Illegal immigration costs us all dearly - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Illegal immigration costs us all dearly

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Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2009 5:50 pm | Updated: 1:10 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Linda Turley-Hansen: Catastrophe, in the aftermath of the collapsed housing bubble, still pervades our East Valley while blame searches for a home. We already know that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two of the baddies.

Catastrophe, in the aftermath of the collapsed housing bubble, still pervades our East Valley while blame searches for a home.

We already know that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are two of the baddies. Their downfall began in the 1990s, under a Democratic administration, when the two quasi-private mortgage companies, in cahoots with the feds, were pressured to finance underqualified buyers.

Though there were some efforts to correct the problem, the failed policy continued to worsen under the Republicans.

Even with that, the monster bubble could not have happened unless the market met demand. Think about it. 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. They spread the mantra beyond our southern borders, and underprivileged Mexicans heeded the call.

Now, our depressed neighborhoods speak to the results of that vast, cheap labor force. Did I mention illegal? Did I mention citizen workers were kicked to the curb?

Several weeks 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 runoff from fabricated civil rights; they’re the designated losers when illegal players cut in line.

Several responses from readers to that column, confirming the lie that “Americans won’t do dirty work,” deserve to be published.

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

“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 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 crosshairs of an industry pirated by illegal workers — a double whammy.

And, this from Rick Wagner, owner of Wagner Installations Inc: The 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 illegals’ rate.”

His answer was he couldn’t and still remain in business because “I report my taxes ... carry workmen’s comp(ensation) ... and I’m licensed.”

Wagner said that soon, every one of those companies switched to an almost exclusive Mexican installation force. Determined to survive, 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 because the construction industry is slumping; illegal immigrants 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 that hire them; the E-Verify program.

And, finally, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “Illegals do not want to stay in Arizona with him around,” Wagner said.

“The above are reasons why all but two of the companies we worked for in the past have gone under,” Wagner said. “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 job market, bent and broken. Left alone, citizens themselves can do so — without fed intervention. Too bad the Andersons’ son isn’t here to help.

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

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