
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Post What Would We Do if All the Illegal Immigrants Left?
by: Donna Poisl

Could we afford to live here if they all left?

There are several proposals for immigration reform being discussed now. They say they will solve the problem of so many illegal immigrants coming to and staying in this country. Some are offering amnesty, others guest worker cards, others temporary cards.

Some people are talking about rounding them up and sending them all back to where ever they came from.

How would we do that? First, how would we find all of them? If we were able to find them, who would do the processing and paperwork to organize the deportation? Would we hire planes and buses and buy them tickets to go home? It sounds like it would be impossible and also impossibly expensive to do this for the millions who are here, some for many years.

If the roads were filled with buses and the skies with planes taking all these people out of this country, what would happen then? Who would do the work they were doing here? There would be a huge shortage of workers for farming, construction, landscaping, restaurants and tourism. Last season, growers could not get enough workers to harvest their crops and this year is worse. Prices of everything would rise dramatically and some produce would not be available at all, because it would be rotting in the fields.

These people take jobs that most other residents won’t take. The pay is low, the hours are long, the work is very hard and often dangerous, the benefits are non-existent. They often are housed in bunkhouses or sharing trailers, away from their families, living in conditions few of us would tolerate. Assuming they make about $6.00 an hour, what would the wage have to be raised to for any of us to accept the work and conditions? $12? $20? If growers had to pay two or three or four times the present wage just to harvest, how much would lettuce and apples and tomatoes cost in the stores?

If landscaping companies, contractors and restaurants had to pay top wages to get the work done, how much would we have to pay to buy or repair a house or get the lawn cut or buy a meal? If motel and hotel maids and janitors were paid more, would we be able to afford a room?

If these workers were allowed to work legally, with a guest worker card or temporary worker visa, or whatever the different proposals call them, they would have to be paid at least the minimum wage and would be paying taxes. Paying the minimum wage or the prevailing wage would probably raise prices a little, but not as much as raising wages so the rest of us would do the work. An added bonus might be discovering that some of these workers are highly educated and skilled and are taking these manual labor jobs because they can’t legally get a better job.

If companies can’t find enough workers who are here legally, they should be able to offer these jobs to others willing and able to do them. But these people should have some type of document; they have to be paying taxes, have to be able to work and live safely, have to be able to be located when the immigration department wants to know where they are.

Undocumented workers are exploited by unscrupulous employers. They are exploited precisely because they are undocumented. These employers know they can do almost anything to them and won’t be reported. If these employers were made to follow the laws, it would also help solve the problem.

If people needed these temporary visas to work here, the ones that are crossing the border illegally would probably stop coming. It would be impossible to send all the illegal people back home now, we have to find a better way to deal with this problem.

We beg for immigration reform and complain about illegal immigrants, but are we willing to pay more for almost everything we need and use in our lives if they are deported?

About The Author

Donna Poisl is President of Live & Thrive Press and the author of "How to Live & Thrive in the U.S. / Como Vivir y Prosperar en Estados Unidos". She wrote this reference guide to help immigrants learn our system and succeed in this country. Contact Donna at

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Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:09 am
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