New Media Academy at Hollywood High School

My message: Immigrant workers deserve a break

Dear future president,

Have you ever thought about the importance of immigrant labor work, not only now but throughout the history of the United States? Even though the southern part of the U.S. used to be Mexico, we could say that Latino labor work started to increase during the time when the Bracero Program was active from 1942 to 1962. This was an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, asking for farmers and other Mexican workers to come and help the U.S. This opened the doors to hundreds of thousands of Mexican immigrants to start a life in the U.S.

A lot of immigrants don’t have documents, which means no insurance. This can bring problems to the individuals when they get injured at work. Since they normally work with a low payment for their labor, the best thing the president should do is offer them an alternative to workers’ compensation for those days they are absent, taking into consideration that immigrant workers work for very long hours and for cheap payment.

Since the Colonial Era of the U.S., the colonies weren’t totally populated by English people. A lot were also from Ireland, Germany, Asians, and many other ethnical groups from Europe and Asia. Many of these immigrants assembled the railroads (specially Asians), constructed houses, streets, etc. Others did jobs like the gathering of resources and mining for gold, iron, coal, and many more. Even the Statue of Liberty was built by non-Americans, which was a gift from France. The U.S. wasn’t built only on American labor work. Immigrant labor work has always been on the U.S. since the beginning of the country.

During WW II, the U.S. needed workers to help with the war effort. Because a lot of men were fighting in Europe and on the Pacific front, and women took a lot of the jobs that were left, the U.S. reached for Mexico to make an agreement to bring Mexican farm labor work to the U.S. Another reason for the development of this program was because they needed cheap work, since a lot of the money was going to the cause of the war. This agreement brought more than 4 million Mexican immigrants to the U.S.

Immigrant labor workers are actually more likely to be hired on the U.S., but unfortunately, it comes with a price. First of all, they get paid less than other workers because of their problem with not having documents. Another problem, which I think is the most important is the fact that when they get injured, they still come to work. They don’t get any compensation from being absent, which forces them to come to work even if the injury is bad. Since they work very hard for the U.S. and help with our economy, I’m asking for a proposal.

The president should make a program where it benefits injured immigrant workers. Not only because of their effort, but because I think that if we have programs that support undocumented students to go to college, workers should also have the right to take at least a day off without worrying for getting fired or not earning money.

The U.S. has a long record of immigrant labor work. Every single day we have people from other nationalities coming to this country, many of them in search for jobs, and we benefit from this by giving them low salaries. Taking this into consideration, at least we should give them a compensation from being absent from injuries, to pay for the rest of the money that we don’t pay them.

Sincerely,

Marcus Montero

New Media Academy at Hollywood High School

Hollywood, Calif.

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