While living in Montana for many years my opinions about illegal immigration were based on what I heard in the media. Montana doesn’t have an illegal immigrant problem. I saw the growing numbers of Mexicans and Central Americans when visiting western cities like Denver, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City, but still didn’t have any first-hand experience.
For the last few months I have been traveling full-time throughout the Southeast, based in Charlotte, and have gained some perspective on the issue.
Shortly after arriving here, I was shopping at a WalMart store and was struck by how many people were speaking Spanish. It seemed at times like I was the only English-speaking white guy around. I don’t know what proportion of these immigrants are illegal – some may be here on current visas. But it is likely that a good number of them either crossed the border illegally or were born to someone who did.
These foreigners have money to spend. And that is the centerpoint of my curiosity and interest.
The media paints us conservatives as racists, bigots and homophobes who have no tolerance for people who don’t look and speak like us. There are a few who fit that mold, but I think most are like me – concerned about the fiscal integrity of our nation and worried about the economic futures of our children.
Does it bother me that there are so many foreigners in the frozen foods aisle? Not in the least. I find them to be friendly, hard-working family people. What bothers me is that laws exist to protect U.S. citizens, and it is clear that a lot of law-breaking is being tolerated – even encouraged – to a greater degree every day. What is the economic impact?
I have a soft spot for anyone who works hard and takes care of his family. So when Hector came into my store a few days ago to buy a $6,000 dump trailer, I enjoyed learning about his roofing business. He had two of his ten employees with him, and they spoke no English. We had earlier outfitted his shiny new Ford truck with expensive accessories and this was the fifth trailer he had bought from us in a year.
When it came time to pay the bill, Hector, as always, pulled out a wad of hundred dollar bills that would choke a horse. The sixty C-notes he peeled off to pay for his trailer barely made a dent. It made me wonder if the two guys with him were actually bodyguards.
Hector has built a great business and is making a lot of money. We need entrepreneurs in the United States, right?
Not like Hector.
He is obviously not paying taxes – his wealthy customers pay him in cash because he charges less than his native-born, honest, tax-paying competitors. He is not paying workers comp, or unemployment, or insurance bills. He does not provide health care for his employees. Hector pays his men minimum wage or less – they have to work for low wages because any legitimate business would be in big trouble if they hired illegal workers. But it works out because they receive all kinds of government benefits, including food stamps, medical care, subsidized housing and education for their children.
Hector is doing great. So is his family. And his employees are much better off here – they buzz the aisles at WalMart, chattering in Spanish with big smiles on their faces.
At the same time more and more of our own under-educated citizens have given up on work. They are encouraged to stay home and collect welfare, plus the same food stamps, free medical care, subsidized housing and education for their children that Hector’s employees get – all paid for with money either borrowed from the Chinese or printed out of thin air. American entrepreneurs who would start businesses as tradesmen and employ other Americans are beset with regulations, taxes, fees, and red tape.
Our political leaders continue to claim that we need illegal immigrants to do the work that “Americans won’t do.” Even Republicans in the nation’s capital are beginning to embrace amnesty and “immigration reform”, totally abandoning the laws that were created to protect U.S. citizens and our standard of living.
It’s a serious mistake.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
We’ll not fade out too soon, not in this finest hour
Whistle your favourite tune, we’ll send a card and flower
Saying it’s a mistake. It’s a mistake!
It’s A Mistake – Men At Work