Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Will Americans pick up the slack if we secure the borders?

United States
United States (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)
As I spoke with a neighbor the other day who is in the midst of house construction, the changes in our country became ever more evident. One of the brick columns on his carport was crooked and the construction company owner had sent a man to break down the column so the bricklayer could come in and reconstruct it.

As the worker began demolishing the brick column, my neighbor tried to stop him as it was the wrong one. The worker looked at him in confusion and muttered, “no comprenda.” He was from Mexico and spoke no English. At that point, it was no longer relevant as to what language he spoke; the damage and consequent delay in finishing construction had been done.

I admit that I am quick to jump on the bandwagon about hollering and screaming that the borders need to be shut down. The Mexicans are taking over more and more of the jobs meant for Americans in their own country. I also admit to being the person, despite my mild temperament, who wants to slam the phone down when I get a recording that says, “Press 1 for English.” Nothing angers me more than having to press “1” because this is the United States of America and my language is English!

Today, as I was walking down my driveway to pick up the mail, I looked over and observed two masons laying brick columns. They were Mexican. My first thoughts again were another American job taken over by a foreigner. My second thought was there would have to be an American willing to lay bricks to take the job back, and obviously there wasn’t.

While I am still in favor of securing our borders and giving jobs to out of work Americans, I am not so na├»ve to assume an American wants the job. Isn’t that why there are so many foreigners working in our country? I look around the area where I live and there are many, many Mexicans holding down construction jobs, mason jobs, and the grass cutting businesses are almost entirely made up of Mexican employees. My husband hired a Mexican to work construction with him. Before he went back home to Mexico, my husband and he had grown quite fond of each other. He was a hard worker and willing to learn construction. On his visits home, he used the newly learned carpenter skills to improve his house and build a business for his wife.

While he was an outstanding worker and emulated my husband’s every move, he was unwilling to learn English. Fortunately, my husband is fluent in French (Cajun culture) and is also able to communicate in Spanish otherwise, this working relationship would not have worked. During their lunch breaks, hubby would learn additional Spanish, but the worker had no interest in learning English, no matter how hard my husband tried to teach him a few words. My husband hired a Mexican because there were no Americans interested in doing manual construction labor.

A number of years ago, I worked at a local university. Students would graduate and eventually come back to work on their MBA. It was not unusual to hear them admit that they couldn’t find a job that paid what they thought they were worth. They clearly did not want to start at the ground level and work their way up. It seemed like no one wanted to “pay their dues”, they wanted to be hired in management level positions straight out of school.

It really says something about the work ethic of Americans when they have the attitude that a ground level position is not good enough. There are so many after instant gratification and they find life boring starting out as our parents did at the ground level where you actually learn the job and earn your way up the ladder.

I sit here and think what does this say about Americans? We want our borders closed, but are we willing to do the work that the Mexicans now do? Will we take the menial jobs in the fields? Are we willing to lay bricks? Are we willing to mow grass? You have to admit, it is food for thought.

These were some thoughts that came to mind today while observing life outside my door. I invite you to weigh in on this topic. What are your thoughts?  Remember, I have meant no insult to anyone of any nationality, so be kind in your response.

As always, thanks for visiting and I hope you visit again.
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