Gideon Aronoff and the HIAS dilemma

Posted on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 17:16 pm

The JTA's Uriel Heilman last week interviewed Gideon Aronoff, following his announcement that he was resigning as HIAS' President & CEO.

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Posted by Oscar on December 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

I speak fluent Spanish and have spent much time in jobs soeruundrd by undocumented workers. And I can tell the immigrants are benefited by their stays here. They earn a lot more money and they can send it home. Otherwise they wouldn't come. I benefit in many ways from the cheap labor they supply--often without even knowing it. I'm sure you do too, unless you're living in a hollow tree or something. Do note that I didn't say I was in favor of illegal immigration. I was just pointing out that it continues and will continue because it's convenient for the workers and for citizens of the U.S. who benefit from the workers' labor. There is no clear group with power that finds the situation sufficiently bad to do anything about it. Sure, occasional xenophobes do get worked up. But as soon as they learn that the crops won't get picked without this labor, they'll calm down. Virtually every time you have a meal in a restaurant, much if not most of the labor comes from undocumented workers. Much of construction is now being done by undocumented workers as is landscaping. Our economy would be wounded without undocumented workers. We can get all pious about it if we like, but we're really just hypocrites then. Because we are all benefiting from it. I don't see policies ever being put in place that would alleviate the situation, because they are all not viable politically. Racism, xenophobia, and corporate greed stand in the way.Certainly I would prefer situation where immigrants rights are better protected. That ain't gonna happen because many people in the U.S. have irrational fears of Latinos. Moreover, our corporate overlords really need the cheap labor. There is much debate about the effect of this cheaper labor on the poor people born in the U.S. I don't claim to know how that works out. Common sense would dictate that it drives down their wages. Now that's one group that suffers. Of course, they also don't have any political clout.