They Take Our Jobs! and 20 other myths about immigration.

That’s the title of a book by Avi Chomsky who was interviewed by Democratic Perspective. As a historian, teacher, and coordinator of the Latin American studies at Salem State College, she has become a strong voice for fairness in our economic system.

When asked about the title of her book, Ms. Chomsky replied, “When people say that immigrants take our jobs, underlying the statement are some flawed ideas of how our economy works. They don’t understand that the world economy is extremely integrated.”

“In the US, there is a dual labor market,” she continued. “One category consists of good jobs that offer security, benefits, decent pay and safe working conditions. The second category consists of jobs that are dangerous and unpleasant with no security and low wages. The jobs in the second category have always been done by those who are politically excluded, such as undocumented workers. By politically excluding workers, employers are able to exploit them. And others in our society rely on people doing these jobs.”

Of course, the question most often heard in a “debate” on immigration is “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” Although it’s intended to be a conversation stopper, Chomsky said she usually responds by saying, “What part of illegal do you understand?” She said, “The status of illegal immigrant has been created for a reason. It’s a status that gives workers no rights.”

“Compared to the jobs shipped overseas by our corporations, the jobs taken by illegals are a very small percentage,” she continued. “Every job has global connections. In reality, immigrants who come to the US create jobs because they are also consumers. They purchase food and automobiles, and they rent or buy homes. They also pay taxes in the form of sales taxes, property taxes, income taxes, even Social Security. In 2010, it’s estimated that illegals paid $12 billion into Social Security. But they are not eligible for any of the government services provided by those taxes.”

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