Opposing views: Immigrants do the jobs we don’t want to do vs. I refuse to do that, señor

Immigrants do the jobs we don’t want to do

by Niels Olsen

manI am tired of hearing anti-immigration zealots say that illegal immigrants come here to steal our jobs. The truth is that immigrants do the jobs we don’t want to do. When was the last time you heard of a Mexican man making a perilous night-time journey across the desert border so that he might take your job as a bank teller? And have you heard the story about the woman from El Salvador clinging to the top of a train for ten days so that she can sneak into El Paso and snatch your title as cashier at Claire’s Accessories? Of course not.

The fact is, immigrants from south of the border come here to do jobs, usually for very low wages, that you and I aren’t willing to do. From picking crops, to washing dishes in restaurants, to cleaning hotel rooms, immigrants serve a vital role in our society. I personally know many business owners who are unable fill certain positions because most people find them too degrading or difficult to do. Why not give more immigrants a chance to do these jobs?

The next time your neighbor criticizes illegal immigrants for coming here, stand up for them. Say: I wouldn’t want to pick grapes all day long in 95-degree heat, would you? And next time you see a Mexican fellow working on the cleaning crew at your local mall, give him a handshake and say: gracias y bienvenido.


I refuse to do that, señor

by Carlos Vasquez

mexicanThank you for your work offer, Señor Olsen, but I have to respectfully decline. Yes, I have travelled a long way to work here. Yes, I have a family back in Chihuahua and I want to send them money. And yes, because I don’t have permission to work in this country, my options are limited. But señor , I must inform you that I won’t stand on my hands and knees for 12-hours at a time so you can use me as a coffee table to amuse your friends from the golf club. That would be too degrading, and it’s likely I would develop serious cramping.

Oh, what was that? You have a friend who needs someone for odd jobs around her house? Yes, please. Tell me where to go. I’ll take the bus across the city, walk six miles to an empty parking lot, and I’ll sit in the hot midday sun and pray that your friend will send someone to pick me up before I pass out from heat exhaustion. What exactly is it that your friend would like me to do? Oh, I beg your pardon, but I refuse to do that, señor . I am married, you see, and even if your friend were my wife, I still wouldn’t do that. Dressing up as Pancho Villa and doing — that — is simply wrong.

What did you say, Señor Olsen?  Your brother owns a landscaping company? Ah, that’s better. That’s something I would be very willing to do. I used to be a gardener for a lawyer in Santa Monica. If you provide me with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, you’ll see what great work I am capable of doing. What is the job, exactly? Oh dios mio, señor.

You are a bad, cruel human. If I had legal standing here, I would call the police.


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