Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Immigration: Give us your children.

Let's call the immigration debate it what it really is: The Mexican illegal alien worker debate.
My solution is so simple it will never work.
Make the employers of illegal aliens pay higher taxes to cover the government resources their employee's soak up.
This will never even make it to the floor of Congress for debate. The Big Corporations who own the huge farms that need harvesting will never let this happen.
So, as is always the case, the focus is on punishing the peons instead of making the patrons pay their fair share.

I used to work at a deli on the outskirts of a large agriculteral community.
Once in a while, families of migrant workers came in to buy snacks.
This is where I met Juan Carlos.
Juan Carlos was about 6 years old from what I could guess. He had sparkling black eyes, short. spiky black hair, and a mischevious grin.
His mom would point to items in the display case and Juan Carlos would translate. His mom usually bought potato wedges and macaroni salad; our cheapest items.
She always paid in cash with hard, scarred brown hands and perpetually dirty fingernails.
Being an English speaker, Juan Carlos had a huge advantage over his parents.
One day I offered him some old jalepeno poppers we were going to throw out at the end of the day.
He loved them.
After that he'd slyly ask if I had anything free to give him. I always did.
His mom seemed alarmed at the extra food I was putting in their bag, but using international sign language I tried to let her know it was OK.
Juan Carlos told her something that seemed to ease her nerves, and she paid me with those same stained, gnarled hands.
Cash money. Under the table.
Weeks and weeks later Juan Carlos came into the deli and asked for the reglar stuff. I tried to tease him and play with him, but the sparkle was hard to see, like looking through a smudged-up window.
Then he paid me, in cash, with diry, scraped-up hands capped with jagged black fingernails.

I was so ashamed.
What kind of world is this?
What kind of civilized country lets little kids pick our salad fixings while we argue about immigrants stealing social services?

Surely not my country.


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