Immigration

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Like many other areas over the past years, the US has seen a rapid increase in immigrants who have come to the region seeking better lives for their families. These immigrants, like those throughout U.S. history, are generally hard workers and make important contributions to the economy through their productive labor and purchasing power. Most immigrants usually fill essential service jobs in the economy, which are vacant. Unfortunately, like new immigrants throughout U.S. history, “they experience conditions that are commonly deprived, oppressive, and exploitive” (Conover, 2000). They are paid low wages with little potential for advancement, are subjected to hazardous working conditions, and are threatened with losing their jobs and even deportation if they voice dissatisfaction with the way they are treated. Many work several jobs to make ends meet. Many also live in substandard housing with abusive landlords, have few health cares options, and are victims of fraud and other crimes. Immigrant problems are related to trade agreements designed to enable large corporations to capture both consumer markets and cheap labor. These agreements protect rich investors, but not the workers or the environment. In the U.S., millions of production and assembly jobs are lost when corporations move operations overseas. Poor countries have had to sell state industries and open national borders to multinational corporations in order to meet a new economic order and payment of international debts. This process has restricted markets for home industries, driven out local producers, and forced people to immigrate. The U.S. borders can never be sealed, because millions of people are seeking ways to support their families, so will come to where jobs are available. Furthermore, American businesses want and need these workers. While the multinational corporations and their rich investors benefit from corporate welfare deals and seek out havens to avoid supporting society with their taxes, ordinary Americans have to pick up their tab. This situation sounds familiar in American labor history, where immigrants have been a mainstay in the national workforce. It wasn't until the labor movement gained strength that workers in the U.S. were able to turn “exploitive jobs into occupations that enabled them to support their families and improve their living conditions” (Dougherty, 2004). Higher wages have also increased their purchasing power, stimulated economic growth, and higher standards of living. Labor contracts and new laws, regulations, and policies established a more open employment system, procedures for addressing complaints, and safer working environments.

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