The debate on immigration policy in the U.S. is heating up. Most of the talk centers around illegal Mexican immigrants. On one side of the coin you have President Bush proposing a Guest Worker Program. On the other side of the coin are the paleoconservatives like Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan who cringe at the thought of giving legal status to illegal immigrants. The Guest Worker Program would allow gainfully employed illegal immigrants to remain in the country temporarily, during which time they can pursue legal migrant status. I'm with Dobbs and Buchanan on this one.
At the heart of George Bush's argument is his belief that illegal immigrants help the American economy by doing jobs that Americans don't want to do. That's a crappy argument. There isn't a job that some American is not willing to do. Americans will strip, sell drugs, prostitute themselves, shoot porn, and do every other despicable and self-degrading job imaginable as long as they are well-paid.
Being well-paid is the key. With illegal immigrant labor, businesses see an opportunity to improve their bottom line by reducing their cost of labor. Illegal immigrants would accept minimum wages, and oftentimes, less than minimum wages, to perform jobs that Americans would demand greater compensation for. Not to mention, illegal immigrants usually don't complain about the lack of a benefits package either. Illegal immigrants allow business to bypass the free market rules of supply-demand that would allow the limited supply of workers in certain jobs to demand higher wages. Instead, businesses can replace them with cheaper labor.
Americans can't be blamed for not rushing into labor intensive jobs, with poor working conditions, meager benefits, and low wages. The current federal minimum wage of $5.15 is not a livable wage. Any adult that earns $5.15 an hour is automatically living below the poverty level. For Mexican immigrants that may be a step up, but for Americans its just a step above servitude.
American businesses need to support American ideologies and allow the free market system to work not just for the businesses but also for the laborers. Illegal, in this case, should remain illegal.