Skip to comments.2 illegal workers just want jobs
Posted on 12/16/2003 4:31:40 AM PST by Holly_P
Ramiro Cruz doesn't know who Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge is. But he appreciated what Ridge said last week about legalizing undocumented immigrants.
"The man is right. I hope he can do something for us," said Cruz while he waited for a drive-by job offer on South Ninth Avenue Monday morning.
Gonzalo Mendoza, who was waiting on the street which serves as an unofficial day laborer hiring site, agreed with Cruz who was about a block away.
"I can't believe that someone in the United States government would say something like that. It seems that the politicians in Mexico and the United States have given up on us," Mendoza said.
Mendoza and Cruz may not know the important role that Ridge plays in the United States government, but the two illegal immigrants certainly understand the unexpected importance of what Ridge said last week.
"The bottom line is, as a country, we have to come to grips with the presence of 8 to 12 million illegals, afford them some kind of legal status some way," Ridge said in response to a question during a Miami town hall meeting Dec. 9.
Ridge stopped short of advocating citizenship for undocumented entrants, but he went much further than any Bush administration official has dared to go in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
While Ridge's comments gave Cruz and Mendoza some hope, they are not expecting any change in immigration policy soon. They intuitively know the political process is fraught with problems and obstacles.
"The American government has talked about this for a long time but nothing has changed," said Cruz who has worked in Tucson for a couple of years.
Like many undocumented immigrants, Cruz understands why the same policy remains. Undocumented immigrants can identify the paradox of our immigration policy.
"Americans want us to work here, but they do not want us to live here," said Mendoza, a native of Guerrero, in southern Mexico.
"Americans need us and we need the jobs," Mendoza said.
While most Southern Arizonans do not pay attention to what Mendoza and Cruz say about immigration reform, there are other voices.
Sen. John McCain and Reps. Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, all Arizona Republicans, want to change immigration policy to allow undocumented entrants to work in this country. Legal residency is part of their bill.
The bill has its supporters and opponents, its promises and pitfalls.
It's hard to know what, if anything of importance, Ridge's statement holds. Some analysts believe Ridge simply sent up a balloon to test the political waters. His comments predictably generated words of support and derision.
President Bush, somewhat, backed up Ridge during Monday's presidential news conference in response to a reporter's question.
Bush said he favors an immigration policy that helps match any willing employer with any willing employee. He said a proposal will be sent to Congress.
But he added, "Let me also clarify something. This administration is firmly against blanket amnesty."
If Cruz and Mendoza, however, are any indication, their priority is not citizenship. They are interested in getting legal work.
"I would like to work, send money to my family in Mexico and be able to cross the border to visit them," Cruz said.
When Ridge was in Arizona recently, he did not meet Cruz or Mendoza or people like them. Had he though, Ridge would have heard words of encouragement.
Mendoza said, "I hope to God that he can do what he said."
* Ernesto Portillo Jr.'s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Reach him at 573-4242 or at email@example.com. He appears on "Arizona Illustrated," KUAT-TV Channel 6, at 6:30 p.m.
Then they get homesick, want to go back to mexice, and have us just mail the checks there.
That is holocaust material . . .
Bump for idiocy.
Witness (through Spanish interpreter) ---"I don't do taxes."
That's what they need to ask themselves ---- why on earth do they have a president who wants them all to leave? ---- maybe instead they ought to run him out ---- send him packing his bags and headed over to Spain.
Or illegal work. Just leave them illegal --- that's they way they decided to come --- it takes too long the legal way, they have very little problem finding illegal work, they'll send money home or whatever else either way --- legal or illegal. Leaving them illegal is better --- if they get into trouble, or can't find any work, they're easier to deport.
Excellent points but lets not forget that they drive the overall wage scale down for all of us over time.