Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Immigrant Debate

They speak a different language and their roots are in an alien culture. Yet still they come north.

North is where the jobs are. Menial jobs, but jobs that pay well, compared to what they might make at home. And even though some of the local laborers grumble that the immigrants are driving down their wages, and even though the immigrants are the first suspects when a spectacular crime is reported, still they come.

Business owners love them. "They work for less money, and we can work with them during night time," one said. "This helps us save a lot of money. They're a good way to raise profits."

Officially, they number in the thousands, but their true numbers are much higher, since many come outside the legal channels. They miss their families -- and most of the money they make they send home. They live among one another, largely -- setting aside local differences that might make them rivals at home.

Did you guess? They're Iraqi Arab laborers in Kurdistan.