This I Believe

Isaac - Cave Creek, Arizona
Entered on May 16, 2007

I Believe

“Illegal immigrants are stealing our jobs,” was a phrase I heard a lot in the 2006 elections. I want to know something, who are the illegal immigrants stealing jobs from? I believe that contrary to popular belief, illegal immigrants aren’t entirely bad.

I want to know whose jobs the illegal immigrants are taking. Illegal immigrants primarily work in minimum wage jobs. The groups of people who commonly work in minimum wage jobs are immigrants, and teenagers. Who cares if teenagers are unemployed? They still live with their parents and their real job is school; they don’t need the jobs. Any adult native citizen making minimum wage has seriously screwed up. Americans get free education for 12 years; that gets them a high school diploma. After high school they can go to college, or if they’re tight on money they can join the military and have the government pay for college. If someone hasn’t taken advantage of this system, they don’t deserve a job.

Small business owners depend on immigrants. Raising wages increases costs, which lowers profit; for small business owners, this can mean the difference between success and failure. If it weren’t for the immigrants, employers would have to raise wages for all the bratty teenagers who really don’t care about their jobs. Immigrants, who are used to making almost nothing, are willing to work for minimum wage. Teenagers don’t care about their job as much as adults. Teenagers don’t have to support a family; their paycheck is just spending money.

People commonly believe that illegal immigrants hurt the economy because they don’t pay taxes. The immigrants that hang out at the gas stations and get paid cash do hurt the economy since they don’t pay taxes. However the immigrants that are paid with a paycheck pay taxes and help the economy. The accounting department in most businesses automatically takes money out of your paycheck and sends it to the government; this is why most people get tax returns. Illegal immigrants can’t file for a tax return; so the government keeps all of the money that the illegal immigrants’ employers gave them.

If I were an employer who had a minimum wage position that needed to be filled, I would rather hire an immigrant than a native citizen. The immigrant might not have had the same opportunities as the native would have. I would ask the citizen why he wanted a minimum wage job when he probably had plenty of opportunities earlier in life to get an education and a better job.

I believe that illegal immigrants aren’t as horrible as most people think they are. Immigrants are just like the rest of us; they want to make their lives and the lives of their children better. They are pursuing happiness, which according to Thomas Jefferson and The Declaration of Independence, is the natural right of everyone.