I was outraged that you gave such a big soapbox to John Rowe, including the teaser that he had a different take on this subject. He said the same things that other advocates for "immigration reform" say. I challenge WTTW to give equal time and attention to an equally prominent advocate on the other side.
There are millions of U.S. citizens who are now "not being allowed to work and pay taxes," because employers don't hire us, or in many cases, don't even put up "help wanted" signs for work that we can see needs to be done by us. Millions more are underemployed and being economically wasted. Rowe said these problems should be solved in other ways. But he's not giving any thought to them, and to the U.S. citizens languishing in this wastage. He cares first for illegal aliens.
It's really not true that we're all descended from immigrants. Even Native Americans who think that their pre-American ancestors came from Asia, would probably say they weren't really "immigrants" to a previously uninhabited continent.
In every case in U.S. history where large numbers of legal immigrants (who weren't escaping explicit persecution) were invited and welcomed, it was to supply labor for major projects and changes in the economy. Immigrants were preferred because they were easier to exploit with low pay and unsafe and undesirable working conditions. Slaves brought in chains from Africa were one such group. Later there were non-WASP peoples from Europe. There were also Chinese. Past uses of immigrant labor include railroads, mines, canals, factories, and domestic servants. Now it's lawn care and migrant farm labor. Employers' demand for the work exceeds their willingness to pay for native-born U.S. citizens in terms of wages and working conditions. As long as these employers can get immigrants to exploit, they will not restructure their work distribution or make it feasible for U.S. citizens to do. In fact they have set up many jobs with the clear thought that they will hire illegal aliens for them. Then they lie and say they can't find citizens to take these jobs. The key fact about citizenship is that native-born citizens can't be deported or stripped of their citizenship for any reason; so are less exploitable.
Rowe said he thinks more acceptance of immigrants in the workforce here will grow the economic "pie" making it better for all. But in leaving unemployed & underemployed native-born citizens out, he really wants to make a bigger Swiss cheese, with these latter people occupying the holes. The case for immigration reform like this has always been made by business, for business.
Many people with personal experiences have made the case that there is great exploitation of high-skilled immigrants at the expense of U.S. citizens who could be doing those jobs, especially in the STEM fields.
I have diagrammed how migrant farm labor could be eliminated, by solving the commuting problem. It's obvious the employers set up their farms based on the assumption that they could hire and exploit migrant workers. When you eliminate the need for migrant farm labor, you eliminate the "need" for illegal aliens. Would that it were so easy to eliminate employers' desire to exploit workers.
People like Rowe who want to make it easier for immigrants, including illegal aliens, to work here, are tone-deaf to the affront this is to the sense of justice among many U.S. citizens, especially those who are unemployed and underemployed: There must be an order to the world of employment, a line so that people are treated fairly. And the first people in this line in the USA must always be U.S. citizens.