My compliments to Yesenia Amaro on her article concerning the “Day Laborers Look for Work, Cash” in the Enterprise; the writer was able to gloss over so many details as to make the story palatable to most readers.
The workers, who gather in the Home Depot parking lot, are described as “primarily immigrants from Mexico,” “risked their lives to cross the border to provide their families with a brighter future and opportunities,” but lack the “required documents.” The nature of the “required documents” are not elaborated upon. The word “illegal” was never used in the story.
These workers are paid normally in cash, and since they lack the “required documents,” the reader can assume that there are no deductions for taxes, social security or Medicare that the rest of us pay.
How many gathering places are there for these workers who are “lacking the required documents” in the Seattle area? In the state of Washington? Or across the country?
Do we multiply by 100s or by 1,000s to get an accurate number of other Home Depot parking lots? If these workers become ill or are injured, whose tax dollars will pay the medical bills? Whose tax dollars support the public infrastructures that maintain these workers? We are all footing the bill as taxpayers.
As damaging as the free ride on taxpayers’ dollar is, the increasing damage is that “the men usually send money to their families every month,” money which is directly removed from our economy and transferred to another; money which does not then multiply itself within our economy. What is the true extent of the financial damage being done by this underground and secondary economy?
When the problem is too big for the IRS, other tax-collectors, INS, the police, and our elected representatives, I guess our only recourse is to be sympathetic and keep paying.