Sunday, December 16, 2018

Immigration and Texas

by Kelly Gabriel (writer), Houston, July 16, 2007

Texas and immigration practically go hand in hand. According to the U.S. Department of Labor 2006 fiscal report for temporary worker visas processed regionally, Texas was one of the top 5 states in utilizing these workers. Texas like many other states in America is home to illegal immigrants. Also, just like any other state right now, Texas is very carefully watching the outcome of immigration legislation and awaiting their impact on its economy.

As equally present as this news is around us so are the far right and left opinions about this issue. It seems everyone has taken a side and they are all on opposite ends of the spectrum on an issue that for me is not so black or white because you are dealing with people and their fight for what they believe is fair. Fair is such a relative term. What is fair to me may not be fair to you and visa versa. So in the effort of fairness, I would like to take this opportunity to present to my fellow Texans what the issues are and why we should think more clearly about the big picture and not just the band wagon we have currently decided to ride upon.

The first side to the immigration saga is what the labor leaders predict will happen to our labor markets. The influx of cheap labor will cause a decrease in overall wages offered. These workers would become attractive to employers and would therefore contribute to unemployment of current citizens. Then there is the issue of opening Pandora's Box on letting hoards of people here from Mexico which could cause a domino effect leading to people from other countries coming over as well. Beyond employment, you have housing, resource consumption, taxes, social security, and the list goes on and on of policy that would have to be revisited to incur these new residents.

Now, I present the other side of the story. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there is a growing need for low paying and low skilled jobs just as there will become a labor need when older workers leave the workforce. Texas relies heavily on low skilled workers in its shrimp and agricultural industries. In 2006 alone, Texas supported 59,000 visas for these purposes. However, now with the fail of the recent immigration bill and already long processes in obtaining these visas crops have died and shrimp boats have sat empty on the docks. There is no attraction to these jobs to local workers and so employers must go after the viable work source which is in Mexico. The Texas Produce Association has already predicted that if it cannot get the workers it needs they will be forced to move production to Mexico anyway. Texas stands to not only lose products but also industries, and this is not good for the economy either.

In saying all of this, am I saying that you should feel one way or the other? No, I definitely am not. In fact, I am saying quite the opposite. We need to really focus our attention on the broad scope of the issue because it is not so black or white but at best blurry lines of gray. We have spent years not addressing this issue to its fullest extent and look where that has gotten us. Isn't it time to just figure out what works before it is too late? You decide.

About the Writer

Kelly Gabriel is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Immigration and Texas

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By Steven Lane on July 16, 2007 at 12:49 pm
Seems like we share the same problem. Here in California, everyone is concerned that we will lose jobs, but the reality is that they are "minimum wage" jobs and Americans will not take them. Once again, I will say it is the employers responsibility to pay a living wage, a wage legal people can make a living at without staying 10 to an apartment, and if that means paying $25 for a pizza, so be it. You can't have it both ways.
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By Kelly Gabriel on July 16, 2007 at 04:16 pm
Thank you for your commentary Steven. I completely agree with you observation that minimum wage is a huge issue that feeds the problem as well. I, like you, think people were meant to work for a wage that allows them to feed their families and provide a roof for themselves.
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By Geddy on August 06, 2007 at 11:25 am
I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AGAINST ALIENS HERE LEGALLY! That being said I must add: The Battle of San Jacinto, fought on April 21, 1836, in present-day Harris County, Texas, was the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. Led by General Sam Houston, the Texas Army engaged and defeated General Antonio López de Santa Anna's Mexican forces in a fight that lasted just eighteen minutes. Hundreds of Mexican soldiers were killed or captured, while there were relatively few Texan casualties. Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Not long afterwards, he signed the peace treaties that dictated that the Mexican army leave the region, paving the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country. These treaties did not specifically recognize Texas as a sovereign nation but stipulated that Santa Anna was to lobby for such recognition in Mexico City. Sam Houston became a national celebrity, and the Texans' rallying cry, "Remember Goliad!" and "Remember the Alamo!," became etched into the American history and legend. I bet Sam and the other soldiers are rolling over in their graves.
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