That's where I live  

Posted by Wayne Bretski in

Check out this NYT article about the immigration issue in AZ. I live at 36th and McDowell, which is two stoplights from 35th and Thomas. Click here. These are the parents of the children Miss Bee and I teach, their tios and primos and friends of their parents.

Definitely check out the slideshow that goes with the article. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is overboard, but he's got a lot of support here.

My take? The January 1st law, which punishes businesses for hiring undocumented workers, is one of the most overt displays of racism you're likely to see. We allow the import of cheap foreign goods and export service jobs to foreigners for lower wages.

On the flipside, it certainly is much more difficult to compete as a blue collar business when your competition is using underhanded techniques like paying wages and taxes in cash, for lower than market prices.

Without local government intervention, perhaps we could see the markets respond appropriately, but given the response from the sheriff's department, we're more likely to see an exodus of hard-working men and women.

Economics is the study of trade-offs. When these families move back to Mexico, it contributes to instability in the schools, generally lowering class sizes. Smaller class sizes, decreased local tax revenue, and already poor support for school districts all contribute to a reduction in the number of teachers, and prohibits increases in salaries for teachers. As a result, there are fewer talented people attracted to small, poor school districts, perpetuating the cycle of lower-quality education for what is labeled a lower-quality district, school, and community.

Raise wages for teachers and I promise that you'll see an improvement in the long run...but what administrator can plan for the next three to five years when their job depends on the next one or two?

As Lawrence Downes narrates, "These are men who want to work". Regardless of whether they are in the U.S. or Mexico they are very poor, and seeking the best for their family. Is that so horrible?


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