Illegal labor helped inflate housing bubble - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

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Illegal labor helped inflate housing bubble

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Posted: Monday, July 6, 2009 11:00 pm

As we just celebrated our nation's independence, catastrophe, in the aftermath of the collapse of the housing bubble pervades our East Valley. Blame for that debacle is still looking for a home.

We already know about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac doing the bidding of a corrupt Congress for nearly two decades, but think about this: the monster bubble could not have happened unless the market met demand. The market responded with the help of huge numbers of low paid, illegal workers. Their agents were not only industry lobbyists, but also those who insisted Americans wouldn't do the work.

Some time ago, I wrote about East Valley residents who not only do dirty work, but they love it. They are regular, struggling folk, who tend to be the catch basins for the run-off from fabricated civil rights; they're the designated losers when illegal players cut in line.

An outpouring of readers, confirmed the perpetuated lie that "Americans won't do dirty work."

This, from Fran and John Anderson, longtime Mesa residents and the parents of three sons. Sadly, the illegal avalanche penetrated their lives in an unimaginable way. They wrote:

"We appreciate your article on ‘do the dirty work.' We have felt this way for so many years. Especially when back in the early 1990s our oldest son wanted to do landscaping so badly. He loved being outside, didn't mind the heat, enjoyed camping, hunting ... all that good stuff. When he got out of the Army he tried to get into landscaping ... but the white people were the minority, so he wouldn't be hired. He ended up not doing anything and passed away shortly thereafter by his own hand. All he wanted was to do what he loved."

A veteran, lost in civilian life, gets caught in the cross hairs of an industry pirated by illegal workers; a double whammy.

And, this from Rick Wagner, owner of Wagner Installations, Inc. This Mesa resident was once a flooring installer who tried to compete. In early 2000, Wagner was asked by "every company he worked for to lower his pricing to match the illegal's rate." His answer was, I can't and still remain in business because "I report my taxes ... carry workmen's comp ... and I'm licensed."

Soon, every one of those companies switched to an almost exclusive Mexican installation force, he tells me.  Determined, he went on to start his own flooring business. He "beefed up his English speaking, citizen crew" and, today, while so many flounder, Wagner is flourishing he said because the construction industry is slumping, illegals can't find work, homeowners are uncomfortable with illegals in their homes, immigration controversy over tax avoidance and the love of benefits, crackdowns on illegals and companies, the E-Verify program. And, finally, Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "Illegals do not want to stay in Arizona with him around."

Wagner says: "The above are reasons why all but two of the companies we worked for in the past have gone under. In contrast, our company has grown ... beyond our expectations." He warns, "Wake up Arizona and look at the costs associated with illegals in our system."

An entire culture has been built out of the promotion of illegal workers, a culture that assisted in inflating the bubble that has deeply harmed our economy. This day was bound to come, in which Americans are forced to reclaim their bent and broken job market. Left alone, citizens, themselves can rebuild - without federal intervention. Too bad the Anderson's son isn't here to help.

 

Linda Turley-Hansen is a syndicated columnist and former veteran Phoenix television news anchorwoman who lives in the East Valley. She can be reached by e-mail at letters@lindastake.com.

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