We hear an awful lot – too much, in my book – about the shiftless, lazy welfare-grubbing, taxpayer mooching undocumented workers flooding our nation, and overwhelming our social services.
And then there’s this guy, who I believe is far more representative of the average immigrant who comes to this nation:
They are busboys, dishwashers, construction workers. They are on their feet at enervating jobs all day and often all night. Many do not have health insurance. Most find it difficult to afford the increasingly hefty fees New York Road Runners charges for its races, especially the marathon, which now costs at least $227.
For [Julio] Sauce, that is half a week’s paycheck.
Sauce finishes first in his age group, 40-49, regularly, despite working ten hours a day as a cook. Recently, he worked from 2:30PM to 12:30AM on a Saturday evening, and grabbed three hours’s sleep before winning a half-marathon in Central Park, a good hour’s ride from his home on Coney Island. Chew on that for a bit: he works 60 and 70 hour weeks (we presume he’s not bound by union regulations) and still manages to find time to train to win races in one of the most athletic and competitive cities on the planet.
I ride my bike a lot in the wee hours of the morning (not as wee now as just a few weeks ago, admittedly). The neighborhoods I most worry about riding through?
Not the wealthy or upper-middle class neighborhoods. Those folks are soundly asleep and I’m white, so the private security guards wave and smile and go back to napping.
No, it’s the immigrant neighborhoods: the Asians, the Latinos, the Caribbean folk. Those neighborhoods are bustling with folks rushing to work, even on Sundays. The buses run frequently, livery cabs zip in and away from the curbs, men and women with backpacks and earphones jaywalk to the subway station across the street. I have to be vigilant, especially in the dark.
Folks work hard. Folks get hurt and sometimes they have to go to the ER, and even Ronald Reagan felt it was necessary for any ER to treat any patient, no matter what the cost and no matter whether they could afford it or not.
Of course, Reagan also inaugurated the whole “welfare queen” lie, by making up an anecdote.
We can all come up with anecdotes about lazy shiftless immigrants. It’s called “stereotyping” or worse. Facts, fortunately, have a liberal bias.
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