When I worked in one small midwestern town twenty years ago, on certain days, the food packing plants would have lots of folks calling in sick. Yup. “La Migra” had scheduled another “secret” raid to check on people’s papers.

Of course, some of my patients had an excuse: They were born in Texas, at home by a local midwife, not in a hospital, so they didn’t have a birth certificate.

So one of my suspected “illegal” patients went from being a quiet, modestly dressed girl to a bold, truck driving, jeans wearing lady in four years. Illegal immigrant? No. Texan, ma’am, so please change my baby’s birth certificate.

People forget profiling is not only based on skin color, but a lot of other subtle clues, such as the way you dress and body language. You didn’t walk hunched over without making eye contact, you walked confidently, back straight, and looked the cop in the eye, and tell him your papers are at home.

(The “no eye contact” is not especially fear of cops: In many cultures looking someone in the eye is seen as defiance or disrespect of one who is superior to you. In the US, of course, we don’t feel anyone is superior, so the lack of eye contact can be a clue to illegal status, even though many Native American tribes similarly don’t make eye contact).

The kerfuffle about the Arizona law is mostly politics, you know. Cops have long practiced profiling: Driving while black (or “driving while Indian” in Minnesota) is a common reason to be pulled over. Of course, you aren’t profiled. You went over the speed limit, or have a broken tail light, or some such minor infraction. They pull you over, check your papers, and if you act normally, you are sent on your way with a ticket.

One result of this was that my adopted son (born in South America) ended up losing his license for too many speeding tickets, most of them on the same interstate. Yes, no one on that stretch of the interstate stayed under the speed limit (I did, and almost got back ended a few times), but that stretch also was notorious for being the main conduit for drugs into the Midwestern rust belt. So put together three things: Speeding, sporty car, young Hispanic man: stop him.

One small problem: being adopted, he had a non Hispanic name, something that raised eyebrows. So he started carrying his passport to save time and questioning. That, and his good humor at being stopped again, worked fine, until his wife put his jeans (with passport) through the wash…

So lots of folks see the Arizona law merely another way to justify a third degree against them based on race.

On the other hand, my oldest son lost his green card when he went back to the “old country” to help his older sister when she was widowed. Now he can’t visit. They are afraid he’ll visit and stay.

The paperwork that legal immigrants have to go through is formidable, including a background check, marriage papers, school papers, and ability to speak English.

That is why one poll of Filipinos found that they did NOT back amnesty. (Factoid: five million Filipino Americans live in the US, and an estimated 800 thousand illegal immigrants also live there). So is this opinion just a way to keep their fellow Pinoys down? No, it’s actually based on real resentment:

Why let them get away with coming illegally why we had to go through that hassle?

Also not mentioned: amnesty has the odor of corruption.

Here in the Philippines, you can literally get away with murder if you have money and the right contacts. That is one reason a lot of Pinoys moved to the US: To get away from corruption.

Yet what of those who merely need the money, and are willing to work? Are they “doing jobs Americans don’t want to do”? Of course. What employer will hire a person of a minority who might sue him if he is fired. You can threaten that  person to work hard and even to do mandatory overtime by threatening to report him (as one employer threatened my adopted son that if he didn’t work overtime, he’d be reported to “la migra”. My son laughed in his face and reminded him of his contract).

Get rid of the illegals, and voila, more jobs for unemployed locals, right? Not really. Do you remember the story of a meat packing plant whose employees requested time off for prayers? It seems that the “illegal” employees left, and they were replaced with Somali immigrants, who had their own concerns and were as feisty as any union represented crew in pressing their demands.

Which shows the dirty little secret about “illegals”. Too many upper middle class people gladly exploit their nannys/maids (instead of trying to get them papers). And too many factories and construction companies prefer workers who won’t demand things like living wages or time off or health insurance/pensions.

Other problems, such as multicultural radicals refusing to help them assimilate, also need to be discussed.

I am aghast at newspapers printing “shocking” stories that “white people” will soon be a minority. Uh, ever hear of “intermarriage”? Or do you still believe in the notorious “one drop” theory?

The dirty little secret is that immigrants need to assimilate, and by the third generation most of them do. As for “Multiculturalism”, this sounds nice, but it is apartheid in lambs’ clothing. Keep “them” speaking Spanish instead of cultured English, and they’ll never break into high paying jobs. Then encourage them to vote for you, who pretend to be their savior, so you can get power, not to mention kickbacks on government contracts.

So although I support a limited amnesty of those living here who can prove they can find work and have no major criminal record, I think that Americans need to have a good discussion of the issues.

Alas, in these days of both the left and the right demonizing their opponents, this may not happen.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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