Want the real scoop on the realities of immigration? Read the article below written by Mr. Eduardo Porter of The New York Times. Found via Truthout.org
The article is absolutely incredible. It gives us an in-depth glimpse into the lives of illegal immigrants who live here and how the companies who hire them exploit them. The Bush Administration naturally wants to continue to misuse this group of folks who should be called refugees from incompetent and economically abusive countries. Sort of the same direction where we are heading under the GOP, don’t you think? LS
"HERE ILLEGALLY WORKING HARD AND PAYING TAXES"
Despite becoming a fixture of the labor market, illegal immigrants remain vulnerable at work. Wages declined as illegal immigrants entered the janitorial labor pool. Janitors' median earnings fell by 3 percent in real terms between 1983 and 2002, when the Labor Department changed the definitions of building maintenance jobs and other occupations.
Meanwhile, earnings across all occupations rose by 8 percent, after accounting for inflation. Though unionization has helped push janitors wages back up in many cities, they remain lower in markets with many illegal immigrants in the labor force.
In New York City, janitors cleaning commercial buildings make $19 an hour. Mike Fishman, president of the Service Employees International Union's local in New York, points out that the union never lost ground in the city, and it is still unusual to find illegal immigrants cleaning office buildings there.
In Southern California, by contrast, unions were decimated in the 1980's, and only started recovering in the late 1990's. According to Mike Garcia, president of the union's main local in the state, Southern California's unionized janitors earn between $8.50 and $11 an hour.
Unscrupulous employers still victimize illegal workers frequently. Veronica, a 39-year old illegal immigrant from Mexico, had been working for a temporary employment agency for about a year, crating boxes of beauty products for Aveda, when the agency fired her, then rehired her under a different Social Security number to avoid paying her for the vacation time she had earned.
"They don't want you to gain seniority," she said.
When Adriana started her cleaning job downtown, she said, the supervisor recorded her on the payroll under a different name. But rather than change the entry on ABM's payroll, he asked her to buy a set of documents with the new name - forcing her to live for years with two identities, one for work and one for everything else.
Adriana only managed to recover her real name by tagging it on as a middle name when Harvard took over the contract at her building and she reapplied for her job. Now, the name on her state ID is similar to the one on her Social Security card and paycheck.
Mr. Porter: "Here Illegally Working Hard and Paying Taxes"
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Ken sent this piece today from The Huffington Post. LS
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Ron Suskind, who wrote 'The Price of Loyalty," a book about former Republican Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neill, who resigned from his post under the Bush Administration, has written yet another book on how Cheney drives our national and foreign policies. In short, Cheney does policy and Bush does the politics. Does that tell you something? LS
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