For reasons that no one has yet been able to explain to me, maids in Chicago are Polish. You want someone to clean your house? Ask around and the neighbors will refer you a nice Polish lady. I find this strange and slightly random. Chicago is a stew-pot of exotic nationalities. Why shouldn’t they be Estonian, or French, or Mexican, or Irish or (God-forbid) American? People here just stare at me like they did when I asked “where can I get a decent smoked brisket?” Maids are Polish. What’s to understand about that?
Are they here legally? You really don’t ask that question around here about anything. I don’t have a clue, but I have my suspicions.
I thought about this when I saw Rep. Debbie Riddle’s new immigration bill. Her latest attempt at a hard-nosed crackdown on illegals is so odd it’s on the edge of brilliant. It’s either blatantly hypocritical, idiotic, or perhaps so naively candid that we should all stop to appreciate its beauty.
This version would make it a felony, that’s right, a felony, to hire an undocumented worker. That’s interesting enough, but then comes the loophole. No one can be prosecuted for hiring an illegal to work around the house. That’s right, landscaping, cleaning, odd-jobs, you know, the kind of stuff illegal aliens do for money, would all be exempt.
And Riddle’s explanation? Her chief of staff explained that the loophole is meant to avoid “stifling the economic engine” of the state.
Pause for a moment and let the irony wash over you.
The goal of Riddle’s typically bizarre effort is to devise an immigration crackdown that would target big business. Along the way she has stumbled across a weakness in her reasoning which might have caused a lesser ideologue to rethink their view of the world.
It turns out that cheap, undocumented labor has become so embedded in Texas’ economy that enforcing a meaningful ban would impact all kinds of businesses and individuals. In short, it would affect her constituents in ways that make them uncomfortable.
Without cheap lawn crews, middle-aged white-collar homeowners all over the state would be dropping dead behind their mowers by the dozen from the 4th of July to Halloween. Or worse, the state’s lawns would suffer mass shagginess. We need to stop illegal immigration with stiff criminal penalties…on other people.
You can pretty nearly glimpse her thought process: “It’s almost as if…maybe…fixing this problem would make other problems worse… But if that was true, then… Oh Sweet Jesus help me shut out the Devil’s lies!” Followed by a rousing three verses of “The Old Rugged Cross.”
Rep. Riddle hasn’t landed multiple entries on Texas Monthly’s “Worst Legislator” list by letting reality interfere with ideology. She managed to squash that thought process before it reached its heretical conclusion. She just fixed the glitch in the bill by excluding the maid and moved on.
With Rep. Riddle’s bill, you can have your lawn crew and still get rid of all those dirty Mexicans who according to Rep. Berman are bringing leprosy and plague to our otherwise pristine homeland. How? By the miracle of ideology, of course.
Don’t try to fight it.
The loophole has attracted national attention and has no hope of remaining in a final bill. If the Riddle & Berman Illegal Immigrant Crackdown Circus manages to accidentally run the hired help out of town, don’t get too worried. Put down the toilet brush and try to remain calm. I know some people. These Polish folks do good work at reasonable prices. I don’t know if they’re documented, but they’re mostly blonde so you should be able to hire them with no legal problems.
I’m not certain whether they’re bringing plague and leprosy to our country like other those other illegal immigrants. Maybe I should ask.
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