Sunday, August 30, 2009

Legal vs. Illegal Immigration

I want to someday write a screenplay for a documentary on a subject I feel particularly.... "close" to.

I've seen illegal immigration firsthand, and have met individuals who are involved in this process. I couldn't help but wonder how their lives revolved around this illegal action and the precautions they were taking from being deported for the first, second or even third time. I became extremely curious to find out how exactly they were manipulating the system and making their lives on the other side of the fence.
What I see as the biggest problem is quite possibly the simplest thing for them to do: acquire the necessary information to work "legally." Someone I know once said "It ain't cheap for them to come here. They pay big bucks to mow our lawns." He was referring to the "coyotes" which are people who smuggle immigrants across the border and guide them into the US. I once heard a story of a worker who had paid $2000 to get across.

So how do they work here? Most of them will obtain a social security number belonging to someone else, and work under their name for as long as they can. They file under 1099 status so that no taxes are taken out of their paychecks. This translates into identity theft for the real person, and come audit time, they are faced with years of accumulated unpaid taxes.

These immigrants have all the information ready: a photocopy of their driver's license, social security and green card. All they have to do is fax it to their employer and never present the cards in real life—but who cares since corporations never check those numbers anyway. All they care about is cheap labor. Plus- they're too busy to check out all those numbers.

What about the illegal immigrant who is ready to buy a house but doesn't have a SSN? Well let the realtor pull enough strings and use little Sonny's number to get their house. It doesn't matter to them that the buyer is only 2 years old. Chances are that information won't resurface.

But what about driving on the roads with no license? That's the easiest way for them to get deported. But since they are such careful drivers, chances are they won't get pulled over. And don't think they haven't thought about their driving habits. It is very unlikely to see a truck of illegal immigrants packed. They already split up into 2 trucks and travel separately to narrow their chances of getting pulled over.
I would love to conduct interviews so that people may share their stories of crossing the border, but let's face it- Who would volunteer?

In the end, I can't help but wonder who mows the lawns over at the Immigration Naturalization Service and the IRS…..

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