Saturday, May 22, 2004

It's truth we need, not guest workers

It's truth we need, not guest workers

It's truth we need, not guest workers
May. 22, 2004 12:00 AM

So which is the truth?

The Republic's editorial stance on Wednesday ("Coyote cunning") states that smugglers of illegal aliens, known as coyotes, survive because "the simple fact that U.S. businesses want the labor that Mexicans and other Latin American people will risk their lives to provide."

Yet last week The Republic quoted Vince Wood, assistant director of the state Department of Economic Security's benefits and eligibility division, in an article about how Arizona's food stamp program more than doubled with a 108 percent jump, that people have been moving to Arizona hoping to find work, but there are not enough entry-level and low-skill jobs to meet the need.

So which one is the truth? They both are.

There aren't enough entry-level and low-skilled jobs because they are being filled with undocumented immigrants to the degree that they are displacing naturalized citizens. Without steady jobs on which to rely, these citizens turn to the state and federal government for assistance in the form of food stamps and other social services.

Congress doesn't need to get busy shaping a fair, humane guest-worker program from the proposals in front of them, as The Republic suggests. It needs to realize that we have adequate resources for entry-level and low-skilled workers, with more than 2,000 school-age children dropping out of class every day. It needs to understand that we don't need to import cheap labor so businesses can undercut trade wages. It needs to get busy getting its citizens back to work and off of assistance.

The truth hurts sometimes, but someone in Congress needs to step up and tell it. - Michael Ricci, Phoenix


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