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No jobs, no immigrants.

Flagging economy behind halt of unauthorised immigration in U.S.A.

10 February 2010. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimated that between January 2008 and January 2009, the number of unauthorised immigrants living in the United States decreased 7%, from 11.6 million to 10.8 million.

Down by 800,000 in one year, against an annual average increase of 250,000 during the 2000-2009 period.

This sizeable decline coincides with the U.S. economic downturn, yet another instance that points to how immigration flows are tied to economic trends.

The numbers show that if no jobs are available, immigrants escaping misery will simply go elsewhere. It is makes no sense to put your life and freedom at risk if you are very likely to be poor as you were before leaving your family and home country.

On the contrary, people without a future to look up to will be willing to put their life at stake, cross dangerous borders, dodge police, if the probable outcome is a job to feed your family back home, a life more meaningful, more human, less diminuishing, free from war and harm.  And yes, they’ll accept lower than minimum wages, more than acceptable work loads. They need to feed their children, feed themselves. They can’t complain.  

What about the local economy?  Local – legal – labourers suffer from their unfair competition. The terms of employment accepted by unauthorised immigrants go against the labour rights we have long fought for.

What is the position of goverments in the developed world? Kick them out. Illegals are illegal. Out. Detention centres, deportation. Quotas, quotas, bring up the threshold to entry. As if you could refrain the fight against hunger. As if you could tell employers would need work force, elderly who need caretakers, working mothers who need someone to look after their children, to do without them.

They won’t. And immigrants will keep on coming, legally or not, until the demand for labour in our countries is met. No jobs, no immigrants.

Why not face the facts and act upon them in a way that truly protects our fellow citizens,  as well as the needy who come to our shores? Make sure that labour rights are applied. Act against ruthless employers. Safeguard immigrants against the ultimate blackmail: accept these terms or you’re out.

Help employers find as many labourers as they truly need. Don’t make things so difficult as to force employers to break the law. Make it easy to comply with the rules of employment. Allow flexibilty. Allow the legal labour market to grow.

Immigration trends follow economic trends. If the economy booms, the labour market follows. No one wants to stay in a flagging economy.

No jobs, no immigrants.

 

Federica Gaida

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