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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Palabra Final > Immigration > Serving Up Another Perspective on the Senate’s Immigration Point System

Serving Up Another Perspective on the Senate’s Immigration Point System

LatinaLista — One of the most contentious parts of the Senate-proposed immigration bill is the point system it proposes to implement making access to this country easier for immigrants with advanced education.
But along the way, the authors of this bill forgot that not all jobs that are necessary and have a place in our society need an advanced degree.


According to news articles today, there is a shortage in household help — more specifically butlering.

It seems there is a need for 2 million butlers. For answering the door and making sure a household runs smoothly, the pay is sizeable.
The typical starting salary is about $60,000 a year, with multiple weeks of vacation and medical benefits. Housing and a car may be part of the package. The best in the business can earn almost $200,000, and household manager insiders say one of the highest paid butlers in the U.S. earns $1.5 million a year.
In light of the salary potential for this “household help,” I can’t help but wonder how many points would be awarded to such a person in the grand scheme of point-giving.
True they are running the house, but it’s still household help. From setting the table correctly and folding the napkins just right to knowing how to clean a house with antiques and fine artwork and taking care of the children, a butler’s job resembles what many undocumented immigrants must do who work as maids/nannies in rich or mid-income American households.
According to the Butlers Guild web site, Many household managers or Butlers double as a Personal Assistant. So .. then your job includes handling your employers correspondence, keeping his calendar and various other secretarial duties. Making travel arrangements and booking tickets for the opera could be among your responsibilities. Traveling around the world, looking after foreign properties of your employer could be left to you.
In smaller households he might also be the chef, chauffeur, bodyguard, handyman and the pool attendant.

Also, one of the attributes that adds value to a butler’s service is if they know more than just English.
I think most undocumented immigrants who already work in the housekeeping industry probably fulfill all these requirements to some degree.
And to the people they work for — are a real bargain because they’re probably not getting anywhere near the pay a butler gets.
Which leads to an interesting question: Should points be awarded on the basis for salary potential or education?
Because the sad truth is, many butlers probably make more than some of the greatest minds solving the world’s problems.
And since salary is a good indication of the value we place on a person’s skills, then what does that say about the validity of the Senate’s point system?

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Comment(2)

  • yave begnet
    May 28, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s messed up that we still have butlers in modern society?
    booking tickets for the opera could be among your responsibilities
    Good lord, am I in a time warp? I’m going to respectfully disagree that butlering, along with virtually any paid domestic help, constitutes a job that is “necessary and [has] a place in our society.”
    I thought Migra Matters had a good initial analysis of the points system.

  • turtlebella
    May 29, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Well I would agree with yave begnet that it’s pretty weird, needing a butler. And two million are needed in this country? THIS country? I didn’t know there were that many super rich people, but maybe just plain old rich people need butlers and I just didn’t know.
    But I dunno- maybe butlers and other more generic kinds of household help are jobs that are necessary and have a place in our society. I mean, I think it’s obvious that our society has a need for these types of workers. How many households, middle-class and up employ domestic help, from once-a-month cleaning to daily or live-in domestic help? The numbers must be astronomical! And including nannies, au pairs, etc. in that number would make it seem like virtually anyone who can afford such help has it. I would say that this means these kinds or workers are pretty necessary!
    I’m not sure why only highly educated or those who have highly specialized skills are the only people whose jobs are necessary to society. But perhaps I am mis-reading?

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