American Dreams or Fears?

By Katie Allen
The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, Engaging In Conversation About Immigration  photo by Austin Cannon

The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, Engaging In Conversation About Immigration
photo by Austin Cannon

The ‘American Dream’ raises questions as to whose dream? What exactly is that dream? Is it the same dream for everyone? Is that dream limited to only those who live here? As the questions are answered, there are also many fears.

The idea that the ‘American Dream’ can mean immigrants crossing the border  into America to fulfill their dream is frightening to some.

One of the major fears voiced about the incoming immigrants is taking away jobs from Americans. This is a hard pill to swallow, especially in a society where finding a job can prove to be an extremely difficult task. While engaged in conversation with the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, he mentioned that although this fear is widespread, he believes that it is irrational for a variety of reasons. A major aspect he focused on was the contribution to businesses and essentially the economy.

Secretary Vilsack’s main point was as more people come into America they will not be taking jobs from Americans but rather will help stimulate the economy and therefore create more jobs. It was an interesting view in contrast to the negative connotation with immigration that is so often shared.

This conversation was continued today while in session with Dr. Mark Rosenblum who explained why immigration policy is broken. He touched on the effects immigration would have on businesses and the economy in America.

Businesses need skilled workers, which sometimes means bringing them from across the border. Bringing them across the border to help the businesses, just as Secretary Vilsack said, is good for the economy. However, this becomes problematic because there is a two year wait for these immigrants to receive their (time limited) visa’s if they are coming from Mexico, and even longer from China or India. This is also created for the highly skilled workers, there is no visa (with two exceptions) created for the middle skilled workers. These exceptions include H-2 and H-2B, seasonal and agriculturally limited visas that are distributed in limited quantity. Seasonal work could be considered working at resort hotels or as crab pickers in Maine, not factory and business jobs.

What does this mean? It means that the incoming immigrants are not here to take the jobs of the Americans. Their jobs are not permanent. There are benefits to welcoming immigrants. In fact, the immigrants, more often than not, cannot even fulfill their ‘American Dream’ and we are benefiting off of it. Who is really living the dream?

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