We have a white nationalist administration in the White House. A conclave of priestly bigots, reactionaries, anti-semites, and racialists. And one of their chief objectives, along with forcing their misogynist and heteronormative world view on the country, is to keep out brown people. At no time has this been clearer than when they unveiled their new proposal for immigration reform.
This new ‘reform’ will prioritize so called ‘skilled immigrants’ who speak English above others. When I heard this proposal, I took it personally. My maid, Conchita, immigrated to this country from Honduras a few years ago. If she would have tried to immigrate under the administration’s new proposal, her lack of English proficiency or a skilled trade would have relegated her to the back of the line. Whose job does Conchita’s presence in this country threaten? What American would take her job to be paid eleven dollars an hour? In fact, before Conchita, I couldn’t even find anyone who would clean my home and watch my children for less than twenty-five dollars an hour. I couldn’t pay that and nor should I be forced to when there are immigrants like Conchita that are willing to work for less. I mourn the possible loss of opportunity for people like Conchita and myself, if this immigration ‘reform’ is passed.
Even more personally for me, though, is that this new bill has worried me about my oldest son’s future. My son, Tim, graduated from Stanford a few years ago and got a job working in computer engineering at a nearby manufacturer. He started out making a good salary, for a recent college graduate, and everything seemed to be going good for him. But over the past three years he hasn’t received a raise and he’s noticed that his company has started employing people who aren’t local. For instance, he told me that his new supervisor, Sanjay, just immigrated to the US from India. I’m happy that the company has brought diversity to their workforce, but I don’t understand why they had to import management. I don’t claim to be intricately familiar with the engineering profession, but Sanjay is a graduate of Mumbai University (hardly a well-known name within the engineering field) and yet he is supervising six other employees that have all graduated from Stanford, UCLA, and Boston College. I can’t help but think that Sanjay was hired because of the lower than average salary that he was willing to accept. To me, this is a dangerous precedent that not only suppresses wages, but also cheapens the expertise needed in these professional fields. Do we want to reduce the quality of engineers in order to save a few thousand dollars? If you’re OK with that, then would you say the same about accountants? Or architects? Or even doctors?
And besides the obvious skills deficit between a graduate of some foreign university versus our own renowned institutions, there is also the question of timing. Our college graduates today are burdened with high debt and struggle to find even entry level employment in their chosen fields. Why should we be making this situation even more difficult by importing ‘skilled immigrants’ that will undercut their wages and reduce their employment prospects? It’s one thing to have immigrants like Conchita who provide Americans with affordable service, but it is quite another to undermine American expertise. I had thought that we, as a country, had already come to this conclusion, before an uprising of drug-addled bigots in other parts of the country surprised me by electing a buffoonish racist.
We cannot allow this sinister piece of legislation to redefine our country. I say we allow in more Conchitas and less Sanjays. It’s just good economics.