As a described in my last post, the Redhead and I have a conflict each year around late fall. I guess you might say we suffer from a “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD). She hates a yard full of leaves and I hate to rake them.
Last year was my first escape from the dreaded job. I spent most of the fall in a walking cast trying to avoid a surgery that I couldn’t. The Redhead hired-out the leaf removal — some local landscaping company, which consisted of a thirty-something year old white guy with a clip board who drove a sixty-something thousand dollar pick-up truck. Two of his Hispanic workers did the job in one day.
This year we cut out the middle man.
These men were “undocumented workers.” Well, that’s not exactly true. The have documents (Social Security Card, Driver’s License, etc), but they are fake. Forgeries.
I didn’t ask to see their papers. But I know.
Fake documents are not uncommon, even in sweet home Alabama, which reportedly has the “toughest immigration law in the United States.” Our law is so tough that those who knowingly hire undocumented workers are considered law-breakers themselves, and as such face heavy fines and penalties. Accepting forgeries is no excuse. We must use the national database, “E-Verify.”
I’m not worried though. I’ve read the law. There is an exemption for “domestic help” and “yard workers.” Those crafty Republican state legislators. Can’t have some reporter snooping around and discovering you voted to run all the Hispanics out of the state when you have Lupe at home washing the clothes and cleaning the house.
I understand Alabama’s immigration law. It was a vote of principle. If the government of the United States of America won’t enforce her own laws then we will.
But Alabama is not a border state. Mostly what we have here are people who come looking for work and a better life.
Many have left in the last couple of years in fear of the state law. That’s too bad. Lots of jobs are going unfilled because of it. Otherwise not much has changed. They didn’t go home, they just moved to adjacent states.
It’s also too bad because most of these folks are much like you and me.
In fact, I’ll go a step further: an undocumented worker is a great Alabamian.
Not convinced? Consider this:
- They work hard. The two that handled my yard work have full-time trade jobs during the week. I paid them their regular (skilled) wage. They worked all day, and made sure to ask me to remind my neighbors that they would be available next weekend if they needed any work done.
- They pay taxes, for which they’ll never receive benefits. Even fake documents insure Uncle is going to get his cut, right off the top.
- They want a better life for their kids than they had, even if it means working long hours and living in the shadows. Most that I know are very family oriented.
The political irony in this is that all these values tend to lean Republican.
But the Republican party had no solution for the problem in the last election other than “self-deportation.” And this stance, quite simply, cost them the presidency.
Here we are a few weeks later. Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio are currently the new “stars” of the GOP. Perhaps the leadership has finally decided to address the problem with a real solution, one that will allow permission to work and maybe even a path to citizenship.
Or more likely, they realize that they will never win another presidential election without the Hispanic vote.