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Why Illegal Immigration Problem won’t be Solved Until Washington Gets a Reality Check

LatinaLista — It really is difficult being an undocumented immigrant in this country. Forget the ICE round-ups or the vague immigration reform debate supposedly happening in DC or even the penalizing ordinances being passed by towns and cities across the nation, those all pretty much send the same message of telling undocumented immigrants they can’t make a life here and should return home.

Yet, when businesses and industries are sending the exact opposite message of the government – who can blame these people for still coming and having hope for a better life?

For example, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth has a new pitch line to draw more workers to their agriculture industry — Venga a Michigan.

It seems last year there was such a shortage of migrant farm labor, those people who are willing to pick the crops, that farmers had trouble harvesting their crops.

So, despite the bad conditions that exist in migrant housing and labor practices at a lot of these farms, the state is actively seeking migrants to make the trek from Texas or Florida (where Michigan government officials have gone to pitch their campaign) to offset any major disruptions to an industry that is the second-largest industry in the state.

They don’t seem to care if the people picking the crops are citizens or not – they’re labor that’s needed.

Another business that is reaching out specifically to undocumented immigrants is the Bank of America, or at the time this post was published, they were still trying to figure out whether or not to continue.

It seems the bank created a credit card program at five California branches three months ago where applicants don’t need to show proof of citizenship or a Social Security Number.

Customers can get the card if they already have a checking account with the bank that’s in good standing for three months. It comes with an upfront fee and a higher-than-average interest rate that can exceed 21 percent.

Needless to say, the backlash over such a program has exploded to the point that the bank may seriously have to reconsider their program.

But it doesn’t erase the fact that this bank sees a viable business opportunity with people, regardless of their citizenship, who still spend money – thus adding to our economy.

These same people also eat pizza.

It wasn’t that long ago that the national pizza chain, Pizza Patron, made headlines because they announced they would accept pesos from their customers in payment for pizzas.

Well, the backlash was much like what Bank of America is facing now. If B of A can weather the storm, they may find themselves as profitable as Pizza Patron.

According to a February 4 article, 31% of the pizza chain’s stores set weekly sales records since the campaign began.

(Source: New York Times: Illustration by Leif Parsons)

All of these examples just go to show that while some in Washington are pulling one way, the reality of the undocumented immigrant situation is pulling in the opposite direction.

If there really was concern about illegal immigrants costing the U.S. money, then one would think that more effort would be made to tap into this group’s spending power and labor potential, and less pointless debate on how to punish them for helping our economy in the long-run.

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