POV: The Employer of Undocumented Immigrants
Ceasing the exploitation of human beings is one of the reasons that so many of us support the enforcement of our immigration laws, particularly those pertaining to employment. [Note to Congress: Comprehensive immigration reform is not needed. The only problem with our existing immigration laws is that they are insufficiently enforced. This matter only requires a little oversight, not the revamping of perfectly good laws. Thank you.]
Commenter Greg reminds us, for example, that ICE might find it worth their while to visit Ira Green Incorporated in Providence. And the latest word out of Packaging Concepts Ltd, where Leonardo Cos was terribly injured, is that a second shift has been activated so as to boost production (ahead of a possible ICE raid?). But only “temporary” workers – employees brought in by the temporary employment agency Central 2000 – can sign up for this additional shift. It is an open secret at that company that most of the temporary workers there are undocumented immigrants. This stipulation can only be a cost-saving measure; “temporary” workers at Packaging Concepts must be paid less than documented ones. By the way, especially in light of Mr. Cos’ injury on the job, isn’t the parent company of Packaging Concepts, Abbott Industries, just a squidge nervous that one of its subsidiaries employs undocumented immigrants?
In today’s Valley Breeze, former Rhode Island Attorney General Arlene Violet gets into the mind of the person who hires undocumented immigrants, allegedly including but not limited to the owners and managers of Ira Green Inc. and Packaging Concepts.
There is an employer in Rhode Island who has hired illegal immigrants. He pays them less than minimum wage since it is still more than they would make in Central America.
He has them where he wants them. They can’t complain about poor housing, working conditions or long hours since he can threaten them with sending the authorities to their home and deporting them and their entire families. In fact, he thinks he’s a hell of a fella for hiring them here in the Ocean State where they are getting more than they’d make back home, and more benefits.
“You have it good,” he reminds his employees periodically. “If you’re sick, go to the emergency room for care. It’s for free. If you think you can’t subsist on my wages which I pay you, apply for welfare in the name of your children. The state will give you money, housing, food stamps, free daycare and other benefits. See, isn’t this a better situation than what you had in your native land? Stop complaining about my treatment of you. You should be grateful.”
The employer hears a knock on his office door. A black Rhode Island citizen is there to apply for a job. “Beat it!” he’s told. “Why should I hire you? You’ll cost me more. There’s no reason why I should pony up minimum wage for your salary. You’re a drop-out and you are not worth it to me when I can make a killing in profits by doing what I’m doing now.” The black man leaves dejected. He’s one of tens of thousands of black men and women who can’t get minimum wage jobs because he’s been replaced by cheaper labor, albeit illegal labor.
The employer takes out his cigar and chuckles. “I’ve got it made,” he thinks. “The bleeding hearts who complain that hiring illegals creates an apartheid situation where the illegals are more like slaves are now on the run because of the newest salvos.”
He picks up the week’s newspapers and contentedly grins. The governor is being lambasted. The lieutenant governor is busting the governor’s chops by saying he’s divisive by his attempt to uphold the law. “She’ll run for governor in the future,” he muses, “so I’ll be safe hiring these greenhorns for quite a while.”
The employer laughs out loud. “I even have the church on my side!” he says as he leafs through another edition of The Providence Journal. “Maybe I’ll get to heaven, after all! He reads Bishop Tobin’s and Rabbi Alan Flam’s castigation of the governor. “That’ll shut Carcieri up,” he gloats. “Look at all the clergy who are ganging up on the governor. Ha! Maybe I’ll even get a citizen of the year award,” he hoots out loud again.
“Now here’s the piece de resistance,” he concludes. The columnists in the Journal like Charles Bakst and Bob Kerr are killing the governor, too. “That’ll keep me safe. I can do what I want. They will continue to put the heat on the Pooh-Bahs and prevent any raids here. Maybe I won’t have to fix up this dump where they work, after all.” He sighs about the further profits he’ll make.
He puts down the paper and decides to head for lunch. As he passes through his factory, he notes what good workers the illegals are. They’ve been working since 7 a.m. without a break. At 1 p.m. they’ll have 15 minutes off for lunch. Then they’ll work until 5 p.m. with no overtime, of course. For 50 bucks a day they are a bargain. Who needs pushy black Rhode Islanders who want a minimum wage? Smiling, he heads out to his swanky club to meet other entrepreneurs like himself.