“this means creating a rational route to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants. They inhabit a netherworld, holding jobs that Americans cannot or will not take while having to pretend they do not exist”.
This is half right. I commented:
It’s neither vicious or dehumanizing for Americans to want people who are here illegally to return to their country. Neither is it rhetoric. It’s a point of law, the basis for American society.
I think Freedman is correct that we need a straightforward, legal way for some of these folks to become citizens and for others to work legally in this country. But it is for Americans to decide the laws of our land, not the illegals.
I don’t accept, however, that there are jobs that Americans won’t do. This is completely wrong.
True, there are distasteful jobs that, given the presence of a large pool of illegal workers, do not pay enough for Americans to want to perform them. But take away that illegal labor source and pay the true market value for those jobs and the applicants will come.
Businesses don’t want to do that, of course, particularly since they’ve been given a free pass on using illegal labor to date. If they had to pay the actual market rate for some positions they would lose money in the short run. But they would quickly innovate so that these jobs could be automated or performed more efficiently.
It’s incorrect to say that illegal labor is a necessity for supply or price reasons. Neither is true until one’s competitor begins tapping the cheap, illegal pool of labor. Only then does it become a necessity. Out of fairness to American business (if for no other reason), our government needs both to enforce its laws and to provide a regulated mechanism for foreigners to participate in the work force.