What do you call an American who denies another American a job because they would rather hire an illegal alien? Would calling them a racist be appropriate? How about a xenophobe or bigot? Maybe those words are too strong - you can be the judge - but let me start with a story that happened in New Jersey just a few weeks ago.
A friend of mine was participating in a time of sharing prayer requests when a recently converted lady, we'll call her Jane, asked for prayer. Specifically, she said that she ran a small cleaning business on the side to supplement her income, but she had lost a couple of her workers and needed new help. Jane's cleaning business was small - she only had one client, a doctor who had three offices; but his offices needed regular cleaning. However, this income helped her make ends meet as a struggling mother.
I hope by this point in the story that you can identify with Jane. You probably know someone like her in your neighborhood. As a busy mom with another part time job, we can respect the fact that she had grasped a piece, however small, of the American Dream and bettered her situation by starting a business and creating jobs.
However, there was a problem. A year after she had started her business, for security reasons, the doctor's office required a driver's license and social security card from all workers with access to their office. When she had announced the new requirement, her workers didn't show up for work the next day. Jane had hired illegal aliens, and now she found herself cleaning the offices with her husband in the evenings.
With national unemployment over 8%, and New Jersey's over 9%, why couldn't Jane find replacement help with, in her words, "the proper paperwork"?
Another lady in the prayer group, we'll call her Sherry, was excited to hear about a job possibility. Her prayer request was that she could supplement her income with an extra job because she and her husband were about to lose their house. They were underwater, financially speaking, and she was more than willing to help Jane clean!
But instead of employer Jane responding with joy at what looked like answers to two prayers in one stroke, she paused in an awkward moment in the room. Jane then began to tell Sherry that she wouldn't really want the job because it was hard work, didn't pay well and wouldn't be worth her time.
(Incidentally, my wife happens to have had a job cleaning a doctor's office when she was in high school. I asked her how hard it was. Her answer was, "I wouldn't say overworked, just worked hard." She said she got a good workout like she would when exercising, but it's just like cleaning anything else except you have to sanitize everything and take out two sets of trash -- regular and biohazard.)
Now to be fair, employer Jane could have been really trying to save her friend from "hard work." But doesn't Sherry deserve a chance to save her house if she is willing to work hard? Which is worse, hard work or homelessness?
Unfortunately, we find a hint in Jane's own words. Notice that she was trying to find workers with "the proper paperwork." She had targeted a very specific immigrant group for this job. She was offering low wages, and by paying below the fair market price, she was maximizing her profit. She thought her problem was the paperwork, but she had no problem taking advantage of real people with families of their own - humans afraid to speak up because of the fear of deportation.
Returning to my original question: what do you call an American who denies another American a job because they would rather hire an illegal alien? At a minimum, I would call them a participant in institutional slavery. At worse, a racist and bigot of the worst kind. I feel for employer Jane - she needed the supplemental income to make ends meet. But at what cost?
Think of all the other Americans who are supplementing the hospital costs, road maintenance, and educational costs associated with Jane's decision? Worse, think of the illegal aliens working in fear. Yes, the illegal aliens should not have been in the country - that's their crime - but that is no excuse for Jane to disrespect the dignity of all human life.
Mandatory E-Verify would help solve this. By requiring "the proper paperwork" of all workers, the Janes of this nation would no longer be able to take advantage of others in this way. The Sherrys would have jobs because the incentive to hire and subsequently abuse a specific disenfranchised race is gone. E-Verify is not about discriminating against a race; instead it removes the largest predicate for what I dare say is modern-day slavery in America: the fear of deportation.
SOLOMON GIFFORD is the Director of Technology for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Mar 5th 2012 @ 11:44am EST