In "Immigration: When doing the right thing hurts," published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Mark Cromer, a senior writing fellow with Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), describes the awakening and subsequent career crisis of Kirsten Stewart, a landscape designer in Santa Monica, CA.
To my mind, the article is one long highlight, so I'll semi-arbitrarily pick a couple of passages to quote:
When she first moved to Santa Monica in 2002, Stewart says she was oblivious to the problem [of mass illegal immigration] and consequently hired illegal immigrants as well.
Yet it wasn't long before she began to feel that there was something inherently wrong with her hiring illegal immigrants. She says it became clear that it hurt her community more than it helped her bottom line.
”I realized that my foreman, who has been in the country a long time, doesn't have any desire to be a citizen. He has such a strong allegiance to Mexico,” she says.
But it was Stewart's pregnant nanny from Brazil, also without papers, that pushed her to make a dramatic change.
”She told me that she was so happy that she was having her baby here because (her child) would get a real Social Security number. She told me how surprised she was at all the 'free' neonatal care she was getting and all the other 'free' health services,” Stewart says. ”That's when the light bulb went off.”
Stewart fired her nanny, stopped hiring her foreman and vowed she would only use workers legally in the country.
Almost immediately, she started losing bids.
Further down in the article:
The experience of trying to do the right thing has left her feeling helpless and embittered.
”I can't compete by playing honestly in an industry where most everyone else is breaking the rules,” Stewart says. ”And they aren't breaking the rules because Americans won't do these jobs. They are breaking the rules because they don't want to pay a decent wage.”
This is an article to savor and then thrust in front of your skeptical and/or oblivious friends and colleagues, insisting that they take two minutes out of their busy lives to read it.
Simultaneously, Providence Journal (Providence, RI) writer Froma Harrop had a notable column "Anger over immigration mess is not just a Republican thing," in the Seattle Times.
Harrop starts out by noting that immigration is a heavy-duty topic among grassroots Iowans these days:
Iowa Republicans are peppering their presidential hopefuls with pointed questions about illegal immigration. Media reports tend to characterize these discussions as a Republican-base thing, but the reality is otherwise – as careful positioning by Democratic candidates would suggest. The immigration free-for-all is driving nearly everyone crazy.
But then she turns to some consequences from the recent immigration raid at the Michael Bianco, Inc. factory in New Bedford, MA. Most interesting is her account of another possible awakening, this time of intransigently left-wing Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA):
Frank blasted the Defense Department for awarding more than $100 million in contracts to Michael Bianco Inc., which, it appears, was flagrantly employing illegal workers to sew military backpacks and other gear. Frank also quoted a Michael Bianco competitor who called him after the raid, saying, "Now I understand how they kept outbidding me."
Not only are these memorable articles, they're tools for our side. I was able to make good use of the Cromer article the very next day, quoting its highlight paragraph in testimony I presented to the Judiciary Committee of Montana's House of Representatives in support of a bill that would crack down on contractors who hire illegal aliens for public (i.e. taxpayer-funded) projects. My closing paragraphs:
I'd like to finish on a larger theme. There was an article in yesterday's San Diego paper titled "Immigration: When doing the right thing hurts." It's about a political liberal living in the very liberal town of Santa Monica who can no longer earn a living as a landscape designer because she's stopped hiring illegal aliens, so she's routinely underbid on contracts by competitors who don't share her scruples.
What scruples? Well, through some personal experiences and reflection, she realized that her former hiring of illegal aliens "hurt her community more than it helped her bottom line." She was thinking of the enormous public costs associated with illegal immigration. But her clients, many of them liberals who strongly support ideas like a "living wage," would rather save a buck than live up to their professed ideals, so she no longer gets their business.
That's what's happened across the country, and it's by no means a sin of just liberals. People go for the short-term, private pecuniary advantage of hiring illegal aliens, forgetting that the rule of law is what made this country the place it is.
A California congressman has said, "The more we become a nation of illegal immigrants, the deeper we fall into anarchy." Right on. [For quote, see book cover here.]