Obama's Immigration Plans and Your Job Security in the Recession
President Obama looks to overhaul immigration policy during the recession.
April 13, 2009— -- Danny Fowler used to run a small construction company in California.
Unlike most of his competition, Fowler refused to hire illegal immigrants. But time after time, other contractors got the job because they had cheaper labor.
"When half your crew is illegal, you can underbid by 10 percent anytime," Fowler, 50, said.
On his visits to construction sites, he said, he saw illegal workers everywhere.
"They're there by the hundreds, not the tens," said Fowler, who's from Modesto. "It's pathetic. They're out in the open and nobody's doing anything about it. I don't blame [the illegal workers]. Everybody's trying to just get by."
So last year -- partially because of the economy and partially because of the competition -- Fowler closed his business and enrolled in a local junior college to become a family counselor.
"I would like to say, 'Yeah let's just lock up the borders, let's send everybody back and let's just take care of our own because that would be the easy solution," he said. "But I don't know we've already gone too far to ever come back to what we were as a nation. It's like the Pledge of Allegiance is gone, this is gone, that's gone. It's a different world. I've got kids coming up in this world, and I'm not too thrilled with it."
The immigration debate is once again surfacing in Washington, with President Obama saying he will soon make a big push for a plan. A major speech on the topic is expected in May, with working groups meeting this summer and legislation maybe by fall.
Among the options: creating some kind of amnesty program for illegal workers already in the country and allowing those workers to start down the path to citizenship.
But with many Americans worried about the security of their own jobs, Obama is going to face an intense debate on the issue, especially if the economy sours further.