Blogging mostly about mundane stuff like, immigration, Workers' Compensation and other immigrant related activities.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Got Illegal Workers?

The Washington Post has this article on Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a potential Presidential candidate and a strong advocate of border fencing as well as imposing penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants. In a classic "do as I say, not as I do" scenario Gov. Romney was reportedly unaware that the lawn of his suburban home was being cut by illegal immigrants. Eric Fehrnstrom, Communications Director for Romney, said Friday that the Governor was not aware of or "knowleadgeable about the information alleged".

The statement by Mr. Fehrnstrom is classic spin. It is easy to pass the blame onto the lawn care company and indicate that they are responsible for ensuring a workers legal status. The fact is no one ever asks. As an individual one rarely asks if the handyman, gardener, nanny or janitor is an illegal worker. If we hire the individual from an agency we just ask "How much will it cost" and hold out for the best deal. Everyone is looking out for the best deal and Gov. Mitt Romney is no exception.

I would argue that as Americans we tend to be a bit hypocritical on the illegal immigration issue. We are all too happy to hire a guy to mow the lawn for $40 Dollars a month even though we are well aware that it cost some $50 Dollars a month, back in the 1990's. We eagerly consume $1.00 tacos, $1.00 Chinese food and 99 Cent hamburgers as long as we can turn a blind eye at the illegal immigrant labor which makes these prices possible, and still afford business owners a meager profit. It is simple, if I can't pass the price increase onto my customer I can always reduce the wages of the employee, if my legal employee won't take the wages, I'll find one that will. After all the employment application indicates he is legal and the paperwork he submits appears legit.

I would suggest a novel approach for Gov. Romney on how to deal with this issue. My suggestion is that he hold a news conference and just admit that illegal immigrants are in practically every sector of our industry and service sector and this can't be undone. We need to move forward and acknowledge the labor and benefits these immigrants bring to this nation. Our economy whether we like it or not has become dependent on immigrant labor, it can no longer continue it's growth path without cheap labor.

Gov. Romney should take a lesson from the nomination of Zoe Baird for US Attorney General. The Zoe Baird nomination was considered Clinton's first political blunder and Zoe Baird's chances of becoming the nation's chief law officer was over before it started. Read more at Time and

But poor Miss Baird did herself in. It wasn't just the hiring of an undocumented alien couple as nanny and driver - since 1986 a federal crime, and one particularly inappropriate for a putative boss of the FBI and INS. The quick firing of the unfortunate couple right after the election suggested a combination of ruthlessness and guilty conscience.

Surely Gov. Romney and his advisers will weather this storm. My concern is for the illegal immigrants that are unwittingly thrust into this scene. While mainstream media picks up and continues with the story will the authorities quietly pursue deportations against the illegal immigrants working on Gov. Romney's grounds?

The headache Gov. Romney is experiencing is likely to be far more damaging to the illegal immigrants involved. Gov. Romney has only his Presidential ambitions to lose, the illegal immigrants are likely to lose their jobs altogether. Below is an excerpt from the Time story on the illegal immigrant nanny and driver of Zoe Baird.

While the headache is ending for Clinton, it may be just beginning for the Peruvian couple hired by Baird. Immigration officials have ordered Victor and Lillian Cordero to appear for questioning next week in Hartford. Deportation proceedings could follow. Victor's current employer says the former driver has disappeared, leaving a note that he was returning to Peru; Lillian has not yet been located.

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Anonymous said...

Please. Are we to expect Romney to demand to see the papers of these workers? People like you and the Boston Globe would call him a racist.

Landscapers are not like nannys. They dont work in your house, and they are not directly employed. Romney hired a contractor that broke the law by hiring illegal aliens. Romney had no idea what the immigration status of these workers was, and he had no legal way of finding out. This story is a total joke promoted by illegal alien advocates that want to embarrass one of their vocal critics.

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