Monday, August 18, 2008


I have been watching the building of the new house next door with interest. It is fascinating to watch the sculpting of the fill dirt, the preparation and pouring of the foundation, and now the framing of the house. What is immediately apparent is that every last one of the workers is Hispanic. They are there shortly after sun-up and work until 5 or 6 pm. They are working in 95 degree heat with 90+% humidity. I don't know how they do it. Most of us would be in the ER with a heat stroke by noon. In all probability most of them are not here legally.

I remember the Texas Medical Center after Tropical Storm Allison ravaged us. Who cleaned up that horrible, stinking, toxic mess?? You got it--there were Hispanics lined up to be hired as day labor right on the corner of Fannin by the Neurosensory Building every morning at day break. And from what I read, Hispanics moved into New Orleans to work as day laborers in cleaning and re-building there after Hurricane Katrina. Recently, I read about the raid on the kosher meatpacking plant in Iowa where hundreds of Hispanics were working in the most disgusting conditions. (Needless to say, nothing happened to the owner of the plant but that is another post.)

OTOH, there are really bad people who come into this country illegally to profit from drugs and gangs who commit all kinds of horrible crimes. These people deserve the full force of our criminal prosecution. But I do think that the majority of the "illegal aliens" that conservative talk show hosts rant about just want a job and a place to live and some beer to drink on the weekend. I also think that we need to remember that unless we were brought here as African slaves, every last one of us have an ancestor who looked around where they were and said "This place sucks: I'm outta here." and left to come here. I know good and well that if I had been born in a dirt floor hut in Central America, I'd have come North or died trying.

Immigration is complicated and we need legislation so that we would know who is here. We also need the legislation that would protect those who choose to live and work here.

You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out he hates all the same people you do. Anne Lamott

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