Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Illegal immigrants who fix our houses, dry our cars and cut our lawns

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell got into a bit of hot water this week when he said that illegal immigrants are essential to the U.S. economy. Something he knew first hand because he uses them to fix his house.

He later clarified that statement, saying what he meant to say is that the contractors he hires to fix his house employ illegal immigrants.

I thought of Powell this morning on the way to the train station because as I turned the corner onto the highway there was a guy in the crosswalk who one could only describe as a candidate for Arizona's new law that would allow the cops to stop people they suspect of being undocumented.

He was heading to the full service car wash across the street, where there were other candidates for stopping and frisking, towels in hand, waiting for the first car of the morning to emerge so they could descend on it like locusts and wipe it dry.

I moved to avoid running him over and eliminating one more person taking a job away from a full-blooded American at the car wash and continued to the train station, thoughts of illegal immigrants leaving my mind as I waved, as I do every morning on the way to work, at the crossing guard lady in front of the neighborhood elementary school. (For the first time in five years she shouted out to me, "have a nice day" as I passed her, making me wonder whether that was an invitation to get to know one another.)

But my mental meanderings about the crossing guard lady lasted not long - as the issue of illegal immigration crept into the forefront of my thoughts again a moment later. There, near the train station, were day laborers, looking for jobs, and, may I dare say, there was not an Anglo looking one among them! More jobs taken from red-blooded Americans!

It made me resolve to only contract with bone fide businesses to make sure that whoever comes to my house has a U.S. birth certificate when - suddenly - my new-found resolve was ripped away.

Trucks from two landscaping companies pulled up to pick up the day laborers. Proving Powell absolutely correct - the people who come to fix his house probably are illegal immigrants.

That settled, I decided to write this on the train to get it off my mind so I could ponder more important issues. Like, whether the crossing guard lady would like to meet someday for a cup of coffee.

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