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Is Illegal Immigration the Knock-Off Purse of the Labor Market?

LatinaLista — Though it’s the day before Super Tuesday, I must digress to a story that caught my eye today  about purses bought in Chinatown.

Now, before you ask what this has to do with anything that usually appears on Latina Lista, bear with me. It will make sense.
You see, these purses weren’t just hundred dollar Coach purses or other high-end satchels. They were counterfeit bags and the reporter who wrote the article was outlining how all of us can get knock-off bags for dirt cheap.

The Miami Herald story was featured in the Tropical Life section of the paper and was written by freelancer Elaine Pasekoff. It was primarily a combination of a light-hearted feature with a how-to component thrown in to make it useful.
Safe to say that the majority of women in this country who don’t have $300 to spend on a bag would rather look like they did, than not. No one I’ve ever known has ever thought badly of forking over money to buy a knock-off bag.
In fact, most women who do find them are quite proud of themselves as if discovering buried treasure.
Yet, there has been a backlash to this, dare I say, innocent story.

I haven’t met yet a lady who don’t like to look nice and carry on the latest purse on the market. However, reality is that the average American woman makes no more than $35,000 a year not enough to keep herself up to date with the latest bag from Gucci-Coach or Chanel. Why not? These brands makes million of dollars out of people who can afford that luxury but if you are the average american woman why not carry on a fake if you like. No one will take the joy away from the people who can actually afford these brands.

wow. good job supporting illegal activity. you should be ashamed of yourself. counterfeit products fund things like terrorist groups. idiot.

I did’nt know they were illegal, honest!!!!! Oh well, I’ll be turning myself in tomorrow morning! Can’t be going around town with knock off’s can we!

The comments were a mixture of scolding the writer and the newspaper for doing the story and admitting that a lot more people do it.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the knock-off purse industry and illegal immigration.
When given the chance, most of us would rather employ labor that is a bargain or what we consider “fair” rather than pay prices that we sometimes consider to be rip-off prices.
Though there is a healthy vocal group that wants to constantly remind everyone that undocumented immigrants are here illegally, there are others who take that person at their face value and don’t interrogate their citizenship status while employing them or watching them as they work.
Whether or not the wages the undocumented work for can be classified as “slave labor” wages is a discussion for another time.
I had my doubts about drawing too close a comparison between illegal immigration and knock-off purses until I read this comment:

Wake up you hypocrites who are berating poor Elaine who speaks nothing but the truth about what goes on in China Town! What exactly is her sin? Doing what every bargain hunter in this country does, including Walmart shoppers? Don’t talk about slave labor, etc., etc. until you’ve done your research on what YOU buy. Besides, this is the government’s responsibility in the final analysis, not Elaine’s. And until the government finds a solution, which they won’t, China Town will be seeing me too!

Kind of zips up the illegal immigration issue into a neat bag, doesn’t it?

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  • Jax
    February 4, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    So I guess you’re trying to say that if the government steps in can stop this illegal behavior. Sounds good to me! I really don’t care how it gets done, I just want it done!

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