The "immigrant problem" may solve itself

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Legal, illegal or whatever, a large number of businesses in this country (including, of course, woodworking shops) have been relying more and more on "immigrant labor", mostly from Central and South America.

The reasons are almost as numerous as the immigrants themselves, some very valid, some of questionable merit. In any case, the question of just how much of this "imported" labor our economy can support has recently blossomed into a "full scale" political issue, especially in regards to those who are here under "questionable circumstances." The discussion has become so heated that it is now significant enough to be one of the most broadly addressed questions in our current presidential race. "What do you plan to do about the immigrant problem?"

"Solutions" have been offered that range from fairly rational "registration and identification" procedures to absurd ideas like fencing off the entire country or rounding up some 12 or more million "illegal aliens" and shipping them back down south. The debate is raging. But while all of this is going on, the "solution" may be sneaking up on us without our even knowing it. A few days ago, a good friend of mine whom, as it happens, employs a small number of people from Guatemala, overheard a couple of employees talking during a break. Even with a limited comprehension of Spanish, my friend was able to pick up the words "Dinero" and "No mas bueno." After some discussion in "Spanglish" my friend was able to get the gist of what they were talking about. It would seem that the weakening dollar is not going as far in the home country as it did just a short while ago.

So, as the dollar loses value, the willingness of people to invest every penny (or peso) they and the other members of their families can lay their hands on to finance a trek of thousands of miles to live (if they're lucky) crammed into apartments in numbers far exceeding the intended capacity and to live, sometimes for years without family or friends in order to earn a wage that most Americans would refuse to get out of bed for may simply vanish. After all, the main reason "these people" have been motivated to accept such a life is that the dollars they manage to send home have been worth orders of magnitude more than they are here. Take away this motivation by allowing the value of the dollar to plummet into the cellar on the worldwide market and not only are people not going to want to come here to mow lawns and wash dishes and clean houses, but most of the people already here are not going to feel particularly bleak about the idea of going home. Bling... problem solved. And think of all the money we are going to save on fencing.

D.D.

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