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Letter: We need immigrant labor, so let's welcome it
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Poultry plant employees walk across Industrial Drive on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019, toward the employee parking lot of Pilgrim's Pride. - photo by Scott Rogers

The law of supply and demand explains one of the reasons why immigrants come here. U.S. businesses have a great demand for hard working people who don’t require high wages. People from the countries of Central America are wanting to fill that demand. Our businesses need people willing to work at jobs that our citizens don’t want to perform.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “There are 7.4 million job openings and only 6 million people looking for work.” Presently, many of the job openings are for unskilled people who have a strong work ethic.

Many of the immigrants wouldn’t risk coming here if the demand for workers didn’t exist. We have the demand; they have the supply.

The poultry industry has a great demand for labor. That labor is provided by mostly Latino laborers. In Hall County alone, their wages provide $780 million to the economy.

It’s a false description to refer to Latino immigrants as rapists and murderers. A Latino immigrant is more likely to be murdered by a white person than vice versa. This is amplified by recent mass killings in the U.S.

In addition, thousands of U.S. citizens are spreading false rumors on the internet that Latino immigrants receive unfair benefits paid for by the American taxpayer.

They claim that illegal immigrants can immediately collect Social Security. Absolutely not true. Immigrants must first pay those taxes into the system and reach their retirement age like anyone else.

They claim that illegal immigrants can immediately collect Medicare benefits. That is false. Even legal immigrants must wait for at least five years.

They claim that illegal immigrants can directly access most federal welfare programs. Not true. Sometimes they access welfare benefits through their legal children.

The one benefit illegal immigrants are permitted is emergency medical care.

Should Congress pass a new law to control immigration and asylum seekers? Absolutely. We need to continually assess our labor needs. We need to define more clearly who has the right to seek asylum. We need to speed up the process of assimilation.

Until then, let’s welcome immigrants and asylum seekers, not disparage them. We have a demand for laborers, they have a need to be a laborer.

Calvin King


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