It has been known for a long time that tens of thousands of foreigners sneak into this country illegally every year.Immigration officials can only guess how many millions of them are now living among us.
However, no great wave of indignation has swept across the country, and few voices have been raised on Capitol Hill to demand remedial action. A bill sent to Congress by President Carter has been lodged in a committee pigeonhole for such a long time that we probably ought to hold a memorial service for it.
The reason we take the situation so calmly is that it has been explained to us by employers that our economic system now depends upon illegal aliens. They say no American wants to do "stoop labor" or dirty work any more. We're told that if the wetbacks stop filtering across our borders, we won't have enough manpower to harvest our crops, or wash the dishes in our restaurants, or carry away the garbage.
Zaccheus White is one who doesn't accept the validity of this explanation, and I, for one, agree with him. In fact, there may be more of us dissenters than Congress realizes.
White notes that we have made it entirely too easy for foreigners to sneak into our country and fill jobs that would otherwise have to be filled by American citizens. The foreigners send much of their pay back to their native lands to support their families there, meantime Americans who can't find work go on welfare, and taxes go up to support them.
I think it is nonsense to claim that if we make it a crime to hire illegal aliens we won't have enough manpower to harvest our crops or wash our dishes. I see evidence all around me that - if you make the paycheck big enough - you can find people who are willing to dig ditches, walk tightropes, haul garbage, wrestle with lions, pull weeds, change a baby's diapers or play professional football in spite of broken bones.
Each job category develops a pay pattern of its own, with many factors having an effect on the bottom line numbers. Employers must pay whatever it takes to make people willing to put up with a job's drawbacks.
Each time an employers raises his pay scale a notch, more workers find his proffered job an acceptable alternative to unemployment.
It seems to Zaccheus White that our own people - not illegal aliens - ought to be the ones responding to those job offers. And I agree.
A restaurant that can charge $8.95 for a small serving of undistinguished food and 50 cents for a teabag and a cup of hot water can afford to pay wages that top welfare rates by a sufficient amount to attract dishwashers and garbage haulers. Put it in the paycheck, gentlemen, and you'll have native Americans waiting in line for an opening in your kitchen.
Many restaurateurs think our present laws on the hiring of illegal aliens are a big joke. I hope Congress will bestir itself and pass legislation that will make it clear to employers that hiring "illegals" is not a laughing matter for unemployed Americans or for American taxpayers.