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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Cheap Labor Versus Jobs

September 16, 2004

The Sept. 12 column by Steve Lopez, "She Wants a Fair Policy on Migrants," is one of the best he's done -- less about just defending an absurd policy and more about some of that policy's implications. However, I would like to suggest that the immigration problem, especially illegal immigration, is much bigger than it appears. More broadly, illegal immigration and the outsourcing of jobs from this country to India and elsewhere should be viewed as opposite sides of the same coin.

In both cases U.S. policies are geared to allowing employers in this nation to hire cheap labor. Though politicians and businesses make ridiculous arguments in defense of these policies, bending to the mantra of cheap labor, the bottom line is inescapable -- we are catering to the cheap-labor argument without any real discussion of its implications for average workers in this country.

American workers deserve far better treatment from our politicians and businesses; they cannot, and should not, be expected to compete on a wage basis with the near-infinite supply of cheap labor in the world today.

Gary Peters

Paso Robles

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