In this interview with Michael Levites of JurisQ.com, Yakov Spektor shares some insights and answers common questions regarding legalizing jobs for undocumented immigrants. Please watch the video below to know more.
Follow along the transcript. Read more below:
Michael Levites 00:00
Hi, everybody! It’s Michael Levites here with Yakov Spektor, an immigration attorney.
Michael Levites 00:05
Today, I want to ask Yakov a question that’s relevant to current events — to news that everybody cares about. The news about inflation going up and the cost of everything going up. Today, we’re not going to talk just about one (topic); we’re going to talk about politics (as well).
Yakov Spektor 00:27
Michael Levites 00:28
Yeah. But listen, we don’t shy away from controversial topics. It’s what we do here. We touch it all. We talk about it all.
Michael Levites 00:36
Let me ask you. Inflation is going up. We know that gas prices are going up. Food prices are going up. Partially, from what I understand, it’s because there’s a shortage of workers in America. Unemployment is very low. There are not enough workers to fill all the positions, and that’s why employers are forced to pay more, and they pass on this cost to the consumers.
Michael Levites 01:04
So I have a question. Why not just legalize (undocumented immigrants’ employment) for work purposes? We have millions and millions of undocumented immigrants who are hardworking people. They want to work. They want to be legal. They want to pay taxes. So why can’t the government make a special program for them to fill these jobs? Maybe temporarily — to alleviate, to ease this pressure on prices? What do you think as an immigration attorney is going on here?
Yakov Spektor 01:40
Michael, that’s a fantastic question. And, you know, since I began practicing Immigration Law more than 15 years ago, me and my colleagues were pretty much asking ourselves the very same question. How come our governance policies are — let me put it this way — so inept when it comes to trying to integrate all these undocumented immigrants?
Yakov Spektor 02:07
How come we have so little visa numbers available for qualified employees here? You know, in fact, there is a visa that’s known as an H-1B. It’s a visa for workers who have a college degree, and there’s only about — I don’t know exactly — I think it was 50,000 of these a year.
Michael Levites 02:34
Leaving aside jobs for highly skilled workers, there are so many jobs available for factory workers and people working in the fields. I understand (the sentiments) that they’re going to take away jobs from Americans, but it seems like Americans don’t always want to do these jobs. So why can’t the government just create something for immigrants — so they can work, pay taxes, and drive our prices lower? What do you think?
Yakov Spektor 03:04
Well, first of all, you know, when people say, “Hey, immigrants are taking our jobs,” what they usually mean is that, “You know, we can only do the underqualified jobs, and the immigrants who come here are taking away these jobs,” and they might be right about that.
Yakov Spektor 03:27
Because when immigrants come here, they do not have all the same opportunities that the U.S. citizens have. So they will take the lowest paying jobs, and they will work, and they will work hard — and that drives the prices down.
Yakov Spektor 03:40
And now, you could imagine how many companies, how many powerful people in this country may be interested in keeping it this way. So that, you know, they could only pay a few dollars — minimum wage to these undocumented migrants.
Yakov Spektor 04:01
Actually, they are not even bound by the minimum wage laws in a lot of cases. Instead of trying to integrate them and have these people become legal here — so they could basically compete for better jobs, command better pay, and pay higher prices (as well).
Yakov Spektor 04:04
And what a lot of these anti-immigrant folk don’t understand is that if you allow your people to compete with you, to command higher wages — that means that you will be able to command higher wages (for yourself) as well.
Yakov Spektor 04:39
Now, the reason why the U.S. government is not really trying to do anything about this is because the laws that are passed in this country are within the purview of Congress. Congress passes laws. And as you know, our Congress does not really work very well. Democrats and Republicans are not really cooperating that much. So the administration can only do what they can do based on the current legal framework, and that might not be a lot.
Michael Levites 05:06
So Yakov, the takeaway here is that the politicians care more about semantics. They care more about how they’re going to appear to the public and not about the working people who now have to pay these higher prices because of the shortage in the workplace.
Yakov Spektor 05:28
Michael Levites 05:29
I really hope politicians do their jobs for us and care more about us than care about keeping their jobs. Let’s just put it this way. What’s your takeaway?
Yakov Spektor 05:43
I hope so. Absolutely. Well, you know, if both of us will work towards that goal, maybe we’ll be able to accomplish something. But I’m not holding my breath just yet.
Michael Levites 05:54
We have to raise our voices and explain that this is common sense: legalizing immigrants for work purposes. I’m not saying giving them a right to vote right now. I’m saying, strictly let them work. It’s good for them. It’s good for us. And ultimately, it’s good for America.
Michael Levites 06:18
But meanwhile, there are still avenues that immigrants can pursue to get legalized. And of course, you have to get an attorney, somebody who does this for a living and does this every day and does it well.
Michael Levites 06:32
Yakov Spektor, you’re one of such attorneys. So, we strongly encourage people not just to work off the books and hope for the best. But actually, go for a consultation with Yakov Spektor — find out your rights and see what you can do to get yourself legalized.
Michael Levites 06:49
Yakov, thank you very much. This was very, very good. Very, very helpful. Appreciate it.
Yakov Spektor 06:55
Thank you, Michael.
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