Subject: TV/UK: FEATURES - LEADING ARTICLE - IMMIGRATION DOES WORK.
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 09:02:01 EDT
Did anybody see this? Was it about trafficking for forced labor?
6-19-00 UK: FEATURES - LEADING ARTICLE - IMMIGRATION DOES WORK.
TONIGHT, BBC's Panorama is due to show a shocking story of illegal
immigrants trying to work. These unfortunates cannot do so legally in
Britain, so they are employed for pitifully low wages outside the law by
what are effectively organised gangs. Panorama has discovered that some of
these people are paid little more than #5 for a day's work. The output of
the farms or food factories employing them ends up, unsurprisingly, on
supermarket shelves, and the programme's investigators want to discourage
the grocers from buying this cheap produce, even though there is no
suggestion that the retailers are doing anything wrong.
The episode tells us much more about our muddle over immigration than about
the buying practices of the supermarkets. Immigrants, whether legal or
illegal, are typically impoverished, and most need charity, whether private
or state, to survive their early days here. Some will resort to begging, a
few to stealing, a tiny minority to serious crime. It is understandable
that reports of "floods" of illegal immigrants make many people, especially
those living in the highly populated South-East, profoundly uneasy.
Whatever the social strains immigration produces, the economic case for
absorbing these people is a strong one. As Panorama shows, people want to
work, even for such derisory sums. Few of the thousands who have abandoned
home to come to a country whose language they may not speak want to live
off the state. They are in the most economically active phase of their
lives, and want to establish themselves in their new country. The arrival
of a "flood" of East African Asians a generation ago effectively saved the
corner store, and their offspring are significant generators of national
prosperity today. As Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the US Federal
Reserve, observed the other day, if America is to continue to grow at its
present rate, it will need more immigration. The problems of immigration
are made much worse when the new entrants are forbidden to work and given
benefit: then they really are a drag upon the nation, with no incentive to
be honest. If they must work to live, most of them will, and this is good
for our prosperity.
Telegraph Group Limited, London, 2000.
DAILY TELEGRAPH 19/06/2000 P19
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