Immigrant tide hardly overflowing |

Immigrant tide hardly overflowing

Don Rogers

In a nation of 300 million, the number of illegal immigrants has swelled to 10-11 million. There’s your “overwhelming” tide of migrant farm workers, bed changers, bus boys and other unskilled laborers. About 3 percent of melting pot America’s total population. On the list of our big national problems, this one falls down the scale pretty far, if you think about it for more than 5 seconds. It may not even be a real problem at all, other than the near hysteria from the folks who think their welfare bennies are at risk. Or their taxes are bursting through the roof. The resentment is real enough. As it has always been. Once upon a time those scummy Irish and strange-looking Chinese were the objects of scorn. Now it’s the estimated 57 percent of the current illegal immigrant tide, peasants from Mexico seeking opportunity. Sure, they’ll eventually become citizens, their children and children’s children will benefit from U.S. education. Next thing you know, they’ll compete for higher echelon jobs such as lawyers, doctors and corporate executive positions. Meantime, they tend to work harder for less money than natives who fail to take advantage of the opportunities at their fingertips. Teach your children well.In the resort culture here, with so many jobs filled by largely unskilled immigrant labor, the melting pot can be a crucible. It’s easy to lose perspective. It’s easy to overlook that the assessment scores of white students in Eagle County public schools rival and exceed those in Colorado’s top districts. Or that there’s no one rushing to fill jobs in an area with absurdly low unemployment. That the pay for service work here actually is high. That there’s a practical need for immigrant labor. As has always been. Vail, Colorado

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