Sunday, May 06, 2007

May Day in MacArthur Park - Reflection 1

I had just gotten off work. I was ambivalent about going to the protest. I'm not Latino. I have conflicting feelings about the whole situation. It is not just legal or illegal . Undocumented workers are real people who are doing the best that they can often in the worse of employment places.

However there is a cause and effect for each person in this country. It has and will continue to change this country. Each wave of immigration has done so. It has already begun.

I also know that if given a choice many businesses will hire an undocumented worker over an African-American or any Americans for that matter.

They run out that lie that Americans won't do certain jobs. But you can't tell me that every single undocumented worker is employed because we refuse to do grunt level work. By law American workers have to be paid the minimum wage. There has to be workers compensation insurance purchased. You can't work someone 12 to 15 hours without a break.

But you can make an undocumented worker do just that.

There are whole groups of black men who want and need to take care of their families. They will not be hired no matter they bring to the employment table or what they are allowed or willing to do on the legal employment side of the fence.

Immigration and employment reform is complicated by many factors of complicity, law breaking by local and national companies and a whole lot of people seeing a new group of workers to exploit for the least amount of money.

The "company" may not have undocumented workers but the "contractor" that provides the employees to the business is up to his profit margin in available workers who don't speak a lick of English. Not just Latino but Chinese, Polish and Russian undocumented workers. Let's not leave out folks from Canada, the islands, the UK and Australia.

I can't tell you the anger the Bank of America undocumented worker credit card program generated in folks. I can't walk into a bank or store without being prepared to show identification or give my SSN as identification (which I no longer will do, nor should you.) The bank would laugh me out the branch for trying to request the no-identification or verification needed credit card.

Let not even bring into the equation that the borders are not secured from outside criminals and troublemakers.

But something said to me go on over, check it out and see what you can learn to answer your questions. So I did.

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