Dobbs, Tancredo, and Romney: for immigrant labor, against immigrant rights
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There’s this thing about rich people. They need poor people to work for them. In this country, often those poor people are immigrants. Some of those immigrants may not have their papers in order. But the richer you are, the harder it’s going to be to avoid employing some immigrant labor that is not work authorized (a concept that didn’t even exist in the U.S. until 1986).
For instance, if you like to:
- Eat a fruit or a vegetable
- Eat at a restaurant
- Work in an office building cleaned at night by immigrants
- Stay at a hotel while you’re on the campaign trail
- Hire a nanny to care for your young children while you work late at the office or travel for business
- Help your daughters compete at equestrian events
- Get your tennis court cleaned
- Hire a construction crew to transform your basement into a high-tech pleasure den
you may be guilty of employing unauthorized labor. Some of those items are probably things we’ve all done. Others might be out of reach for many of us.
But that’s just the point. Wealthy people spend more on goods and services than the general population. Hence, they finance more undocumented labor than people of middling income do. But the wealthy are arguably also more likely to spend their money on immigrant-intensive labor. Show horses need to be fed, trained, and exercised. Tennis courts need to be maintained. 102-inch televisions and tournament size pool tables need to be installed. Who is going to step up and make sure that the needs of affluent politicians and media figures are met? Luckily for some, there is an underclass of people whose impaired legal status ensures they will be available to carry on the vital work of pampering the most well-to-do among us for the lowest possible price.
The fact that even the most hard-line anti-immigrant public figures, the ones who base their careers in politics or the media on “out Tancredo-ing Tancredo” (a game even Tancredo has gotten into lately)—and are well-compensated for their efforts—the fact that even these who have so much to lose by employing unauthorized immigrant labor can’t manage to do it should tell us something. It should tell us that maybe they’re not all that interested in restricting the immigrant labor from which they so clearly benefit in their personal lives, but rather in the political and monetary gain that comes from demonizing immigrants.
It’s a pretty good way to eat your cake and have it too.
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