When I was an immigration reporter, I learned that C-SPAN's Washington Journal frequently provides a valuable national cross-section of public reaction to immigration. Today and tomorrow, I want to reproduce excerpts from callers to Thursday's program. (You can watch the whole program here.) I am not including comments from the studio guests, which included our own Mark Krikorian, as well as Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza, Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, Ali Noorani of the National Immigration Forum, and National Journal reporter Fawn Johnson.
Jay in Sellerville, PA, on the Republican Line, at home on a break from a job in North Dakota: Out there somehow they get things done with a population that's about 99 percent white, mostly German and Norwegian. All the people that wash dishes and most of the people that work in roofing are all white. Same thing with my town. I was a roofer here 20 years ago. There wasn't a Mexican for hundreds of miles and somehow we got things built. Somehow we framed houses. My friends were all plumbers and heating and cooling mechanics and roofers and siders and we made very good money until they began to import the wonderful diversity into our town.
Felix in Oklahoma City, on the Independent line: I'm a teacher here in Oklahoma City. And I teach a big Hispanic population that often-times my students were brought here by their parents when they were young. And it's really hard for me to see (that) many of them don't feel that they can fully incorporate themselves into the whole education process because they don't have the ability to maximize the education they are receiving because they can't go to college ... We should be able to find a way to fully incorporate them.
Jeff in Knoxville, TN, on the Independent Line: I've got to agree very much with the guy from Pennsylvania. I've seen it start out like the way he was talking about with the illegals in lawn care. Well, it's moved from lawn care to the roofing, to the painting, to, you know, the restaurants.... Something needs to be done but you cannot rely on Washington. They are so dysfunctional. Instead of worrying about our own borders, we're in the Middle East. We're in about everybody else's.
Steve in Corpus Christi, TX, on the Republican line: I'm just kind of a frustrated Republican here. I'm a first generation Hispanic, a retired military guy ... We actually created this system to get, I guess, cheaper labor in good economic times. And when it becomes difficult, now all of a sudden we look to immigration. I'm wondering what in the world is going on here when we want these reduced costs. We have people who refuse to do this kind of work. We have Americans who would rather get three years of unemployment rather than have to get out there and hustle. The gentleman that was complaining about the law care jobs, move to Texas. There's plenty of jobs out here if you're willing to go to move to them.