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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Making Sense on Immigration

Robert Samuelson has an outstanding piece in today's Washington Post on making some sense of the immigration debate. He slaps the Media, Democrats and Republicans for the obvious problem with the whole debate, we don't want to offend anyone, so we are going about trying to fix immigration in a half assed, polite way.

Maybe the Senate got an advance copy of his op/ed piece, since last night they decided on 200,000 instead of 325,000 guest workers per year. Of course, they still have to reconcile what they've written with what the House has passed. Good luck.

Samuelson's point, that we don't need more under educated, low wage, low potential workers is the one most often ignored in the debate. Much like the issue of using the National Guard on the border, it seems that folks in the media and congress don't want to offend Mexico and other Central American suppliers of those workers. So we muddle and muddy the debate, making it seem like an engineer with a degree is the same as a lettuce picker who can't add 2+2.

The truth is, as he points out, they aren't the same. The less educated, are more likely to be a drag on social services, education instutitutions, and the economy in general than the educated. Yet we lump them together because we want all immigrants to be the same.

I posted a month or so ago about the H-1B visa program, which makes up for shortfalls in our own education system by allowing highly educated workers into the country. That program runs out of slots within 2-3 months of opening each year, yet it's not being addressed in the current debate.

If you get a chance, read Samuelson's column today, it's a dose of common sense in the debate.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with your take on H-1Bs. H-1Bs are used by employers to fill positions when there is a shortage of workers or they simply don't want to pay the prevailing wages US citizens command. At least H-1Bs are legal.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

You're right. That Samuelson piece was outstanding.

7:10 PM  

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