Saturday, May 01, 2010
Two men drive through Arizona in a minivan. They are brown skinned. They have accents. They have Spanish last names.
According to the new law in Arizona, any cop who sees them in a 7-11 buying drinks can decide that they are illegal aliens and ask them for their papers.
The two men I am hypothetically sending into Arizona are my father-in-law and his nephew who has lived with him and cared for him for many years.
Tatay is a decorated veteran of WWII. He came over on the GI bill, worked for many years for USAID and has been a citizen for decades.Our cousin has lived here most of his life as well and served honorably in Vietnam.
They are tax paying, law abiding citizens and yet they could be stopped merely for their skin color and Spanish last names in towns founded by the Spanish around the same time we were writing the Declaration of Independence!
"It'll be color-blind", my ass. "No racial profiling", my ass.
The day they start pulling over blond haired, blue eyed white people and asking to see whether they are illegal migrants from Canada is the day I believe that sort of mishegosse.
There IS a simple way to stop illegal immigration.
We could actually enforce our work laws. We could make it impossible for illegal immigrants to get work here. No work, no incentive to come!
But the dirty little secret is that people really don't WANT it stopped.
Who would pick our fruit? Who would clean our toilets? Who would mow our lawns, work behind the scenes in restaurants, in poultry processing factories or in a thousand other dirty, unpleasant, low-paying jobs legal immigrants and full citizens don't want to take?
Please don't tell me that Joe and Jane Six Pack who have lost their well paid factory jobs would eagerly take on work where conditions are miserable, wages well below the legal minimum, and worker benefits and rights non-existent.
They won't. They don't have to. They can't be abused this way because they have rights under the law.
I'm not sure they would even WITH acceptable conditions and fair wages--a lot of these are unpleasant jobs.
The businesses that hire illegal immigrants and abuse them know it. Our economy NEEDS these people.
So we can enforce work laws. We can make sure that businesses only hire legal workers, that they pay them fair wages and benefits, and that they put money into taxes, Medicaid and Social Security.
But business costs will go up. And so will prices.
Or we can keep our cheap labor force and wail about how illegal immigrants pour over the border.
Meanwhile, no one in my family is going anywhere near Arizona.
Posted by The Library Lady