Friday, June 23, 2006

An Unexpected Flare Up in the Immigrant Debate

Earlier this week, I burst a couple of bubbles about illegal immigrants: Many do pay taxes and the vast majority are filling low-paid jobs that Americans turn up their noses at.

Here's another bubble burst: Some of these immigrants also are doing dangerous jobs.
With wildfire season well underway in the West, the debate over immigration in some of the very states where there are both wildfires and strong anti-immigrant sentiment is taking an unexpected turn because about half of the 5,000 private firefighters who supplement government firefighters are Latinos. According to one study, half of them are undocumented aliens.
This is not a new phenomenon. Latino immigrants have been taking on the hot, dangerous and dirty work for years because the demand is high and the pay is much better than farm work. In the Pacific Northwest, about 75 percent of so-called contract crews are made up of immigrants.

This presents an interesting dilemma for the xenophobes who want to ship the whole bunch of 'em back to Mexico or wherever they came from.
What are you going to do when the flames from wildfires are licking at your dream house and the firefighters who could have made a difference have been deported?

Burn baby, burn!

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