Back in the day when I was working
every day it just never occurred to me that the next morning I would not
wake up to the alarm, take a quick shower, grab a cup of coffee and a piece
of peanut butter toast and head for the job. There were times when I would
change jobs and take a new position. I would worry myself silly until I went
into the new job and signed all the papers and took on whatever the job
called for. I just needed to know I was gainfully employed and that my
family would be provided for.
It is almost beyond my comprehension even now that I could be in a position
where I would wake up everyday unemployed. Even though I am now retired I do
have a little bit of money coming in to help stay off the creditors.
When we leave our little gated community and drive toward town we drive down
the road past some commercial property and then on the right side of the
road there is a trailer park. There are probably two hundred trailers in
that community and they are all occupied by illegal Mexican workers. Even
the best of these mobile homes look like they have outlived their usefulness
by twenty years. Everyone from the INS. To ICE knows they are there. The
local police departments know they are there. The people who live around
here know they are there.
They donít cause any trouble and there are always 25 or 30 of them standing
by the road every day waiting for someone to come along and hire them for
day labor. Every day these men wake up unemployed. Every day they must go
out and stand along the highway sometimes all day and may or may not get any
Now with the economy getting worse there are more and more of them standing
along the highway. Some go up the road a ways to try to set themselves apart
from the herd so to speak. Some go a mile or two up the road to a shopping
mall parking lot and others hang out at the corner gas stations.
I find myself with real mixed emotions about these men. I have seen them
work. They work hard and long hours for a fraction of the money that most
Americans would work for. They donít put up a fuss because even with what
little they make they are able to send much needed money to their destitute
families in Mexico.
At the same time I abhor those contractors and people who will work these
people and pay them cash so as to bypass the tax laws and all the normal
paperwork that normal companies have to deal with when they hire labor.
I also see where this adds an extra tax burden on people who are employed by
legitimate companies. When you think about it for a moment this is sooo
un-American. This type of workings hurts the people who do the work and it
affects everyone who lives in this country.
If this is as far as this went, I could almost give them a pass but it goes
a lot deeper than just day workers. These people come from all over Mexico
and other Latin American countries that do not immunize their citizen
against childhood diseases and potentially contagious diseases.
In the past few years back on page twenty two of the local newspapers we are
seeing outbreaks of TB, whooping cough, measles and even scarlet fever.
Outbreaks of sickness that have been all but dead in this country for many
Now about here the writer should be asking the government just what they are
doing about the problem, but as I see it, it is not a government problem. It
is a we problem. You see if we didnít hire them, they would all drift back
to Mexico on their own and the problem would go away on its own. If we were
not so greedy to get the house painted or the lawns redone to look like
Better Homes and Gardens just up-chucked all over the back of our property,
we wouldnít have this problem. If companies didnít make it a point to do
whatever it takes to make the bottom line look better, we wouldnít have this
If I were one of those guys I too would probably pay seven hundred to a
thousand dollars to some coyote to sneak me across the border in order to
make some of those magic American dollars to send back to my family who live
in conditions that makes even those trailers in the trailer park look like
first class accommodations.
It is not up to a government agency, it is up to us.