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Worse still, employers who play by rules are easily underbid by their unscrupulous rivals, and downward pressure on wages and safety intensifies. And this phenomenon is certain to worsen -- not lessen -- under any program which would legalize process. Why? Because a "documented" worker is easier to deport, and will therefore be more likely to do "work Americans won't do" to avoid unemployment and ineligibility. A guest worker program will therefore simply institutionalize current gray market for employees who will tolerate intolerable.
It's a tenuous doctrine, that American workers are so expensive that even American companies can't afford them, and plan to extricate ourselves from this invented predicament by pinning our hopes on newly legendary Mexican work ethic is flimsier still. And yet, there is some evidence that muddleheaded Americans are being persuaded by hypnotic repetition of immigration Newspeak issuing from White House, Congress, and major news media. A February 2004 Gallup Poll found that 46% of Americans support President Bush's plan to legalize Mexican nationals currently living here illegally, "as long as they hold jobs that no U.S. citizen wanted to do."
George Orwell famously observed that political speech is "designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." What else can be said of a phrase such as "undocumented worker" which presupposes subject is working, and transmutes violation of our borders into an apparent paperwork mixup? Will we now refer to a bank robbery as an "unauthorized withdrawal?" And what shall we call children of undocumented workers? Undocumented students?
Orwell forewarned us more than fifty years ago that sloppy language begets foolish thinking -- and vice versa -- and it's as true today as ever. Purposely misleading expressions such as "work Americans won't do" are solid proof that big lies still fit neatly into short phrases.
It's time we banished them.
Mr. Salientian is a regular contributor to PHXnews.com. You can read more of his articles on politics, economics, trade and immigration at HotFrog.org.