Self-Mutilation

AZ's new employer-sanctions law will hurt workers, employers, and the economy, in what can only be seen as a massive self-inflicted wound

The biggest losers, Reza insists, will be county, city, and state tax coffers. An unscrupulous or desperate employer will show records for, say, five employees but will actually have 15 — meaning 10 people won't have any taxes withheld. Corporations will avoid setting up shop in Arizona to avoid the hassle and expense of setting up a business, only to lose it under HB2779's "death penalty." Some here, if they can afford to, will move and take the best workers with them.

You don't have to be Alan Greenspan to realize the impact of such economic bleeding on the budgets of local governments, which are already dealing with shortfalls due to a sluggish housing market.

Mostly from fear, Reza says employers are laying off Hispanic workers, but he believes they will eventually be rehired out of necessity, and likely under the table. The workers who utilize Macehualli are already part of the cash economy. Reza asserts they do not fall under the purview of the new legislation.

Morgan Bellinger
Bullhorn por la causa: Immigrants rights activist Salvador Reza, on the front lines at M.D. Pruittís Home Furnishings.

"Federal law says you don't have to ask for papers when you ask somebody to cut your lawn," says Reza. "If you hire someone for 72 hours, then you have to fulfill IRS requirements. If you have an independent contractor and pay him more than $600, you have to report that to the IRS."

Jornaleros, you see, might work from a few hours to a day or two at a time, getting paid anywhere from $8 to $12 an hour. Still, many of the ones I spoke to at Macehualli say they will move out of state and know people who've already done so.

One big, jovial guy, whom I'll call Vinnie to protect his identity, tells me he will move to New Mexico next year because "it's going to get harder to get work for all the people." Vinnie came to America on a six-month tourist visa and has been here two years. He says he'll do "any kind of work, man." The facts that his skin is pale, he has reddish hair, and he speaks fair English don't hurt him in this regard.

"Tell him who you worked next to at the gun show," laughs Reza.

"The Minutemen!" Vinnie says, describing how he was helping man a booth next to the vigilante group's. "They thought I was an American guy because of my color."

Sounds like they tried to recruit him. Vinnie says they even gave him a Minuteman hat. Too bad they didn't inquire as to Vinnie's thoughts on Sheriff Joe and his deputies.

"Can I use bad words?" he asks.

A sweet lady with large brown eyes, Dolores relates in broken English that she has been living illegally in the United States for six years, and that she does mostly housecleaning and babysitting. She has three children of her own. The oldest is a star lineman on a local high-school football team. Next year, he'll be a senior.

Is she afraid for her children, for her son especially? Her eyes widen and she tells me yes. She doesn't have to say why. Soon her son will be driving. And if he's pulled over for a minor infraction and found to possess a fake ID, the resulting Class 4 felony could have him in Sheriff Joe's jails. There, he would be under pressure from ICE agents to sign voluntary paperwork for what essentially is deportation back to Mexico, away from his family and his home.

Already such cases are commonplace. I'm reminded of that kids' flick Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, where all the children of the kingdom of Vulgaria are imprisoned or hidden away in sewers, to keep them from the clutches of a black-clad Child-Catcher. There's more than a touch of evil about our own Vulgarian state, where teenagers are hauled in for removal by Sheriff Joe.

Dolores' husband is a welder. The contracting firm for which he works moved to Utah in September, in part because of the advancing January 1 deadline. He spends three weeks there, and comes home for one week with his family. Will she move her family to Utah to be with him?

"Maybe, or maybe to some other state," she says, meekly. "Arizona is no good for us."

I converse with a guy I'll call Joe, who says he intends to stay and insists he's afraid of nothing. Many of his friends, however, are returning to Mexico.

While I'm chatting with him, an Anglo in a sleek, new-ish truck pulls up and both Joe and Dolores grab their tools and get ready to hop in.

"They're good workers," he admits. "I've gotten to know [Joe] and he's just trying to make a living. On the other hand, I know he's not paying taxes. So I'm kinda on both sides, right there. I don't agree with these big businesses hiring these people, making millions off them. But for me, when I need somebody to help me with help around my house, it's great."

He says there should be some way for Joe and Dolores to stay in the country legally if they can pass a criminal background check. That makes him a relative moderate in Arizona.

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10 comments
isaac jade
isaac jade

Hey Layne Lawless, let me tell you something. I am a "Native American" and when you say things like "squatting on our land" you just sound stupid. Unless you are "Native American" you can bet your relatives did the same thing at some point in time. How do you feel about their actions?

Isaac Jade
Isaac Jade

Sorry, but the biggest loosers are legal citizens who happen to be of Mexican desent. My brother who is of course a legal citizen was held up at gun point in Mesa 2 months ago and had his wallet stolen is now being threatend to having his checks with-held due to the fact he has no Social Security card. Most of us know how long it takes to get a new card and this is bullshit. This law hurts us all in different ways, but it does hurt.

Laine Lawless
Laine Lawless

There ya go agin, off the deep end: "how bad will the situation have to get before politicians stop listening to this small, vicious band of extremists driving the debate?" Are these the same extremists who go out and speak out for American sovereignty by demonstrating in front of Pruitts or at alternate locations and get 99% POSITIVE FEEDBACK from drivers, honking horns and giving us the thumbs up? Eighty percent of America is on our side! There are a few ppl who don't like us, it's true...but those are usually illegal alien-lovers. Give us a break, Steve...the sad story about the mom with 3 kids who came here illegally, SQUATTED, like the squatter she is, on our land, and then she's upset because her illegal kids can't get a drivers license! BOO-HOO-HOO! How about you and I go to Mexico together illegally, raise a passel o' kids, and see what kinda rights we get there? Mexico to its illegal aliens: You ain't got no stinking rights!

"Lemons is a Hack" is a Doofus
"Lemons is a Hack" is a Doofus

The retort of "Lemons is a Hack" is sad, typical and predictable. No meaningful, intelligent discussion of the legitimate counter-argument; just ridiculous, shameful hyperbole.

Tia Maria
Tia Maria

Give me a friggin' break. When there was talk about raising the minimum wage by a quarter or fifty cents, these same employers bitched about how much money it was going to cost them, and how a bunch of people were going to be laid off. NT couldn't ridicule them enough, and rightfully so. But now that they are whining and bitching about spending, what, an additional $50 to make sure someone is here legally, NT agrees with the bastards?

And as for that poor kid who can't drive, well....driving's a privilege, not a right. Besides, you want to get hit by that kid in an accident? I bet he wouldn't have any insurance. Try and collect for damages to your car, or worse yet, you or a family member when they end up in the hospital. Is he too precious to take the bus, or something?

The real problem for Mr Reza is simple. He might have to get a real job if/when all the illegals go home. He isn't gonna get his name in the paper either. It sure sucks when you can't exploit your own....

Chris Longski
Chris Longski

NT's pro-illegal stance is blind; there are many landscaping companies ableto fill the void when the illegals are gone and wages rise as a result.

The illegal problem is (open your ears and engage your brain), DUE TO CONDITIONSIN MEXICO, NOT BAD LAWS IN ARIZONA...

Why doesn't NT do an article on the corrupt government and businesses in Mexico ?

Be a patriot: Call ICE on an illegal today...

Whatever happened to the NT cause celebre Virginia Gutierrez ? Did she get freecollege in Mexico ? Did she go to work in a whorehouse ? What happened ?

The backlash on illegals is in full swing - choke on it, NT...

Chris Longski

Lemons is a Hack
Lemons is a Hack

Lemons'...er...Jet Blue's retort is sad, typical and predictable. No meaningful, intelligent discussion of the legitimate counter-argument; just ridiculous, shameful hyperbole.

Jet Blue
Jet Blue

Mr. Native Arizonan is right on the money. I would've liked to have seen more discussion of Nazi Germany deporting the Jews; the ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia; Idi Amin kicking the South Asians out of Uganda; the white man's slaughter of the Native americans; etc. These similar, past efforts on par with the AZ employer sanctions law were all quite successful, and absolutely benefitted the local population. Laissez le bon temps rouler!

Native Arizonan since 1956
Native Arizonan since 1956

How about a little research into communities where such sanctions have already been enacted? Rather than speculating about possible outcomes, you could actually get real evidence of the results. Of course, that might take a little work AND it just may disprove your predetermined prognostications.How about it?

Todd Jones
Todd Jones

It will certainly be amusing to see the self destruction of Arizona with thislaw taking effect and everything else thats going on in Maricopa County.

With the likes of Candy Andy & Joe Arpaio running around with giant scissorsand razor blades, lashing out at anything and everything in their way, itsonly a matter of time before someone looses a limb or vital organ.

 
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