Tuesday, April 14, 2020

We Need To Help Undocumented Workers

León Krauze has a piece in The Washington Post about how we need to support undocumented workers. At this point, this should be obvious to everyone. Back on March 28, I noted how Republican conservatives were calling Mexican laborers essential. Nobody is saying anything about "stealing" jobs anymore--the notion, always empirical wrong, is now glaringly false. "Social distance" is a privileged concept. If you want to eat--and who doesn't?--then some people will be working pretty close to each other to pick food. Lettuce doesn't get picked on Zoom.

Krauze's article tends to conflate legal and undocumented immigrants, which is unfortunate, but his overall point is well taken. Access to unemployment benefits and sick leave would be a good idea in both moral and economic terms. Certainly, I would hope people think in moral terms, but for this issue I am fine if you insist on looking only at the economic effects because we have to eat, and I don't see you volunteering to go into the fields. We want people to be healthy and to have the option to take a break when they don't feel well. Otherwise we're worse off in both moral and economic terms.


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