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Economic impact

Do illegal immigrants help or hurt our economy?

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  • eddiervc

    great show!…a pleasure to see anything other than the stereotypes of Hispanics as gang-bangers and losers…good job

  • TheThinker

    As illegals they help the economy by providing cheap labor keeping food costs somewhat lower, if they were legalized they would hurt the economy by drawing on all the social assistance programs since most are low wage.

  • NativeAmerican

    Great Show, but incomplete. The most of the Hispanic People are good hard working people but need to work to become legal . Other are hurting the good people by illegal acts.

  • Joanna Harmon

    We need to allow Mexicans to become citizens to enable them to take full part in our society. They need the same kind of opportunities as citizens do. By denying them this, we are harming ourselves in ways we cannot even clearly understand right now. I live in New Mexico, and we have many immigrants here, and I strongly believe they should be able to become citizens.

  • Ben van velze

    The need for farm labour is great,even here in Canada we find very view people who are willing to do the hard work for the minimum wages they receive . By making migrant workers legal we allow them to be part of the legal workforce, and they can ask for fair treatment and become full tax paying citizen . They contribute superbly to all of us,and I and my whole family are very grateful for all the hard work they do.

  • fulltimestudent

    Touching documentary, this issue is one that is very debated
    and widespread. America is what we make of it; some may argue that a pathway to
    citizenship or work permits can help our economy. Others may argue that it will
    be the continuation down the path to collapse. We are all born with natural
    rights, there should be no discrimination regardless of legal standing. America
    is great.

  • Karen

    Pathway to citizenship is rewarding lawbreakers, it’s amnesty. Absolutely no amnesty & no pathway to citizenship. They not immigrants, they’re illegal aliens that must return to their home country. Then they can go to the US consulate or embassy, apply to immigrate to this country & wait their turn like everyone else.

  • Karen

    That’s Canada. If you Canadians want to reward lawbreakers that’s your choice.

  • gym driver

    Is that the qualification for achieving legal status? You have to work in the fields? What about illegals working in construction? Are they excluded or included from being given “status”? Where does it stop? Does the illegal farmworker’s kids and grandkids get that “status” as well?

  • Karen

    If they want to become citizens, they can return to Mexico, apply at the US consulate or embassy to immigrate to this country legally & wait their turn. In addition, I read last week, per immigration service, after the 1986 immigration reform act, to date, only 36% of all mexicans with green cards have become citizens so there goes & as for other nationalities, only 44% became citizens so there goes your theory

  • Karen

    According to Rubio, graham, McCain & the other 4 gang of senators working on immigration reform, all illegals would be given status. It doesn’t matter where they work & includes the children & grandchildren. It doesn’t stop. Rubio, graham, McCain & other republicans are for this amnesty status because they want the Hispanic vote which they lost in 2008, 2010 & 2012. In addition, they claim the illegals want citizenship even though immigration service stats indicate that after the 1986 immigration reform act, only 44% of the illegals applied for citizenship & only 36% of Mexicans applied for citizenship so there goes that theory

  • Karen

    Notice, the people in this story, to date, have not become citizens. So there goes your theory regarding them becoming full taxpaying citizens.

  • Vic

    If they get papers, are they will leave Salinas Valley and who will continue to work there? White people,? Black people? Chinese people? Who???

  • Ron Swaren

    Mechanization. Here in the US we are slowly losing out to imported produce (USDA, 2007) because people in S. America will work for a fraction of US labor. The only way to over come this is further mechanization. Other countries like italy and Australia and Japan are doing it. It is the only way for Ist world agriculture to survive against Third world agribusiness.

  • Bob

    I have been reading the responses from Karen. My sympathy goes out to you. I hope the heart ailment you suffer from somehow or someway is healed before it kills you

  • Milt

    Mechanization would be more widespread were it not for resistance from UFW. Review the history behind what it took to bring mechanization to the harvesting of most tomatoes grown today.

    There will be little improvement in the lives of migrant workers so long as there is a seemingly endless supply labor, as Steinbeck made a point of with the Dust Bowl Americans looking for work. We certainly want the ag companies to be responsible about their use of chemicals and working conditions. But, the wages paid works will always be a function of individual worker productivity and the supply of labor.

    From the UFW site:
    2000-2005–With government statistics showing most farm workers are undocumented, over a three year period the UFW and the nation’s agricultural industry negotiate the historic AgJobs bill, compromise federal legislation that would allow undocumented farm workers in this country now to earn the legal right to permanently stay in the U.S. by continuing to work in agriculture.

    So, these illegal immigrant works under this bill, would be able to stay “permanently” provided they “continuing to work in agriculture.” Wow, “permanent”. Why? And they would be forced to stay in ag.

    In order to prevent a repeat of the last immigration reform, we need to be willing to pay more for ag. products and/or allow for more mechanization in agriculture. We cannot continue the status quo.

  • Anonymous

    It is not just agricultural and lawncare positions. Illegal aliens, including visa violators and visa overstayers displace hard-working American citizens from a broad spectrum of vocational titles that include “white collar” jobs. These categories make up about half of today’s illegal alien population. Perhaps that’s the reason why high-tech firms like Microsoft opposed Rep. Heath Shuler’s legislation that would have made the use of E-Verify mandatory, rather than only applying to about 2% of U.S. jobs.

  • tax payer

    if they were tax paying, they wouldn’t be illegal.. your right about the farming. but what about the legal immigrants in the states make over 50,000 year that still get health care paid for by the US government just because they are from a foreign country. As a natural born citizen and fully taxed, I don’t think its right. I also don’t think its right that immigrants are picked upand taken to the voting polls then given citizenship and health care as long as they vote Democrat.

  • tax payer.

    The government wants as many people paying taxes as possible. its all for making immigrants legal. the problem is the government is giving them more than they are paying in.

  • Salinas411

    Without immigrants and low cost labor – we would have nothing to eat in America. Our economy is based on low cost immigrant labor…has been since our beginnings. When was the last time you saw any “Americans” in a field picking crops? LOL – we’d all starve before we’d go to work for low wages, long hours and back-breaking work. Pretty sad commentary on the so-called American work ethic.

  • Anonymous

    But they ARE drawing on many social assistance programs now.

  • Anonymous

    What you espouse is a direct slap in the face to all those doing it the legal way, which can take years and be difficult. There is a reason we have methods for control of immigration. Not everyone is an asset. What does that say about being a LAW ABIDING citizen? That crime pays?

  • Anonymous

    Exactly! Bingo! Spot on…………..I work in a federal building and watch about 4 Naturalization Ceremonies a year. I’ve yet to meet one of those new citizens who didn’t work hard for the opportunity. They were here because the wanted to do it the right way and were proud for having done it that way. It MEANT something to them. As opposed to those who made it by thumbing their noses at our nation’s legal system. A person who starts off with no respect for their supposed new home probably won’t magically sprout any later.

  • Anonymous

    You two potentially share the same ailment, only yours seems to be cranial in nature.

  • ray landers

    an unpleasant truth is that slave labor is a very important part of our economy.

    i don’t like this fact, and i think it is wrong. true but wrong.

    look at how little legal residents/citizens are paid to work in low income jobs.
    legal residents/citizens need government programs to help them take care of their families, and even then the best they can manage is only marginally better than no care at all.
    legal residents/citizens working long hard and dangerous jobs are not lazy, and yet are treated as slaves in that when one of them is injured on the job or their ability to do the job diminishes due to age or ANY other reason, they are simply discarded without any concern because they are easy to replace.
    and that is the people who are LEGAL.
    the situation is worse for those who are illegal.
    the problem is not with the people that come and work in these despicable conditions, the problem is with the “job creators” that profit so obscenely from exploiting these people.
    of course part of those profits go to political campaigns and makes sure that the blame is put on the slaves rather than the masters.
    corporations are now people, but I’ll bet we never see one go to jail for negligent homicide in the death of their workers.

  • K5r4

    The reason you do not see Americans in the field picking crops is not because they do not want be picking crops, it is because Americans do not want to pick crops at the wages the farmers are willing to pay.

  • k5r4

    I do not have a heart ailment. I just believe that we must not reward lawbreakers which is what the gang of 8 senators amnesty legislation would do if it became law.

  • Washington

    One teenager interviewed stated he had hearing loss. He is already acquiring a free education in the U.S. that would probably be unavailable to him in his native country. And, unless I am badly mistaken, he is receiving special services at school and free hearing aids–possiby under Medicaid. Most American citizens seem to accept the claim proposed in the TV program: Illegal immigrants pay taxes that they do not access. I consider this blatently untrue. Many social services are provided. If there were no migrant workers (or, if our borders were secure and disallowed influx of workers), if every construction worker had to prove the right to live and work in the U.S., then there would be jobs for Americans. And, right now, some say that Americans would refuse to work some of the jobs. Maybe they would work if the choice was work or don’t eat.

  • Rvp

    You are probably unaware of the occurrence in South Carolina where immigrants started leaving for fear of a state measure to crack down on UNDOCUMENTED (not illegal!) laborers. Well, the crops went bad when the same local nativist Americans arguing over jobs thought the job of farmworkers was not suited for them, and this was back when the economy was worse than today. They refused to work; fact!

  • pallison

    How blind, ignorant, and self serving you seem to be with these comments. Part of the American Dream should be compassion like the compassion we show when we send so many young people to their deaths in foreign lands to protect that American Dream. What could be wrong with someone coming to America to live the Dream? There is not one of us that have ancestors that did not follow that same path as those immigrant workers, only most of our ancestors had a hand up somewhere and somehow. These immigrants are people just like you and me. I would suggest that you and I would not be able to walk in their shoes for one hour, let alone one lifetime. We need reform to protect all people under the umbrella of the American flag. To start that reform we need to work to get rid of lobbyists and other self-serving politicians in congress, but that is a separate problem.

  • David S.

    This poll is foolish. Whether illegal immigrants help or hurt our economy is not a matter of opinion. There is a definite answer to this question. Opinions do not change facts. Report the facts, please.

  • ng

    I dare you take a job picking lettuce for 20 dollars an hour, I bet you won’t even last a week even with that kind of pay. Working in those conditions are not easy and its only performed by people that are hungry for progress and oportunities….. something that many LEGAL residents lack of . Something to think about.

  • John S.

    They quoted Steinbeck as writing about how the town became rich, and today the town is illegal and in poverty.
    Send them back and stop the cycle!

  • John S.

    Sounds like the farmers need to pay fair wages and quit using cheap illegal labor.

  • ng

    I hope you never suffer from hunger or lack of work… imagine for a second the USA economy collapses and there is no jobs or future for you and your family, but realize Mexico or Canada is strong and have the opportunities for you to succeed, would you migrate illegally to any of those countries to help your family? …. think for a second and answer honestly, thanks.

  • John S.

    Slave labor? No one brought illegal aliens over in shackles to sell them to us, they broke the law on their own.
    Besides we do have a policy to treat every emergency patient regardless of insurance or staus.

  • Anonymous

    Nice sentiment, but your idealism is as childish as your logic. Canada has a much more stringent set of controls for foreign workers than do we. I doubt you COULD get a job their as an illegal. Same for Mexico. We are one of the only nations in the world with such porous borders and a wide open job market. We BEG them to come here with the “freebies” we offer. Do you know what Canada and Mexico offer to “undocumented” illegals in the way of “benefits”? I doubt you do.
    Our Immigration system lets many people into this nation as it is, legally. There is no excuse to condone border bandits. With your logic it should be ok for strangers to take up residency in YOUR living room and raid YOUR refrigerator at will, but that would probably not be acceptable to you, up close and personal. I’ve lived on the Mexican/American border and worked in a federal building where I witnessed the immigration process first hand. Respond when you have a real understanding of the issue, not just emotional cliche.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, which is the point so many liberal democrats want to hide. They are willing to trade tax payer dollars for the votes that are sure to follow. I have no problem with a work visa program. It’s what we SHOULD be pushing harder. Make it easier for the Mexican workers to work here and return home, which is what many of them do anyway. We should not reward people who cross over illegally.

  • Guest

    And bob, in reference to your response to Karen, I hope that brain tumor you have between your ears goes in to remission………….soon.

  • k5r4

    Wrong, our ancestors applied to immigrate to this country legally & waited their turn. They did not immigrate here illegally, then have anchor babies so they can stay here illegally, get unearned taxpayer paid healthcare, education, welfare, food stamps, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Wrong, it’s all about the rewards given to people. If farmers paid Americans $20+ per hours, you would see many Americans including myself taking a job picking lettuce. But that is not gong to happen because that would reduce the farmer’s profits.

  • Ponderer of things

    I never felt need to know was a fact based show….

  • Ponderer of things

    When the globe had 3 Billion people Immigration wasnt a bad thing.
    But we DO NOT need more people coming into the most extravagant & wasteful society on earth.
    Stop all immigration.

    Let these hard working people come on temp work permits & then go back & reform their own backwards countries.

    Think ahead ..not behind

  • Ponderer of things

    Well it was a rather sudden change

    if the pay is good people will try..I know I would..

    Maybe farm work should pay $18 -$30 an hour…IF youre a citizen

    $12-18 if youre not…

  • Ponderer of things

    I think its more that the Farmers cant afford it..the profits are all in the Middleman’s pockets…
    Control that & you can pay the workers & producers a fair wage.

  • Anonymous

    No they aren’t. You are thinking perhaps about born in the US, US citizens who are eligible for social assistance services. These are primary children born here. And they mainly get free school lunches and healthcare — as well as free education which is often, in poverty areas not worth to much.

  • Anonymous

    This program was about migrant workers primarily in Salinas Valley. This show did not purport to cover ALL who entered the US without papers.

  • Anonymous

    There is a waiting list of about 15 years when not are not qualified for family reunification status. That is too long a wait especially when US firms recruit for Mexico and Central America for specific jobs such as in the chicken processing plants. We need to change the rules or quotas on who we admit. The business community demands their labor.

  • Anonymous

    Ummm, there is no law against being in this country without documents. You are merely not allowed to work. There is law about employing someone who is undocumented but that law is rarely enforced.

  • Anonymous

    What law do you claim they break?

    There IS NO LAW against being in this country without being documented. that is why they can be deported by not sentenced to jail — unless they have violated some criminal law.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, either you are Karen or you repeat the repub talking points very well.

  • Anonymous

    You still wouldn’t last. But in actuality the pay maybe $8-9 but they don’t count all the hours. You are required to be in the fields by daybreak and work until dark, rain or shine in lots of heat. Stooping over for more than 12 hours in a day — sure you would.

    Plus, when the crop is done you have to move on to the next one. And you don’t get paid when there are no crops to be picked.

  • Anonymous

    Sure they treat for emergency problems — but not for cancer or diabetes or asthma, not in ways that would keep crisis from happening.

    The ER patients get billed for every service they get. And the hospitals have ferocious collection agencies.

  • Anonymous

    I really doubt that. There were no quotas until 1923. So if your forbearers came over with the hordes that came in the late 1800s and early 1900s — the Irish, Italians, Germans and such — or the earlier masses so didn’t wait you turn. You just came as soon as you had money to.

  • Anonymous

    You need to read Steinbeck. The town became rich on the labor of migrant worker who were treated little better than slaves. Worse actually because a man’s slaves were an economic asset.

    Go read The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck exposed the inhumane exploitation of people.

  • John S.

    Steinbeck didn’t know back then that the illegals would ultimately ruin the area today.
    So much for fiction, stick to reality.

  • John S.

    And when the patient is uninsured which most illegal aliens are, Medicaid kciks in off the taxpayers to cover their costs.

  • John S.

    So what? The point is, early ancestors immigrated legally, when it was not restricted by law.

  • John S.

    Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, “Improper Entry by Alien,” any citizen of any country other than the United States who:

    Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or

    Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or

    Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact;

    has committed a federal crime.

    Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.