I have to file something with the Court on Monday, so I checked the Court Calendar to make sure it wasn’t a holiday. Don’t laugh – the Court recognizes holidays I’ve never even heard of. For instance:
Me: Huh! Who knew there was a César Chávez day?
Grandma Secretary, passing by: I forget; was he legal?
Me, with narrowed eyes and sarcastic tone: He was born in Arizona, so I assume he was legal, yes.
Grandma Secretary: Hey, the only reason you don’t mind the illegals is because you don’t work in a job area that they’re taking over.
Me: I’m sorry, do you work in one of those jobs?
Grandma Secretary: Yes! Some of the firms downtown hire hispanic legal secretaries because they can get them for $38,000!
Me: Are those secretaries illegal immigrants?
Grandma Secretary: Well, no, but –
Me: Then that’s completely irrelevant.
Grandma Secretary: But they’d have to pay a white or a black a lot more than that.
Me: So your issue isn’t with illegal immigration; it’s with wage discrimination against legal hispanic workers.
Grandma Secretary: Look, don’t try to tell me they’re not taking away jobs. When my husband worked construction a few years ago, he said there were no white faces there any more.
Me: Again, I’m going to have to go with, “not a statement about illegal immigration.”
Grandma Secretary: Well, if you think I’m racist, you should hear what my black friends have to say about it.
And with that she flounced out of my office.
Ever willing to spend my lunch hour doing research, I immediately hit the internet. If the problem is illegal immigrants taking jobs, then there must be plenty of Americans ready and waiting for those jobs, right? According to the LA Times, Colorado is now facing the consequences of that particular fallacy.
Ever since passing what its Legislature promoted as the nation’s toughest laws against illegal immigration last summer, Colorado has struggled with a labor shortage as migrants fled the state. This week, officials announced a novel solution: Use convicts as farmworkers.
[Farmer Joe] Pisciotta said he hoped the program highlighted what he viewed as the absurdity of Colorado’s position — dependent on immigrant labor but trying to chase migrants away. He said the people leaving were not just those who entered the country illegally.
“Some of them have said, ‘We think our paperwork is in order, but how about if it’s not and we get caught on a glitch,’ ” he said.
But for those unwilling to have felons pick their melons, it seems like a guest worker program would be a good option. Or maybe not, says the New York Times.
Labor experts say employers abuse guest workers far more than other workers because employers know they can ship them home the moment they complain. They also know these workers cannot seek other jobs if they are unhappy.
Critics, including many labor unions and immigrant groups, say employers exaggerate the labor shortage because they are eager for cheap, docile, temporary labor from abroad. The critics say there would not be such a shortage of American workers if employers offered a living wage for these jobs.
Huh. Maybe that’s the real problem, eh? Employers are unwilling to offer a living wage – never heard of that happening before.
Oh, but it’s so much easier to blame the brown people.