Friday, July 20, 2018

Illegal Immigrants, The Other Side of The Centavo


I was talking with a good friend of mine today. He's is just a twenty-two year old kid from Mexico. Mauro is his name, and after two years and two months here, in the United States, he is returning ho

We just starting "shooting the shit" about why he came here, what he had hoped to accomplish and whether he felt he completed his tasks. In the midst, of this simple conversation, I suddenly found myself totally enthralled with details and questions.

"HOW DID YOU GET HERE?", I asked. "OH, I PAID A COYOTE $1800 IN SAN LUIS, MEXICO TO TAKE ME ACROSS THE RIVER INTO ARIZONA, He responded. Mauro told me about how it was about a 30 minute walk, as they crossed the Rio Colorado to the waiting car that took them to a public bus to San Diego. Once in San Diego, the tale got a little murky, but included a private bus and a windy road that lead the young man to Los Angeles and ended here in Simi Valley.

"OK, SO NOW YOU ARE HERE IN SIMI, WHAT THEN?, I questioned. With a broad grin that spread from ear to ear, he responded, "WELL, I CAME TO WORK, I CAME TO MAKE MONEY, SO I NEEDED WORK PAPERS." Mauro explained that a quick ride down to a park in the San Fernando Valley and $60 in cash got him a "Green card" and a Social Security number and card, all the documents he needed to be lawfully employed. "THAT SIMPLE?", I enquired. "THAT SIMPLE", he responded. "AND DID YOU GET WORK?", asked I. "TWO JOBS", said he.

For the last two years, two months, my friend Mauro has worked 40 hours a week at a local pizza place during the day, only to leave it and go "flip burgers" at a major Franchise down the street for 32 hours a week. Every week, 72 hours, rain or shine.

Now, I was intrigued! You can't live in California for more than a minute without being acutely aware of the strong anti-illegal immigration issue that is news virtually every day. I am going to totally ignore the "politics" of that discussion and just "throw" some numbers out that will get your minds whirling.

First, we figured out what he had earned during his working career here. Between the two employers, Mauro grossed about $950 a week, earned, mind you, at a wage just above the minimum wage. Federal and State taxes, along with FICA and medicare contributions were deducted from each check. Even with the THREE deductions he claimed, yearly Mauro paid over $4000 in Federal taxes, he paid into a medicare system he never used and contributed to the Social security fund. Illegal Aliens do not file income tax returns requesting refunds on phony social security numbers. That would be sort of shooting yourself in the foot.

"SO, YOU JUST PAID THE MONEY AND NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT?", I asked. "I JUST WANTED TO WORK.", said he. Well, nationwide that has to be millions and millions of tax dollars collected that might well have been refunded if the taxpayers were legal residents . I am not remotely suggesting that those monies belong to anyone other than the government but I have never heard or read a single word that has even broached that subject. Somebody, somewhere, knows that number and it's got to be a big one.

Next question: "HEY, MAURO, YOU MADE OVER $100,000 IN YOUR TWO YEARS, TWO MONTHS, WHERE IS IT?", asked I. "WELL, I BUILT MYSELF A HOUSE IN MY HOMETOWN FOR $30,000 AND I AM TAKING $4,000 HOME, I SPENT THE REST HERE.", said he. That's all money that went into the "system". Food, clothes, entertainment, rent, utilities, all the stuff we need in our day to day lives.

I went looking for the "catch", where had he "used" the system?

So there you go, no politics, just the numbers. I like Mauro, he is a good hardworking guy, I am going to miss him but so is the Government, both Federal and State.

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Steven Lane is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on Illegal Immigrants, The Other Side of The Centavo

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By V on March 08, 2007 at 03:36 pm
Steve, thank you for this article. Thank you. As much as I've thought about everything else, I didn't think about the tax aspect. Well done Steve. Apparently, I could buy a Green Card at a secret location in Downtown I was told. You've read my last article about my playing by the rules/ doing-it-the-hard way situation. I can't believe how easy it is to do it the wrong way ... I wish Mauro all the best and hope that this stint in the US set him up and gave him a headstart to being able to build a better life for himself and one day a family.
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By merijoe on March 10, 2007 at 11:35 pm
Geeze,I have been working non stop since I was 15 years old, at times,3 jobs, and I was well in my 40's before I started making the kind of money that Mauro did at 20- I still dont own a home. Wish I had thought of sending my money to another country, while I was working..oh yeah, I had to pay the bills in order to not live in a card board box with 7 others while eating out of a trash can by candle light, in America. "I SPENT THE REST HERE.", Food, clothes, entertainment, rent, utilities, all the stuff we need in our day to day lives." yet he was still able to set aside 34 grand...where was he able to live in California for 33 or 34 thousand a year? I want to go there Loved your piece, Bill.
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By merijoe on March 10, 2007 at 11:55 pm
sorry, I mean Steve (forgive me, I hear, the mind is the first thing to go at my age)
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By Steven Lane on March 11, 2007 at 12:16 am
Well, he shared a four bedroom house with nine other people. But you know this kid was going to do it right. He rented his room solo, cost $450 a month, all in, instead of a $100 for a bed. Like I said he built a $30,000 house in a small town in the Yucatan, it's comparably a mini mansion by their standards. I think this kid will go far. He is getting married in the summer. When he was working in his home town, he worked the fields---------$8 a day for 12 hours.... Don't worry about your mind, you will lose it regularly, finding it is the hard part.
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By Rose Mountain on December 23, 2007 at 01:47 pm
Great article. I saw a documentary that US corporations have billboards in Mexico trying to recruit Mexican citizens to come up to work. And US Agricultural Corporations (who forced US small farmers out of business)flooded Mexico with products that forced the Mexican farmers out of business.
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By Lady D on December 27, 2007 at 10:52 am
I have worked with legal/illegal people.He would have never come here had american corporations been willing to pay a decent wage in mexico. Thanks for an excellent article.
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