Thursday, December 10, 2009

How Do Ya' Like Them Apples?!

I was invited to give the invocation at the National Council of Jewish Women's Immigration Luncheon, held this past Tuesday.

The guest speaker was current San Diego Union Tribune and former Dallas Morning News editorial columnist Ruben Naverrette. Naverrette's take on immigration is very interesting. The labels 'liberal' or 'conservative' are trite and not quite applicable with him - at least in his presentation. A better word is 'pragmatic'.

Ruben's example of an undocumented immigrant apple picker going to the emergency room is a great example. When an undocumented immigrant goes to the emergency room because he doesn't have employee provided health care, it means you and I are subsidizing health care for the apple orchard farmer who hired the undocumented immigrant. However, if we make the apple orchard farmer 'the bad guy' and require him to provide health insurance then we have to pay more for his apples!

At the same time, he hires undocumented immigrants because he has to compete with imported Chinese apples. Which, in turn is a different commentary on the American spirit, because now it appears that we are afraid of competition!

While a sensible immigration policy is incredibly complex, at some point we have to understand that we have used cheap immigrant labor to keep prices down - to make our goods and services affordable. The idea that Americans will be hired to do this same work at the same wages as the undocumented AND without benefits, if we just deport all the 'illegals' is pretty ridiculous!

But maybe rather than sensible, effective immigration reform, there are people interested in paying $5.00 for an apple!

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