Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Disposable Immigrants

Though largely about the disturbing way much of our food is produced, the most haunting scene for me in the movie Food, Inc. shows how meat processing and poultry plants recruit illegal immigrants — and then work with law enforcement to insure that the immigrants get arrested and deported at a nice liesurely pace so as to not disrupt the assembly lines.
I thought of that today when reading The New York Times’ excellent piece about an immigrant in New York, who lived not too far away from me in Brooklyn.

Tanveer Ahmad, it turns out, was a longtime New York City cabdriver who had paid thousands of dollars in taxes and immigration application fees…. His only trouble with the law was a $200 fine for disorderly conduct in 1997: While working at a Houston gas station, he had displayed the business’s unlicensed gun to stop a robbery….
When immigration agents burst into Mr. Ahmad’s two-room Flatbush apartment on Aug. 2, 2005, they were looking for someone else, his friends say — a roommate suspected of violating his student visa by working. But they ordered Mr. Ahmad to report to immigration headquarters in Manhattan on Aug. 11.
He went, and was delivered in shackles to the Monmouth County Correctional Institute in Freehold, N.J. His Texas misdemeanor had popped up in the computer as an offense involving a deadly weapon — reason enough, after 9/11, for authorities to detain him pending deportation proceedings.


At this point, he gave up on being in America and requested deportation back to Pakistan, to rejoin his wife and kids. But before that could happen, he died of a heart attack in captivity.

According to the jail’s internal investigation, Mr. Ahmad walked into the medical unit shortly after 3:50 p.m. on Sept. 9 and “was seen immediately.” But the letter scrawled by a fellow inmate contended that before he showed up there, Mr. Ahmad’s pleas for treatment had been rebuffed by a guard for an hour.

I’m not defending illegality but we should remember that many of the illegal acts committed by immigrants are minor or encouraged by American employers.

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posted July 7, 2009 at 9:54 am

What makes these immigrants disposable is our willful ignorance concerning immigration.
“BUT THEY ARE ILLEGAL” is the cry!!! And yes they are here illegally but they work were the jobs are
“THEY ARE A DRAIN ON OUT TAX DOLLARS” yes they are, but they also pay sales taxes and support property taxes. According to the chief actuary at the Social Security Administration, approximately 75% of illegal immigrants pay SS taxes ($5-8 billion $$$$) and receive no benefits. Their taxes end up in a suspense file. A good # of them pay income taxes but never receive a refund.
“THEY COMMIT CRIMES IN THIS COUNTRY” you are much more likely to be victimized b a citizen who is here 100% legally.
These people come to this country and work at the kinds of back breaking job that almost no legal resident would do for the minimum wages the industries that employ them arte paying. They largely remain in hiding so we can get that new roof on our homes and pay $2000 rather than $3500 for it. We can go to the grocery store and pay $1.99 for a pound of tomatoes (or ground beef) rather than $3-4. We show up in the morning at our offices that are much cleaner than they were the evening before.
I don’t recommend turning a blind eye to illegal immigration, but when we deal with this problem out eyes should be fully open. We should find reasonable solutions to these people who help to make our live less expensive and easy than they would be if they weren’t around.
Hat and we need to start fining people who hire them to the point it really, really hurts and throw some folks in jail.

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