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FINALPAPER - Burke 1 Ethical Decisions Surrounding Migrant...

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Ethical Decisions Surrounding Migrant Workers Matt Burke PPD 240 Citizenship and Public Ethics April 2008 Illegal immigration is commonplace in nearly every developed nation-state Burke 1
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regardless of the political culture, rules, laws, or policies of any particular state. It is a generalized fact that undocumented workers migrate into the United States everyday. This essay is meant to provide a discussion the ethical decisions surrounding documented and undocumented migrant workers. It will address the ethical issues between legal documented workers and undocumented workers, the policies that the government has used and are being used specifically temporary foreign worker programs and guest programs, the effect on the economy, the consequences and benefits of migrant workers, and new alternatives for the future. The volume of illegal immigrants into the United States is typically estimated because the undocumented migrants entering are not directly observed. Estimates are taken from the Immigration and Naturalization Services when the U.S. Border Patrol takes into custody an undocumented migrant worker. In a 2000 estimate, 41 million people are migrants in North America that live temporarily or permanently outside their home countries (Ruhs and Chang, 2004). This number is not definitive because of the difficulty in estimating the number of illegal migrants. The media has continually referred to the undocumented migration as a rising pool that is taking over the country. However, according to Passel, Capps, and Fix based on the 2002 Current Population Survey and other sources it is estimated that there are 9.3 million undocumented immigrants in the country representing 26 percent of the foreign-born population. (Passel, Caps, and Fix, 2004). It is also estimated that 6 million of the undocumented are in the labor force, which is predominately migratory. Nearly half of all season farm workers migrate at least 75 miles in a given Burke 2
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year (Perloff, Lynch and Gabbard, 1998) and that the U.S. agriculture is an industry that has shaped and been shaped by seasonal workers (Martin, 2002). This results in an industry in which migrant workers were not part of the community and were looking for jobs not careers. Consequently citizens and legal migrants and undocumented workers alike are engaged in social relationships in everyday life. Thus “undocumented migrations would be inconceivable were it not for the value they produce through the diverse services they supply to citizens” (De Genova, 2002). For undocumented workers this relationship is inclusion in a functionally differentiated society, yet exclusion from the political system. Migration is a direct result from exclusion because it the loosening of the legal and kinship ties with local communities allows and enforces geographical mobility and prompts new forms of social organization, which are geared toward managing migration (Halfmann, 1998). Seasonal workers that are willing to migrate create better opportunities to make
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This note was uploaded on 10/25/2010 for the course PPD 240 taught by Professor Yoder during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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FINALPAPER - Burke 1 Ethical Decisions Surrounding Migrant...

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