My Two Pesos Worth

The weather this Christmas Eve morning here in North Texas was about 40 degrees with drizzle and sleet. I’m training for another marathon in February so I was out running my long training run this morning as I always do on Saturday or Sunday each week. Even though it’s cold and rainy, I have to get some milage in or it sets me back too far in my training.

As I was out running in the cold drizzle this morning I ran through a new neighborhood under construction. Passing by two homes under construction, I saw they both were full of workers. As is usual here in Texas, the workers were all Latino.

I know there is racism of all kinds all over the world, but as you would expect, here in Texas we get more than our fair share of bigotry toward “Meskins”. It comes in all varieties, but goes something along the lines of “a bunch of lazy illegal immigrants that do nothing more than mooch off the government”.

As I ran through the neighborhood looking at those men working in the cold drizzle on a day that most people have off, I couldn’t help but get a little angry over the current attitude in our country towards immigration. This example I saw this morning of those men working hard on a day they would have rather been off is only one example.

When you go through these construction areas these immigrant workers are there working early and typically work till dark. They work in the cold, the extreme heat, they work in dangerous jobs, and they work for relatively low pay.

I had read an article in the Seattle Times recently about the fruit orchards in Eastern Washington. Because of the crackdown this past year along the border, there aren’t as many migrant workers coming north to pick fruit. The fruit was literally rotting on the trees.

The growers were offering jobs to local American workers for $10.50 per hour. Because of the recent economic problems in the US, they were getting quite a few Americans showing up to work. However, almost NONE of them would work more than a day. The article stated the biggest thing that made them quit was having to climb ladders with heavy sacks full of fruit on their backs. The growers were having to make due with the few immigrants that made it north and the Americans that were working for a day at a time.

I don’t know how I feel about illegal immigration. After all, it is the official law of our land and I believe we should obey the law. However, there is absolutely no way any honest thinking person can deny we aren’t all benefiting from a workforce willing to work as hard as the Latin American immigrants for the pay they work for.

Here in North Texas we benefit from relatively low cost housing. Food in this country is cheap compared to the rest of the world. Local restaurants can’t keep consistent help, but by turning to immigrant labor to fill these positions we have a good labor force of long-term adult workers instead of attitude-wielding teenagers with very little work ethic. These and more benefits can be contributed directly to low-cost immigrant labor.

Again, illegal immigration is just that, illegal. I agree we can’t allow a free flow across our borders. Any nation that allows that forfeits a certain level of it’s sovereignty.

However, we need to all think about this: the next time some of us might be tempted to complain about those “lazy wetbacks”, consider the hard labor of those construction workers out in the cold rain, or the kitchen workers over the hot grills in our restaurants, or the the farm labor picking our fruit and milking our cows. All for long hours and low wages. These workers by and large are thankful for the work and thankful for the ability to support their families.

I’m not as opinionated as I used to be. As I get older things aren’t as black and white. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have a lot of regrets. Over time God has allowed me the grace to view people more as individuals with the same basic hopes and dreams I have.

Whatever your opinion may be on illegal immigration, before forming your opinion put yourself in their shoes. How far would you go to have a better life for your family? Would you, as a man, be willing to work hard labor to feed and clothe them? Would you consider leaving where you now live and moving to a strange place to give our kids a chance at good schools and a better opportunity?

I would bet if you honestly examine yourself, you would probably be willing to do some extraordinary things to care for the ones you love. Maybe we should show others the grace they may need for doing what they feel they have to do.

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Filed under Current Events, Immigration, Politics

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