Teapublican Lie #14.

“Immigrants steal our jobs.”

That’s been a common accusation since the very beginnings of our nation. Previous generations despised the Irish, Italians, Germans, Scandinavians, Eastern Europeans, etc. for simply trying to eke out a living. Nothing has changed in the present day, except that now the charge is leveled against Latinos.

In discussing her book, They Take Our Jobs! and 20 other myths about immigrants, Avi Chomsky, historian, teacher, and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem State College says, “When people claim 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 says. “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.”

In reality, the number of jobs taken by immigrants is a very small percentage of the jobs shipped overseas by our corporations. Moreover, immigrants actually create jobs because they purchase food and automobiles, and they rent or buy homes. They also pay sales taxes, property taxes, income taxes, even Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. (In 2010, it’s estimated that illegals paid $12 billion into Social Security. Yet they are not eligible for any of the government services provided by those taxes.)

As Chomsky states, “The debate on immigration is a way of creating a scapegoat for very real problems, like the economy, even the environment.”