Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In the Water

I love the weightlessness of water

hold my breath to balance out the tension.
In the water, I can rip the iron bars off my shoulders

I can forget the hunger pains
I can distract the wars at home
I can muffle the sounds of world riots.
I am not lonely. the water is alone.

In the water, it all dissolves, drifts, disappears
even I. unaware of my own physical inhibitions.
In the water I float loosely
hair in tangles, arms outstretched. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Join Us in this Diverse Place We Call America: Immigration Reform

One of the best things about America is our diversity. It is a country where people of all different backgrounds, languages, and cultures come together in one place. E Pluribus Unum- Out of Many One. I use myself as an example: I was born in Japan, and my family comes from all over the world, but I am an American because I live here. I work here. I learn here. I love here. I choose to be American.

As illegal immigration is a very hot topic, especially during this time of economic crisis in our country, I decided to write about why we need to reform immigration, and why I support Obama in his plan for comprehensive reform (go here for more info). America is a country of immigrants, so we should encourage immigrants to come and stay in America to work and live, and in doing so we will benefit our economy.

The idea of America is rather subjective. We can't really define who we are, because we are so diverse, yet this is what makes us who we are. Since the beginning, immigrants have come to America to work, have a home, and well, just live. Anyone can be an American. Because of this, America does not have the right to shut people out who want to do the same. Rather than preventing these types from coming to America, as Obama said, America's focus should be to deport and keep out the type who commit acts of terror or violent crimes.

According to Reform Immigration America, some of the companies that we love and use everyday, like Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Intel, and eBay, were founded in America by immigrants. If they had not been allowed to immigrate here, they would have probably started these companies in other countries and the companies would not have benefited America. Not only does America not have the right to keep immigrants out, but it is not economically smart to keep them out. The more entrepreneurs, workers, and spenders there are in America, the more our economy will thrive.

Much of the opposition that Americans have to illegal immigrants is that they are stealing jobs from Americans and those who are coming to America legally. An employer who hires an undocumented worker can pay the worker as little as he want; he does not have to adhere to a state's minimum wage requirements if he is paying a worker under the table wages. Employers are more inclined to hire an undocumented worker than a legal worker, because it will save the employer  money. The employer will then be able to lower his prices and beat his competitors. He has an unfair advantage to his competitors who are following the law and hiring legal workers, because he is exploiting illegal immigrants. The undocumented worker has an unfair advantage at finding a job, because he can offer a low price for his labor.The exploitation in this underground economy profits the employer but diminishes the middle class.

Exploitation hurts our economy because it drags down wages, which drags down spending, which drags down employment in the cycle of our economy. It makes the exploiting employer rich, while tossing the employees into the lower class, and therefore widening the gap between the rich and the poor. To top it off, the estimated hundreds of millions of exploited workers are not paying income taxes.

Some may wonder why the workers allow themselves to be exploited in the first place, and this is why. Most immigrants come to America to work, and they will work for low wages because they need money. They are not documented because they did not have the money or the time to spend and wait to come to America legally in the first place.

This certainly is a problem, but it is one that the immigration system has encouraged. If we could make a cheaper, faster, and easier way for immigrants to come to America, then workers would have the incentive to come here legally. Right now, the system forces people who are looking for work in America to come illegally, from lack of money and time. Yet if they came here legally, they would not be exploited as they are now. They would work for at least minimum wage, spend money, and pay taxes, which would benefit our economy.

Because we are a country of immigrants, There is no reason why immigrants should not have a chance to come to American to earn money and live, as long as they are not terrorizing other Americans with violent criminal acts.  It would benefit our economy if we stopped businesses from exploiting workers, and made it easier for immigrant workers, entrepreneurs, and spenders to come here legally. The only difference between me and an illegal immigrant is that I have papers and they don't. If they live here, and they want to work hard and follow the law, then they are welcome to join us in this diverse place we call America, but immigration reform is necessary to make that possible.