Thursday, March 15, 2012
Today, the Immigration Policy Center released The Politics of Skill: Rethinking the Value of “Low-Skilled” Immigrant Workers by Natasha Iskander and Nichola Lowe. This perspectives piece explores and challenges the standard views on “high-skilled” vs. “low-skilled” immigrant workers in the United States. The authors affirm the importance of skill in the development of immigration policy but they question the assumption that it is only derived from formal schooling and classroom education. Instead, they focus on the tacit skills of newly arrived Latino immigrant workers in the construction industry, many of whom continue to create or perfect construction techniques and carve pathways for training immigrant co-workers and new labor market entrants. By acknowledging and highlighting the underappreciated expertise of these immigrants, the authors hope future immigration policy will reflect their real value as skilled workers who revitalize laggard industries in this country, saving vital U.S. jobs and businesses along the way.