Immigrant labor

"But I'm an immigrant"

I lived in the Republic of Ireland for most of a decade, between 2001 and 2011 except for a year-and-a-half in the Netherlands.

The Irish tended to complain about immigrants in my company without irony.

I'm American — I was an immigrant.

The fellow at a Butcher drew me into conversation about work, employment, social welfare, immigrants and asylum seekers He had to stick in his piece about immigration, and he did so in the same way that rednecks do everywhere — as if I would agree.

Once an acquaintance, a Dubliner in Kilkenny, was giving out about all of the new foreigners in the country. The economy was booming and the European Union was forming. I told him "but I'm a foreigner." He said "no you're not."

I was told the same thing again later, there in Kilkenny on the street one evening. It was after the 2004 accession of Poland into the EU and the concommitant influx of people from that fellow-Catholic land. (I've heard Ireland referred to as the 17th Polish province.) Some affable fellow, a friend of somebody I was with, mentioned "all these immigrants."

I said "I'm an immigrant."

"No you're not," he said — dismissing the matter.