Ashley R. Washington

Illegal Immigrants Treated Unfairly

These employers make the illegal immigrants work in terrible conditions, with low pay and no benefits.

November 4,2016

Dear Next President,

The United States is built on immigrants. These immigrants are not of just one race. There are many latino, asian, african american and many many more. There are people here in the U.S. illegally coming in trying to give their families or themselves a better life (the American Dream). Whether their family is here or where they came from, they get jobs that make it hard to live off of. The same people who hire these people take advantage of them. These employers make the illegal immigrants work in terrible conditions, with low pay and no benefits.

The next president has to address the problem between the working conditions illegal immigrants work in. People who have to work in contaminated areas should receive the right equipment, same with someone who works in construction they need the right equipment. In the Los Angeles Times an article called Protecting Illegal Immigrants by Harold Meyerson says, “No such precautions were afforded Diaz and his crew of undocumented immigrant workers. ‘"We were made to work with bare hands, picking up dead animals,"’ he says. ‘"We were working in contaminated water,"’ tearing down and repairing washed-out homes” (Meyerson). Many of the American workers had been given gloves,masks, boots, etc to keep safe from the contaminated area. When Josue Melquisedec Diaz (illegal immigrant) rose up and questioned his boss about it, the boss cut the their (illegal workers) paycheck in half. The next step Diaz took was to go on strike, the police got involved and took Diaz and the 11 other workers to a federal immigration jail, where they stayed locked up for four months. Why would someone who needs the right equipment for a certain job be punished? We are all humans, doing all the same work and should be ALL protected.

Working conditions is not the only thing illegal immigrants have to endure, they also have to endure low pay and no or little to no benefits. The minimum wage is already a hard wage to live off of. What makes people think that paying someone any less than 9 bucks an hour is human. In an article called Billion-Dollar Firm Pays Illegal Alien Workers $1.21 an Hour by David North he says, “The workers continued to be paid at their Indian wages plus an apparently tiny bonus; the total pay was $1.21 an hour in American money, or about 74 Indian rupees an hour. (North). I did some research on about how much it would cost to live in India. A one bedroom apartment is about 11,616.30 Rs (rent per month) equivalent to $173.99 in U.S. Dollars (Cost of Living Comparison...). This is just the cost of one bedroom not including the utilities. So how is it possible for someone in India to come work for a billion dollar firm and get paid 74 Rs. There cost of living is already less than ours, but the pay they receive here is not going to help them even get close to renting a one bedroom or helping their family (if they have one). Employers take advantage of illegal workers because they know they can get away with paying them little wages. Knowing the workers won't say anything in fear that they will be deported back and not be able to support themselves or their families.

Most of my family does not have papers to be here and are forced to work jobs that start from early morning til night time just to receive a check that barely helps them live. By live I mean pay their bills (rent,phone,utilities,etc). We are forced to live in a four bedroom house sharing rooms with one another because living separated is not possible. Why? Well my family doesn’t have papers. Which means they have to work jobs that pay just enough to get by. My uncle has tried to do it the right way and apply to get papers. He has no criminal record, graduated high school and even went to college. Yet they try and send him back to Mexico? To me that's unbelievable, he has done nothing but good here in the U.S. My mom was very fortunate in applying for papers. She was successful and was able to apply for residence and on her way to becoming a U.S. citizen. That's why my family tells me that I am very lucky to have these papers because I am able to travel and get a good job and go to school and be successful. Something they couldn't do because of the hardships in their lives with not having enough money to go to college, for the same reason because they couldn't apply to get papers in fear of being sent back.

We need to come together as one to fix these problems. A lot of people who say people who come here illegally deserve to go back because they are taking “jobs” from them have not put themselves in the immigrants shoes. They have not been through the struggles and hardships these people endure and that's why they speak without thinking. As a nation that was taken over by immigrants you would think people would compromise instead of attacking them (immigrants). It's time for the change we seek, the opportunity for everyone to be able to get a way to citizenship or something that helps them live off of a good paying job. To support themselves or their loving families.


Ashley Rivera

Foster High School

Tukwila, WA

Foster High School

Gamboa 4th Period Civics

4th period Civics and Current Events taught by Ms. Gamboa.

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