What do roofers, agricultural workers, brick masons, construction laborers, computer hardware engineers, and upholsterers have in common? According to the April 3 edition of Newsweek ("A Border War") all of these professions are made up of 18-29% illegal immigrants in the US. Here's the full list:
29% of all roofers and agricultural workers
25% of brick masons and construction laborers
20% of computer hardware engineers
18% of upholsterers
Those of you outside the US may not be aware that immigration reform is the hot political issue of the day (as it is just about everywhere these days). I don't know how I feel one way or the other about the problem, but I have to admit I was shocked to see that such a high number of computer engineers are in the country illegally. It shouldn't be surprising though, given the difficulty these days of finding qualified candidates, let alone trying to get a visa allocated for someone who isn't a US citizen or permanent resident. The sad thing is the engineers are going to get hired whether they're here or overseas. All things being equal, why not just hire them here?
I spent some time over in France last year and the problem was even worse. In addition to the difficulties a foreigner faces trying to work permanently in France, it's so hard to fire people that companies don't even like to hire French citizens full time! (For a more humorous take on the news from France, check out this clip from The Daily Show).