I just read a third final essay in a row arguing that illegal immigrants are detrimental to the US economy because they "steal jobs" from citizens and don't pay taxes on their earnings. I'm shocked that so many of my students are brainwashed by racist propaganda that they fail completely to see the fallacy of this argument. Is anybody preventing employers from paying a decent wage and attracting citizens to their jobs? If unscrupulous employers didn't choose to hire people they can underpay and exploit, this problem would not exist.
The students who wrote about illegal immigrants "stealing" jobs recognize that these "stolen" jobs do not have citizens queuing up for them because they pay less than minimal wage and obviously carry no protections and benefits attached to them. Still, these students can't make the next step in their reasoning and see that dishonest and exploitative employers should be blamed for breaking the law and hiring people to work in these horrible conditions.