When William S. Nick, Sr. moved from Morgantown, West Virginia to Greensboro, North Carolina, he received a rude awakening: more Mexican illegal aliens than he had ever seen in his life.
"Illegal immigration is not much of an issue in West Virginia. So I was quite shocked," Nick said.
What troubles Nick is how the aliens make such comfortable transition into mainstream America despite being in clear violation of the law.
In 1994, Nick packed up for North Carolina to find a better job. Prospects in West Virginia, where he worked for West Virginia University as an assistant in the Chemistry Department, were limited.
"The University is the biggest employer in the state and I was barely making $20,000 even though I have a college degree," he told me.
Greater opportunities, of course, are the same reason aliens cross the Mexican-U.S border to head north to the Tar Heel state.
The difference: Nick is entitled to be gainfully employed in North Carolina because he is, as he puts it,
"a natural-born American citizen."
Once relocated, Nick found a job working as a computer technician. But he was laid off in 2001 just before the terrorist attacks. And, although Nick has worked off and on since 2001, he cannot find a steady job.
"Even though I have seven I.T. certifications, I can't find full time employment. One reason, I'm pretty sure, is because I am 55-years old," he said.
No surprise that given the economic hard times he is experiencing Nick, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, is livid about the benefits given to illegal aliens.
"I am a tax-paying Republican. I don't want any more illegal pregnant Mexican women getting their babies delivered for free. Our baby cost thousands of dollars when he was born. It is not fair that they should get their babies delivered for free. I am tired of my tax money being spent supporting law-breakers. It irks me to no end to know that all these pregnant Mexicans are coming to the US for a free ride. How is it they can get brand-new SUVs and pickup trucks when they have no credit record?
"My wife and I just barely make enough money to pay our bills. Yet, we see illegal Mexicans driving around in new vehicles."
"I live in a trailer court that used to be 50% white and 50% black. Now it is 50% Mexican and the rest black and white. One trailer can mean twenty Mexicans."
One afternoon when Nick was listening to "The Mike Fenley Show" on WSJS radio, he learned the ugly truth about how illegal aliens qualify for social services.
A caller who identified himself as an employee in the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services told Fenley
"We were sent a memo from Raleigh that told us to give illegal aliens assistance in whatever they needed. Whatever their circumstances, we were instructed to make the full range of benefits available."
Nick's other question—how aliens qualify for brand new vehicles despite what appears to be modest financial circumstances?—has been posed to me by dozens of other readers.
To learn the answer, I called a friend who works for one of the largest General Motors dealerships in Northern California.
"Let's face it," my friend began, "Mexicans—illegal or not—represent a huge market for car dealers. Weekends around here are like Cinco de Mayo. So everybody is working just a little harder to make a sale. If a buyer is a couple of points outside of the generally accepted financial ratios, we ask for more down. If he is way outside, we ask for much more down and a co-signer. The banks are, in the parlance of the trade, 'buying deeper.' They will take a greater risk but the interest rate goes up commensurately."
"Don't forget," continued my friend, "that there are still a substantial number of people who would rather have a nice car than live in better housing. And when someone wants to buy a fancy car, we're just not going to keep him away. We won't do anything against the rules but we will do everything we can to close the sale."
This analysis may not be very comforting to Nick or the rest of the immigration reform movement. But the economic reality is that, partly because they are subsidized in many ways by the American taxpayer, illegal immigrants are a huge consumer force. And that represents another hurdle for us to clear.
At the end of our conversation, Nick told me that he was "totally unaware of illegal immigration" until he heard that there are 12 million aliens in the US.
Now, Nick says, he has a bottom-line demand of the government that he once served so well:
Both made enormous personal sacrifices and took heavy heat for their immigration reform positions. They lost, but they forged a path for future North Carolina candidates.
When those candidates eventually succeed, as they inevitably will, then Nick's wishes will be realized.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.