Friday, August 04, 2006


Since the last entry brought about comments about (and perhaps allegations of) racial predjudice, let me mention a conversation I had with a student a few days ago at school.

This student had lived in St. Louis, in America, for about a year while her husband finished up a Master’s Degree in Computer Science.

She wanted to know what I thought about Mexican immigrants.

She considered it a big problem in America, that they were taking jobs away, that they worked illegally and didn’t pay taxes, that they were an un-necessary burden on the hospital system.

I pointed out that I knew of plenty of illegal Russian immigrants in New York.

“No,” she said. “It’s not possible. They have visas. Mexicans simply run across the border, how could a Russian do that?”

I replied that usually they came on a legal visa, to study or to work for a summer, but then simply stayed. (I know that most of my students in New York worked illegally, and I’ve heard that about 30 percent of Russians who visit the U.S. on a temporary visa don’t come back. Not sure if that statistic is true.) They too worked illegally, and didn’t pay taxes.

“Well, but they have educations. They have degrees and training. Like my husband, he has two higher educations and he is going to work for Google.”

“So I’m supposed to feel better that they take the good jobs away from Americans, rather than the bad jobs?”

The conversation ended inconclusively shortly thereafter. Anyway, somebody in New York told me that percentage-wise, the highest number of illegal immigrants to America are the Irish.


GB Shannon said...

got the myspace IM working so give me a yell the next time you're on.


Anonymous said...

Because the Irish all came in one enormous swoop during the potato famine in a time when it was much easier to enter the US.

And remember, roughly forfty percent of all statistics are made up.