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Wednesday, December 5, 2007
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BoGlo: Lawn work at Romney’s home still done by illegal immigrants

Standing on stage at a Republican debate on the Gulf Coast of Florida last week, Mitt Romney repeatedly lashed out at rival Rudy Giuliani for providing sanctuary to illegal immigrants in New York City.

Yet, the very next morning, on Thursday, at least two illegal immigrants stepped out of a hulking maroon pickup truck in the driveway of Romney’s Belmont house, then proceeded to spend several hours raking leaves, clearing debris from Romney’s tennis court, and loading the refuse back on to the truck.

In fact, their work was part of a regular pattern. Despite a Globe story in Dec. 2006 that highlighted Romney’s use of illegal immigrants to tend to his lawn, Romney continued to employ the same landscaping company — until today. The landscaping company, in turn, continued to employ illegal immigrants.

Romney has now fired the company in question, although as the story notes, the situation will give his opponents plenty of ammo:

For Romney, who has made curtailing illegal immigration a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, the revelation that he continued to employ the same landscaping company was likely to fuel criticism from his rivals, at least one of whom — Giuliani — has already mocked Romney’s commitment to the issue on the trail.

The remarkable thing about this story is that it doesn’t make people realize that what we are seeing here is the power of the market at work–the simple, yet nearly irresistible influence of supply and demand. If there are so many illegal immigrants working in landscaping that something like 25% of all of them (according to NPR this morning) are illegal aliens, perhaps that should tell us we should find a way to allow more workers into the US, rather that promising to further clamp down on immigrations (to what, protect us from gardeners?). The fact of the matter is that the evidence is clear: despite the claims of xenophobes, the influx of Mexican labor hasn’t destroyed the United States. Further, the evidence is also clear that even increased border security is not stopping the influx–rather all it is doing is costing us money (that is ill spent, if the test of spending is policy success, anyway).

In other words, when I listen to the candidates (of both parties) talk about immigration, the rhetoric sounds so hollow, as none of them really have a viable plan to stop illegal immigration, and all of them clearly know that they are pandering rather then offering viable policies. The cost both to the government and the economy in general of really getting rid of illegal immigrants would be huge (assuming it could even really be done), and it simply isn’t going to happen. And while many citizens think that is what they want, if they really understood what it would mean in tax revenue and other pocketbook issues, they wouldn’t be so keen on the notion. But since it is impossible to talk about managing the flow of immigrants across the border (as recent attempts at immigration reform made clear) we instead get platitudes and fantasies about “getting tough” on border security. At the end of the day we are going to get ineffective policies, mostly in the form of an expensive, ineffective semi-wall coupled with a basic maintenance of the status quo.

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3 Responses to “Romney and the Illegal Aliens”

  1. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Speaking of Romney and his Illegal Gardners Says:

    [...] But, like I said earlier this morning, it is unclear that even those who are “serious” about the immigration debate, are not especially serious and really don’t understand what they are arguing for and about. [...]

  2. Political Mavens » Romney Time Says:

    [...] Romney and the Illegal Aliens [...]

  3. John Character Says:

    LOL – 38 million illegal aliens, roughly 13% of the US, more than 1 in 10. They work here with, buy things from, and rent homes from US companies. With this in mind, the figures given plus current laws, the entire population is guilty of ‘aid, support, transport, shield, harbor illegal aliens.’ We indirectly aid and support them by supporting others who help them so we must all go to jail if you go by the book. (Only a few thousand visas are issued to Mexicans each year, not millions, mostly tourist visas, not for work, and only to stinking rich people like drug dealers, the only rich people in Mexico, so there is no legal way for any poor innocent Mexican to come here. It is not a baby’s fault it was born in Mexico, and how much hard work did we do to become citizens. NONE! Instead we should stop this madness, open up sweatshops, and get rich quick!)


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