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Putting A Face On Illegal Immigration

June 19th, 2006 by Kevin

This evening, my neighbors and I had the chance to sit down with an old resident of the neighborhood, who has since moved to Arizona to retire. From the sounds of it, his idea of retirement greatly differs from mine, in that he listed off item after item on his new home that he has either replaced or repaired. To make a long story short, pretty much the only original part of the house left is the foundation and a few studs in the walls.

Now my neighborhood is pretty much solidly red. Nobody puts up campaign signs anymore because it\’s a deadend street (read: local traffic only) so it\’s like preaching to the choir. So when he admitted that at one point he had hired some Mexicans to help him, you could also hear a collective draw of breath from the neighbors. He must have expected it because before anyone could voice an opinion, he insisted that we let him explain.

He explained that he didn\’t really like the idea either. In fact he\’d much rather have legal licensed contractors help with some of the work, and he as done that quite a bit as well. They charge the same rate anyway, but time is an issue. If he goes to a legal contractor regarding some work he needs done, they\’ll gladly do those jobs American apparently won\’t do (according to our President). They only probably is that will usually be followed with, \”I can come out and do it in say….four or five weeks?\”. Not willing to wait, he would drive down to the local hardware store, pick up a few immigrants who can speak English and at least claim proficiency in whatever job he needs done and he\’s off. In his eyes it was because he wanted to get it done now rather than later.

So now clearly the problem here is one of supply and demand. There is clearly a large demand for contractors of all types (he listed a variety of tasks of differing skill sets). Yet, the supply is probably not where it should be. Lots of steady work apparently, now why wouldn\’t more people be willing to go into such a line of work?

If you are President Bush or Vicente Fox, then likely you think it\’s because these are one of those jobs that Americans just won\’t do. Never mind that there are plenty of them out there with a long backlog of jobs waiting.

So what\’s the problem? Could it be money? Like my old neighbor said, the legal contractors did the work for the same cost of the illegals. Heh, for the illegal it\’s a great gig. They are earning many times the amount of money they made back home plus it\’s in cash so they don\’t have to pay taxes on it. For the legal contractor who has overhead to meet, taxes to pay, etc….well, it\’s not as good a deal. Who wants to go into that line of work if you have to live….well, like an illegal immigrant as a result?

So what\’s to entice young people or people looking to make a shift in careers to go into, for instance, carpentry? For that matter, what reason do current legal contractors have to stay in that line of work? Long hours, low pay, with millions more hands of cheap labor flooding across the border just a few miles away willing to work for even less.

By hiring illegals the problem is probably being made worse. You\’re making a market for illegals and as a result driving out legal contractors by encouraging the downward spiral of the already low pay scale…which according to my old neighbor is already impressively low.

So then why do people do it?? Well in his words…

\”I\’d much prefer to have a legal contractor do it…he\’d do it for the same price, plus I wouldn\’t have to buy him lunch. But it\’s just so hard having to wait. Besides, I\’m just one guy with a few small jobs….how much of a difference can I actually make?\”

Well considering that private citizens with \”a few small jobs\” are one of the biggest sources of employment for illegals…you\’re making quite a bit of difference. A difference I\’m not sure your legal contractor friends much appreciate.

And that is one of the parts of this illegal immigration problem that many people overlook. It\’s easy to criticize factories, restaurants, large farms, etc for hiring illegals. They are faceless entitities that it\’s easy to shake your head at…so easy, in fact, that once upon a time some liberals made an ideology out of it. But when it\’s individuals like yourself, or even an old neighbor, that are contributing to the problem, it becomes much harder to take a stand.

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Posted in Ecker Exploits | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. Nordeaster Says:

    I can’t support the hiring of illegal aliens, but this reminds me of a different dilema I had to deal with.

    I too wanted to hire an illegal contractor to do some work on my house for two reasons. I knew him personally so I trusted him much more than some company out of a phone book. Two, he gave me a great price. In my mind he was the very best person for the job.

    This contractor wasn’t illegal from a citizenship standpoint. He was born in the U.S. He was illegal in the sense that he was not “licensed” for this particular work.

    In order to get a permit for the job (another scam). I was not allowed to hire this person. In other words, the law kept me from hiring the person I believed to be the most qualified for the job (due to the trust factor).