News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Supersize that order for immigrants

Among the many employer organizations eager for immigration reform is the National Restaurant Association, which says that restaurants are the “No. 1 employer of immigrants.” They are not alone. According to Robert Pear of the New York Times

Randel K. Johnson, a vice president of the Chamber of Commerce, explained the reason for employers’ keen interest in the issue: “We do not have enough workers to support a growing economy. We have members who pay good wages but face worker shortages every day.”

This worker shortage is in sharp contrast to the shrill minority who claim immigrants are taking jobs from U.S. citizens. However, hardcore nativists seldom let reason get in the way of their virulent xenophobia. Pear’s article continues to dispel the notion that we don’t need low skilled immigrants in our economy…

The Labor Department estimates that 37 percent of all new jobs in the next decade will be filled by people with a high school education or less. Of the 10 occupations expected to see the largest job growth, only two require a college degree. On-the-job training is usually enough for the other occupations, like retail sales clerks, home health aides and food service workers, the department said.

Instead of clamoring to stop the flow of immigrants, maybe we should supersize our order for them.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez